Friday, May 29, 2009

Yup that's right...

I'm still in Koh Tao, Thailand. Now I'm sorry to those that look forward to seeing and hearing about the next stops on my journey. My bungalow is still the same just a few added geckos, cockroaches, and a new bunk mate from England. I am now a certified Rescue Diver and can kick back and enjoy some fun dives. I'll say hello to the turtles and barracudas for y'all and maybe I'll rent a waterproof camera so that I can get some nice photos to show.

Next Stop: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Friday, May 22, 2009

Still in Koh Tao...

There is just something about this place that keeps people here. After my Open Water Diving Course, I was convinced to take my Advanced level course too. I switched beaches from being close to the pier on the island to a beach called Sairee (more dives schools than you can imagine). Before starting my new class, I wanted to go out one more time to make sure I wanted to do it. I met some really great people and decided to sign up right away for my next course. After successfully completing a navigation dive, cave dive, night dive, and couple others, I was officially an Advanced Diver. Of course, I celebrated with some of the guys I met during my fun dive and they convinced me to stay a couple more days. Who knows, the next course is a Rescue Diver...maybe I'll stick around for that!

A couple of other things keeping me here:
1) I had my first Western meal in 4 months (cheese calzone & tomato mozzarella salad...amazing!)
2) I have ESPN in my bungalow and I can watch the Yankees games live before I go out for my morning dive
3) There's always someone (usually British) really great to hang out with and chat about how both our countries' economies are in the crapper

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thai Islands

Koh Samet:
One word of advice to anyone thinking about travelling to the Thai Islands during a Thai holiday...DON'T DO IT!! I was so eager to get out of Bangkok I quickly booked a trip to Koh Samet (4hrs outside Bangkok) without checking the Thai holiday schedule. Well it turned out I arrived on this beautiful island with no place to stay because every local had planned a 3 day weekend with their family. So as I paced back and forth up and down the beach looking for a place to stay only to be slapped in the face each time with a sign that said, "FULL"...I really started to get worried. After about 1 hour of searching and literally asking every shopkeeper if they had a place I could stay in, I fell upon 9 Thai friends also looking for a room. They were college buddies that decided last minute to get away and didn't make any reservations (like me). They were so sweet and kind they asked if I wanted to join them (that's right 10 people in a room meant for 2). Needless to say it was a 3 day adventure with my new Thai friends and of course it all worked out like it always does...

Koh Tao:
After my adventure in Koh Samet, I was really looking forward to some quiet "LT Time" on the beach. I exchanged my Chasing Harry Winston (I do love my chick-lit book and the book stores here make it so easy to fine them) for a good Jodi Picoult book and I was ready to go. After my 10hr bus that arrived on the pier at 4am and the ferry that doesn't leave until 7am, I finally arrived in Koh Tao. I made friends with a nice Christian girl that shared the same passion for Israel that I do and we decided to find a place to stay together. We stayed on top of the cliff with a beautiful lookout to watch the amazing sunsets. After a day in no-mans land, I was ready to get back to "town". I switched bungalows and signed up for my 4day Scuba diving certification. (Back to school Back to school...said in my best Billy Madison voice). It was early morning wake up for class and then afternoon's spent at sea. It was amazing. I had an incredible time and of course passed my final exam for flying colors. I am officially an Open Water Diver (so if anyone wants to be my buddy...). I made friends with my Aussie Instructor and she convinced me to stay a couple more days to dive with her on her free days. So here I am still on Koh Tao and lovin' it! I might even sign up for the Advanced course but we shall see...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


After my jungle experience, I decided to join the rest of humanity in what Laos calls a big city...Luang Prabang. Previously named the capital (until Vientiene took that title over), it was so nice to be back in a place where my neighbors had opposable thumbs. Luang Prabang was very enjoyable squeezed between two rivers and sprawling with french cafes. I continued my journey with my British friends through most of Laos playing cards and enjoying our evenings dining at the Veggie Buffet for 8000 Kip (8000 Kip = $0.93). We spent most of the day bicycling around to see the sight and after we travelled to the most well known tourist attraction of Laos, "Tubing in Vang Vieng". I liken it to the lazy river at any water park in the states, but with drunken college age kids swinging from ropes and diving into the river. After tubing, everyone goes back to spend their evenings watching marathon Friends episodes showing in every restaurant in town. Since I was never much of a Friends watcher, Harry, Elle, and I watched the new X-men 4 (Wolverine) movie. Since it was clearly the pirated version, we had a couple of scenes where all we saw were the digital graphics (either way still enjoyable!). Needless to say, I spent very little time here. After moving on from Vang Vieng (or as I called it Spring Break 2009...Old School Style), we took our first local bus to Vientiene (sharing the journey with all sorts of farm animals and clearly going past the capacity limit after 1 stop of 50. Quite the adventure and certainly not one I plan on doing again. I had to say goodbye to my British friends as they were off to Vietnam and I was making my way back to Bangkok. Laos was beautiful, filled with incredible scenic drives through the mountains and enjoyable conversations with locals...although definitely a place that runs at a slower speed than I'm used to.