Saturday, January 31, 2009

Not Meditating

So I had my first round of bad luck, or change of plans, however you want to look at it. First the train was full, I guess I should have bought a ticket the day before, but I actually didn't think I could because before they wouldn't let me buy a ticket until 10 minutes before the train arrived. Next I got a bus down, it left a bit later but I was able to get to Suan Mok near Chaiya by about 5:30 so the sun was still up so I thought it would all work out. A motorbike picked me up and drove me to the meditation center. On the way another guy was also arriving on a motorbike. There were large groups of people that I guess were getting the orientation and the other guy that arrived was talking to someone. When I walked up I found out that it was full. Several people told me "don't worry, if you get there anytime the last day of the month and there will be a room open", but it was full. The person was saying that there was a dormatory about 2 Km away that we could stay at and then walk to the meditation thing at 4 am to participate (he said I couldn't put my tent up). He also said that people usually leave after a couple days so we could try to participate and then hope that someone left in the next couple days.

On the walk to the dormatory, which was near the freeway, me and the other guy were talking about what we were going to do with this bad news. He dicided to try and participate because he was just that determined. I went the other way. It seemed like a sign that right now I'm not supposed to be silent and meditate, just not in my cards. I went to the bus station that was right there at the freeway and got a bus right back up to Phetchaburi. I had to wait for a couple hours and some nice Thai guys flagged the bus down for me, I thought one of them was also going to get on the bus but he diddn't. They were just being really nice like every Thai person I've met. I figured that I had made a good friend in Phetchaburi, and if she was inviting me to China to stay with her she would be ok with me crashing in her room when I arrived at the middle of the night.

It seems like I made the right decision because when I arrived luck was on my side. I arrived at 3 am in Phetchaburi and walked straight to the Guest House (Rabieng Rinmum Guest House, a nice teak house next to the river thats pretty cheap). There is a gate that is supposed to be locked, but it was not. Then when I was knocking on the French girls (Sandrine) room I didn't want to knock too loud, and I knew she wears ear plugs at night (the street is really loud at 6 am), so I tried the door and it was open. She was really nice and actually had a double bed, so like I said luck was on my side, I got to Phetchaburi and was even sleeping in a bed! We talked and laughed about the whole situation for a while before finally going to sleep.

Today I'm a bit out of it and tired but happy about the decision I made. I'm going to hang out here in Phetchaburi for the day, then go to Bangkok tomorrow. Now I have more time to see the northwestern part of Thailand, inludding more hot springs, and can spend some time in Bangkok, and central Thailand without feeling rushed to see everything I want to before friends are arriving in late February. I think in Bangkok I'm going to send some stuff home and get a Thai phone, I've met a few travelers with phones and it seems like the easy way to meet up with people.

So, no 10 day silent meditation, just not meant to be I guess. Maybe I'll try again in June or July if I feel like it but I'm not to worried because when traveling like this I just need to roll with the punches, and what I'm going to do instead is fine with me. Hot spring are a spiritual experience for me anyway and now I can spend more time at them. Another side note is that I've noticed the Thai food is not that different than good Thai food in the states. The green curry is similar, Panang curry is similar, phad seiw, phad thai, and Tom Kha soup are also similar (except all the phad thai is really good, no katchup). I thought it would be really different but its not, just its all good, instead of needing to find a "good" thai food resturant in the states. Well, thats all for now, and everyone can look forward to more posts instead of 10 days of nothing.

Friday, January 30, 2009

In Petchaburi

Petchaburi is a nice town. It has a real thai feeling to it, with lots of teak houses and very little farang, or none. I picked it becauese there are lots of Wats and there was a guest house that was pretty cheap (I look for anything that says "good for backpackers"). The trip was good and uneventful. I took the bus to Ban Pong and then walked to the train station and took that down to Petchaburi. It should work out nice because today I just take the train down to Chaiya for the mediation course.

Arriving in Petchaburi was nice, there is another very vibrant market. I was able to walk straight to the guest house I wanted to and there was a room available. I had lunch with a Thai girl that is on vacation from Phuket (the most touristy island). She is one of those girls who stand outside and try to get people to come into the bar. Its nice to meet a someone who has that job because I kinda looked down at it, because its really annoying, but it just a job. She said she did work up here for the hostel but once she learned a little english she went down there to get more money.

