Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I have so many things i sohuld be doing today, my first day home,
but all i want to do is play with my pictures from the trip. so far these are some of my favorites.
Golden Buddah
Longboats in Ao Nong
A tree in Bangkok
Lights in Cheng Mai

I also went back and added some pictures on my last few posts... take a look.

okay, maybe i'll finish my laundry now....

back in california

made it home safe and sound with just a few hiccups along the way.

I did get up the guts to try the grasshoppers with Lisa before we left town. They weren't that bad. kinda tasted like BBQ chips...seriously.

our last night in bangkok was great. earlier that day mom and i had met 2 canadian girls at a Starbucks. They were backpacking for 3 months. 1 in Australia, 1 in new Zealand and 1 in Thailand. they mentioned they needed prescription mosquito repellent and since we were leaving the next day mom said they could stop by our hotel and have what we had left. She filled a bag with the repellent. hotel shampoos and soaps and wet naps and left it at the front desk for the girls.

Later that night while i waited for mom to shower for dinner i wandered down to the hotel pool because there were signs posted about a pool party for all hotel guests. There was tons of food and drinks including alcohol all for free. The poll was set up lovely with tea lights and flowers. Mom and I stayed and enjoyed the food (yum. tons of fried bananas)

I ran back to our room to drop something off and ran into the canadian girls picking up the bag. I invited them to the party for some free food (they were traveling on a vary limited budget) they joined us and we all sat around the pool for a few hours talking. I hit it off with them right away.

Then the hotel manager came over and invited us on a trolley ride around the city. Mom stayed back for a massage but the canadians came along. It was lots of fun riding through the city at night, talking, taking pictures and getting to know each other. We would stop at various places where the manager would give us the history and share details of the city.

I totally loved these girls. We would so be friends if they lived near me. They came back to the hotel and stayed in my room for a while more talking. I gave them my maps of thailand and my pocket calculator and we exchanged emails. They both want to come to California so I offered them a place to stay when they visit. I hope they take me up on it.

Lisa left that night around midnight and we left the next morning at 8am. The flights were fine and we were all able to sleep a bit and watch some movies. We barely made our connecting flight in Tokyo and were once again making it to the gate with minutes to spare.

Now i am back home with my doggies. I was so anxious to see them and we have spent the day cuddling and unpacking. Ron is in San Jose for the next month for work. He comes home only on the weekends. I went to San Jose last night when we got back in the country and spent the night at his hotel.

2 weeks is the longest I have gone without seeing him or even hearing his voice. I felt like a teenager again because my stomach was filled with butterflies as i waited for him to get off work. I think having time apart like that is great for our marriage because now i feel head over heels in love again like i did when we first started dating.... like when you wait with anticipation for their phone call....

it will be nice to spend this weekend together before i go back to work.

Monday, January 28, 2008

**edited to add pics

almost time to come home...

i am quite homesick and ready to be with my husband and doggies....

however, i now feel like i have not had enough time in Bangkok. I totally did not "really" see the city when we first arrived. I guess because we were just getting our bearings straight and everything...

yesterday and today however have been fantastic. Mom and I stayed out until about 2am last night, slept in a bit today and then made our way to the Grande Palace and visited a few Wats (temples)

we just took our time exploring little side streets and alleys, snapping pictures and taking it all in. Bangkok really is an amazing city. Yes, it is dirty and polluted, loud and crazy... but it has charm and character and so many wonderful sights and people.

mom was interviewed by some young teenage school children for a project. they asked her all types of questions about Thailand and her stay here. They asked what was one thing Thailand needed more of... Garbage Cans she answered. They agreed. We are always searching for a garbage at all the cities we have been to. It seems most just liter, however neither of us are comfortable doing that.

Tonight we are hoping to catch up with Karen and Lisa as they went off early this morning. One more final dinner together would be nice.

I am pretty sure i have broken the hotels computers trying to upload pics... they are now both crashing about every 5 minutes and it seems the problems began when i plugged in my camera... oops.... i did manage to load to one from our last night in Au Nong at sunset.!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

**edited to add pics

back in bangkok.

i don't think i gave this city a real chance. we are now in a great neighborhood that is known for all the backpackers, right near Khao San Road. Our hotel even provides a free tuk tuk ride over to Khao San.

mom and i spent the evening exploring this colorful and vibrant part of town. The street was lined with food vendors, shopping stalls and little bars right in the middle of the road with plastic stools for chairs. They served drinks in "buckets" that resembled plastic sand pails.

the food was much more unique than we have seen so far. Bugs, dried jellyfish, little bitty fried eggs, eggs on sticks, fruit, kabobs and the usual pad thai and spring rolls. we enjoyed strolling from cart to cart and trying a new treat. Even the bugs. Mom was handing them out to other tourists and they all snacked on them together... and a bag of bugs for 20 baht... well that's a deal!

