Saturday, May 31, 2003

Another Trek

We got up about 10:00, slept awesome last night in the cool night. We had breakfast, then walked around downtown for a while, hit an internet, then did another hike. We tried to do hike #10, but had trouble finding it, then finally found a path and took, it, which did lead to #10.

We hiked up, and along the way is a fork in the road to #11, but we continued on #10, which leads to the summit of a mountain, more than 1600 metres. We got most of the way up, but we ran into trouble with the path, because they had built new power lines recently, and one of the huge metal power poles had replaced the path, so we couldn't finish to the top. So we hiked back down and took #11 for a while, after an hour and a half or so, we get were getting very hungry, so we turned back and went back to town.

We had a late lunch, we ate at an Indian place, and had our lunch served on a banana leaf...good idea, less dishes! It was very tasty, and had a lot of stuff we had no idea what it was, but oh well.

We went back to guest house, sat around, listened to Joey play guitar, I watched the movie "8-Mile" with Eminem in the video room, then joined everyone else at the campfire. There were quite a few people around the fire, perhaps 15. I went to bed about midnight, Court shortly afterwards.

Friday, May 30, 2003

Hot Showers and Monkeys!

Slept like crap on the bus. The ride was very twisty and turny, as it travelled through the interior mountains of Malaysia. And the bus was flying, when it went around corners, everyone in the bus roller all over their seats. In Canada, we have "watch out of deer" signs along the highway. Along this highway, they had "watch out for elephants" signs! No kidding. The bus was also VERY cold, the air conditioner was sure in top working order.

We arrived at Ipoh about 4:50AM. We were swarmed with taxi drivers asking us if we were going to the Cameron Highlands, and trying to sell us taxi fares there. We had to keep telling them no thanks, we were going to take buses, as it was much cheaper. Even though they weren't getting our fare, they were still very helpful about getting us on the bus and pointing us to where we had to catch the bus, and where we had to switch buses along the way. Very friendly.

The local bus station opened up at 6:00AM, so Court and I got on a bus to Kempar, then at Kempar, get another bus to Tapah, then from Tapah, a third bus to Tanah Rata, the central town in the Cameron Highlands. Finally got to Tanah Rata about 10:00, and started walking to Twin Pines guest house, when a mini-bus stopped and started telling us about Father's Guest House. They told us it was cheap (18 ringget/night), so I checked it out in the Rough Guide, and the Rough Guide said Father's was the best of the budget accomodations in Tanah Rata. So, we hopped onto the mini-bus and went to Father's, checked out the room, and took it. It's located on a hill at the edge of town, just a couple of minutes walk to the main street. It has a very nice courtyard, and an incredible setting. They also have hot showers!

We showered, and I must have stood under the hot water for half an hour! It's been so long since we had hot water, not since Vietnam, more than 6 weeks ago. It felt so nice. We had breakfast, then walked around town. We changed our flight to Sydney to June 4, we fly out of KL at 20:45 on June 4. We decided to do an easy hike (there are many hiking paths around here), so we found the start of hike #7. #7 goes to the summit of Gunung Beremban, at 1841 metres. Along the way, we saw REAL, LIVE, WILD monkeys in the jungle! As we passed, they started jumping from tree to tree, making a ruckuss (sp?). Some of them would stop and sit and stare at us which allowed me a couple of decent picture opportunities. Awesome!!! Quite a hike, very difficult. So much for doing an easy hike. We came down via hike #8, which takes us to Robinson Waterfall, which was quite nice.

We finished the hike and got back to the guest house about 4:45 and had supper.

The Cameron Highlands are cool, in both senses of the word. It's incredibly green and beautiful here, lots and lots of vegetation, very well maincured yards and parks, lots of beautiful shrubs and flowers all over. Very nice. It's also very cool, temperature-wise. The daytime temperature runs in the low 20's. And they get a lot of moisture here too.

Courtney watched "Red Dragon" in the movie room at the guest house, I did some other stuff (seen the movie already), then we walked downtown for a while, got a snack, then back to the guest house and went to bed at 9:00. We were totally wiped from both the long bus ride where we didn't sleep and the hiking.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Khota Baru

Up early, at 6:30, showered, had breakfast, then got a boat taxi out to our slow boat back to Kuala Besut. Got a shared taxi with another couple back to Khota Baru for 27 ringget. We were chatting with the taxi driver, and he asked us where we were going, and we told him the Cameron Highlands. He told us we had to catch an express bus to Ipoh, then catch la local bus from Ipoh to Tapah, then another local bus to Cameron Highlands. He told us there are only two buses to Ipoh, one at about 9:00AM, the other at 9:00PM (a night bus). We had already missed the day bus. The taxi driver drops us off at the central bus station in Khota Baru, and points us in the direction of the ticket office to get our ticket to Ipoh, and then he told us we could store our bags at his guest house, which is just half a block from the ticket office, and he gave us the name (RV Inn). We walked to the ticket office, bought our ticket for the 9:30PM bus to Ipoh, then walked down to RV and dropped our bags off, then went out to try to kill the day in Khota Baru.

First we went to a Bata shoe store to buy some flip-flops, because Court busted mine while we were walking to the ticket office, and Court bought a new pair as well, then we went to A&W for lunch, walked around the Central Market, walked through a few air conditioned department stores (just to cool off), bought a 10-in-1 board game set (that ended up being a "pieces of paper" of paper game set), hit the internet for a few hours, went to McDonalds for a drink and a snack, played Snakes and Ladders there, went to the night food market for supper and had some gross beef roti (beef and veggies wrapped in a dough), then chicken shwarma (a Muslim dish), played some pick-up sticks.

The markets are already selling pirate DVD copies of the new Matrix movie (Matrix: Reloaded, I believe).

We went back to the RV Inn about 7:15 and relaxed. About 8:00, our taxi driver finished his taxi day, and came back to the inn, and had a big bag of mango fruit. He offered us a bunch of mango, and we ate mango with him and chatted with him. He also does treks into the Malaysian jungle, and he showed us pictures of some of his treks. He was a super nice guy.

About 9:00, we walked down to the bus station and got on our bus. Nice, new air-conditioned bus. Bus left about 9:30, and everyone on the bus curled up and tried to sleep.

People super friendly in Malaysia. The east coast of Malaysia is very Muslim, they even have separate men and women checkouts in the supermarkets (but no one actually pays any attention to them). Virtually all the women have their heads covered. Being here totally reminds Court of being in Jordan.

Everyone speaks English in Malaysia as well. It's great.

When Court and I were shopping, we walked through a food market, so we decided to buy a bunch of stuff that we had no idea what it was, and do some taste tests. Most of the stuff was gross.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

More Diving Excitement!

Court up early, about 6:15, she went for a jog and a swim. I got up about 7:15. We went for breakfast, then to Turtle bay Divers about 8:30, got briefed and kitted up, took the boat to T3 (Terumbu Tiga), a collection of rocks jumbled on top of each other in the ocean, some of them breaking the surface.

WOW! Awesome dive. Better than yesterdays!!! We did some swim thru's at this site (short underwater tunnels), and of course, saw lots and lots of aquatic life. This dive was amazing. We loved it.

We got back to shore about 11:15, did our log books, and decided to do another dive this afternoon, so we had lunch, then went back to Turtle Bay Divers about 12:30 for an afternoon dive to Tansung Basi, a short boat trip across the small straight to a point on the big island. Visibility not as good, but still had a good dive, saw a huge queenfish, more than a metre long. 6-8m of visibility here. Finished dive, back to the shop, filled out our log books, and paid for our dives. Our bill was 180 ringet, about $75CDN, which is about $25/dive, for those mathematically challenged. Cheap, cheap, cheap! It's about $40CDN a dive on Koh Tao.

Back to the hut, we packed and decided what to do. We can't spend 3 weeks in Malaysia (well, we could but there's not THAT much to see), so we talked about going back to Thailand for a while (perhaps hitting another full-moon party), but the west coast of Thailand, where we wanted to go, is not good, rainy season right now, so we decided to finish off a few parts of Malaysia and try to move our flight to Australia closer, perhaps around June 5.