After lunch I hung out with a nice French girl and talked out on the hang out area before I went out for a walk in the evening to see at least one Wat. It was a really cool spot, where the 5th emporor lived, up on a hill. I saw a huge reclining buddha and there was a cobblestone walkway behind it going up the hill. I even saw some cool cave temples on the hill. There were stairs that just kept going down into the darkness, I got a bit scared because I could hear the bats and it was evening time so they could start comming out of the cave at any time. At the top of the hill there were big buildings and Wats, really amazing stuff (I forgot my camera so no pictures). There was no one around, I kinda snuck into the emporors area because it was locked. Then walked around the Wat on the other side of the hill. I walked right past a security guard and he didn't notice me, I say that because it was closed and I walked around for another 20 minutes before he noticed me.

The other cool thing was that there were hundreds of monkeys up on the hill, and I mean hundreds, everywhere you look. To walk down the trail you had to wind your way through them. I stopped and watched them groom each other and there were a lot of cute babies that clung onto the mothers stomach.

After that I returned to the guest house and went to the night market to get food with the French girl. We got some street phad thai, it was good. Then walked around drinking beer and looking at the eluminated Wats at night. It was a good night. Now it is the morning and I am going to catch the train in about 1.5 hours to go to the meditation thing and there will be no posts. I wanted to write some thoughts on some things but I don't have much time, I'll do some though.

I've noticed the language barrier is not that hard to get over. A good smile and a laugh gets you a long way. Even if I didn't understand anything we could smile at each other and laugh at the fact we can't talk. The other strange thing here in Thailand is the sex tourism thing, luckally there is none here in Petchaburi. But everywhere else there is, at least where there are farang and bars. It is just so strange to see the old men with really young women, but its like its normal, no one even looks twice. Even in resurants if you want to talk about it with other travelers we would have to speak quietly because there was usually at least one pretty close by. Then there are the lady boys. I guess it is really normal for the boys to try out being girls. One statistic I heard is one in three families has a lady boy. I don't know what to say about it besides that it is a strange thing. One local said it was normal for a boy to try it out for months or years and then decide they don't like it, I guess like being a monk. The last thing I wanted to mention is that I really like solo traveling. I just go with my gut about what to do and everything has worked out so far. Like this small town of Petchaburi, I'm not sure exactly why I choose it because if I stayed on the train for half an hour more I would have been to endless beach towns, but I thought this real Thai city looked fun to spend a night in. And it worked out great, I'm not sure if other travelers with me would have made the same choice but I've been happy with mine.

Well peace to you all, and I'll write when I get out of the meditation thing on Jan 10. I'm a bit nervous but excited also, it should be an interesting experince no matter what!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Hot Spring Experience was Amazing!!!

For those who say Thailand is just for partying and has no culture, I say they did not look! Getting out to the hotsprings was more of an adventure than I thought it was going to be and I got my first taste of Thai culture. The people are more generous and kind than I could have imagined. Really just mind blowing how kind a stranger can be to someone who does not even speak the language.

I got up early yesterday morning after a laid back night of just reading and going to bed early. I got a motorbike taxi to the bus station and took the local bus up to Hin Dat. The bus just stops wherever you need to get off and so when it dropped me off I thought I was at the correct place because of a sign that said Hin Dat on a side road near the correct Km marker. It was about noon and I began walking down the street, the springs were said to be about one Km down the road. After walking over a mile I was hot, hungry, and was not sure I knew where I was. So, I stopped off at a little group of houses near a farm that had some people eating outside. I asked if I could get some water (with hand gestures of course) and they asked me if I wanted some food. I nodded yes and sat down at the table. They gave me rice, some fried meet (not sure what it was but it was good), and a chicken and bamboo soup (I knew it was a strange starch and they said it was bamboo from China).

