Thursday, 28 June 2007

What travelers do all day

This is the title for the second part of are you experienced which I'm re-reading at the moment. Its a great satirical account of the type of catatonic, glazed over, too cool hippie travelers that are extremely prevalent in India, but can also be found in large numbers throughout south east asia, and unfortunately there are a fair number hanging out here in Lonely beach. Not that I'm against lounging languidly on a hammock listening to the likes of Morecheba and Frente, but at least I feel I'm doing it in a relatively unaffected manner. Tossers.

Anyway, I also came across another book by the same author which started well (had me in stitches for bits) but tailed off towards the end. After all that heavy reading I'm now looking for some light relief with Noam Chomsky's latest.
After that I might read something from this fairly appropriate list. Should make for a better read anyway than Thai girl, definitely one of the worst written books I've ever come across.

So a week on Ko Chang has turned into three. Dunno where the time has gone. Rainy season has also turned up with a bang, turning the front of our Bungalows/restaurant into a tributary of the local river. I feel like we know everyone in the village here now, if not in person then by an assigned nickname, or by the gossip circulating among the locals. We've eaten pretty much everywhere, and now have identified the optimum spots for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Speaking of food, we also went back to the Chili garden to supplement our knowledge with Pad Thai, Penang Curry and some stir fries - all delicious.
We also hit Paddy's Palms, the new (and thankfully only) Irish pub, located in White Sands area, for some top notch Sunday roast.

Nights out here in Lonely Beach are also getting quieter as the rain gets heavier. I've moved onto drinking Leo beer rather than Singha when possibly, hopefully this radical change will coax my brain into firing some new neurons to counteract the braincells I'm killing.
Right now were planning to leave tomorrow - me for Cambodia, Clare for North Thailand and Laos. Mind you, thats been the plan for quite a few days now, and were still here...something about Ko Chang just seems to hold you.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Birthday parties, Gods and Lady Boys

Ok, so I'm supposed to be in Cambodia now cooing over some really old buildings in a jungle, but instead I'm still in Ko Chang over indulging in all manner of vices. Still, it passes the days.

For a change of pace we rented a Moped for a bit and traveled around the island - the roads can be a bit of a challenge at times, but we managed to remain largely unscathed.

You have to love the randomness of Thailand sometimes - its not often you try to eat at what looks like a restaurant but is actually a kids birthday party, to which you are subsequently invited and fed for free (great food too), while later playing Jenga with lady boys, and then discussing matter of factly with another restaurant owner how she travels at will to Bangkok without her body actually leaving the room, all quite strange to say the least....maybe Hanno knows her??

And considering its the rainy season, the weather has been superb - the odd heavy shower for a few minutes apart, we've only had 1 day of persistent rain, when we decided against driving back to our huts, instead staying in the partyish area of White Sands.

We also completed a few hours at the Chilli Garden, a Thai cookery course ran by a lovely woman, and even if I say so myself, the Green curry I cooked was one of the best I've eaten and the Tom Yum, Chicken with cashew nuts and Glass noodle salads were equally delicious.

In fact all four dishes we cooked were so tasty we couldn't leave anything uneaten, so I'm starting to burst out of my Sarong. Best get back for some swimming to tone up.

Did also spend an awesome day at a waterfall (in the national park) with a gorgeous swimming hole below - sensuous ice cool clear water amidst beautiful verdant rain forest - what more could you ask for?

Friday, 15 June 2007

Daily grind

Many people think that travel is easy, kind of like a long holiday - but its actually quite hard work at times. To prove my point, here is a typical day on Ko Chang.

Wake up to the sounds of waves lapping at the base of the bungalow, and the cries of monkeys from the rain forest behind.
Get in some aerobic stretching exercises before breakfast.
Amble down the lush garden path to the treehouse restaurant for an omelet or maybe fresh muesli with homemade yogurt.

Recover from the exertion of eating by lounging in the hammock with a mango shake.
Cool off slightly with a dip in the warm turquoise water before snoozing on the fine sand under the shade of the palm trees.

Back for lunch of intensely tasty Pad Thai before stretching out on the deck with a good book, or back to the hut for a siesta. Stroll down to the picturesque village for a spot of Ting Tong spotting while sipping on an ice cold Singha,
or watch the sun set behind the islands from the deck of the Hut.

Time for dinner, probably a green or massaman curry, along with a chicken chilli and basil stir fry, and more Singha. Follow with deliciously sweet banana pancake, if still not stuffed.
Chill out to some excellent music at the bar before falling in to a languid deep relaxing sleep under the mosquito net cooled by the fan and soothed by those lapping waves.

Repeat as often as required.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Pad Thais and Singapore Slings

Ahh Thailand! It's good to be back.
With all the really delicious curries, noodles and banana pancakes for silly prices from the street vendors, you almost forget the stifling heat, humidity and hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Its all part of the experience but I must admit I'm quite pleased to now be on the island of Ko Chang, watching the waves roll on the white sand outside of this little internet cafe. Its still pretty hot, I'm only wearing shorts but I'm dripping sweat onto the seat, but there is a cool breeze outside and its got to be one of the most chilled out spots I've been to.

Before leaving Australia I got to do a great wreck dive in Albany - we got to really go right inside the ship even checking out the old computers and toilets:)
Though I most admit the 17 degree water left me shivering by the end of the dives.
For m,y last night in Perth I headed to Cottesloe beach as I didn't fancy another night out in the city - it was a lovely place, though I did end up bitten by bed bugs, which is never pleasant.

Singapore only got a stopover cause there was no direct flights to Bangkok, but I must admit I really liked the place this time - there is some great street food and lively bars where you can have fun trying to tell the working girls from the legitamate targets, listen to some truly awful Karaoke or sink a Singapore Sling while de-shelling peanuts in the long bar of Raffles hotel. Fantastic.

Even if the beer is pricier than a poncy Dublin nightclub. I had met Fran and Declan, a couple of Irish blokes on the train from the airport and Gemma and Alison, a couple of English girls at the hostel so it was fun hanging out with them. Also let the students at Toni and Guy practice on my hair for a bit.

In Bangkok I met up with Clare again and we spent a couple of days catching up before heading for Ko Chang.