sorry excuse for a travel blog

for the last several days, i haven’t really posted anything in this blog… that’s pretty much cause i havent really done anything. i could write about the many times i’ve gone to the mall (i think i’ve gone every day for the last 10 days). i could write about how for some strange reason i’ve gotten into this weird schedule of going to sleep at 3am and getting up at noon. i could write about going to the movies *yet again*. i could write about countless hours spent on the computer researching airfares and how Cathay Pacific screwed us over. but all of these things aren’t exciting and i couldnt see anyone caring much. for some reason, whenever i pretty much decide on leaving a country and moving on to the next, i always just spend my remaining time counting down the days. i could be making the most of my time here in bangkok, but instead i’m just lazying about. i guess it’s just anticipation of moving on. well, as of tomorrow, things’ll pick up again. we’re taking off to beautiful indonesia… land of volcanoes, tribal villages, and excellent diving. it’ll be exciting to see what’s in store for us!


oh, here’s a random story that popped into my head. we arrived in bangkok the other day at 7am. exhausted and half awake, we took a cab to look for a place to stay. we went inside one hotel and after asking about the price, asked to see one of the rooms. this is something we do *every time* we check into a place. abroad, you never know what you’ll find in a hotel room. could be smelly, could have roaches, could be filthy… you never know, so you should always check before you pay. well, when we asked to see a room, he said the rooms dont get cleaned till 8:30am so we cant see a room, but he can show us photos, which he proceeds to do. we say that we’ll wait till 8:30 and then take a look at the room. to our complete surprise, he says no. he absolutely refuses us to look at a room unless we pay him first. he insists that if we want to know what the room is like that we can look at the photos. we tell him that the room might look different than the photos, and we’d prefer to actually see the room. waiting till 8:30 or whenever is fine. but he says no. he wont let us see the room.

now, this is really bizarre. we’ve been on the road for almost 8 months now. we’ve probably stayed at around 60 or more hotels during this time… hotels spanning over 15 countries, and not once have we ever not been allowed to look at a room. WTF?! we ask him why he wont allow us to see the room, and he gets pissed off. “fine! the hotel is full then. go find another hotel”. what?! i couldnt believe how rude this guy was being. we tell him that we’re not trying to be difficult, we just feel like we should be able to see a room before paying. he tells us the hotel is full once again. we point out that just 2 minutes ago he said it wasn’t. “well now it’s full. go find another hotel”. ugh!!! in america, this would be the point when you ask to speak to his manager etc. but abroad, there’s no managers to complain to. there’s never any reprocussions to employees for being totally rude to us, ripping us off, etc. in some ways, this is the most frustrating thing about traveling. that someone can just utterly treat you like shit, and there’s really nothing you can do about it. or, a company can totally rip you off, and once again, there’s nothing you can do about it. lots of businesses totally thrive on the fact that they can rip off a customer, and then, since the cutomer is a traveler, the business will never see them again.

oh well… can’t win ’em all i guess…. onwards to Indonesia!!!


lazy in chiang mai

april 17th-21st

i dont know what happened, but somehow we’ve become ridiculously lazy over the last few days. maybe lazyness just promotes more lazyness in some vicious cycle. who knows. but we’ve spent the last 4 days doing pretty much nothing. sleeping in till noon. hitting up restaurants. i get the feeling like maybe at some point you just *need* familiar stuff from back home. even if that stuff really isn’t that great, and even if you’re not consciously wanting it, somewhere deep inside, it feels nice when you get it. lets see:

we’ve spent time wandering around the mall and seeing what it has to offer. although we didnt find anything all that exciting, it was nice just to wander around and windowshop. i keep realizing how much i miss having a cell phone. back home i would never leave home w/out it. it’s crazy to think just how much of a fixture it was in my life. of course, it’s not like i know anyone out here who would call me, but i still look at cellphones enviously.

