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Thailand

Koh Tao to Bangkok

This entry has been written in retrospect to fill in a blank area...

rain 30 °C

quick entry here!
I boated it from Koh Toa to Chumphon than then VIP bussed it to Bangkok, and got screwed again. I was wandering around Chumphon getting medication for me ear infection from this old thai ladt with black teeth... she didn't speak english, so we communicated in signs and gestures only. really intereting experiance... she gave me some aerdrops, which on the bottle it dayt the are a super steroid, 30x more powerful than Cortizone!? and some Amoxycillin tablets, to be taken twice a day. and I found internet in Chumphon for 20Baht and hour, half of the price of the cheapest place I found in Thailand and 1/6 the price of internet on Koh Tao. The place was out a ways from the bus saion and apparently didn't practice the dual pricing system most buisnesses do. (there are tow prices for everyhting. the price tags on things are for Farang - westerners, like me. and the Thai people pay significantly les for everyhitng)
Like I was saying, beofre I wanfdered off on some tangent, I got screwed on my bus ticket again. I showed up and the bus was absolutely packed. every seat. the only place open was a bench seat in the top level. there were 4 people already sitting on it. I sat between two guys. one guy and his wife to my right - they were borderline furious, so I dind't talk to them and a german fellow named Frank on my left, who was eager to talk, very well travelled, fairly well off and completly alone in the world. no family. no friends. no job. nothing. he was amazing to talk to, was very curious and wanted to sharpen his english. we talked a good part of the way, which definetly helped take the edge off of being sqeezed into full body contact with him and the fellow next to me for 10 hours. Somehere in there,. I managed to sleep, somehow...
When we got to Bangkok the bus dropped us off on Khoasan Road at 4:30am. Frank informed me that he knew of a place that we could stay for 140 baht/ night just off Khoasan road and asked if I was interested. Brandon and I payed 6 or 7 hundered baht when we stayed there, so yes, I was interested. We ended up sharing a twin room with two beds for 100baht each! bloody incdredble for Bangkok, especially Khoasan road! less than $3!
stayed there for a couple nights, shopped my brains out all day, bought hhhhheaps of stuff. heaps. bought more luggage to store it all. bought a whole new wardrobe. got some really good deals and batered really well. broke lots of merchants hearts and made some very angry - but it always happens in the markets, if you get a decent deal. they want to screw ytou and they'll use everyhitng from anger to guilt to get a better price. I have learned how to play the game and aI play ruthlessly.
Bangkok this time was quite enjoyable.
Loads good experiances and Frank and I had a chace to bond well. I enjoyed our talks and he did muchly aswell, he had quite an iteresting story.. .was an engineer. had renounce the only two living memeber of his very wealthy family. it is just him in the world. he made lots of money in a short time in his youth and invested it properly. he now spends his time travelling the world. Looks like I'm going to have to go to Germany! my list of german contacts is quite long now! I could probably se most of the country with my accomidations covered by fellow backpacker I have met!
The airport shittel was 1/2 hour late, doddled around trying to find something or someoone, realize dit was stupidly behind schedual and then drove as wrecklessly as a crazed bull running through the streets in attempt to make up for lost time. HONK HONG! weaving between lanes, blowing lights! driving 140km hour speeding past police (no speeding laws there??) and managed to make it to the irport reasonable on time. my tickets worked out just fine and I had even had some time to kill before boarding a short and uneventful flight (I had a island seat with a broken tv because I changed my flight - shittiest seat on the plane) and arrived in hong kong, where my next entry resumes!
That about sums that little gap up...
shitty bus ride, good times and heaps of shopping in Bangkok, crazy shuttle and uneventful flight... then hits Hong Kong Kaos!
read on...

Posted by fenderson 13:41 Archived in Thailand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Got my certs!

