Category Archives: Thailand

Chilling complete, back to the travelling

And we’re really looking forward to getting on with it again, we fly to Cape Town tomorrow to explore the southern reaches of Africa. We are both very excited indeed and it’s thanks to a couple of weeks chilling with Rightee that the travel magic’s back!

Under our collective, Mary style, name of VAJ (Viv, Andy and John of course!) we don’t half know how to chill out. Jody(same style) really know how to bloody drink too, they slip into a nocturnal existence as if it was the most natural thing in the world. I try but I’ve clearly not had as much practice as these two.

That makes us sound really wild and crazy doesn’t it? Maybe if you discovered the amount of time we spent playing dominos and backgammon you might change your mind.

The island of Koh Tao is a great holiday spot with miles of beaches and it’s lively without being too busy. We found the dogs really interesting. They all have their own personalities of course but they were not like the pet dogs you’d get in Britain as the island has a collective dog community which doesn’t seem to feature people all that much. My favourite was only one that liked to play and enjoyed trying to catch handfuls of sand when you were in the sea. She wasn’t much interested in anything else you threw but if it was sand she was there. I liked the way she wagged her tail when looking at the fish, pretty cute. ‘Jon’ the dog from next door is an abnormally short legged and not particularly pleasant dog (John was mortified when he discovered the similarity in name). He (Jon not John)picked a fight with the old dog at the bakery every afternoon. If this didn’t happen you’d wonder if something was wrong, the poor old dog was absolutely paranoid. As I said after the last post the Myna birds are ace too, we could even recognise individuals. There was one that always sang really nicely to us and was followed around by his scraggy girlfriend, another had a bent beak. show_random($num=4, $tags=’kohtao’); ?>

We did do some useful things, like trying to sort out the fundraising but I’ve also been applying for University in 2007. Back to student hood for me and a working life dedicated to conservation (hopefully).

I’m not going to do a round up of Thailand as we’ve not really ventured off the beaten track and have been holidaying rather than travelling which, believe me, are very different. Holidaying is more like relaxation and travelling, for us, is about broadening our understanding of the world.

Here’s a few comments about Thailand though.

It’s true, there are ladyboys around
Thai people are pleasant, straight forward and well organised.
I love Chaing Mai
Thailand is a good place to go on holiday – Hooray for that.

Oh and just one more minor detail. South America is off and we’re coming home for Christmas. Hooray for that too!

Chilling in Chiang Mai

What have we been up to in the last couple of weeks? Erm, not a lot to be honest. After over 7 months of fairly fast-paced travelling we decided that we were long overdue a bit of a break to slow things down a bit.

The three days of travelling to get to Chiang Mai from Luang Prabang in Laos was a test of endurance involving 12 hour days sitting on hard wooden seats on a noisy boat. It was the closest we’d come to relenting and opting for a flight instead but we have made it all the way through Asia without flying and it would have been a shame to have cracked now so the more environmentally friendly, but far slower, mode of transport it was. As it turned out we were glad to have taken the boat as the boat journey was interesting and we got to meet fellow travellers Dave & Mey on the boat and have since spent much of our time in Chiang Mai with them, having a lot of fun in the process.

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Last week we took a trip out to the Elephant Nature Park, a bus ride away from Chiang Mai. They do really great work rescuing elephants from lives where they have suffered unspeakable brutality at the hands of their owners. Although seemingly little publicised, cruelty to elephants is endemic in Thailand – an attitude that doesn’t seem to fit with a Buddhist country who has the elephant as a national symbol. What we learnt was that in almost all cases a working elephant is an abused elephant and most spend their lives in misery. On a previous trip to Thailand I have been elephant trekking, suffice to say that I would never go again and would implore anyone to do the same. The day itself was a fantastic experience – we got to meet the elephants and feed them crazy amounts of bananas, pineapples and cucumbers. Elephants are definitely clever creatures as they rejected the cucumbers – a sure sign of intelligence! After that we got to wash them in the river requiring the stealthy skills of elephant turd avoidance as the floating feaces drifted by. It was so much fun spending time with the elephants and seeing their different personalities and social groups – a really worthwhile and enjoyable day, even the bit where we got charged by a baby elephant and another elephant stole my shorts and swung them around with its trunk!