we saw a movie at a thai movie theater. the movie wasn’t anything spectacular, but hey, i think my standards for movies have dropped since i’ve seen hardly any in the last 7 months. it was nice just to get to see something on a big screen. one interesting thing about thai movie theaters is that there is assigned seating. when you buy your ticket, you choose which seat you will sit in, and different seats in the theater cost different prices depending on where they are. also, before every movie, they play this little montage about the king. there’s theme music and everything. everyone in the theater is expected to stand up during this montage. i thought it was realy cool for some reason. people here *love* the king. he’s really respected by everyone, and from what i hear he’s been a great leader. for some reason, i think it’s really cool to see people who have this huge sense of pride in their government… of course, on the flipside, if we had a movie montage of george bush before each movie back home, i think i might have to leave the theater so as not to have to throw up.

i’ve downloaded a bunch of new music and put it on my mp3 player. sheez, i miss listening to new music. back at home, i’d get new music like crazy. sometimes i’d get 5-10 new albums each week. i was always on top of what new releases were coming out, new artists, etc etc. now, i’m damn clueless. 7 months without having any news of what’s going on in music. luckily though, w/ blazing connection speeds here in thailand, i’ve been able to download stuff: the new beck album (guero), the new gorillaz (demon days), the new fischerspooner, the new sage francis (healthy distrust), Lcd soundsystem. ahhhhh, much better.

another thing i’ve really been missing is news. i usually have no clue about what’s going on in the world. other than absolutely huge events like the tsunami or death of the pope, i hear of pretty much nothing. every once in a while i’ll buy a time magazine to get a peek at what’s going on. yesterday i got one and it happened to have a huge article on the 100 most influential people of the year. i was really shocked and pleased that my favorite author, dave eggars, was one of them. of course, as always is the case w/ the news, not all of it was good. i cant believe about all these crazy riots in china. also, the magazine mentioned some statistics that i found absolutely insane. the number of executions worlwide last year was about 3,700. out of those, guess how many china was responsible for? 1000?? 2000?? nope. around 3,400. unfuckingbelieveable. of course, the USA, eager to be on any top ten list, was the country with the 4th largest amount of executions.

decision, decisions

the other thing that’s been whirling about in my mind is trying to decide what we’re gonna do next. we’ve been following a loose itinerary for the last 7 months, and now we’re at a decision making point. some countries just have to be skipped… no matter how much we wanna see them. but how to decide which ones? unfortunately we cant just keep inserting more and more countries into our trip… this is because we have certain dates that are totally fixed in our itinerary, and so we have to fit things around them. here are our dilemnas as i see them:

we are now in thailand. we need to be in japan on may 20th no matter what (to meet my brother). this means we have 1 month till then. in S.E. Asia, we would love to see vietnam, malaysia, and indonesia. but, even w/ our aggressive speed at traveling, somehow 3 countries in 1 month is ludicrous. even two countries in that time makes no sense. we have to limit it to just one, which means the other two get skipped :(.

the next fixed date we have is august 1st. we absolutely have to be in kenya on august 1st or else we’ll be getting to africa during the rainy season and we’ll be completely screwed. this means we have from july 15th (after japan) to august 1st free. what should we do during that time? we want to see china. but we also were kind of hoping to see russia. or, we could head back down and see the SE Asia countries that we missed. also, another thought is that it might be nice to go to ethiopia (africa’s undiscovered gem, aparently). arrrggghhh! how to decide?! and also, if we do decide to go to russia, that means we’ll probably take the transsiberian railway. on one hand that sounds like a really fun adventure. on the other hand, a whole week sitting on a train could be a total nightmare. it’s tough to guage in advance. *sigh*. it’s funny to see how even a whole year abroad is just not even close to enough time!!


watt on the hill


about 11km outside of chiang mai there is a very famous watt on top of a mountain, called watt doi suthep. last time that i was here in chiang mai, i rode up to the top of this mountain on a rented scooter, against the wishes of the local scooter rental place. zipping back down the mountain, swerving around vehicles, and braking hard when there was no way to swerve, i ended up wearing down the brakes so much that the scooter rental place forced me to buy them a new scooter wheel. this time, we wisely opted to take a taxi up. i dunno why, but it’s pretty trippy for me to go to places now that i went to before on my last trip. somehow my last thailand trip seems to have happened centuries ago in some past life… instead of only 2.5 years ago. maybe it’s because i have such a different mindset now than i did back then? do i just see everything differently nowadays?