The shopping was a bit different than we had seen so far. Some was the same old stuff but lots of modern stuff too. Tons of knockoff clothing and cute tees. I haven't bought a lot for myself until tonight. I scored 4 shirts for a total of $12, a cute wallet with a camera on it, and i even got a pair of fun pants. Mom bought them for herself but they didn't fit so she gave them to me. I love them.

We took lots of pictures, found the nearby Starbucks (of course) prowled through the maze of people and had a great evening. Now i wish we had a little more time in Bangkok cause we are near so much at our new hotel.

Okay, i have some awesome pics that i want to share so bad but every time i try to upload even one the entire Internet crashes... urrggg... i will just have to share lots when i get home to my lovely mac. i'll try to upload in the AM... just 1 more day left...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Here are some pictures. These are mostly from our the day Lisa and I went out exploring the islands. I didn't take my camera on the snorkeling tour because i was worried about the water and sand with my camera.

Yesterday i went out on my own. I walked around with Jack Johnson on my ipod taking pictures. Then i saw a man struggling to load bottles of water on a boat. I grabbed some water and gave him a hand. He was so appreciative he offered to take me to any island for free. I told him i didn't want to go anywhere, but I would like a picture of him. He threw up a peace sign and smiled for the camera. I then began taking pictures of Thai people all along the beach. Some i asked to take their picture, but many saw my camera and asked me to snap a photo. It was pretty fun connecting with them.

I found the Starbucks here in Ao Nang and sat there for a while writing in my journal. The manager gave me her business card and asked that I send them photos from California.

That night i went to a bar up the road and watched a fire show, ate dinner and then met up with the girls. We did a little shopping and hit up another bar. It was called Rock Bar and they had karaoke going.

A few drinks later and Lisa was up on stage singing (i guess you could call it that) Sweet Home Alabama. The bassist was winking at her all night. Watch out K.C. cause she might not be coming home.....

The moms went back to the hotel and Lisa and I found another bar where we met two guys from Spain who spoke little english. I pulled out everything I learned in highschool spanish to communicate with them. (thanks Senior Barosa)

Back at the hotel we snuck into the pool for a quick dip and then off to bed. Today we leave back to Bangkok for 2 days.

Karen has pics from the bar so i will share those pics later.

Love you all!

the view from our first hotel in Krabi

first hotel in Krabi had a private Lagoon.

resturants on long boats docked right on shore

main road in Ao Nong

Friday, January 25, 2008

So sorry I haven't updated in a while. Our days have been very busy and full since we arrived to the islands and I am beat at the end of the night. Also, i have been sitting here for way too long trying to get some pics to load. it is taking forever (like 2 hours) all i could get was this one. most of Krabi looks like this. I will try to get more to upload tonight, i don't want to waste the day on the computer.

So this will be a long update...

Mom and Karen made it to Krabi just fine, although they did get a lot of stares as they tromped through the airport with 8 bags. They told people they had 3 daughters with them so others would not think the luggage was just theirs... figured they'd add another daughter for good measure.

Our first hotel in Krabi had stunning grounds but the staff was very rude and it was quite a ways away from town. On Weds (our first full day in Krabi we just hung around the pool all day and relaxed and drank way too much wine. (as you can imagine, our day at the airport on tuesday was quite exhausting)

Thursday, Lisa and I took a taxi to Krabi Town (which we quickly renamed Krapy Town as it was filthy and honestly not worth seeing). From there we hired a boat to take us to Railay Beach. It is known for its rock climbing. Taking the boat was interesting because we could not leave until the driver found enough passengers to make it a full boat (8) We found 2 others, from the UK, and then waited and waited. It seemed no one else was ever going to come so we all paid double fair (200baht or about $7) so we could get on our way. We rode in a long tail boat and the ride was incredible and beautiful. The boat drops you off a bit off shore so you jump in the water and trek up the beach.

Railay was so amazing. It is covered with caves and mouth dropping cliffs and rock formations. We found the beach and just enjoyed the scenery for a while. Lisa read on the sand and I swam around. On the beach there were quite a few vendors selling sarongs, jewelry and food/drinks. They comb the beach walking up to sunbathing tourists. Lisa and I enjoyed our best lunch so far. Fresh corn that was fire grilled right in front of us and then lathered in salt and butter and also some super fresh pineapple. We finished it off with a Thai beer and Lisa got a foot massage right on the beach for about $4.