I tried my best at attempting a conversation with the guy who sat with me but it was really hard. Through pictures and me pulling out the Thailand guide book (because I knew it had the Thai words for hotspring) I figured out that I walked about 2 Km down the wrong road and that the springs were about 6 Km away from where I was. I asked if the guy would be willing to drive me over there and he said he would. When he dropped me off at the springs I expected to pay for the food, water, and ride, but he wouldn't take the money, bowed to me and drove off. I was just dumbfounded by how nice this guy was to a lost stranger.

I got a room at the springs for 400 bhat, more than I wanted to pay but there was nothing cheaper and it was right there. I walked around a bit trying to find something else but all I found were bungaloes without people (that looked nice so I figured they would be more), and some buddhist shrines. The springs were really nice, big pools that fit a lot of people and were deep. You could see the bubbles from the hot water in the middle of the biggist pool. There were 3 temperatures, two big hot ones at about 106, another shallower pool at about 101, and a pool with monks in it at about 103 (that one had a sign that said "no women"). Then there was the cold river right there, great for the hot/cold therapy. I soaked a bit, read a bit, and then soaked some more. There were lots of farang during the day, mostly eastern europeans that would come in by the bus load. 10-20 would show up soak for an hour and then leave, it was a bit depressing.

The Hindad Hot Springs

I was done soaking at about 4:30 so I decided to walk down the road to a waterfall the guidebook said would be there. That was probably a mistake because I saw that it was 7 Km soon after I started walking. I walked for about 3 Km then hitched a ride on the back of a motorbike. The woman took me into a small village down the road, and off on dirt roads, I kept trying to remember the turnes we made. Then when she dropped me off in the middle of town it was apperant that she was driving me to her neighbors house that had a motorbike taxi. I negotiated a price to go to the water falls and back to the springs, it was a funny negotiation. The taxi guy was nice but it was obvious that he wanted me to eat with someone else he knew, tried to get me to agree for him to show me around, and was basically just trying to get what he could. I was nice and kept saying no and he showed me the falls, and brought me back to the springs for the negotiated price. I can't really blame him, I think he was just more desperate that the farmer earlier or the other Thais I met later.

The waterfalls and the motorbike taxi driver

After I read a little longer I went out to see if I could get some food in the little market sort of area at the springs. I walked over to what I thought was a resturant becuase of all the people outside. What happened next was just another example of kindness beyond belief! The Thai people outside (about 10 people) said hi, envited me to sit down, gave me wiskey and soda, and gave me food. They were a group of locals that came up to the springs to relax (at night there were no farangs, just the locals and me). They had a group meal and just kept putting food in my face, when they saw I like the Tom Yum soup they gave me a big boal of it. They were such nice people, one of them barely spoke english so he was the translator for all of us. They just kept filling my glass with wiskey and soda and were the nicest people. After the food and drinks we all went into the springs together until 10 when it closed. I said I would see them the next morning a 6 when it opened.

I didn't quite get up at 6 and woke up at about 6:45 hearing my name outside from the group of locals. They gave me coffee and tea in the morning and then I went over to soak. Some of them had already soaked and others had not. At about 8 the first bus load of farang showed up, that was a bummer. I found myself much more comfortable with the group of Thais, but they all left the pool very shortly after the farang showed up. I actually liked being with the Thai families a lot better than with all those eastern europeans so I got out pretty soon after as well. Again I was fed breakfast by these extremely nice people. When they were all putting money together to pay for the food I would guess they would not take my money. From the night before I knew they were leaving and they offered me a ride to Kanchanaburi so I packed up my stuff and jumped into the minivan with them all.

They wanted to go up to Thongpan Pum for the market and I was along for the ride. I was happy I got to see the town. It had a very vibrant market and the Thais wanted to buy fish because there is a lake nearby and the fish were big and good. They bought a lot of fish! At the market I actually saw the taxi driver from the day before. He seemed a little annoyed that I was with these other people and had not contacted him, but whatever. He talked to some of the women telling them how he knew me and I bet they told him they were feeding me and driving me free of charge. I bet that annoyed him more.