anyways, watt doi suthep was realy cool to check out. last time that i was here, i remember finding this small room where a monk would bless people and tie little braceletts around one of their arms. i remember being really excited a bout this little ceremony. at that time, i knew nothng about buddhism, nothing about monks, but somehow, sitting on the ground and being blessed had still made a profound impact on me. this time, on the way up to the att, i wondered if there would be a monk in that little room. i was hoping that 2.5 years later, i could once again get a little bracelett. wandering around inside the watt, i found the room, and yup, there was a monk in there. once again, i got a bracelett, which i’m still wearing right now. caryn, and ryan got braceletts as well, and it was cool to have someone else share in the ceremony w/ me.


apparently, somewhere along the way we must have eaten something not so good. ryan spent some time in the morning throwing up, but then felt much better for the rest of the day. caryn unfortunately wasn’t so lucky. by evening she was feeling crappy, and then later that night she became incredibly ill. she looked worse and worse as the night progressed. the following day, we went to the hospital again (man, we’ve spent so much time in pharmacies and hospitals on this trip!). the doctor gave her more antibiotics and later in the day she started feeling better. poor caryn… what a shiesty two weeks she’s had!


the warzone

april 13th-15th

after traveling around for 7 months, i’ve finally found the one thing that the US is definitely lacking the most. It’s Sokrang, the thai new years celebration. the way new years is celebrated here makes new years back home look sad, pitiful, and pointless. here new years comes in april, and to celebrate it, they have a water festival. back in the old days, this festival had a lot of religious significance. people would head out to the monasteries and pour small cups of water over the buddha statues to purify them for the new year. also, people would ceremoniously pour small cups of water over each other for the same reason. over the years the tradition grew and grew… eventually, the little cups of water were replaced by larger buckets, and then people started adding water guns, super soakers, and hoses. nowadays, the holiday definitely has more of a festive and wild atmosphere than a religious one. in some cities, the whole town practically becomes a warzone of water.

ever since we got to koh chang, we tried to figure out where we wanted to be to celebrate sokrang. the place were sokrang is the wildest is in chiang mai. the whole place is one crazy party for 3 straight days. that’s where i definitely wanted to go. caryn and ryan were both a bit hesitant about heading there because they feared it might be a bit too crazy. the other problem with going to chiang mai was that it was rather far from koh chang, and we werent sure if we could make it there on time. in the end, we finally decided to take the plunge. we bought a bus ticket to bangkok and a flight from there to chiang mai. we would be traveling by bus on the first day of sokrang, so we’d miss out on that one day, but we’d still get some fun time in once we got to chiang mai.

the first thing we had tgo do though, on the way to the bus station, was to stop by the hospital and have caryn change her stitches. we’re driving in a songthaew on the way there when all of a sudden we get completely drenched w/ water by some kid w/ a hose on the side of the road. it had totally slipped our minds that sokrang had already started. normally, we wouldnt have cared (cold water on a blazing hot day is always welcome), but caryn was with us and she absolutely could not have her stitches get wet. we spent the rest of the day stessing about whether caryn would end up somehow getting splashed. luckily, everything turned out fine. during our 6 hour bus ride to bangkok, we saw random people on the side of the road splashing each other. we also saw people cruising around in pickup trucks soaking wet. it looked like the holiday would end up being pretty fun. but we still hadnt seen any of the crazy insanity which i was hoping for.

we spent the night in bangkok, and then flew to chiang mai the next day. in chiang mai, we encountered a difficulty we hadnt expected. no taxis would take us into town. when we asked someone to take us to our hotel, they actually just laughed in our face. they said there was too much traffic downtown and that they refused to go down there. caryn pleaded w/ one guy for a long time, saying that her arm was hurt and that she absolutely could not get wet, but the guy wouldnt budge. crap, what could we do? in the end we got a taxi to take us near town, had caryn wait in an internet cafe, and ryan and i headed into town on foot.