We confirmed our boat trip back to the mainland for tomorrow morning, got everything packed and went for supper in our restaurant, did some more crossword puzzles, then watched a really bizarre movie called "Leon The Professional", a strange story about a 12-year old girl, her family gets shot up by a drug mob (she was out buying groceries, so didn't get wiped herself), and she falls in love with a hitman (Gary Oldman) who lives down the hall in their apartment building. In exchange for teaching her how to be "a cleaner", she does all his household work, and they become friends, and she's in love with him. Anyway, it ends up, he gets blown to bits, she goes to a foster house and, presumably lives happily ever after, forgetting about her assassin training.

So tomorrow we'll head to the CAmeron Highlands, spend however long there, then down to KL and fly to Australia. Maybe Melaka, dunno.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003


I got up about 10:00, by the time I got up, Court had already went for a swim and a run. We had breakfast, I had an American breakfast that came with 2 fried eggs, 2 big sausages, 1 huge bowl of muesli with cold milk, 3 pieces of toast, tea and a huge (milkshake size) glass of orange juice. Way too much food, but I did eat most of it! Food is expensive on the island too, I paid more for the breakfast than I would have back in Canada.

We went to Turtle Bay Divers about noon and got fitted up into our gear, then waited around for the other divers. Our Dive Master is Tyler, and he's from...get this...Saskatoon! His sister is also a Dive Master and she's leading the other group of divers.

We went over the dive plan, then loaded our stuff into the boat and sped to The Pinnacle (the name of the dive site).

The boat is a speedboat (all the dive operations use small speedboats here), it had twin 90HP Mercury outboard motors on it, and it flies. Getting there was half the fun!

The dive was AWESOME. (Did I was say it was *AWESOME*?) EAsily the best dive we've ever had, saw reef sharks (not very exciting, they just sit under rocks and don't swim around), blue spotted sting rays, huge 6-banded angelfish (12" or longer), along with a huge moray eel, and some small ones, and barracuda. It was amazing, and the visibility was great.

We got back to the island about 3:15, then went over the dive and got our log books filled in and stamped.

We went swimming for a while, until after 5:00, then showered, had a shake (Mars bar shake..Mmm). Court had an M&M shake, we did a crossword puzzle, chatted with an Irish girl we met on the boat, then went to our restaurant and hda their seafood BBQ. I had kingfish, Court had barracuda. The kingfish was pretty good, the barracuda was ok, but Court much preferred the kingfish. We watched Shallow Hal at the restaurant. Well, most of it, the DVD started skipping badly about 3/4 of the way into the movie, so they put another movie in, National Security.

Got to bed about 11:00.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Perhentian Islands

Up about 8:00AM, showered, went looking for breakfast, but nothing is open yet! So we got our bags and walked to the tour office and at 9:30 walked to the boat. We had to climb over 5 other boats to get to our boat. The boat ride was about 1.5 hours, and we got dropped off at Long Beach. The bigger boat can't go directly to shore (and there's no pier), so small aluminum boats with outboards (taxi boats) pick us up from the big boat and ferry us to shore for 2RM (RM is shorthand for ringet). We got a hut at Matahari for 30RM, which is a little more expensive than Thailand, it's about $12CDN), but that's the lowest we could find. There are some 20RM huts, but apparently they are horrible.

We had brunch, then showered, then hit the beach and went swimming, walked to the other side of the island, to Coral Bay Beach (10 minute walk). Coral Bay Beach isn't nearly as nice as Long Beach, so we headed back to our beach and checked out a couple of dive shops and decided to do a couple of fun dives with Turtle Bay Divers.

We went back to the beach, I swam some more, Courtney fell asleep on the beach and got a lot of sun.

The beach and swimming at Long Beach are beautiful, the water is so blue/clear, and the sandy bottom extends way out into the bay.

We went back to the hut about 5:00, showered, then had supper, played some frisbee, then Court went for a run. Coming from Thailand to Malaysia, we had to move our watches ahead an hour, so we get quite a bit more sun in the evening now.

The bungalows we're staying at have some cats, and there are two litters of kittens running and bouncing around. They are sooo cute, and so full of energy!! They run around, chase after each other, pounce on each other, wrestle with each other, pounce on anything that moves (or looks slightly interesting to them). They seem to have a never ending supply of energy. When we got to the huts earlier today, Court called me out of the hut. There was a big lizard, perhaps 1.5 feet long, running around the bungalow area.

We watched "The Recruit" in the restaurant where we're staying, from 8:00 until about 10:00, then to bed.

Sunday, May 25, 2003


I slept great on the boat!

The boat reached Surat Thani about 5:50AM, everyone got off, and separated into different mini-buses, depending on destination. We got taken to a small shop where the lady was selling coffee, tea, hot chocolate and toast. We stayed there for about half an hour, then we got on a mini-bus for Had Yai, with 5 others. Lady also sold us a connecting mini-bus from Had Yai to the border town (Sungei Golok).

AT Had Yai, we transferred to another mini-bus and had about a 45 minute wait, so we got some quick food (took us about 20 minutes to find a restaurant that had any english), then back to the bus and the bus left for Sungei Golok about 12:30.

At Golok about 4:30, the bus took us right to the border crossing, and we exited Thailand and entered Malaysia without incident. We exchanged some money (baht to ringet) and got a taxi with another couple to Kuala Besut, the town where we catch the boat to the Perhentian Islands. We got there about 8:00PM, bought our boat ticket for tomorrow morning, and found a hotel for 30 ringet (about $12CDN).

We had a long, long night and day of travelling, about 24 hours straight. We're wiped.

Saturday, May 24, 2003


Up about 8:30, I showered and met everyone for breakfast, then about 9:30, everyone said goodbye to Uta, Court cried a little, and then I drove Uta to the pier to catch her 10:30 boat (I still had my motorbike).

Court and Anna went for facial and hair pack, Ben and I went to get his ticket booked for out of here tomorrow, then we got a Thai massage done. I told the masseuse about my sore toe, and she never hurt it the whole time. It was quite a nice massage, much better than the Laos massage we had in Vientiane.

We all had lunch, then Greg took Anna to the pier, Court, Ben and me walked, and we saw Anna off. Court shed a couple of more tears.

We hit the internet for a while, then Ben and I hobbled back to the hut. Ben lost his boat ticket, so he's trying to sort that out. He got it sorted out, they have him their copy.

We went for supper, I bought a shirt, then back to the hut, I showered, Court showered and we (myself, Court, Ben and Greg) hiked to the pier and Court and I got on our boat. Way cool boat! It's a cargo boat, with the upper section having matresses on the floor for people taking the night boat to sleep. It's supposed to reach mainland about 5:30AM.

Boat left about 9:15. Once we hit open water, the seas were very rough, the boat was all over the place. It was a riot! Huge waves crashing into the boat, rocking it, sometimes the boat would come down off a huge wave and jar the boat and everyone else. We went to sleep about 10:00 or so.

Friday, May 23, 2003

Motorbike Accident

Up about 9:00, we had breakfast, then Court and I booked a ticket to Hat Yai, a night boat and mini-bus for tomorrow evening. Uta also booked ticket out for tomorrow morning. Anna also booked a ticket out for tomorrow.

We decided to rent motorbikes, Anna got one, Court and Uta got one, and Ben and I got one. Ben and I took off and visited lots of little coves and beaches and resorts all over the island. The roads on Koh Tao are absolutely terrible, many of them cracked and broken concrete or massively rutted and pot-holed dirt. And some of the roads are very steep. I had a motorbike accident and injured myself. Ben and I were on the bike, trying to go up a massive hill, the dirt road rutted and pot-holed, the bike started to tip over, I went to put my foot down to hold it up, and jammed my second toe on my right foot into a rock. I looked down, and there was blood all over it, but it didn't hurt. I suggested we go back to the hut so I can clean it up, so we got back to the hut, and I cleaned it up a bit, and my toenail was missing. I've never lost a toenail before! This is kinda cool.

Ben and I continued exploring the island with my nailess toe oozing blood and found Court, Anna and Uta at a very nice beach in Leuk Bay on the other side of the island. I showed them my wound and grossed them out a bit. Uta sympathises with me because she lost one of her toenails recently too, and it has yet to grow back. Once we found the girls, we found out that Anna's motorbike stopped working, but Tim (the guy who got stuck on Koh Pha Ngan with his tiger tail) was around with his motorbike, she Anna drove Courtney's bike with Uta on the back, and Tim took Court to this beach.