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That aside we did a significant amount of football watching (an unpleasant experience when England are involved given the crap performances), went on a day cookery course a nearby organic farm and otherwise spent a lot of time relaxing and drinking with Dave and Mey.

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One thing I feel I should mention here, as it was particularly prevalent in Chiang Mai, is the stupid squeaking shoes that so many South East Asian parents insist on making their offspring wear. The shoes have an absurdely loud squeaker (like in a dog toy) in the soles so that every time the child takes a step they squeak. They drove me insane especially when you’re lying in bed with a hangover and all you can hear is an incessant squeak, squeak, sq-squeak from downstairs. ARGH!!! They definitely top my list of the most irritating and pointless inventions ever.

Anyway, back to the story. After Chiang Mai we headed to Bangkok where we met up with Rightee at the airport and then spent the next couple of days being drunk, having hangovers, groaning at England matches again and forgetting to retrieve clothes from laundry shops once we’d left Bangkok.

From Bangkok it was down to the southern island of Koh Tao where we have done more drinking and relaxing as well as a great day’s snorkelling yesterday and not a lot else. Tonight we are going to have the usual tortuous couple of hours watching England.

And think that just about rounds things up for the moment, pip pip!

Thank you!!!

Yes, I am officially reet old now! Reet reet old!

My birthday was absolutely amazing and that’s a big thank you to loads of people for making it that way!

The day was great, I wasn’t born until seven twenty in the evening and as we’re 6 hours ahead here I could have a great birthday without actually having to be thirty until the following day! Bonus.

John will soon (hopefully) be writing a post about our journey from Laos to Thailand and what we’ve been doing since. (don’t hold your breath just yet, he’s a bit hung over at the moment). While on our 3 day border crossing we made friends with Mey and Dave. They live in Berlin but Dave is Irish. Both joined us for crazy golf and dinner on a boat floating down the river. We had fantastic fun and thanks to John for the surprise boat trip, it was wonderful.

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Later, the four of us gathered around my birthday cake from John. After i blew the candles out John divided it up between us for a bite to eat. YUK. It was like a beef jerky cake, all salty and meaty. Perhaps he bought it from a pet shop instead of a cake shop? (c Mum). Too revolting to eat but very funny. We decided to stick the rest of the candles in to give us a bit of extra light, it was a bit dark out on the guesthouse balcony. Boy did it burn! It was like a fuel cell in it’s own right, it just kept going and going and going and going! The more tequila we drank, with the lime scavenged from local bars, the funnier it got! It was one of those kind of evenings. A great birthday! Thank you John, Mey and Dave for making it that way.

We’re now down in Bangkok, I was sad to leave Chaing Mai and our 10 days of fun with our new friends. We were very excited about meeting Andy (Wright, to save confusion from all of the other Andys) at the airport. Eventually he arrived and we began an evening of drinking, of course. When we sat down for our first beer I was surprised and delighted by the amount of cards and presents Andy had brought from you all back home. Thank you so much! It was like having my birthday all over again. On the run up to the big day I was missing you all, much more than usual as it was I time when we’d all get together if I was back home. It was so nice to read all of your messages and receive lots of lovely pressies. I can’t list them all but there was a good mixture of really useful things and a nice bit of luxury that i’ve had to do without while we’ve been at large in the big wide world. Although – RUTH – thank you for the incontinences knickers but they’re too big so I think i’ll have to let John wear them.

Thanks again and a special thanks to those two sweeties John (for conspiring with alarming efficiency) and Andy W (for offering to carry undisclosed packages through customs).

J and A had a late one last night, sitting on a traffic roundabout. Obviously the place to be!

Take care, missing you all.

Viv xx