This fish is swimming on soon...

rain 27 °C

You are now reading the words of a newly certified Advanced Open Water Diver and the holder of a EANitrox ticket!
I did my specialties in Navigation and deep diving (required), night diving, underwater photography and multilevel diving. I passed my nitrox exam with a 96% and blew my teacher away with my grasp on the theory... Physics class payed off.. that course is the bane of some divers, but it was a piece of piss for me. I did two dives today, the first down to 30 meters and the second a multilevel, 18, 14 and finishing it up at 10. Both dives were using Enriched Air Nitrox. Dive one on 32% oxygen, dive 2 on 36% oxygen (normal air has about 21% oxygen) Allows you more bottom time, so long as you dont go to deep with it (another 5 meters or so deeper on the first dive and it could kill you via Central Nervous System toxicity...)
anyyway... the dives were fun. Turns out I'm not super sensitive to Nitrogen Narcosis... just a little bit of delyed reaction that you're not aware of.. similar to having a couple of beers. Some people get really "narked" and try to take off their scuba gear and things like that at 30 meters... I did alright. 40 meters (the recreational limit even for a dive master) might be a little different... I'll find out whenever I decide to work toward my dive master... other than that, the 30M dive was very much like any other dive. No sharks... little bit diffrent bottom dwellers... including a huge crab, in one of those giant conch shells people use as horns, motoring by one the ocean floor. that was kind of cool. The dive site was pretty barron. Shitty dive site choice on my instructors behalf, IMHO.
Second dive was lovely. Had plenty of time to leisurely swim about, saw some a couple huuuuge triggerfish (very deadly and very beautiful - it's really territorial and stings) and lots of nice corals and things... in a site I've dived a number of times, every time is something new though...
so yeah. That is that. I think I'm done diving. My right ear is really bothering me. My glands in my neck are a bit swollen. been wearing myself down studying, going out for beers, not sleeping much... so my ear canals are plugged up a bit... that means no diving for me, today was really pushiing it.. but I it kept quiet and descended slowly... I really wanted to do my deep dive. but I'm paying for it now. it's quite uncomfortable, really.
It is presently raining fairly steadily. I have not seen rain in almost 2 weeks. I have been blessed in that regaurd. when it rains here it rains hard, quenching and flooding the pavement. I got goosebumps all over and a tear welled up in the corner of my eye as I waded through the hot puddles... the puddles aren't hot back home... it doesn't smell like motor cycle engine lubricant when it rains back home... I really am going to miss this place, it has earned it's place in my heart.
my time to go is coming very soon! I leave Koh Tao day after tomarrow in the evening, boat and bus it up to Bangkok (almost a full day just for that because of a wait in Chumpon between the bus and the boat), stay a couple of days in Bangkok before flying to Hong Kong stay for 4 full days with partial days on either side and then fly home on the 5th. On the way home I actually arrive before I leave... which will be wierd.. I leave Hong Kong at 4:30 in the afternoon and arrive in Vancouver at 1:45pm, THE SAME DAY! that is going to be strange! I have not bought my wesjet link to edmonton yet... I may want to stay a day or two in Vancouver, have yet to decide...
I will let you know my exact plans as they transpire. I may fly right on through to Edmonton from Van, putting me home by the evening of the 5th or I might hang out for a day or two later...
ok. enought borning logisitcs and ramblings..
I'm tired and my ear is making me uncomfortable... time to track down a feed. sleep will come soon and fast tonight.
I love you guys lots... you are all in my mind and I'm anxiously awaiting seeing you all again!
much love!

Posted by fenderson 05:33 Archived in Thailand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Wow!

that's all I can say...