We hung out there, then Ben and I headed back, and Tim and Uta and Anna and Courtney a short while later. I cleaned up and showered, then met everyone at a restaurant and Court got me some iodine and polysporin for my wound.

We went back to the restaurant and I ordered a steak. It wasn't very good. While we were eating, Anna tried to open a bottle of ketchup and it exploded all over her chest. She started laughing and laughing, and everyone else laughed too. It was superbly funny.

We got a couple of drinks at the store and started getting ready to go out to Whitening, where the party is happening tonight. Court and Uta and Ben and me got Anna a few small gifts and a card for her birthday, which is on Sunday. We then all headed to the bar (except Ben), then Court and Uta went and got her a birthday cake, and a couple of bracelets, and we had a little birthday party for her. We had a good time, and got home about 2:30, except Anna, who refused to get up off the beach she was laying down on when we left, so we had to leave her there.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Beach Day

Slept great, up about 10:00, we had breakfast, then Court checked out "pampering" sessions and we all went back to the huts. We all kind of did our own thing for a while, before eventually all meeting at the beach a little later in the day.

Court and I played frisbee, we did mud baths, I took a walk up the beach and picked up a game of beach volleyball with a bunch of other guys.

We all went to a restaurant and had a late lunch, and a huge storm came and soaked the entire restaurant, despite their effors to keep it dry. The restaurant let us play our own CD's while we ate and talked and played pool.

After the storm, Ben and I hit the internet, then we all went back to the restaurant later in the evening and had a few drnks and played some pool, then when they were closing, we went to A.C. bar, where the party was happening.

Stayed there until about 2:00AM, then home.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Night Diving!

Up at 6:45, I slept like a baby. Still have a sore throat and cough. Got to Scuba Junction about 8:00, got on the truck to the pier and got on the boat. Annette is feeling much better today. We went to our first dive site and visibility was decent, and we got our deep dive done. We went down to 30 metres, and Annette showed us the effect of pressure on a bottle of air (the air compressed and the bottle is squished), and she was also testing us for nitrogen narcosis, which is a state caused by deep diving where you act stoned and drunk. Simply ascending in the water causes it to dissappear. Anna failed...Annette had her try to do a simple math subtraction, and she couldn't figure it out. She had lost all ability to reason and think clearly. I passed my test.

We finished our deep dive and then motored to the second dive site, where we didn't do a dive, because it wasn't included in our course, so we just lounged on the boat while the other group did their dive.

Back to land bout 1:00, had lunch, I used internet, everyone just kind of did their own thing, then back to Scuba Junction at 4:45. We watched the Night Dive video, went over the night dive knowledge review, then headed to the boat about 6:15 and went to our dive site, got geared up and did our dive.

Night dive was kind of scary, because you can't see that much. I was quite anxious and had a little stress doing it. We saw some fish, phosforesence (sp?), etc. I was kind of disappointed, I think maybe I was expecting too much, though.

Finished our night dive about 8:30, then back to Scuba Junction, got everything sorted out, and got our Advanced Open Water temporary certificate. We are now certified Advanced Open Water divers, and can dive to a maximum depth of 30 metres and do night dives!

We had suppper, showered, then went to In Touch bar, who was having a dance party, to celebrate our Advanced Open Water certification. Uta and I left the bar about 2:30.

Full-moon Party Stories:
On the boat from Koh Pha Ngan to Koh Tao, we met an Aussie guy, Tim, who was staying on Koh Tao, and had taken the "party boat" from Koh Tao to Koh Pha Ngan the night of the full-moon party, and was going to catch the return trip back the following morning. He missed that boat. He was so screwed up, he ended up sleeping on the beach for two nights before he could finally make his way back to Koh Tao and find his friends. He didn't have anything with him on the boat, just himself and a pin-on tiger tail (?). It was quite funny.

At the bungalows we were staying at on Koh Pha Ngan, there was a group of four girls staying in another bungalow, and they went out to the full-moon party. We were talking to one of the girls the next day, she was quite upset, one of them had dissappeared the night of the party, and still wasn't back my mid-afternoon the following day. The last time anyone had seen her was 11:00PM the night before. Well, she returned back to the bungalows in the early evening, and the girls got in a big fight, because they were so worried about her, and they didn't know where she was. One of the girls walked by us, tears streaming down her face, and she said to us "She's back." The whole resort could here them screaming at her, they were so pissed off with her.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Advanced Course, Day 2

Sorry, I realized I got the wrong date for the last batch of journals I did. I just fixed them.

Up at 6:30, I slept like crap, still have cold, kind of sore throat. Showered, had breakfast, went to the dive shop at 7:45, the truck picked us up about 8:15 and went to the harbour. We got to our first dive site, where we're supposed to do our deep dive, a dive down to 30 metres. Once down there, she is going to test us for nitrogen narcosis, which is a codition where you can't think properly, described kind of like being drunk and stoned. Divers usually start feeling the effects of nitrogen narcosis at about 30 metres and below.

We got in the water, and the visibility is crap again. We descended on the anchor line, and got down to about 17 metres, where the anchor line ended, and we couldn't see hardly anything. At that point, Annette decided to call off the deep dive because of the visibility, and we went on a quick fun dive around corals and rocks back to the boat. The visibility was so bad, you couldn't see the corals and rocks until they were right in front of you. Quite a few people got some scrapes and cuts on the hard corals. I got a tiny cut on my finger. As we were going up, the assistant grabbed me from underneath and had me (and another guy) stay down with him to do a safety decompression stop (to let extra nitrogen leave the body). It wasn't necessary, but more of a good practice to get into, so we hovered at about 5-8 metres for 3 minutes, then went up. When I got to the surface, Annette was in the water, and she had blood running out of her nose. She had been having sinus trouble, and her sinuses blew up underneath the water, because of the extra pressure. She of all people should have known there was trouble, but perhaps she tried to continue because of the students. We are going to try the deep dive again tomorrow.

We got back on the boat, and we went to our second dive site. Because Annette couldn't dive anymore, she had Ben take me, Courtney and Anna on our Underwater Naturalist dive. Ben got an overview of the site from one of the other instructors, and off we went. We had to identify about 5 different corals and 5 different fish types from a fish and plant ID card she had given us.

The visibility was decent on the second dive, but still no comparison to the 20-30 metres we had in Vietnam.

We finished our dives then back to the huts about 1:00, and had lunch. I went and used the internet for an hour and a half, Court and Uta got a face treatement, Anna laid on the beach.

We went for supper, then for a walk further up the main drag just to see what was there.

I was so tired, having not slept much the last few days, Anna gave me some throat and cough medicine that also makes you drowsy. I was in bed by about 8:30.

Monday, May 19, 2003

Advanced Course

I slept like crap last night. I started feeling bad yesterday, like I was getting a cold.

We got up about 6:45 to move bungalows, as the one next to In Touch is cheaper (200 baht) and nicer. It's called AC II.

We had breakfast, then went to Scuba Junction and watched two videos for about an hour, then went for lunch, then back to Scuba Junction at 12:30 to go over compass skills in the beach.

Our instructor is Annette from Sweden.

We got on the boat about 2:00, and went to Mango Bay. We did our peak performance buoyancy and our navigation skills dives this afternoon. The visibility is total crap, no more than 5 metres, sometimes less than 3 metres. You can't see the other students and the instructor sometimes.

We went back to the office about 6:00, showered, had supper, watched Changing Lanes, then hit internet, then back to hut to bed.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Off to Koh Tao

I got up about 10:00 and walked to town to get the pictures from the cameras. The full-moon party pictures are AWESOME! I'm so glad I had the camera.

And there's nothing bad or embarassing in them either! I still don't remember taking half of them, but oh well. One has me with another girl (dunno who), I have my arms around her, and we're both smiling for the camera. I have another picture with myself and two very attrctive women standing in front of the Paradise Bungalow's sign, they have their arms around me. I had lots of pictures of Court and I dancing in the bar. Later on in the night, I had decided to take pictures of people doing "strange things" in the sand. I have a couple of pictures of people passed out on the beach. I have another picture of a guy, who I thought was buck naked, laying on top of a girl on the beach. When we got the pictures back, the photo shows he did have light coloured shorts on. I have another picture of a guy sitting on the sand, and a girl with her head between his legs. What I thought I saw happening the night of the party isn't
what the picture shows, her head is down by his feet, and I think she may be barfing.