We stopped at another market half way down to Kanchanaburi and they had me try all kinds of things that I don't even know what it all was. They dropped me off about 4 Km from Kanchanaburi and again would not take my money. I hitched a ride into town and walked back to the Jolly Frog. I've been relaxing all day after my little adventure. My neighbor hooked me up with the train times so I know what to do to start traveling tomorrow towards the meditation thing. I am planning to stop at a city on the way to break the trip up.

Well, I wrote a lot again, but soon there will be 10 days of nothing. One thing I've figured out is I brought way too much stuff. When someone who has been here for a year and a half says you have a lot of stuff, you know you brought too much! I've decided to send some things home soon. Ok, till next time, and just so you all know I do check out the comments and like reading them. Peace to all of you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Still in Kanchanaburi

Ok, so where to start... I've done a lot in the last two days. First off dinner was really good two nights ago. We went to the night market and had an all you can eat thing, the Austrailian couple showed it two me but it wasn't there the next night, and then it was there the third (they said it was off and on). They put a barbeque think on your table with coals in it, a grill thing domed on top, and water around the edges. Then there is a bunch of raw meat, and vegies, and noodles, and stuff, that you take to your table and cook. It was good but strange because you didn't always know what you were eating. Then we (me and the Quebeckian from Montreal, instead of Canadian) went to the "No Name Bar" and hung out untill we were tired. The next morning we met up again for breakfast before she went back to Bangkok to celebrate the Chinese New Year with some friends she met earlier in Bangkok.

I decided I was going to go on a bike ride around town that day after breakfast. Then I just picked up my book and some really good chapters occured so it was afternoon and hot before I knew it (The Poisonwood Bible is a really good book). So I hung out with some of the long term residents of the Jolly Frog and talked. The guy in the room next to me said he knew the perfect ride I could check out in the evening after it cooled off a bit. He gave me directions to over the river and into the countryside next to the limestone hills in the distance (The hills in the distance are a bit hazy because of the burning of rice paddies in the region, I guess there is another range behind it I haven't been able to see it). On the ride he told me how to get to his girlfriends (a real thai woman, not a girl whore) property in the country and asked if I could water there plants for them, I happily agreed.

I read and waited out the main heat of the day and left around 2 for the bike ride. I had picked a place to rent the bike that had mountain bikes, not the weak thai bikes (only 50 bhat). Before I headed to the countryside I wanted to ride through the rest of Kanchanaburi, just to see the town. I'm glad I did, the other side of town in the real city, with teak houses, a vibrant market, and no farang (the word for white people, like gringo its not a nice word). I rode through the WWII POW cemetary, a chinese wat, and the area of town with a lot of house boats and boat resturants also before heading out to the country.

The town of Kanchanaburi

The countryside was really nice. I rode to the property where there was a hammock under the shade, and a little pond that the guy said I could take a dip in. I did take a dip but perhaps I shouldn't have because it was all runoff from the adjacent rice paddies that had been planted a couple weeks earlier and had a few inch tall sprouts. After watering the plants I continued towards the hills and ended up right next to them after ridding on dirt roads through sugarcane fields, and rice paddies. The hills just came right out of the ground and there was a dirt road that winded along right at the base. From there I went back to the hostel after I got back to the main road. It was a wonderful ride all in all!

The property in the country

Last night was low key, I just had dinner with a brit I met at lunch and then hung out with the Irish guy and another traveler. We went out to "1 more bar" where there was a 41st birthday party for some woman. The bar is owned by a british guy and I assume the woman was a friend of his. There was free barbeque, and cake, and a nintendo wii that we played. Its strange that the first time I played the nintendo wii was in Thailand at a bar but it was fun and I went to bed not too late.

Today I knew I wanted to go to the Erawan Water Falls, but wasn't sure if I was going to ride a motorbike or the public bus (I've heard good things about both). I decided to go with the public bus. I went out to the main street and waited for the bus and flagged him down (thats what I was told to do). The falls were pretty amazing, kinda like samuc champe in Guate, lots of pools that were built up by the limestone in the water that cascaded into each other. There were 7 tiers and it was about a 2 km hike to the highest tier. I hiked up to the top fast and swam around the highest pools. There were little fish in the water that ate the dead skin off your feet, it was a strange feeling to let them nibble at you. The highest water fall was pretty amazing and you had to swim through some pools to get there, so no pictures.
Pictures of the falls don't do it justice!

