Sunday, November 26, 2006

We just got back from Ko Samet. It was so cool, the nicest place I've been in Thailand so far. The whole island is a national park so it doesn't have that touristy feeling that you get at some beach towns with the big hotel resorts. The one bad thing is that you have to pay an entrance fee to get on the island...only 40 baht for Thai people (or anyone who can pass as being Thai) which is about $1 and 400 baht for foreigners (anyone who is white). This is pretty standard for living in Thailand, "farangs" end up getting charged more because they can charge us more. We didn't have any hotel reservations so once we got off the boat we were kind of at a loss at where to stay. We decided to just get in a sung taew (basically a truck taxi that has benches in the back of the truck) and take a look at some of the other areas of the island. It felt like a jungle safari cruise because the roads weren't paved and we were bouncing around like the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. None of the beaches looked quite right so we stayed on till the end of the route and luckily we ended up at a nice stretch of beach with some nice looking bungalows.

The beaches were beautiful, with white sand and clear blue green water, just what you would imagine a tropical island would look like. In fact, the water was so clear that while we were swimming we found 1,100 baht in the water. First, I found a 100 baht bill laying at the bottom of the sand and thought that was funny but then I realized that there was probably more and when I found the 1,000 baht bill we couldn't believe our luck. We figured it was just a little birthday gift from the sea gods. :D

Another great thing about the island was there were lots of friendly dogs and cats frolicking around the beach. It was such a nice change from the mean, tough animals of Bangkok. The cats would actually let you pet them and one of them even came and jumped up on my lap in the restaurant. I realized that when I die I want to come back as a cat on an island like Ko Samet with nothing to do but sleep and get fed by tourists.

We hung out at the beach, got some dinner and then decided to go walk out on the beach. It was low tide so the beach looked totally different then it did during the day. While we were walking we noticed some funny looking balls in the sand and lots of other intriguing things but couldn't see what was causing them because it was so dark so we went and bought flashlights at the minimart and went exploring. We saw some crazy stuff. Turns out the little ball things were crab eggs. Thousands of little crabs laying millions of little eggs. We saw these piles of sand that look like little turds or brains or coiled up snaked. It took us a while to figure out that they were caused by these tubular worms deep inside the sand that was pooping out the sand. Sea cucumbers, puffer fish, shrimpy was so entertaining!

I'll try to upload the pictures tomorrow, the internet cafe I'm in now doesn't allow uploading files.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Last week we went to Kanchanaburi like I said we were going to. It was so beautiful and relaxing. We went to see the Bridge Over the River Kwai which was built by American POWs during World War II after they were captured by the Japanese. It was crazy to think that even Thailand was affected by World War II. We were able to walk across it and a couple of times I thought we were going to fall in. They had lots of floating restaurants on the river and we saw a few that looked like floating dance clubs, people dancing and partying in the middle of the afternoon. Alas, we didn't find any elephants but next time when we go there are great waterfalls to visit so we can look for the elephants when we are not so rushed.

I've been trying to get healthier here. Everyday life provides a lot of exercise. For example, climbing stairs is a major part of my life. I teach and live on the 4th floor so everyday I probably climb up and down 4 flights of stairs about 20 times each day. I counted and there are 88 stairs going up to my classroom and a little less going up to my room. If I go up and down 20 times, thats about 1,760 stairs a day. My leg muscles are getting crazy but I really need to do more sustained aerobic activity. At the mall they have free aerobics classes outside that look really silly but I'm going tomorrow just to say that I've done it. I'm also trying to eat healthier because I don't feel like I'm getting a lot of nutrients from the food I was eating. Lots of rice, rice and more rice but not a lot of anything else.

Next weekend I think we'll go to Ko Samet to get some beach action in. Its supposed to be beautiful and not far from Bangkok so I'll take lots of pictures to share with you all.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

hey everyone, long time no post. everythings good here in thailand. the weather is getting cooler, the nun is chilling out a bit (well for now), my students are acting like little angels and i've made some good friends here. two new american girls came to our school and they are all gung ho about travelling which has motivated me to get out and do more things instead of being so lazy.

so last weekend we went to ayuthaya, which was the ancient capital of thailand. we made a day trip out of it and rented bikes to get around to all the temples. there were tons of temples, hundreds of them, but we only made it to three! the temples were so beautiful and getting around by bike was super cool because there weren't that many cars like in bangkok and there were real sidewalks. we saw elephants and horses walking around randomly (not something you see everyday in california). i posted the photos to the flickr account if you want to check them out. i have to figure out something with my flickr account though because i've ran out of those might be the only two photos for now.

next weekend we might go to visit the bridge on the river kwai. its not that far from bangkok and apparently you can bathe and ride elephants there which would be a fun experience. don't hold me to it though. i also want to try to take some language classes this weekend because i haven't been serious about studying thai with my book. i've learned basic thai phrases just by happenstance so if i make a real effort i might actually be able to understand whats going on around me.

thats about it from me. keep those emails coming! its great to hear from people at home even if its just a quick hello. :)