Full-moon tidbits: (as I remember things from the party, I'll stick them in here)
- when Court, Uta and I got back from the full-moon party, Court wasn't feeling too well, and she went into the washroom to try throw up. All Uta and I heard was dry heaving, and we started laughing, it sounded so funny. Court came out laughing too.

The scuba pictures are very good as well.

We packed, checked out, then went next door and had breakfast and watched the full-moon party videoCD. None of us is in the video.

We caught a songthaew to Koh Tao boat pier, and bought a ticket for the 1:00PM fast boat to Koh Tao. We waited on the pier for half an hour, and got on the boat about 1:00. It's a catamaran, and when it started going, it flew. Very fast boat, and air conditioned inside!

We got to Koh Tao about 2:30. Visisted a scuba place that included accomodations (as most do), but weren't impressed with it, and decided to seek out our own accomodations. We picked up a girl on the boat to Koh Tao, Anna from England. We walked for what seemed like miles with our packs on, in the hot sun, and finally found some huts on the beach (well, 1 minute from beach) at In Touch Bungalows for 300 baht. We checked in, Court and Uta staying in one hut, Ben and I in another, and Anna by herself in a hut. We settled in, got something to drink, checked out Scuba Junction (someone at Rainbow had recommended them to Ben before he left Vietnam), and signed up with them to do our Advanced Open Water course. Anna is also doing her Advanced Open Water course. We got our textbooks, and did homework and had supper, then to bed.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Full-Moon Party Madness!

Ok, first of all, MOM, stop reading right now. This journal entry is not for you. Please go the next journal entry.

For everyone else, well, here's what happened. The four of us started drinking at the hut before going to the party, we shared in some buckets. About 10:00, I think, we headed for the beach and bars.

WOW, there's a lot of people there. I figure over 5000 people, but that's a very rough estimate, considering the size of the beach and everyone packed into the bars. There could have easily been thousands more. The dance bars have HUGE sound systems, with popular DJ's spinning song after song after song of dance, hip-hop, techno, rave, house, etc., etc., etc. Buckets of alcohol are for sale EVERYWHERE, even the convenience stores and street vendors. And the Thai prostitutes are out in full force!

I must say at this point that I don't remember that much from the night. I was fine when I got there. Court and Uta took of dancing right away, Ben and I hung out for a bit, then I lost him. Here are some tidbits from what I remember (MOM, if you're reading this, STOP!) These tidbits aren't necessarily in the correct order of how they happened. I do have some big memory holes from the night (as do Court and Uta).

Earlier on, when I was still with Ben, we were walking around, and there was a Thai prostitute dancing by herself. So I went up and put my arm around her and started dancing close with her. At this point, I didn't know she was a prostitute, just a Thai girl. She puts her arm around me, I remember looking back at Ben and he's still standing there waiting for me, I turn back to her and tell her I have to go now. She tells me not to go, she wants me to stay with her, then she grabs my crotch and starts rubbing, trying to turn me on. I then push her away a little, and tell her I have to go meet my friend, who's waiting for me, and turn to point to Ben, and he's gone. So I point to someone else in the crowd, and ditch her.

One thing I decided to do when I got to the bar was get in as many pictures with strangers as I could. If I saw someone taking a picture, I'd run in and get myself in the picture. I can't even begin to imagine how many people will get their pictures developed and have this strange guy standing there too. I always asked if I could be in the picture, and everyone was very obliging, always letting me stand in with them. Except one group of girls, who didn't want me in the picture.

At the beach, Paradise Bungalows, which hosted the first full-moon party on the island in 1989 has a big sign, and I remember a bunch of Japanese girls getting their picture taking with the picture, and I ran up and asked if I could be in, and they're like, sure, c'mon.

Earlier on in the night, there was a big rain storm too, that came all of a sudden. Everyone ran for cover. I stood under a beach mat with a bunch of other people, then decided it's only rain, and walked around in it. Needless to say, I wasn't the only one walking around in the rain.

I did go to get another bucket at one point, and bought some glitter paint as well. (Not sure why, seemed like a good idea at the time.)

The don't remember much after getting the second bucket. I kind of wonder if I didn't get drugged, by someone dropping something into my alcohol. I've never had this sort of memory loss before.

I ran into Ben about 1:30, I think, and he said he was heading back to the hut.

I do remember not feeling well, and going up to the washrooms in the Cactus Club, and
I sat down in the shower room, and closed the door. I'm not sure, but I may have passed out there for a while. I remember sitting on the floor, and "waking up" by someone saying to me, "Hey, buddy, are you all right? You ok, dude????". I got up at the point, mumbled something like, "Ya, I'm doing fine", and stumbled back downstairs to the bar.

At another point, I remember thinking about Kristin Cleniuk, and I decided that it'd be a good idea to send her an e-mail right away, telling her how much I'm having, and that we'll have to go to one of these when she comes to Australia and Thailand later this year. I found an internet, went in, and spent 21 minutes trying to log in to my e-mail account. I was getting so frustrated, because I couldn't type properly, and kept mistyping my username or password. I was persistent, though, I wanted to bad to send her an e-mail, I kept trying for 21 minutes. I remember that I couldn't figure out what was wrong with my fingers, it can't be that hard logging in to my e-mail. Anyway, after 21 minutes, I got very frustrated, paid my bill, and left.

As I mentioned, I had a disposbale camera with me. I did take some pictures, and I remember late in the night, looking at the camera, and there were only about 5 pictures left. Where did all the pictures go? I don't remember taking that many pictures. I remember thinking how interesting it will be to get the camera developed and see all these mysterious pictures. I kept running into Yaneev, the Israeli guy we ran into in Vietnam a few times.

I remember finding Uta at one point. She was making out with her German guy friend she had met a few days earlier, and I took a picture of her and I and of her and her friend.

I went into one of the bars, and who did I see??? Courtney was up on stage dancing. I couldn't believe I actually ran into her. I climbed up there with her, and danced with her, and I remember taking one or two pictures with her. I'm not sure how long I danced with her for, though, but I left at one point.

I should also mention that the ocean at these parties is one big garbage dump and toilet. Guys are peeing in it all night long. I do remember standing in the ocean, perhaps shin high, and I wasn't feeling well again, and I had my hands on my knees, and I was spitting into the ocean, trying not to be sick. Then some guy pushed me from behind, trying to make me fall into the water. My flip-flops came off, but I kept my balance, and rounded up my flip-flops, and went back to the beach.

I do know at one point, I did throw up somewhere, but I don't know where.

So, at about 3:00AM (give or take an hour), decided to head back to the hut. Our hut is about a 20 minute walk from the beach, through the townsite, then along the rocky shoreline. Along the way is a hammock hanging in a tree, and I remember going to sleep in the hammock for a while (going to sleep, passing out, your choice). I awoke, and it was about 4:00, I think, and continued onto the hut, and found Ben laying in bed, awake. I used the washroom, then decided I wanted to see the end of the full-moon party, so started walking back to the beach.

As I was walking through the town, I ran into Uta and Court. They were heading back to the hut. Court had a new pair of flip-flops she "purchased" at the full-moon party (i.e. found them on the beach, and picked them up). We sat on some steps for a while, talking and laughing about everything that happened, then made our way back to the hut, and went to bed about 4:30.

Some other things:
- Court's top was on inside out at the end of the night, and she doesn't remember why
- Uta has a picture of her and her German guy friend kissing, with a big python wrapped around their bodies.

As for the pictures from the disposable camera, you'll have to read another journal entry to see what surprised they contained!

That's the full-moon prarty night.

We actually got up kind of early, about 10:00, I think. We are all very, very tired, but it's too hot to sleep. And we're all very dehydrated, and my stomach is not accepting much of anything, including water. Uta remebers almost nothing. Court is having recollection problems as well. We sat around and talked about what we remember, and all laughed really good.

We all went to town and had lunch and watched "How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days". I took both disposable camera's (the full-moon party one and the one from our scuba diving in Vietnam) to get developed. We got back to the hut about 4:00, and tried to sleep for a while.