While I was up there and away from my stuff I saw some monkeys around in the trees. Then I watched three monkeys climb down from the trees and try to take my water bottle, when they realized it was plastic and not food they left it alone. I thought it was funny to watch them look at my stuff. Later when I was putting on my shoes another monkey was trying to do the same thing with me like one foot away, he would raise his eyebrows like "what are you going to do". On the way down I even saw a group (maybe 10) baby monkeys playing around, they would miss branches and fall in the water and get all wet, it was funny. I also stopped at the 4th tier to swim becuase it had a big pool and a natural formation that people used as an about 15 foot slide into the water, I couldn't pass that up!

The Monkey The 4th tier with the slide, its the left most green line with not much water

Now I'm back in town and decided to go to the internet place before I go back to the Jolly Frog. There is going to be a reggae concert accross the street either today or tomorrow as a tribute to Bob Marley. I've been watching them set up the stage. I hope its tonight because tomorrow I think I'm going to head out of town to spend a night at the hot springs. I don't have much time before the silent meditation, basically three nights besides tonight before I need to be at the monistary. I also think I'm going to pay to keep my room at the Jolly Frog while I'm at the hot spring so I know I have a bed there when I get back (Its so cheap I think it would be worth it).

On a side note I've felt a little under the whether the last two days and have been trying to ignore it. I think it may be the Doxy stuff I'm taking for Malaria protection, I don't like it. I think I'm going to stop taking it while I'm in Thailand because there isn't much risk here and I havn't really even been bit. I think right now I'm going to look it up and see if its an antibiotic like some people have told me. If it is then I'm deffinately stopping, I don't want an antibiotic in my system for over a year, that just sounds stupid to me. Ok, I'll write more later, probably after I get back from the Hin Dat Hot Springs.
Also, I added pictures to some of the old posts, fyi.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In Kanchanaburi for Chinese New Years Eve

I'm still relaxing in Kanchanaburi at the Jolly Frog. The place just drags you in and makes you not want to leave. I have figured out that it is the nicest place to stay in Kanchanaburi, in fact it is always full. I said before it was full of regulars but some of them are really long term. One guy has been here for two months, another for 8 months, and a girl has been here for one and a half years, she is writing a book. The cheep single rooms make it so people choose it as a place for long term stays. A japanese guy I met actually pays to keep the room while he travels around because it is not as much trouble than worrying about the place being full.

The first night I thought I would go to bed early but I ran into the Australian couple (actually an australian woman and a japanese man) and went to the night market with them. Its like a market for the locals with everything from a department store you would want, not native crafts. Then at one end there was the food section. The couple goes there every night to get some food and then bring it back to the Jolly Frog to eat it on the barge on the river. That was a fun thing to do before I went to bed.
The view from outside my room!

Yesterday I relaxed for the early part of the day reading in the garden and checking with the front desk for a single room. The first day I litterally got the last room in the place and it was a double. At about 11 a single opened up and I moved rooms. I thought I wouldn't do anything all day but relax but a nice woman from germany I met at breakfast invited me on a walk to the Bridge over the river Kwai (yes, the same one as the book, and movie). Its a railroad bridge that was built during WWII by the japanese. It was a good walk over a road bridge to the other side of the river, then down to the railroad bridge. The german woman is scared of heights and the railroad bridge is not the safest bridge so she didn't want to go across. I felt bad but I really wanted to walk across it and walk back to the hostel on the town side of the river, and she said that was fine so we seperated and walked back seperately.
The Bridge over the river Kwai

On the way back I stopped at a little ex-pat bar/bookstore. The owner is a nice jolly fat american ex-pat who has lived here for 7 years. He struck up a conversation with me so I sat down and talked. It turns out he strikes up a conversation with everyone and thats basically how he fills his seats. Its nice though because he seemed to just want company and didn't pressure me to buy anything. After talking for a while I figured I might as well get a beer and settle in. He told me all kinds of things about this place, like that the Hin Dat hot springs have bungalos you can stay at right there, the guidebook didn't even tell me that!