After a few hours we decided to keep exploring the island. We found ourselves strolling through a beach resort and decided we both felt sandy and sticky from the salt water so we snuck into the hotels pool to rinse off. A guard quickly approached us and asked what room we were in. I had already noted a room number so i said 1102. We jotted it down and left. A few short minutes later he came back,

"1102?? are you sure??"
"um, yes i think so, it is our friends room, we are not staying here, our friends are."
I start back peddling as i imagine the two of us being thrown in a Thai prison for trespassing (we've all seen Broke Down Palace)
He leaves again to "check something" and Lisa and I bolt the heck outta there.

We took a long boat to the island of Ao Nang and strolled around for a while. We both decided it was a super cute beach town and it was here that i found the most delicious treat. A thai pancake. It is similar to a crepe and is covered in a variety of things just like crepes. Fruit, chocolate, nutella etc. I have had 3 since i discovered them. Yummy!

We took a cab back to our hotel only to find Aunt Karen saying grab your things and get a cab. Apparently my mom and her decided they didn't like our hotel and it was too far away and they had found a better one right on the beach in Ao Nang. Thank goodness.

Our new hotel is right on the water and also right on a busy and crowded street. It is perfect. There are lots of shops and restaurants around. The rooms are also cute and the staff as been very friendly.

Yesterday we booked a tour that took us on a large ship out to 3 different islands. We first stopped at Chicken Island for snorkeling. I did see alot of fish and tons of jellyfish. We then ate lunch on the ship and headed to the Phi Phi island. The second island was Phi Phi Lai. It was a cute swimming cove with crystal clear water. There are no accommodations to stay overnight here. Lastly we arrived at Phi Phi Don, which was a much busier island and is were most tourists stay if they are going to the Phi Phi islands. Full of vendors and beach front restaurants.

We were the only 4 Americans on the ship. The rest were all Swedish. About 40 of them. We were told there are not many Americans staying on Ao Nang, which i would believe it true as so far i have not met any. Most Americans stay on Phuket.

Back at the hotel we freshened up, ate dinner at an Italian place, yummy, then off to bed.

Oh, did i say how freaking sunburned i am. I swear i wore sunscreen but obviously not enough. My legs and feet are so bad that they are swollen. So swollen my little feet look like fat sausages. I can barely point or flex my feet. Thankfully my face and shoulders are looking a bit tanner than before. (understand that my definition on "tan" is not the same as most people. Damn this Irish complexion)

We leave back to Bangkok tomorrow (Sun) and them home on Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

No pictures today for the following reasons:

1. my camera cord is in my suitcase
2. my suitcase is in Bangkok
3. I am in Krabi

Why is suitcase in Bangkok.... because it weights over 7 kg.

We were set to leave Cheng Mai today.... already we had changed our flight due to some unexpected things so we were planned to fly cheng mai- bangkok and then catch our connecting flight 40 minutes after we landed to Krabi. To add to the short between time, it was all on 2 different airlines so we would have had to get our luggage, then check in for the second flight and board....

I was already worried about possibly not having time to pick up the luggage, or it getting lost so I packed thing i for sure didn't want to be with out in my carryon and packed the dirty laundry and other non essentials in the bag to be checked....

We get to the airport only to have the airline tell us our check in luggage could not be more than 14 kg and our carryon no more than 7kg... what? seriosly? who's luggage only weights that much?

So, we quickly unload things out of our carryon luggage that we don't want to be without and check the rest. I grabbed a swim suit, 2 dresses, underware, wallet/passport and my camera... not much else i need....

oh and then we pay $130 for the "extra weight" we were checking.

We arrive in Bangkok only to find out that we have to take a bus to the terminal... we now have 30 minutes till our 2nd plane departs... Lisa and I wait for the bags and Karen and Mom go to check us in for the next flight.

We look at the time and Lisa and I decide if we wait any longer for the bags we will miss the next flight, so we start running, ditching the bags. We figured we could get to Krabi and between the airlines and the hotel our luggage would get to us eventually, hopefully.

When we arrive to the counter Karen and Mom have decided that Lisa and I are to fly to Krabi as planned and they would stay in Bangkok, wait for the bags and fly to Krabi in the am. (there are only 4 flights per day to Krabi and we were already on the last one)

So Lisa and I start booking it to the gate, sprinting seriosly.... or what we would like to call sprinting. Talk about the Amazing Race... we really felt like we were on it...

In the end we made it to the flight (outta breath no less) and saftly to Krabi.
We are now at the hotel and Karen and Mom should be arriving tomorow with luggage.

It was certainly and intersting travel day. I am ready for a good strong drink and a relaxing swim in ocean.