Later in the evening, Court, Ben and Uta started drinking at the bungalows again, they want to party again tonight. I'm still trying to drink water.

Court lit her poi's on fire for the first time tonight.

About 10:00, we headed back to town with Greg from South Africa. I had some supper in town, then we headed to the beach bars. Absolutely nothing happening, everything is dead, just a few people out partying and dancing. We hung around for a little while and danced. Uta cut her toe on a piece of glass. I bought a copy of the full-moon party VideoCD from last night as well!

We got home about midnight, and the five of us sat on our verandah and chatted until shortly after 1:00AM.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Full-Moon Party Tonight!

Up about 10:00, all of us. We're quite lazy today, and didn't want to get up. But it's so hot, we can't stay inside either.

Uta and I had chocolate cake for breakfast, then we all went for real breakfast. We all did a little laundry, then headed to town, did some window shopping, and hit an internet. I bought a disposable camera for tonights party (don't want to bring my own). We went for lunch, then Ben and I headed back to the hut while Uta and Court did more shopping.

We hung around the hut, I slept for a while, as did Court and Uta when they got back, and when I got up, the power was out. It had been out for about an hour. We went to the restaurant and had supper, and the power wouldn't come back on. How can there be a full-moon party with no power? None of the bars will be able to operate. We're all getting quite concerned. I thought maybe it was the Thai government shutting the power down to try to control the drug problem that exists at the parties. Apparently the Thai police are out in force at these parties, both uniformed and under cover. And the penalties for drug possession in Thailand are very harsh.

About 8:00 the power did finally come back on. A HUGE relief to all.

Full-Moon Party - a party on the main beach Koh Pha Ngan, at the townsite. It happens every full moon (about once a month). There can be as many as 10,000 people at these parties. The party starts in the evening (perhaps 6:00PM), and goes until well after sunrise the following morning. This is what we're here for!

My plan was to not drink too much and stay relatively sober so I could watch everyone and everything else for the whole night, and to stay up for the whole thing.

See tomorrow's journal for information!

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Happy Birthday, Courtney!

Courtney's birthday today, 22 years old. Ahhh, I remember when I was 22.........

I got up about 9:00, everyone else is still sleeping, I showered, got dressed and walked to town and the beach, ordered a chocolate birthday cake for the Courtney. I got back about 10:00 and everyone else was up. We all went for breakfast.

During breakfast, we watched "Monsters Inc." AFter that, back to hut, Court and Uta rested, Ben and I went to town and walked around for a bit, went to a restaurant and had a Coke and watched "The 51st State", with Samuel L. Jackson. After the movie, we picked up the cake, went back to the hut, Cuort and Uta weren't there. I showered, Court and Uta got back, and after Court showered, we brought out the cake, sang Happy Birthday and had cake and I gave her my present (a birthday card I bought in Laos, I don't know what it says) and a CD.

We walked into town and had supper and watched "Jackass: The Movie", then checked out the bars, but they were all closed. It's Buddha Day today in Thailand, all the bars are closed, and the restaurants are not selling alcohol. The full moon is actually tonight, but because of Buddha Day, they had the move the full-moon party to tomorrow night.

Last night at the bars, Uta was wearing one of Courtney's short denim skirts. At some point in the night, she managed a huge rip in the back of it, and she was showing one of her butt cheeks all night long. She's not sure how long it was like that before she recognized it!

It was sunny and flippin hot today. We got a storm and had a hard rain late in the day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Koh Pha Ngan bound

Up about 10:00, quick shower and pack job, checked out and went for breakfast.

While having breakfast, Rat Buddy came along, all upset, and tells us a Thai girl had locked herself in his bathroom in his hut. He claimed that last night, he found this Thai girl on the road, as he was coming home from the bar, her legs were all injured and he wanted to take her to the hospital, but she refused, so he said he would take her to his hut and clean her wounds, and she could stay there, because she had nowhere else to go! Ya right! She was a prostitute, he picked her up, then she got locked in his bathroom, and he had to come up with a fanciful story to make him not look like he's paying for a hooker. We laughed and laughed about this one.

About noon, the four of us took a songtheaw to Big Buddha pier to catch the boat to Koh Pha Ngan. We bought our tickets and waited for the boat at 1:00.

The boat ride was about 45 minutes, when we got to Koh Pha Ngan, lots of bungalow operators trying to get us to stay at their places. A lot of them are far from the Full-Moon party beach. We ended up finding one within easy walking distance. It's a big bungalow for the four of us for 500 baht, and it's on Sunset Beach, about 10 minutes walk to Had Rin town and Sunrise Beach (the full-moon party beach).

We had something to eat, watched end of Shrek and then watched Chicken Run, then went for a walk to downtown Had Rin. Full of tourists, and lots of stores selling buckets of alcohol that you mix yourself. We also did a lot of window shopping. We visited the beach where the full-moon party happens. It's a beautiful beach, set in a cove, with super-fine white sand, very wide beach, maybe 1km long, abutted on both sides by rocky cliffs. The whole beach is lined with bars, restaurants, and a couple of bungalow operators, the bars blasting dance music onto the beach with massive sound systems.

We bought some buckets, then headed back to the hut and had a drink, then made our way to the beach bars about 10:30, and holy cow!!! Probably over 1000 people dancing, drinking, partying, in various stages of intoxication. They had fire shows, I jumped through a ring of fire (no, I wasn't drunk). A guy on a motorbike jumped through a ring of fire on the bike and wiped out on the other side. It was an incredible spectacle.

We left about 2:30, Uta and Court stopped to get something to eat, Ben and I continued home and went to bed. Uta and Court showed up about 4:00, then got lost and ended up getting a ride home with a guy on a motorbike. He crashed the bike, and they all got a little scraped and bruised.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Eilart Pilarm

It rained a lot last night.

Up about 9:00AM, showered and had breakfast.

It's cloudy today. It's supposed to be the hot season now, but it's certainly not hot! But we're not complaining!

Slow day, we went to internet, walked down the street, bought toiletries, we went to Burger King, then Court and Ben rested, I went for a walk down the street and bought Court's birthday present and looked at books on Thai massage, so I can learn to do massages. Courtney says I can practice on her.

To back up a day, yesterday we were sitting around in the late afternoon, and a guy in a bungalow across from us comes out of his hut, he's upset and swearing. He says he has a rat in his hut, the rat was running all over his face last night. He was going to go to reception and get another hut. We invited him to join us later, which he did.

So, today, Rat Buddy, as I call him, visited us again in the late afternoon, and brought a CD with him, called "Eilart is Back". He's a tone deaf singer from Sweden who sings a lot of Elvis songs (plus some others). The CD is hilarious, this guy is bad. His name is Eilart Pilarm, and he actually has a CD. We sat around and laughed and laughed for quite a while about this.

Court and Ben went to watch "The Bourne Identity" at the restaurant, and I went to buy the Thai Massage Manual book, then I watched the movie with them, had supper, then at 7:30 the four of us (including Uta) went to a restaurant on the main strip to watch X-Men 2: X-men United. Court and Ben left early, they weren't interested (and the quality was crap), Uta and myself stayed and watched it. It was a crappy pirate copy, with a really bad audio track, but the movie was really good! AFter the movie, we went back to the huts and got Ben and Court and we all went to Swensen's for huge ice cream treats. Court said she was sooo jealous watching me eat all this chocolate that she had to have one.

Back to the hug, Ben went to bed, Court, myself and Uta stayed up and chatted, then to bed about midnight.

Monday, May 12, 2003


Got up about noon, had something to eat, lounged on the beach for a while. I walked the entire length of the beach, which is a long way. The beach is 5km long. And the beach in front of Charlie's Huts is the best. There's lots and lots of really nice resorts all along the way, and these resorts don't even have the best beach property...the cheap backpacker joint does!

Started getting cloudy about 2:30, Court went back to the hut and set up her hammock. When I got back, I setup mine too. We laid in our hammocks, then about 5:00, Ben showed up.

Ben was our assistant dive instructor when we took our Open Water in Nha Trang, and when we left, he wanted to come visit us somewhere. So, he took a couple of weeks off, and flew to Thailand to travel with us.