once we walked into town a bit, we realized why no taxi driver would venture in there. we finally got to see the warzone we had been hearing about. it was absolute chaos and insanity in town. almost every person on the streets was armed w/ a bucket, hose, water cannon, squirt gun, and any other possible way of carrying water. the streets were completely full of pick up trucks that were gridlocked. the pickup trucks had *huge* barrels of water and usually had like 10 to 15 people in them all filling their buckets/guns in the barrels so they could shoot people who were walking on foot or people in other trucks. within seconds, ryan and i were completely soaked. not a thread of our clothing could have been dry. we slowly wandered to where our hotel should be, not even trying to dodge the constant barrage of water. it was funny to see how many different methods people had for getting others wet. some people would come up to you and very respectfully say “happy new years” and slowly pour a bucket of water over you. others would throw water at you from afar. still other would hose you down from across the street. everyone had their own way and it was all so much fun. it felt like you were a little kid again in a water fight, except the whole city had joined in. one other thing that i thought was cool was that this was fun for all ages. little kids ran around squirting their small little guns, people our age raced around w/ huge super soakers, and even little old ladies were joining in the chaos.

eventually we found our hotel after spending a ton of time wandering the streets of chiang mai in confusion. we found jason there who we were supposed to meet that day. after walking back to check on caryn, we wandered the streets some more and enjoyed sokrang.

the next morning we tried to figure out what we could do about caryn. she realy hoped to come out and enjoy sokrang, but of course she couldnt get her arm wet which made things difficult. on top of it all, it was her birthday. the prospect of spending all day of her birthday just sitting in the hotel room was pretty crappy. so she and i spent over half an hour constructing this elaborate plastic covering for her arm. we went over it in tape a million times to be sure that no water could get in. after struggling with it, we finally had acheived a masterpiece.

unfortunately, we hadn’t thought of one thing… water could not get in…. but water also could not get out. this thing was so airtight, that it created this green house affect and in no time caryn’s arm was covered in sweat.. which could not get out. by the time we finished breakfast, her arm was soaked… ironically, the only part of her that she needed to keep dry was the only part that was not dry. so we cut the plastic off. there was no escapng it. caryn would have to sit indoors all day. she couldnt risk going *anywhere* in town cause there were sprays of water *everywhere*. after checking if caryn needed anything, ryan and i set out to join the war.

town was absolutely insane as it had been the day before. everyone everywhere was soaked. plus, there were all these clubs on the main road that were blaring loud music, so all sorts of people were totally dancing and rocking out in the streets while cheerily being sprayed w/ water from passing trucks. ryan and i each had bought large supersoaker so that we could join in, but then i found this crazy water canon thing that attached to a huge backpack full of water. i bought that and ryan took over two guns.

(to see some good photos of sokrang, check out these two pages from another website.

we ran around town spraying people like crazy and getting sprayed like crazy. getting wet on the hot day was nice actually, except when the water was insanely cold cause of ice. some people would put huge blocks of ice in the barrels that they got water from, so when they squirted you it was *freezing*, almost painfully cold. also, another thing you had to watch out for was moat water. there is this huge moat in chiang mai, and people were jumping right into it and swimming around in its filthy brown waters. then, they would get buckets of this water and use them to throw at people. getting sprayed by clean water is one thing… but brown murky moat water? ew! it was quite a day all in all. so much fun. i wish we had something like this back home. this was a million times more fun than just going out to some bar or club on new years. of course, something like this would never be allowed in america. one person would slip and fall and then probably sue the city or something. plus, in most towns at home, fun is pretty much illegal. *sigh*

when the sun went down at 7pm, ryan and i went back to the hotel, even though the war still raged on. it looked like it might never stop! since caryn had had the most boring and lame birthday ever, i wanted her to at least have a good birthday dinner. i knew she had been craving mexican food for a long time, so i spent some time online and found a mexican restaurant for us all to go to for dinner. the food there was fairly decent. not spectacular in any way, but definitely alright. after dinner, we ended the night by going to this bar called the riverside where we had some drinks and watched some thai cover bands play music.