At the bar I met a really nice girl from Canada that just arrived in town so we went out to get some dinner. After dinner I showed her the night market and we got some desert, then I showed her the Jolly Frog. I felt bad because she wanted to stay there but it was full and after I showed it to her she said it was way nicer than her place and half the price. She went back to her place and we made plans to meet again tonight for dinner, she is doing a tour all day today. I decided not to do any tours because I heard they are rushed and you don't get time to really experience what you go and see.

After that I thought I'd go to bed but I wasn't tired yet so I went to the "No Name Bar" to hang out with the Irish guy Keit I had met the first day. He invited me when we crossed paths in town. We hung out and played pool, he's a really good guy and one of my favorite people I've met so far. He does tie chi (probably spelled horribly) in the garden twice a day, and is just a good hearted person.

Today has been way lazier than expected. I thought I'd be over the jet lag but I don't seem to be. Plus it is the Chinese New Years Eve so firecrackers were going off all over the place early in the morning. I actually had breakfast with a german guy and is Thai boy boyfriend or whatever. I didn't really realize that the boy was probably a whore untill I was already agreed to have breakfast together. It was fine though, both were nice and I just pretended like it was a relationship, which it might have been, who knows. So, I've just been talking to other travelers and reading all day, this is my first time out to town today.

I've had some thoughts on single traveling, and am starting to get a hang of it. You just have to be out going and introduce your self to people, be nice, and let it go from there. Other single travelers are doing the same thing and just looking for like minded people to spend some time with. It seems like everyone is out here for there own reasons. Some to party, some to relax, some to see culture, and some just because they love traveling. And talking to people about different things, like the meditation thing, everyone has there own opinion. One guy who did it said he was glad he did it but could not handle the life of a monk, another said it was there favorite thing to do in Thailand, and another said they couldn't handle it and had to leave. Plus just what people are interested in is so different. One guy said Malaysia was boring and another said it was his favorite country in southeast Asia. I think I'll just have to go on my own journey and make my own opinions.

Well thats enough for now, its time to go meet that Canadian girl and go to dinner soon.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Kanachaburi is very relaxing

Everything worked out great coming to the Jolly Frog in Kanachaburi. The minibus was nice, not a very interesting ride, flat, rice paddies, and palm trees. The hostel is right on a river, the "Kwai" or something like that (I've been really bad at pronouncing things or remembering Thai words so far). There is a large chill grassy, shadded area above the river with chairs and stuff, a miranda next to the river and a barge floating on the water at this hostel.
The garden I read in, and my room is up on the second floor of the building

It seems like I found my first jem of the trip. This place reminds me of the "El Retiro" in Lanquine in Guatemala. Both are relaxing and on a river. People I have met here decare it to be the most relaxing place in Thailand and the cheepest (only 70 bat for a single room, amazing). An Australian couple said they have come here 10 times and stay for two weeks each time. Other travelers, like an Irish guy I met today said he got stuck here a couple months ago on his travels and liked it so much now he is back for a couple weeks. And another girl I met, a friend of the Irish guy, is hanging out here until she goes to the same meditation thing I'm planning on going to. She has been there a few times and says its the best monistary and program for silent meditation in Thailand.

So, I couldn't be happier about my decission to leave Bangkok. I'm really tired now so I think I'm going to bed early and plan to do nothing tomorrow but lay around this chill environment and read. Thanks to all who are following this, it feels really good to share this experience somehow with loved ones.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Leaving Bangkok

So I tried to sleep last night. I took an Ambien to sleep and it worked but once it wore off I was up. I thought it was morning because i could hear them cleaning rooms but when I got out of my room it was still dark. I just read the guide book until the sun came up and went down to have breakfast at the guest house I am staying at.

During breakfast I realized why no one cared about my backback yesterday, because more than half the people out on the road have big backpacking backpacks. The night must be the time for partying and the morning the time for travel. Also the road is not pedestrian only, they must shut it down at night so people can party harder. Now there are taxi's and tuk tuk's going down the streat.