Ben, Court, myself and Uta went for supper, then went back to the hut and had a few drinks, then went to Green Mango, but it was dead. Ben and Court stayed and had a drink, and me and Uta decided to check out Reggae Bar. Reggae Bar is a big open-air bar, and they had a live band, called Gemini, playing. Gemini are from Bangkok, and they were playing a bunch of dance/pop music, like Blue, Kylie, and the Ketchup Song. It's somewhat funny to hear some of these songs sang with a Thai accent, though. But they were extremely good. We stayed there for about 45 minutes, then headed back to Green Mango to find Ben and Courtney, and we met them walking back to the hut.

We got back to the hut about midnight, and went to bed.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Happy Mothers Day!

Happy Mothers Day, everyone.

Slept in until about noon. Got up, had breakfast, then hit the beach. Sunny earlier in the day, then started clouding over about 3:00, with storm clouds.

Went to the restaurant and had a bite to eat, and it started raining. They started showing Minority Report in the restaurant (crap pirate version), but then the power went out, so Court and I went back and showered. After the power came back on, we went back to the restaurant and had a shake and watched some more of the movie. Weird movie, and we missed big parts of it, and we couldn't follow it.

About 5:30, we went to the internet, then walked to the market area, had supper, checked out Reggae Bar, then back to the hut and started getting ready to go out again, and got Uta, our German friend, and we had a few drinks at our hut.

Went to the Kangaroo Bar, then to Moobar, all in the Green Mango strip. Green Mango itself was not busy tonight.

We got home about 3:00AM and went to bed.

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Koh Samui

Slept pretty good last night, with the help of Gravol. The bus is very comfortable too. The seats recline a lot and there's tons of leg room. Easily the best bus we've had yet.

The bus stopped at Surat Thani about 6:45MA at a restaurant, and kicked us all off. We ate breakfast and waited for another bus to take us to the ferry. Bus picked us up about 8:00, took us to the ferry, we got there about 9:40, and got on the gerry to Koh Samui, and it left about 10:00.

On the gerry, a gy approached us about taking us to Chaweng Beach by mini-bus for 60 baht each. We bought a ticket. The island is very big, Thailand's third largest island.

Cloudy and rainy all day.

Got a hut at Charlies Huts for 300 baht/night, on Chaweng Beach, the main beach on the island. Lots and lots of stuff on Chaweng beach, bars, restaurants, shops, etc.

We walked down the main road for a while, had lunch and Court bought a new bikini. Back to the hut and went swimming. Huge waves, some 5 to 6 feet! People were surfing. It was a blast.

We showered, went and had supper, walked along the main drag and scoped out the nightlife.

About 9:00, hit the bar curcuit (Green Mango bar, huge open-air bar), and we got home about 2:30. It was a blast, and super busy.

Locals had snakes and lizards there, you could get your picture taken with them.

AFter supper, I had this HUGE chocolate sundae ice cream at Swensen's, an ice cream parlour.

Friday, May 09, 2003

Off to Koh Samui

Up about 9:00, showered, picked up our laundry and packed. Courtney's backpack is bulging, she can't fit everything!

Court's ear feeling fine.

We checked out about 11:30, used internet for an hour, then we had a baguette from the lady-boy, then Court decided to get a facial. It was going to be about 40 minutes, so I went for a walk, and came back and Court told me she was getting a mud mask as well, and it would be a while longer. I sat and waited and watched the beautician squirt Courtney's zits, and then apply a brown liquid to her face, then cover her face in a blue-green cream that hardened as it say. Meanwhile the beautician gave Court a massage. After the mask had been on for about 20 minutes, she took it off and put cucumbers all over her face. I got pictures, of course. She loved every minute of it, and was trying to convince me to do it too. Next time.

We went back to teh guest house, used internet, showered, and got some more subs from the lady-boy and waited for our bus. The bus finally came more than an hour late, after 7:00PM, and we were off.

The feature film on the bu8s was Detroit Rock City, then they showed a movie with Hugh Grant where he marries into a Mafia family. They only showed the last 3/4 of the movie, so didn't get the name of it.

Court made me take Gravol for the bus ride. The bus stopped about midnight for supper.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

More Shopping

Slept in until about 10:30, I slept awesome. Got up, used internet, went for breakfast/lunch, took some laundry in to get done, and bought bus tickets to Koh Samui.

Another blistering hot day.

I needed buy some more rechargable batteries and an adater for the AC adapter for my MiniDisc's a European model, so got a European AC adapter.

About 1:00, we got on A/C bus #79 (so nice and cool!) and headed to Siam Square and walked to Pantip Plaza and bought some good Ni-MH batteries and a prong adapter for my AC adapter.

Got back to Khao San road about 4:15, we went to Burger King and I got a double cheeseburger combo. I'm really getting sick of rice and noodles and small chunks of chicken for meals.

We walked back to the guest house and along the way Court got a baguette (chicken and veggie) from our favorite Thai lady-boy street vendor. He/she makes amazing fruit shakes as well.

Back at the guest house, we showered and rested in A/C comfort.

Court remarked that she's not ready to go to Australia, she loves living in SE Asia. The street vendors, tuk-tuks, riding around in the back of pickups or the back of a motorcycle or a cyclo. Buying a beer or a cooler at 7-11 and walking down the street with it. Having a drink at a "booze van", a VW van turned mobile bar. They're all over, including an impromptu bar that opens up in the parking lot of a Shell gas station after it closes down for the day. They even have tables and chairs. Eating bugs. Cheap shopping. Cheap CD and DVD ripoffs! Quite frankly, Court and I love it here, and aren't really looking forward to Australia too much.

Anyway, Court slept for a while, I went down and used the internet, then she came down and we took a bus to Patpong area, a huge night market and home to one of Bangkok's red-light districts. We had talked about going to a girlie show for a few days, and everyone else says to do it, so here we were. We got hustled by a street guy telling us no cover for the show, we just buy a drink. We got in there, and we sat down and ordered two beers, and a bill for 600 baht comes. Way too much, we argue with the manager lady, she then backs down somewhat and gives us special price of 150 baht each, drinks included. We stayed for about 45 minutes. Then we walked around the market, I bought some shorts and Court bought yet another shirt.

We left Patpong about 11:00, and waited for a bus, and waited and waited and waited and no bus #15 came. Every other bus was running, except the one we needed. We finally gave up and approached a tuk-tuk, he wanted 300 baht to go back, we told him way too much, and walked away, he then dropped to 150 baht, but that was still too much, we wanted 100 baht. We talked to another tuk-tuk, he started at 150 baht, and we finally agreed on 110 baht. We got back shortly after midnight.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Bowel Movements!

I was up early, about 7:30. Recorded more music to my minidisc, showered, went down and used internet. Courtney came down about 9:30, then we went for breakfast about 10:00, came back to guest house, then headed to the mall (MBK). Hot as Hades again, we took an A/C bus (#79) for a few more baht.

We got to the mall about 11:30 and started in Siam Centre, a high-end shopping mall. Made our way to MBK and started walking around. Went to Chester's Grill for lunch. Later on we had a Blizzard at Dairy Queen. I bought a couple of shirts, Court bought a nice purse for real cheap (for when she gets to Australia), and some panties (I know, you wall wanted to know that).

As we were walking around, we saw these Karaoke Cubicles all over the place, and Courtney remarked that we should do that. So, about 4:00, we went to SF Music City, a section of the mall where everyone can be a star (i.e. huge karaoke section, with dozens and dozens of personal karaoke cubicles), and Court started backing out on the idea. She refused to sing. I eventually convinced her that it'd be fun, and we won't be back here, so let's do it. So, we got some change (it's 10 baht/song), and first we did Backstreet Boys' Show The Meaning of Being Lonely (we did this together), then she did Britney Spears' Sometimes, then I tried to do Michael Jackson's Beat It, but got some Thai song on the screen, so picked Lou Bega, Mambo No. 5. I got it all on video too.

We took the bus back to the guest house, showered, and rested for a while, then met Nigel at 8:00 for supper. He got another buddy of his, Tony from Ireland or Scotland, and we had supper. Tony has a very, very strong accent, it's very hard to understand him, so we just usually nod and laugh when he talks. We then made a date to meet them both at Gullivers at 10:30, because it was Nigels last night in town. He goes back to England tomorrow morning after spending 4 months in SE Asia.

