Me and Koh Phi Phi

My solo journey has begun. Mike, Krong and both of their parents left for Bangkok today! It was fantastic to be able to travel with them, and I wish them a safe voyage home. As for my journey, I feel like its starting all over again! I hopped onto a longtail boat to head to Hat Yao (long beach) to seek a bit more of a peacful (and inexpensive) place to stay. I was a bit dismayed by all the “rooms full” signs. But I found the place I sought and they had a bungalow available! For 500 baht I get a bed, fan and mosquito net – and a 2 min walk to the beach! No clubs blasting music here either. Just me and Koh Phi Phi. I hiked to a remote and practically deserted beach on the other side of the island – it was incredible! Snorkeling was also the best thus far. My skin isn’t fairing quite so well – pink has turned into bright red, and quite uncomfortable at that. As they charge exhorbident rates for Aloe – I found a beachfront aloe massage for just under $10! Much needed, and as you can see below, the view was spectacular. I relished every drop of my tea as nature put on an incredible show… I haven’t felt this relaxed in a LONG time.
Oh, and my visa for vietnam came through! On-line was definitely the way to go! Even cheaper than at the US embassy! Its been a good day!

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Chiang Mai photo captions

Click above for the photo album from Chiang Mai and the region – now complete with captions! (better Greg!?)

Oh, and I finally was able to check voicemail messages using Skype – thanks for all the New Years messages! And whoever Vinny is – you are going down! Also had a chance to catch up with Greg and Mila and welcome them back from their trip to Uruguay! What happened to updating the blog while you were there!?

Time to wash up and get some food!

Travel arrangements

I’m at the hotel in Hat Yai trying to figure out the rest of my trip. Now I’m having problems with my credit card, even though I told them I’d be traveling ahead of time, they have put a hold on my account. Fantastic. I’ve figured out that I need to be in Bangkok on Friday to get my visa for Vietnam (I’m REALLY wishing that I did it ahead of time now) so I booked a flight out of Phuket on Thursday night. Friday will be visa day – whopee. I’m putting my faith in the monk that tied a string around my arm for good luck! Heres hoping it goes smoothly!

Its funny, even though you try to do things ahead of time, issues have a way of cropping up. Oh well, thats travel for you!

Wait a sec! May have just found a solution! I’ll keep you posted!

New Year & Friends

To Miriam, Jack, Sonia and Amy – yes I am a geek, but as promised – picture is posted! Sorry if I didn’t get the names right, its 5am!! Have fun on the elephants!!
To the rest of you – 2008 ROCKS!! I’ve been partying hard for the last 8 hours and if it is any indication, 2008 is a great year!
Oh, and drunk dialing at $1.99 a min is worth EVERY PENNY!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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Small world!

Woke up refrshed after sleeping 8 hours straight last nigh. Once we got our stuff together, we headed to the airport for Chaing Mai. I did find out that I’ll have to go to the Vietnamese embassy for my visa which complicates things a bit, but I don’t have other options.
We got to Chaing Mai and after leaving our begs at the hotel we went to the “Sunday Walking Street” It was PACKED with people, which made the next event even more bizzare. I ran into Christy Ciesel! We were both shocked! I haven’t seen her much since high school- and the last thing I expected was to run into anybody I know here! We checked out a few temples and had some street food, both great experiences in their own right! We had a fantastic “local” dinner with traditional dancing and all. Im essentially falling asleep writing this, my body is giving up on me! Until next time!

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Wedding day

Its quarter to 11 Its quarter to 11 and I think there are few times I’ve ever been this tired. I woke up at 5am, after just under 3 hours of sleep and it has been non stop all day! The traditional Thai ceremony started at 6:30 and lasted 5 hours! Thankfully redbulls were included in my gift bag! The ceremony was incredible, beginning with Monks, then a ceremonial walk where the groom had to “barter” for his wife, ending with each person blessing them with water. I took a TON of pictures, and the services deserve an entry of their own! We then had lunch and hit the hotel to refresh ourselves for the Catholic ceremony. The reception began afterwards as did my MC duties. I didn’t think I had it in me, but I got a ton of positive feedback at the end of the night! Most couldn’t believe I was going strong on 3 hours of sleep! 17 hours after waking up this morning, its time. I can’t imagine my exhaustion not overcoming the jet lag!
Today was incredible! Congratulations to Mike and Krong!!
We are off to Chiang Mai tomorrow, next post will most likely be from there!

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Safe and exhausted

After over 24 hours in transit, I have arrived in Bangkok! With signs saying “Long live the King!” greeting me around every corner. I found my driver easy enough and had pleasant conversation on our way to the hotel. The pic is from where I currently sit on my balcony overlooking the river. Tug boats put by hauling their load as I munch on the foreign but quite fresh fruit left by management! Mike left me some Redbulls for tomorrow as the day starts in a few scant hours. Hopefully this posy works!

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Seoul Korea

I arrived safely at Seoul’s Incheon airport after a very long 14 hour journey! Thankfully, each chair had its own in-flight entertainment system, so I could choose what I wanted to hear or watch. I ended up choosing Rescue Dawn – a true story about an American who was shot down over Laos during the Vietnam war. Chosen not only because it was topical, as I’m planning on visiting Vietnam, but because I had already heard good things! Much to my surprise, an old friend was an actor in the movie! Anybody else remember Greg Qaiyum?! He apparently goes as GQ now – hilarious! A small part, but I was quite amused nonetheless! I also finally saw Knocked Up. Not as great as I expected, but good for a few laughs.

As I was walking through the terminal, I could hardly believe that I’m in Korea! It hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but the lack of sleep might have something to do with that. Being cooped up in the airport isn’t much of a cultural experience either. Totally forgot my USB reader in the backpack – so no pics for now… all of them were of clouds anyhow. Although I tried to capture Alaska/Northern Russia with one them, we’ll have to see how that turned out.

Going to fix the moblogging again (surprisingly, my phone hasn’t picked up a GSM carrier here as of yet – maybe Korea isnt’ GSM?) and updates should be a bit easier once I’m in Thailand. I have another 6 hour flight to look forward to…. uggh… I think its currently 3am Chicago time, and I’m not feeling too out of it. We’ll see how I do when I get to Thailand! Until soon!