big trouble in little thailand

april 12th

while on koh chang, we were really excited to go scuba diving. ryan had just gotten his license in monterey. caryn had gotten her license a few months back in dahab. i had gotten my advanced license as well. we were all itching to dive. on our last day on the island, we had scheduled two dives. afetr getting up all bright and early, we wandered down to the boat we needed to take.

it was low-tide at this point and the boat was floating several feet below the pier. now, if we had been in america, there would have been some nice solid stairs that you could climb down to the boat or at least some kind of railing to hold on to. not here. we were expected to just jump down onto the boat. it was only like 3 or 4 feet, so it didnt seem like it would be all that big a deal and caryn was one of the first passengers to make the jump. none of us are exactly sure what happened next. one second caryn was jumping swiftly towards the boat, and the next second she was hanging off the side. crap. she was already partially underwater, and there was no way for her to pull herself up so the staff just told her to drop the rest of the way in and swim around to the back of the boat where she could get in.

poor caryn. the tumble really looked like it must have hurt. but the worst part seemed to be that she had to actually be in the water by the pier. the water there is shallow and utterly disgusting. all of the trash, scraps, toilets, *everything* from the pier just empties out into the water. well.. at least we thought that was the worst part until she got out of the water… when we saw that her arm was gushing blood. i guess the pier is completely covered w/ clams, all of them razor sharp, and caryn had ended up dragging her arm against them on her way down. her arm was cut up to all hell, all the way down from her shoulder to her hand. the cuts looked really bad. the staff rushed around to put iodine on them. it was obvious that there would not be diving for caryn. in fact, it was obvious that a hospital visit was in her future.

i immediately decided to get off the boat and go w/ caryn, but she insisted that i stay and actually go diving. i was hesitant, but in the end agreed. the dive itself was pretty cool. nothing too crazy. we never got below 30 feet, but we still saw some cool fish. we also saw a yellow ray w/ blue spots which was pretty dope. my camera kept geting fogged, so i didnt get too many good photos though.

the mouth of a giant clam

weird blue sea anemone

even though caryn had said that it was just some cuts and shouldnt be a big deal, i had still been worrying about her all day. when the dive ended, i was very anxious to find out what happened. we found caryn in the internet cafe all bandaged up. after the nurse had cleaned up her cuts, it turned out that they were bad enough to get stitches. 3 separate cuts got 12 stitches total. to someone like me, who has never gotten stitches *ever*, this seems like a crazy hardcore injury, but caryn is insisting it’s not too bad and is looking forward to getting her stitches out in a week.



Koh Chang

april 7th – april 11th

after chilling in bangkok for a bit, we knew we wanted to head south and check out some islands. sunny beaches, scuba diving, and relaxation awaited us but first we had to figure out which island to go to. there are tons to choose from, and so many damn factors to consider. diving was supposed to be better on the west coast this time of year… but that’s where the tsunami had hit, and although prices would be much lower over there, some people think that there is a good chance of another tsunami hitting that area. the east coast could be nice, but supposedly was very expensive right now. we wanted to find an island that was mellow and not all super touristy. searching for stuff online just gave us lots of headaches. every island had some people who said it was great and other people who said it sucked big time. after spending wayyy too much time trying to decide, we finally settled on koh chang, a large island that was one of the closest islands to bangkok. it would only take 5 hours to get there by bus.

the next day, we started worrying that maybe we had made the wrong decision. we found a few things that said that although koh chang *used* to be untouristy, recently it had become completely overrun w/ hotels, atms, and had become realy lame… plus, prices had gone through the roof. but we had already bought bus tickets, so we went for it anyways. a 5 hour bus ride, a short night spent in a town called Trat, and a 1 hour ferry ride later, we arrived on koh chang.

any doubts we had about koh chang disappeared within minutes of getting to the island. it was absolutely beautiful there. huge lush green jungle covered the island. the water was pristine. there was pretty much only one road on the whole island and it made this huge loop around the coast. along the road there were only a few scattered towns w/ small restaurants, massage places, etc spread out between them. lots of the stretches of road didnt have any buildings whatsoever. sure, the place had it’s fair share of 7-11s and dive shops, but still the place had a really relaxed feel.