We went to Gullivers (it's a bar/disco), and no Nigel or Tony, so we walked up and down Khao San Road for a while, went back to Gullivers at 11:00, and they were there. The music was really loud, we couldn't talk, so we headed to a open-air restaurant on Khao San road and had a (non-alcoholic) drink, and said goodbye to Nigel at around midnight, and went home.

When we got back to the room, there was a big cockroach running around, Courtney started freaking and demand I get it with toilet paper or something and take it outside. She then suggested trying to catch it in a plast bag, so I tried, but it ran underneath a desk, in the corner. I told Court not to worry about it, cockroaches don't climb up on beds. She made me promise, and I promised her. I couldn't believe she bought it!!! I'm sure then can climb, but I had to say something to her to calm her down about it.

Oh ya, I had a wonderful bowel movement today, after three days of nothing. Sweeeeeeeeeeeeettttt!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 06, 2003


I got up about 9:00, I went to have a shower, and there's no water. So, I just lounged for a while, and recorded more CD's onto my MiniDisc.

About 9:30 the water showed up, so we showered, went to internet, had breakfast, etc.

Around the Khao San Road area, because it's such a backpacker hotbed, there's lots of vendors on the street that have signs "We buy EVERYTHING", so Court and I decided to try and sell some of our stuff. I wanted to sell my (piece of crap) CD player, and my beach towel (I bought a sarong for the beach), and Courtney wanted to sell a pair of headphones she never uses, a pair of sandals she doesn't use and some other clothes she doesn't wear. We visited about 5 different vendors trying to wrangle a good deal. We visited one vendor, the guy tried out my CD player, and was impressed with it, and another guy at the shop really wanted Court's sandals, but they wouldn't give us enough money. So we continued on our search. We still couldn't get enough from anyone else, so we started back, and when we were walking past the place that liked my CD player and Court's sandals, they called us over, and we brokered a decent deal for everything. They didn't want any of the clothes or the towel, all they were interested in were the CD player and sandals. Anyway, we ended up getting 650 baht for everything, 500 baht for my CD player, and 150 for everything else. It's great fun being the seller and not the buyer for once!!!! We had a blast wrangling with the vendors over price, it was a blast...they enjoyed it too, we could tell!

With our new money, we decided we needed speakers so we could listen to music in our room, so we walked around Khao San Road trying to find a good deal on speakers. We ended up getting a decent pair of powered speakers for 400 baht.

We went back to the room and cooled down. The last few days have been BLISTERING hot, the sun has been blazing. Yesterday, my watch registered 39.6 degrees outside! We decided to go to a movie at one of the theatres downtown this evening.

So, we supper about 4:00, then headed to BMK about 5:00. Courtney is in real shopping heaven. Huge air-conditioned malls, selling clothes and accessories, she kept remarking she couldn't believe that this was in Bangkok. She was amazed at the ultra-modern shopping complexes and movie theatres here. Blew her mind. We window shopped for a while, then about 6:00, headed up to the movie complex on the 7th floor, and decided to see Anger Management, with Jack Nicolson and Adam Sandler. We bought our ticket (100 baht...just over $3CDN), but the show didn't start for another 40 minutes, so we hit Dairy Queen and I had a Blizzard, then we went inside the theatre, bought some popcorn (yummy!) and drinks, and waited for the doors to open up.

They opened the doors about 6:30, we got our seats. When you buy your tickets, they show you, on a computer monitor, the layout of the theatre, and let you pick the seats you want, so we had pre-assigned seats. They showed quite a few previews (the new one with Jim Carrey looks realy good!, then they played the Thai national anthem, while showing pictures of the king and the Thai countryside on the movie screen. When this is playing, everyone stands up during the national anthem to show respect for their country and king. Then the movie started.

Very funny movie. Thumbs up from Court and I.

After the movie, Court window shopped a little more and said she wants to come back tomorrow and do some power shopping. We got back to the guest house about 10:00, and went to bed.

The bus ride (perhaps 10km) cost only 3.5 baht...which is about 10 cents cheap.

WE ran into Nigel while at BMK, which is weird, because we happen to be at the same spot at the same instant in the biggest mall in Thailand (maybe SE Asia), with thousands of people around.

Courts ear feeling better today, finally. She's happy!

Monday, May 05, 2003

Shopping Heaven!

We woke up about 8:00, Courts ear hurting even more. She tried to go back to sleep. My drugs are working great. No bowel movements at all since taking my drugs. Woohoo!!!

I decided to go to Siam Square area, where the big shopping complex district is. I was in search of a MiniDisc recorder/player.

The tourists info place had a poster there showing the different buses to take to different destinations, so I hopped on bus #15, and made it to Mahboonkrong (MBK), which is Bangkok's biggest mall. It's HUGE. 7 floors of everything, clothes, lots and lots of cell phones, electroncis, furniture, arcades, food establishments. Of course, all the international fastfood joints are here...McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, A&W, Dukin Donuts, Dairy Queen, Pizza Hut, etc., etc., etc. These shopping malls also have huge movie theatres showing english-language movies. I had KFC for lunch, and then hit Dairy Queen for a KitKat Explosion Blizzard!

AFter walking around MBK, I went across the pedway to Siam Centre and Siam Discovery Centre. These specialize more in top-end clothing stores, like CK, Armani, and the like. Very modern shopping complexes. I then went to Pantip Plaza. This was amazing. Imagine a building the size of the Town'N'Country mall, but 7 floors high, and the whole friggin thing is computers, and computer hardware and software and accessories and DVD and CD ripoffs. It was amazing. I spent two hours just walking around this place. I then continued on to the World Trade Centre, which has an ice skating rink on the 8th floor. Finally back to MBK and bought a MiniDisc player. I spent more than seven hours shopping around today!!

I finally got back to teh guest house about 7:30 after a hard day of shopping! The room was locked, Courtney told me she'd leave the key downstairs, so I went and got it, and dropped my stuff off, then went for something to eat. As I was walking, I ran into Courtney, so we went to Burger King and I gorged on another double-cheeseburger combo. Yum!!!

Courtney didn't do much today, walked around, ran into Yaneev (met him in Vietnam), Donna and Kirk (mmmm, I think we originally met them in Thailand the first time around), then after we ate in BK, we ran into Austin Powers buddy and his g/f, who we first met on a bus is Laos, then ran into buddy and his son (from outside Vancouver), who we had originally met on our Mekong Delta tour. You always keep running into people you've met before!

AFter that, we headed back to the guest house, I started playing with my new toy, and then went to bed.

I hope Courts ear started feeling better soon.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Medical Clinic Visit

Lastg night we went out with Nigel and met up with some people he knew. We visited a couple of lounges, then Court and I went to Burger King for a bite to eat (it's great having some fast food, actually!), then went to a bar called Lava. It's designed to look like you're going down into the earth, into hot lava, it's pretty cool, all black and red. We stayed and danced almost nonstop until about 2:00AM, when we headed home.

We slept in late this morning, got up around 11:30.

Courtney's ear is hurting this morning, she thinks she has an ear infection or something. And we can't dive with ear problems, it's very dangerous, so we decided we'd head to a medical clinic today and get it checked out.

We walked around trying to find a clinic, eventually found one, we went in and the receptionist didn't speak that much english, a little, but she said that the doctor spoke english. She had Courtney fill out a card, and we waited a few minutes, and the doctor came out, and took us into the examination room. It looks like an examination room you'd find in Canada, medical posters and charts on the walls, instruments on the shelf, a bed, a couple of chairs, etc. The doctor spoke excellent english, and he was in his 30's, I'd say, a younger guy. And he's an ear and throat specialist.

Courtney explained the problem to him, and told him she wants to dive soon as well, so first he showed us a poster on the wall showing the different parts of the ear. He then said he wanted to do an examination of the ear. He had a hi-tech toy, essentially a tiny camera mounted on a small metal rod, connected to a monitor, and he stuck the instrument into Courtney's good ear, and explained what we were seeing. He then had Courtney "equalize" (i.e. pinch nose and blow, so as to pop the ears), and we could see the effect it had inside her hear, the ear drum moving in and out. It was really cool. He then put the instrument into her bad ear, and we could all see right away it was swollen and puffy, and we could see the white "infection" on her ear drum.