After a small walk on Khau San I decided I need to leave the capital to begin relaxing and get away from the crazyness. The road feels like where anyone from a western country comes to party all the time. So, I booked a mini-bus to Kanachaburi. I might have paid too much but it was easy and I'll be picked up in front of the hostel at 10 am. There was some time to kill so I decided to leave Khau San for a walk.

Only one block away from the Khau San I was in a alcohol free zone, next to a primary school, and next to a monastary. I walked around the monastary seeing all the architecture and art, and listening to the chanting of the monks. I continued to walk around that neighborhood and really liked it (but I think I got away from the alcohol free part). There are street venders with fried food, and an equally vibrant neighborhood as Khau San but not so drunk. Actually there were a lot more people hanging out and eating breakfast. I started checking out hostel prices and found that I paid pretty much as cheep as I could last night. I only found one place cheeper and it was only 50 bat cheeper. I've heard people found rooms for under 100 bat near Khao San but I couldn't find it. But, I like that neighborhood more than Khau San so I think I'll stay in a hostel over there when I come back to Bangkok.
The monistary near Khau San

Well this is a long post but I'm here alone so I have time to write. On a side note I've seen a lot of siamese looking cats around the city, and right now there are two kittens playing around my feet. I hope everyone enjoys the stories and I hope to keep this up as much as I can.

I've Arived

After hours in the air I am finally in Bangkok on the tourist road (I think its spelled "Th Khao San"). This place is fucking insane. I arrived at 1:30 at night with no where to stay. The taxi drove me to the end of the road because its one of those pedestrian only roads, so I had to get out and walk down the road with my backpack, luckally I can fit everything into one bag. I'm walking down the street and everything is open, people are partying, I can hear like 10 languages at one time and no even seems to care I'm walking with a big backpack. I had three guest houses in my head and just went to the first one I saw, no single rooms but I paid for a double because I needed to get off that road. Now I'm at the internet cafe at the Nat Guest House where I am staying and its past 2 and it doesn't seem like the party out on this road is ever going to end. Its time for me to drink this beer I bought, write some e-mails and see if I can get a few hours of sleep.

Right away on this trip I was confronted with the kindness and generosity that someone can show you without knowing the language. My first flight went to Korea, so the plane was full of Korean families, and I was sitting next to a mother, and her mother next to her, and her two children nearby. We didn't talk because of the language barrier but smilled at each other. I decided to order the Korean meal instead of the American one and when it came I realized that I wasn't sure what to do. There was rice, vegies with meat, some oils and some hot paste, plus some soup and other stuff. I kept looking over at the mother next to me to see how she was preparing her food, basically mixing all the ingredients together. Then when I was about to start mixing mine, she handed me the one she mixed and I handed her my food so she could mix that. She proceeded to mix her mothers and her childrens before her own food. I was just blown away that this stranger would treat me like one of her family and even give me the first mixed up food. I still couldn't talk to her but she remained a wonderful person to sit next to and I tried to thank her for her kindness.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Packed and ready to go

This is my first blog for my trip to Southern Asia. I've never done a blog so bear with me. I've been wanting to do a trip like this for years and now its under a day away. I'm leaving for Bangkok tomorrow noonish. From there I'm traveling around a bit and then doing a 10 day intensive meditation course. I've never done anything like that, and I look forward to what it may bring to my life. Thats the kind of stuff I want to share on this blog. Its a bit of an open way to express personal feeling and experiences, but I want to share this experience with whoever wants to read, so hear it goes.

First I plan to travel around Thailand for a month before some friends are arriving. I'll travel with a group and then see where I go. Probably Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, but not necessarily in that order. After that I plan to travel in Malaysia, see Singapore, and then explore Indonesia June through September. In Indonesia I would like to see Sumatra, Java, and Bali. From there I would like to move to a different part of southern asia. I think I'll fly into Nepal, travel there trough November and then travel around India. I know life is crazy and a lot will hapen so we'll see if this semi plan happens. If not this post should keep the world informed of where I am and where I am planning to travel to next.

I'm off to see what I can learn from the world, starting with Thailand.