Hello everybody from Thailand, it's been a little while. Things are going well. And I know you're all dying to hear my amazing account of what has gone on this past week. So here it is.
The flights went well, I was able to sleep about 6ish hours, plus napping in between. Watched a couple movies (James Bond, the Changeling) played some Sudoku, that kinda stuff. Walked around the very interesting Taipei airport in my layover, tons of Hello Kitty everywhere - Hello Kitty play area, waiting room, nursing area... cardboard cut outs everywhere, very interesting. Got on my flight, another 3.5 hours of flying to Bangkok (the first flight was 14.5 hours). Second flight went pretty quickly, got into BKK... went through customs no problem, got my bag, and went outside and met up with Dan! It was nice to see him again - he's so much tanner than before, hahaha. We took an airport bus back into the city, then hopped into a Tuk Tuk to our guesthouse... which was actually really nice and spacious. Then there was resting... a few hours of resting. After I felt a bit more up to doing things we walked to the Khao San (I dunno if that's spelled right) area of markets, where all the backpackers go... I was really tired and it was a bit overwhelming, but very interesting nonetheless. So much food everywhere, but after all the airline food I couldn't possibly stuff anything else inside of me. After walking around there for a little while we went back to the guest house and called it an early night.
Next day we decided to venture into the crazy crazy malls to try and find some things we needed. They really are nuts. We were brave and figured out (some of) the bus system in Bangkok and took a city bus to the malls... and somehow rode for free, we were the only foreigners on the bus... the whole system can be a bit daunting. I finally got to try some food while there - some ice cream with red beans, some strange pancake/taco type thing with this...meringue fluff in it...super good. Bought a nice purse there, walked around the craziness - lots of western food places like kfc, mc donalds, subway (where we ended up eating, for lack of anywhere better in the mall - sandwich was weeeird. like...salami, american cheese..and chili sauce. Odd combination). After walking around malls for what seemed like forever we took a taxi back to the guesthouse... and passed out at around 7:30pm, like a bunch of old people.
Next morning realized we were both ready to get the heck out of Bangkok - interesting city, but not one you want to stay in for long periods of time. Since he's been riding his bike everywhere, and since I just got here, we really had absolutely no idea how to get to where we were going. So after some...fun discussion, and buying a guide book, we head to the train station in the morning. They're sold out for where we had decided we'd go, and on a whim Dan asks if they have any night tickets to Chumphon... and they do! (We're attempting to head south). So.. we buy tickets for the 7:30 train, store our bags at the station, and take the subway over to the weekend market in Chatuchak Park... more craziness! So many people and rows and things, it was craziness! Overwhelming! But still interesting... really good drinks - super sweet and sugary, mm mmmm.
We spend our whole day at the market, I get acquainted with the fun that is squat toilets... and then we head back to the train station. Hop onto the train, sit on these benches facing each other for a little while... until this man comes by and sets up our beds, pushing the benches together to form a bed, and then pulling a compartment down from the top to create a top bunk. Surprisingly comfortable.. we slept until about 4 am, when the guy came and woke us up to tell us our stop was coming up. So we hop off the train in the early morning (litterally hop off, climb over the tracks, and climb up to the platform). We decide to walk from the train station to the bus station.
On the way we hear a loud "Good Morning!" from somewhere in front of us... this very drunk Thai old man asks us where we are going, and then decides to become our personal tour guide... so he walks us all around - first to the minibusses, which don't open for another few ours, then to the regular bus station JUST in time to catch the 5:30am bus to Ranong. The whole time he is chattering on in English, about drinking too much Whiskey, not liking George Bush... stopping me every couple minutes to point his hand up in the air Saturday Night Fever style and gyrate his hips at me... he was a very fun entertaining guy - sang for us too. Gave him some money, told him not too buy too much whiskey, and got on the bus.
Bus took a couple hours to get to Ranong, then we walked with this nice German girl to get a songthaew to the pier to go to the island of Ko Phayam, once again making it JUST in time for the 9:30am ferry. Nice 2 hour ferry ride, very pretty... talked to some more Germans (they are seriously EVERYWHERE).
Got to the island... very small undeveloped island. No cars at all, just motorcycles. So we each hop on our own motorcycle taxi, just sit on the back - it was SO fun. Go to our decided place - Bamboo Bungalow. I'm going to make this next part very short, because it's a bit crazy. We stayed for five nights on Ko Phayam - in 4 different places. Bamboo Bungalow was so rustic and ridiculous..thatched bungalow, squat toilet set outside...no lights in the bathroom, no good windows... not fun. So we moved to Coconut Beach Resort... which was really nice except it was right next to this REALLY loud Rasta bar... playing really loud raggae until about 3am... so we moved to a further away bungalow in the same resort the next night. Then we decided we'd leave. But while eating breakfast the next day in our favorite restaurant, we decided we would stay with them in their tents - which were actually really nice, best sleep i had. These were the NICEST people ever, so sweet and accomodating - really good food, too.
All the time on the island was basically spent relaxing... beautiful beach, backed by forest. beautiful water - we kayaked the day before we left, SUCH hard work - moreso than I thought. Not gonna lie, I threw a bit of a tantrum while out on the water... but it really was a beautiful view. Until the thunderstorm started and I started freaking out again, haha. We decided to leave the island this morning, took the 8:30am ferry back to Ranong... and now we're here... attempting to get a bus to Phuket, then a flight from Phuket to Bangkok, then a flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, where we are hoping to rent a motorbike and take that around the north - who wants to mess with busses if you don't have to.
Okay, that's the extent of my travels so far. It's been a lot of fun. Stress and arguments aside, it really has been quite enjoyable and I'm looking forward to the remainder of my trip - even considering staying a couple extra days to participate in sonkran... we'll see how expensive it is.