The doctor prescribed Courtney 3 pills and some ear drops, and also gave her a needle in her ass, in hopes of trying to clear the infection up quicker, so we could go dive. The doctor figured 3-5 days to clear up, and we should be good. I had brought my camera with me, so got some cool pictures. The doctor was great about letting us take pictures of the inside of her ears and stuff. He would hold the probe still while I took a picture.

Courtney also gave him her insurance claim form, so she can claim it back.

After she was done, I decided to ask him about my diarohea, and he said he wanted to give me an examination, so I had to fill out one of his cards, and he had me lay down on the little bed, and started tapping my stomach. I had lots and lots of gas. He said he has a tourists in his office, and the vast majority come and see him about diarrohea problems. The top three diarrohea producing countries are India, Nepal and Cambodia, where we just were, and where I started having my diarrohea. He prescribed me two pills to take for 5 days. We got our bills at the front counter. It was kind of expensive. Mine was 1650 baht, a little over $50CDN. That included all the drugs. Courtney's was 3750 baht, about $125CDN, which included all the drugs, and injection. I didn't expect to ask about my diarrohea, so didn't bring my insurance form with me. OH well, it wasn't that much.

We ended up not having enough baht to pay for it all, so we had to head back to the guest house and get more money, then on the way back, we met Nigel, whom I was supposed to meet at that time anyway, to go see muay thai (Thai boxing). We talked to a tuk-tuk, and he told us the match didn't start until 6:00, and it was only 3:00 right now, so the three of us headed back to the clinic, paid our bill, then went for some late lunch, and Court and I started our drugs.

Courtney wasn't interested in seeing the muay thai, so she left us, and Nigel and I went to hsi G.H. so he could get his camera, it was still too early, so we headed to Burger King for a sundae. I was still hungry, so I had a double cheeseburger combo as well. We sat there until about 5:20, then took a tuk-tuk to the stadium.

When we got to the stadium, everything was at a halt, including all traffic, and there were uniformed people all over the road. Nigel started to cross the street, but a uniformed person in the middle of the road motioned him to stop. Then buglers started playing, and a long procession of cars passed. The king was coming through!

AFter the king passed, we got into the stadium, took a second level seat for 800 baht (ringside was 1500, outer ring was 500), and we went inside.

It was neat spectacle. Before the match, each boxer goes to each corner and bows his head, then they go to the centre of the ring and start doing a routine of stretching and bowing and moving the music, which is being played live by a four piece band. It's just a drum beat with some other percussion added in. There was 12 matches, the last match was just a regular boxing match. Some matches were better than others. One match pitted to Americans against each other, and that was a good match, they really got into it. The one guy beat the other guy to a point of exhaustion, he couldn't stand anymore, so he just kept kicking the legs out from underneat him, finally the ref stopped the match and declared the other guy the winner. We saw a couple of knockouts. During the whole match, the band is playing music, which adds to the whole thing.

The Thai's were really getting into it, especially the good matches. They were yelling and screaming and pounding their fists into their hands. There was some gambling going on between them as well.

The stadium was maybe 25% full. I'd say 40% were tourists, 60% were locals.

The matches started at 6:00, and went until after 10:00. We left and took a tuk-tuk back to the Khao San road, and I walked around for a while, then back to the room about 11:15. Courtney was sleeping.

While Nigel and I were at the boxing, Courtney got her legs waxed, walked around, started watching a movie (Signs), but didn't like it, it was too scary for her.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Weekend Market

Up about 8:00, showered, went to a travel agent and got our flight changed from May 17 to June 17. YAY!!!! We have to be out of Thailand by late April (around 26 or 27, I think), so that'll give us about 3 weeks to do Malaysia, then off to Australia.

We then took a bus to the weekend market, a HUGE market that happens every weekend (hence the name). Court was in shopping heaven, they have tons and tons and tons and tons and tons and tons of clothing stores. They have lots of everything else, including souvenirs, household things, live animals (chickens, rabbits, dogs, fish, snakes, lizards), food. The only thing they don't have is electronics (other than watches). Court got 6 shirts for 700 baht, which is just under $21CDN...she would have paid that for one shirt in Canada. She loves it in SE Asia. I bought a new watch! I can tell time again. It's awesome, it's waterproof up to 50 metres, and even has a temperature sensor, so I tell you the temperature. It was hovering around 37 degrees Celcius outside today, in the shade of the shops in the market, it was getting down a cool 36! The internet place I'm in right now, which has A/C is a frigid 33.6 degrees. It's weird, the longer we spend in the very hot weather, the more bearable it gets. Even 37 degrees at the market was fine with me today, previously I would have been sweating about a litre a minute. When we get to Australia, and it's winter and only 15 or 20 degrees, we're gonna wonder where the snow is, it'll feel so cold to us!

After a few hours at the market, we headed back to the guest house, Court tried on her new shirts (she didn't get the chance to at the market...they don't really have change rooms at market stalls), and I read the instructions on my new watch. She laid down, she was tired, and I walked around for a while, about an hour, then at 4:01 (I love having a watch!) I was back at the guest house, Court was sleeping, so I hit the internet.

Friday, May 02, 2003

Back to Bangkok

Up at 6:30, showered, paid for our room, had breakfast, went to the road and waited for a songtheaw to pick us up. Got to the pier and bought mini-bus ticket to Bangkok from a woman selling them on the pier, for 200 baht each, cheaper than the guest houses were selling them for.

Once back on the mainland, a songtheaw took us to the tour company, I ate some breakfast, and we waited for the minibus to leave. We left about 10:45.

The guy sitting next to us on the bus, Chris, was from Toronto as was just finishing up 4 years of travelling.

Minibus ride was about 5 hours long, and the bus dropped us off on Khao San Road, the main backpacker haunt, and the area we stayed at last time.

We decided on the way up to Bangkok that we needed to have air conditioning in the room, so we started our trek for a guest house with A/C, that was also cheap. We had some picked out from Lonely Planet, and checked out the first one, too expensive, checked out the second one, price ok, but we decided to check one place, right next door to the place we were at. They had A/C rooms dirt cheap, only 250 baht! It's called Peachy Guest House, for anyone that's following our journeys. It's a very big room, big bed, A/C (that works wonderfully, BTW), ensuite shower and sink, but no toilet, we have use the shared toilets just down the hall. Not a problem.

It's very strange being back in Bangkok, it's kind of like coming home, because Khao San Road is so familiar to us. But it's changed a lot in the past 3 months. Burger King has a joint on Khao San Road now, a new shell went up, lots of other places have changed, and it's dead! It's sooo much less busy now, being the hot season, which is also the low season. Not nearly as many street vendors and tourists walking the streets. Don't get me wrong, it's not a ghost town by any stretch, but it's not jammed packed and crazy either. It's actually bearable!

We showered and went walking and did an internet stop, had Pad Thai from a street vendor, Court went window shopping for clothes, and we ran into Nigel again, the guy we originally met on the Halong Bay tour, then again in Sihanoukville for a minute, and now here.

We had a little bit of rain this evening, to help keep things cool.

We went back to the guest house and went to sleep about 10:30.

During the minibus trip to Bangkok, the bus stopped a couple of times at convenience stores for toilet and refreshment breaks. I had a bottle of ice cold milk today, it was sooo good, the first milk I've drank in 3 months. Yumm!! Being back in Thailand is soo nice. When I was buying my milk (and chocolate cake!), the cashier girl was very attractive. She rang up the total, then said in a very low, man's voice, "40 baht, please." I nearly choked for a was a Thai lady-boy!!!!! I tried not to act shocked, and didn't want to stare, but I think I maybe was staring, as it was a shock to here that voice come out of that body.

We decided to do our Advanced Open Water course in Koh Tao. It's the most popular dive spot in Thailand, and we can do it very cheap there.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Poopy Pants

We got up about 9:00, I think, went to the toilet, showered, had breakfast, went to toilet again, hit the beach for a while, about 1:00, toilet again, back to hut and had lunch. Then we went for a walk down the road, to Jah Bar, and had to use the toilet again. 4 times so far today! Back to hut, packed, then lounged in the restaurant, had some supper, then some alcoholic drinks.

Sometime during the evening, a bunch of us headed down to Jah Bar and stayed there for a while. Sometime after 11:00 (but before midnight), Court and I headed home.