we ended up staying in a small fishing village called bang bao. this village consisted of one long pier that was covered w/outdoor seafood restaurants and a few small bungalow hotels randomly strewn about the bay. there’s something really nice about staying in a bungalow. i mean, sure it doesnt have A/C or any fancy shmancy amenities, but it just has character. and if you’re staying on a tropical island, it just fits perfectly.

caryn, on our porch

i gotta say that the thing we did most often on this island was eat. we spent *so* much time just chilling on the pier in one of the many restaurants. it was super hot on the island, so it was super refreshing to just sit at a table, have the fan blow on us, be under shade, and sip fresh fruit shakes. and we ate tons of food too. this village was famous for its seafood, and we had some *amazing* fish. all of the seafood here is extremely fresh.. most of the restaurants actually have huge tanks out front full of lobsters, shrimp, crabs, etc. heh, the only bad thing about these restaurants was the service… i dont think we got our entire order correct even once out of all the times we ate there.

boats off the pier at night

the other really fun thing about the island is that we got to rent scooters. all 3 of us rented our own and we zipped all over the island. the island is very hilly so the roads all have crazy turns and really steep ascents and descents. it was so fun to just plow down these mountains going as fast as you can. the village that we stayed at was only connected to the main road by these dirt roads which were completely full of rocks which made going over them a bit tricky. i’ve already taken roads like this on a scooter last time i was in thailand, but ryan and caryn were a bit edgy about them at first. after riding over them time and time again though, everyone got the hang of it.

ryan on his scooter

surprisingly, given that we were on a tropical island, we only made it to the beach once. this was partially cause we were pretty lazy and it was just so nice to chill on the pier. anyways, the beach was great. i dont think i’ve ever been in water this warm before. of course, memory is a weird thing, but i dont seem to recall it being this warm last time i was in thailand, maybe due to the time of year. this water was great though. you could just get right in without giving it a second thought.

one of the days we scootered out to these waterfalls in a national park on the island. the falls emptied out into this little swimming hole. the water looked murky and a bit uninviting, but the thai people seemed to be enjoying it so ryan and i got in, while caryn watched from above. there were actually little fish swimming around inside, and a tiny one tried to bite me!! the water here was much colder than the ocean, but still enjoyable once you got used to it. the thais that were there did crazy stuff like backflips off the cliffs into the (fairly shallow) water below, but we never tried it.

ryan and caryn w/ a small section of falls behind them

reflection of the trees

mountain climbers!



haven’t posted in 5 days now. finally wrote most of a post two nights ago, and the computer died on me leaving me pissed off at having wasted half an hour for nothing. the last thing i wanna do now is to repost about the same thing, but oh well.


i arrived in bangkok on the 5th and met up w/ my friend ryan. he’s someone who i’ve been friends w/ for hella days. we became friends back in the 2nd grade and hung out for a few years, but then his family moved and he stopped going to my school. years later, in junior high, my family moved, and totally randomly i ended up running into him at school again. once again, hung out for a few years and then gradually somehow lost touch, until we randomly ended up crossing paths again. so basically, for the last 20 or so years, we’ve been crossing paths over and over again. pretty cool. so, i was pretty psyched when he said he’d be coming to thailand to hang out for 2 weeks.

finding everyone at the airport was a bit confusing. we were supposed to meet at burger king. turns out, there are 3 or 4 burger kings in the airport. i eventually found ryan, but caryn wasn’t showing up. in the end, it turned out that she was over 2 hours late since the flight she was supposed to take had an emergency landing! yikes!

oh, one other cool thing about meeting up w/ ryan was that he brought me a package of stuff that my parents sent w/ him. they bought me a camera as an early bday present (a sony pc-200 7.2 megapixel cybershot)! i was really really excited about getting this camera. for a while now i haven’t been satisfied w/ the quality of my photos, and this was pretty much the perfect present! not only did they send me the camera, but they sent me a bunch of other little things from home that i was missing like doritos etc. it was so cool that my parents and brother had gone through all the trouble of getting me everything i needed!