BTW, we spoke with an American woman who is Thai in the airport and she wasn't charged extra for her bags and her carry on was well over 7 kg... every non-Thai we spoke to was charged... so when you are in Thailand.... do not fly Thai Asia Air... besides this negative experience with the luggage their were many more dissapoints with the airline.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Today was amazing, emotional and touching. I loved it all. We went to Elephant Nature Park which is all about conservation, unlike many of the other elephant attractions in Thailand which exploite the elephants and use them to take 4 tourist trecking through the jungle. It was first opened as a santuary were they could just be elephants, no working. Now it has been opened to ecotourists who want to learn and recieve a hands on experience.

We started our day stopping at a local market to load all the elephants food... bags upon bags of bannanas, pineapples, melons etc.

After a 2 hour drive into the hills and jungle we unloaded and got ready to feed the elephants. They were sticking their trunks every which way looking for scraps and one started to steal from my elephants basket. We then ate our lunch and then headed to river to bath them. Then we hung around the babies on the beach. Some even gave kisses which was more like a suck.

We then had a talk from one of the volunteers and then watched a movie about the elephant epidemic in Asia. Very sad. It was just breaking my heart. Many of the elephants at the park were rescued from mistreatment in one form or another. One had a nub foot because it stepped on a landmind. One was blind becuase its owners shoot it in the eyes when it wouldn't behave. One had his tusks cut off with a chainsaw... the stories go on and on.

Even sader was yesterday I saw an elephant crossing the street at the night market in Cheng Mai. I was shocked to see one in the busy streets and felt bad for it as it is loud and chaotic and not suit for an elephant. I learned today that many elephants are used for street begging where the owner takes them out at night and sells food to tourists to feed the elephant and pose for pictures. However, the elephants who do this do not recieve enough food and water often and live in the cities under freeways in squatter camps during the day. It was heartbreaking.
They do the same thing in Bangkok.

I am so glad that I chose to visit a place that is doing something good for these amazing creatures and is trying to have a positive influence on the elephant community in Asia.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

the cute baristas at the Tokyo airport

for those that wondered... this is a tuk tuk... fun to ride at first, but the pollution and exhaust fumes quickley get to you.... tonight we had a bit of a race with Karen and Lisa in one and my mom and I in another... i really felt like i was on the amazing race

Karen pounding out a monk alms bowl... very can read about it here if you are interested.

we have seen our fair share of buddah statues.... these were two of my faves...

a small Wat (temple) near our hotel in Cheng Mai. it was chained closed, but was in this charming and lush garden.

this was on the outskirts of cheng mai... a small group of women making these traditional parasals.... craziness.

loved seeing this. at night they set up little make shift bars everywhere... like kool-aid stands or something. this vw bus was a bar for the night.

massage time.... i got a full body for like 6 bucks. crazy. it was pretty good, a little painful but relaxing.

love this 2 story starbucks in cheng mai... they were having a staff meeting inside... so cute!

here was today's adventure.... freaking awesome! zip lines through the jungle for about 3 hours. so amazing and cool and unforgettable. not scary, just so awesome. we went with an aussie girl and a german guy too, both traveling by themselves. The girl was in Thailand to celebrate her 24th birthday... thailand was her 24th country. and even weirder is the guide new my friend Angi's boyfriend back in CA. 6 degrees right.

of course, this was a bit of an adventure. Lisa lost her shoe in the jungle when it fell off mid flight... luckily the training guide scurried down into the brush to find it. she also banged up her leg after many times of crashing into the guide on the platform... brakes brakes he kept yelling at her... we all found it amusing.
then, never to be outdown, Mom passed out as we finally touched the ground at the end of the day... as they were lowering us back down she was spinning really fast on the rope and when she landed her blood pressure must have dropped as she slouched over unconciece. thank goodness 26 years of having a nurse for a mom, i rushed over and gave her a good sturnum rub and she woke right up... i know she was proud. she was fine for the rest of the day.

after the course we at lunch at a roadside dinner in the village and hiked up a watwerfall before heading back to town. we layed around during the hot part of the afternoon and then ate dinner and headed to the night bazarre. The other girls are still down there now, i took off a while ago, found some coffee, met some cool thai people who were really impressed by my poloroid camera. they had never seen such a thing and wanted me to take pictures of all of them infront of their booths. it was pretty fun actually and it paid off cause when i was ready to go back to the hotel, they loaded me in a tuk tuk, negotiated a cheap price and sent me on my way...

now i am in the hotel lobby listening to bad karioki and sipping my coffee.
tommorrow will be another full day as we are heading to the elephant santuary.

thanks for the comments. Glad to here my dogs are okay. thanks for letting them out brenda while ron is at work. there are dogs everywhere here, but i think they are homeless and they are really skinny and skraggaly... sad :(