sunny 30 °C

I just got back from my first night dive! and Wow! is all I can really say! The ocean is a totally different place in the black of night! Watched the sunset from the boat, jumped into the water juuuust as the sun was dissapearing, the first twenty minutes of the dive, darker, darker. By the end it was pitch black... follwing our dive master in a line of pairs... we perused around white riock dive site... a few of the animals that came to check us out included a couple of sting rays, just youngins... really cute.. a sea turtle (!!my god!!) and a barracuda, a good half meter long one at that... all of the fish are different.... they must partol the bottom in shifts... day fish sleep at night, and vice versa... because I've dived that sight before and this was totally different... the dive eventuially ended when another group got all confused and a few people started following us. messed everyhting all up. have to be reeeealy carful about saftey stuff in the dark. that is for sure. it was reeeally challenging navigating and keeping track of your buddy, your dive master, the bottom of the ocean, triggerfish (which can kill you), corals which are really fragile (mind you, they'll tear your skin open before they snap...)
Yeah. That was one of 3 dives I did today. oh yeah, I'm a certified open water diver now! and I'm working on my advanced course! as well as obtaining my Nitrox (entiched air) ticket. I've done 7 dives now (about 6 hours underwater) and am getting really good at it... my assistant dive master today didn't belive that I had just started a couple days ago! I'm a pisces, what can I say? First dive today was part of the navigation unit, second dive was a photography unit (I took a 7MP camera down with me and shot some pics and video) the photo dive was fun... but a little frustrating.. the camera was kind of shit and I spent half of the time just learning how that particular camera worked best... and the couple I was diving with had camera problems, which slowed us up, etc. etc. I'll see how the pics came out... I'm not expecting anything too great but we'll see....
tomarrow is all theory for my nitrox ticket... lots of charts and tables and calculations. enriched air bringfs in a whole bunch more things you can screw up.. as if nitrogen narcosis, the squeeze and decompression sickness weren't enought... now I could get poisoned by oxygen... lovely. It has lots of benifits... I'll beablt to stay down significantly longer on a dive (yay!) and my ticket will allow me to obtain and safely use nitrox. nioce. so yeah. after a day of theory on that, I do a couple of dives on nitrox, including my first deep dive! down to 30meters! almost 10 stories under water! so far I have only been down to 18... and I'm also going to learn multilevel diving with a dive computer. that should be cool aswell. then I'm Advanced open water certified and Nitrox certified and hva e areally huge credit card bill...diving is cheap here... but I have taken alot of training. I could have done 30 or 40 leisure dives for the same price...
We'll see after that. there are are a bunch more levels. I'm about half way to dive master now!
alright. so as you can tell, my life consists of diving these days. diving and diving theory. and eating. and shooting off fireworks at night. Went out with Mike last night to the beach bars here. bloody amazing. I dind;'t even know that prt of town was here! bean bags and funky music, right on the beach... a whole row of them. we we're both completely stunned when we found them. stunned is the word... neither of us imagined such places to be of this world. I want to bring people back here. bring them to the bottom of the ocean and come and hang out in comfy, loungy, beanbag filled beach bars in the evening. llife is great. good meals for $2 canadain, my private bungalow with ensuite at the dive resort is $5/night. Doesn't get beeter than this... if it does... prove it. I want to see it. and I want to dive and lounge there because it must be heaven! It there scuba diving in heaven? of corse there is! there has to be...
ok. life is good.
life is really good.
somehow, I am still really excited to go home. really excited! I ordered a bunch of components from a company in hongkong to get started on some projects when I get home... so Dad, if a package arrives... either sign for me or... you can probably leave it till I get home. it will be soon enough, I reckon.
ok.
that's it for now. I've spilled the contents of my mind to my satisfaction for this evening...
talk to you in person soon... and chrysi, I sent you an email, it sent without coming back with an error message this time, but I still don't know if you got it?
ok.
I love you all heaps.

Posted by fenderson 06:57 Archived in Thailand Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

On my own again...

Greetings from Koh Tao! - where the water is clear and the diving is cheap!

sunny 30 °C

Ok. got to make this quick. internet is really pricey here!