anyways, in bangkok we stayed near kho san road, the pace where almost all backpackers stay. sheez, being there was so completely bizarre after coming form myanmar. there were just so many damn tourists there! the whole place was literally exploding w/ 7-11s, atms, neon signs, bars, etc. seriously it felt like it was daytona mtv springbreak or something. ugh. from the moment we got there, i really just wanted to get out of there. we ate at a restauarnt, and the food was crap. figures.

after a while, we decided to walk around bangkok a bit. while we were out, ryan got exposed to his first impression of that wonderful thai hospitality. we were digging through our guidebook when a man came up offering to help us find what we were looking for. he informed us that there was a very interesting nightmarket nearby that we should go see, so we decided, sure why not? he also said that near the market there was a TAT (tourist authority of thailand) office that could help us w/ any other questions we had. conveniently enough, there happened to be a tuk-tuk right there that could take us. so we hop into the tuk-tuk and head off to the night market, mentioning to the driver that we dont want to stop by the TAT since we have no need.

a few minutes later, the driver starts getting really pushy and keeps trying to get us to go to the TAT. we repeatedly say no. eventually, he tells us that if we go there, he gets a free gas coupon. ah-ha. so *that’s* why he wants us to go there so bad. we still say no. he starts scowling. eventually he just pulls over and says that we are just a few blocks from the market and can easily walk the rest. we tell him to just take us there. he refuses. i, like a dumbass, almost get out of the taxi until caryn tells me not to. after arguing for a bit, we finally tell him that unless he takes us right to the market, he should just drop us off where we started. so he turns around.

it all became evident. there was no night market. the whole thing had been a big scam to get us to this fake TAT office so he could get his comission. the driver finally drops us off and then has the nerve to ask us to pay him!! i couldnt believe he actually thought we might pay him for taking us absolutely nowhere. we told him no. in a last ditch effort to scare us he threatened to call the police if we didnt pay. yeah right. we told him to go ahead and he angrily drove off. ugh. after spending so much time in myanmar, i had slowly forgotten to always be on my guard for bullshit like this. so damn annoying.

eventually, after walking around a bit more, we crashed out.


we got up today and headed to go see watt pra kaew, the royal palace. when we got there, they made us put on these dorky pants since we were wearing shorts. in the end, we didnt even end up going into the palace since the emerald buddha, the most important thing there, wasn’t on display. by the way, it’s hot here!! so hot!! i was hoping it’d be a little cooler than myanmar, but no. even wearing shorts and a tshirt doesnt help. it’s so damn humid too!

since we didnt go to watt pra keaw, we walked over to wat po instead. wat po has this huge 46 meter long reclining buddha in it. it’s amazing to see sculptures that are just so damn huge! the rest of the grounds here are filled w/ lots of glittery intricate temples, cool stone statues, etc. i’ve actually already been to watt po when i went to thailand 2.5 years ago, but it’s been so long that it was really cool to see it again. we ended up at one point finding a ceremony where 3 monks got ordained (at least we think that’s what was going on). we just sat there and watched it all.. listening to the chanting was so beautiful!

after the watt, we decided it was too damn hot to be outside and so we ducked into an air-conditioned restaurant. ahhhh. air conditioning is pure heaven. the food was great as it almost always is in thailand (except for kho san road apparently). that’s one thing that i definitely love about thailand. the food is just so damn good. i absolutely love thai food and it’s such a treat to be able to eat it every day. plus, it’s so cheap here! at home it costs like 7 or 8 bucks a dish while here a dish costs 1.50 or less! plus, this country is famous for its fruit shakes. practically every meal we end up drinking freshly blended tropical shakes. so perfect on a hot day!!

bangkok has a river running through the middle of it and one of the ways that people can get around is by boat. basically, there’s a bunch of piers along the riverside and you can just hop on the “bus” at any pier and take it to any other pier. it’s kinda nice to just chill on this boat and watch the city slowly glide by you. plus, the breeze really helps on a hot day. we saw this really cool bridge right before we got off, too.

after my last trip to thailand, i had really been looking forward to getting another thai massage. we went down to this place that was recommeded to us and got *excellent* massages. the massage people even walked on us which was kinda crazy.