alright. lots has changed...
after spending 8 or 9 lazy days on Koh Pah Ngan... hanging out, snorkelling, eating and hammocking... we have finally moved! we both agreed that we could live at the seaflower indefinetly.(our costs worked out to be about $15 a day CAN for all the food we could eat and our accomidation, ech)
Brandon had to go back home. unfortunately... we parted ways yesterday on Koh Pah Ngan. He got on a boat to Surat Thani and I got on a boat to Koh Tao. He had to catch a bus back to Bangkok to fly out this afternoon. Was loads of fun Travelling with Brandon... feels kind of weird to be wandering around Thailand with out him. Oh well... back to solo travel mode.
Koh Tao is a beautiful little island. only 22sq km! My very first impressions were really good. coming around on tyhe boat, the rocks were different than the other islands... little coves of bungalows on the beaches and coming off the boat, I looked down into the water and I couldsee right to the bottom of the crystal blue bay... layers of neon blue fish swimming about. bloody beautiful waters. I can't wait to get in them. might go for a little snorkel in Mae Hadd before my class begins at 1:30... oh - I signed up for my PADI dive course today. I'm going with Crystal. My skyive instructor reccomened them and worked for them for a number of years... they all remember him well cand cracked me a deal. 9000baht for the course, including 4 nights accomidation at the resort. that's $265 for 4 days of training to get my open water dive certificate, incuding 4 dives, I belive... and 4 nights accomadation. Pretty decent, I reckon....
so yeah... I will probably spend most of my remaining time here on Koh Tao. I can't be botered to do much more exploring. it's beautiful here and I can spend my free time walking the island.. as it is only 3km across! and there are lots of beaches and forest trails and things...
oh. and my plkane tickets are messed up. I wriote that when I called to change the dates, they were all booked up... I guess that's how it's got to be... and the nearest date they could get me a seat is the 5th. figures... I shoulod have thought that there would be alot of people flying from Hong Kong to Vancouver for Canadada day... they don't call it Hong-couver for nothing...
annnyhow. just thought I'd drop a little line...
and Chrysi, if you're reading this, your email addy is messed up... your hotmail account keeps tossing messages back as "undeliverable" check on that, because I can't send you anyhting by email, hey?
oh - and if anybody has any shopping requests... like any items they would like from Thailand/HongKong while I'm here, I can pick them up for you. This goes for anybody, don't be shy... if it's expensive, I've got credit... there are loads of cool things to buy here... even general requests.. like a nice silk throw for a couch or a nice brass buddha... let me know by dropping a comment on here or drop me an email.
cool. I'll probably write again soon. surely I'll have some ranting to do after this scuba course...
alright. love you lots.
sorry I'm not going to be home for the reunion... you'll have to Party it up hard on my behalf.. but I'll see you all later that week.
love you lots!

Posted by fenderson 21:53 Archived in Thailand Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Ko Pah Ngan

Loving those hammocks. Snorkelling with the reef fishes and parting with the full moon

sunny 32 °C

life has been grand this last week.
We have been staying at the Seaflower, a beautiful patch of bungalows growing on a nice beach on the west coast of the island of Ko Pah Ngan.
The only thing really momentus we have done in the past 8 days or so is attend this month's full-moon party, which are kind of the original huge full moon parties. biggest beach party in the world, apparently. It was big alright. big rave/dance/club/house kind of party. More of Brandopn's thing than mine, but hey... had to see what t was like. either way, lots of beautiful women and mad did everybody ever get messed up.
So yeah... basically, life has consited of laying in a hammock, eating food, snorkelling, lightng off HEAPs of cheap thai (and chinese) fireworks... hanging around the beaches. life has been great. the Bungalow we found at the seaflower is 100Baht each per night (less than $3 CAN) and is the best place we have found yet. beautiful grounds, outdoor showers, old style bungalow with a hammock on the deck. perfect. The beaches are nice. the water is hot when it's shallow, and comfortably warm when it's deep. We're right on the reef, so a guy can walk out to the drop off point and jump right between huge reef structures for a little dip. and I bought my own snorkel, so I can go whenever I want.
Only shit thing is that almost a week ago I biffed on a motor scooter and messed up my ankle a bit. It's fine to walk on but it was pretty bloody and swollen for the first few days. The doc fixed me up with steroids, antibiotics and what have you. no biggie. I think my travel insurance covers it.
Brandon is headed home this weekend.
As for me... I may not be making it home for the family reunion... I called about my tickets, after leaving them wayyy too long. I actually didn't even notice I had missed my flight by 2 days already! but the guy let me change the dates, no problem.... strange, but I didn't say anyhting... end of story, flights are booked up until the 5th of July. Which is kind of shit. but if that's the way it has to be, that's the way it's gonna be. I can stand staying here and extra few days... I'm wayy over budget, but life isn't going to get any cheaper going back in Canada... I might get a chance to go to Ko Chang or Even Angor Wat with those 5 days...
and so far I am planning on jumping on to Koh Tao to do my PADI open water dive certificate, as it is the cheapest place in the world to do it. 4days of scuba diving for 8000 baht ($235CAN) which leaves me with my world wide open water dive certificate... that is the plan, thus far. All is going according to plan... But Im'm going to be really poor by the time I get home...
alright. I've been dreaming lots about all of you back home. Love you lots and I'll see you all soon.

Posted by fenderson 05:07 Archived in Thailand Tagged backpacking Comments (3)

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