That time I got mugged at knife-point at the Full Moon Party

Getting in to Koh Phangan Was one of the smoothest transportation arrangements that we’d have had to date. Having grabbed our bags off the boat, we walked to the beginning of the pier to be inundated with people herding tourists in to truck beds to distribute them to their appropriate hostel. We were all here for one thing: Full Moon Party.

After a short trip to the other side of the small island, Josh and I unloaded in front of our appropriately named hostel: Lazy House. It was getting late, and the parties weren’t kicking off until the following day. After an all day journey, the last thing that I really planned on doing was getting drunk, or anything beyond updating my blog. We were shown our room, which was 3 pairs of bunk beds. We were told that we’d have the place to ourselves tonight, but we would almost certainly have roommates the following days.

We claimed our bunks, and unpacked and got the AC on cold. We quickly found out that, while the hostel has WIFI: it was either broken in our area, or the signal didn’t reach the dorm. Giving up on blogging, as we didn’t want the laptop to leave the room, we walked over to the main hostel, a short block away. We were greeted with the offer of “all-u-can-eat BBQ.” We were famished and happily dropped the 300 Baht (12 dollars) to scarf down some western style food.While the food was sub-par, feeling somewhat disappointed, we found out that the BBQ included one free drink at the pool bar (oh yea, there was a pool), which we claimed. Considering the drink was on the menu for 200 Baht, we were both happy. After dinner, Josh was like, “What do you wanna do tonight?” and I simply replied “Man…. nothing. I wanna drink a beer and watch a movie.” So we sat down and we chilled out with a few of the other hostel guests and had a low key night.

Being the early riser I am, I woke up around 7 and went in search of coffee and something to eat. Have I mentioned how much I miss real coffee? I can’t wait for my french press, holy shit. Anyways. I hopped back in bed, caffeinated, and started to read, while Josh began his morning routine. While he was showering, I was greeted by three of our soon to be 4 roommates for the next 48 hours: Laura, Louise, and Fiona; Three lovely girls from Ireland. we quickly all became friendly and after everyone claimed a bed, we made our way to breakfast and then back to the pool for some more lazy pool time.¬†502

Koh Phangan has majorly capitalized on the whole Full Moon Party. Going in to this, I was expecting a couple days of chilling out, and one day of going hard. I quickly learned that, no, this is pretty much a week long event. Lazy pool time had evolved in to the 5 of us attempting to play pool volleyball, which was great fun, regardless of the pitiful score. While enjoying a steady supply of beers while enjoying the shady side of a refreshing pool, we were asked a half dozen times if we were going to be at the Jungle Party tonight. Sounded cool. Girls were in. Russ and Kirsti were in (they had just made it to the island and planned on meeting us later). Josh was in. I was in. After a quick stop off at the room to change, freshen up and to get some baht, we made our way out to the party.

The first leg of the trip was to the pool, naturally, as the crowd was getting started with cheap buckets of booze, beer pong, and various other drinking games. Meeting at nine, we figured we enjoy our time here a couple of hours, as the drinks were quite expensive at the actual party itself. Josh had to run back to the room for a minute for something, and he returned with our 6th roommate: Ryan. Ryan, I can only explain as… well… Have you ever seen the cartoon Recess? He Looked exactly like Mikey, but instead of poetry he just really liked to talk about LSD. Being quite drunk at this point, I aptly pronounced that going forward, his name would be Hot Ryan. There was a cheers in agreeance, and we continued to party until our shuttle came.

11:30 rolls around and our truck full of rowdy, drunk, hostelers gets dropped at the end of a dirt road, and we are quickly (as we could) were ushered down this pathway with hundreds of other equally inebriated party goers. The closer we got, the deeper, and louder the Bass got. This sounded massive. Like… bigger than I expected. We get to the ticket booth, trading our slips of paper for wrist stamps and walk in to a magical forest of black lights, glow paint, pails of alcohol, fire dancers, and deep trance electronic music. I like this. I like this a lot. In typical group fashion: we all got lost within the hour and we spent the evening doing our own things. This was good because within 3 hours of knowing Hot Ryan, I didn’t like him. He simply grinded my gears all wrong, and I regretted giving him a nickname. After getting My face/beard painted with the girls, I wanted to dance. I paired off with Laura and made our way to the stage. It was packed, and I wanted to be near the front. I showed Laura how to be a little Canadian: Tapping people on the shoulder, saying something nice about them, and asking if we could move in front of them for a minute. less than a song later we were on the platform in front of the DJ, having an amazing time.

We all left the party around 4:00, citing an early night for the real Full Moon Party that night. After showering out all the neon in my hair I stumbled in to a room of people getting up to bed, and Ryan pronounced “Hey man it’s Hot Ryan! I made it home!” With a mumble, I informed him that no, he’s no longer Hot Ryan. And given his appeal, he’s now “Hot Pocket.”

Sleeping in a bit the next morning, and nursing a shockingly mild hang over, we all opted to do what we did best: pool time. We claimed our shady spot, and geared of for doing little of nothing until the night time. I managed to keep dry until two, when I dipped in to cool down, and cracked my first beer. After confirming that I had no spins or stomach flips from the night before, I announced that I was indeed good to go. Once finished, we made our way in to town, in search of body paint, neon tank tops and inappropriately tight bottoms.I mean: We needed to fit in right? Wrong. We needed to stand out.

After eating, we all made our way back to our now local haunt, the pool bar, for face painting, buckets, and debauchery. Sadly, for me, the night was WAY too hot. And I couldn’t just cool down with more gin. I knew that would get mad, and this is probably the only Full Moon that I am going to experience. So I just let myself sweat, It was gross, but who cares, We were having a blast. We spent the night covering ourselves with paint, drinking and running around meeting new people. At around midnight, we decided: lets head to the beach, it’s time to experience the full moon.”

We snaked through the town, buckets in hand, following the crowd all heading to the same place. It felt like the Celebration of Light on steroids. Loud music pounded from windows, people openly sold liquor, paint, neon, and LED’s on the sidewalk. None of that could distract me from the goal of hitting that beach though. And we hit it hard. Maybe a little too hard.

The party was unreal. You step on the beach and it goes until you cannot see, in both directions. There’s stages every couple hundred feet with a different DJ and a different style of music. I was loving it. Shortly after, one of my friends needed to tap out. Too much to drink too fast, and needed to get home. Fiona and Josh opted to help her back to the hostel. I was a big guy, and I didn’t need supervision, and leaving two girls alone out here is absurd. So I went on my way, zig-zagging up and down the beach, stopping only for people who wanted pictures with me, for the next hour or so

Soon after that, I realized that it really wasn’t that fun alone, and attempted to find my way home.Here’s where it gets tricky. There’s 50,000+ people crammed on to a beach, and It’s pitch black, and I have no idea where I am. I walked until I could make an educated guess where I need to step out and head inland. to my credit, I was pretty close. Sadly not close enough. I strayed away from the crowd and made my way to a group of pople trying to get fares for their taxi. One man asked if I needed a ride, and I asked him if he could point me in the direction of Lazy House Hostel, since I didn’t want to pay for a cab, when I knew I could walk. He pointed me down an ally and told me to head that way and I should see it.

I hould have paid for the cab. As I made my way down the ally I man that I easilly had a foot on came up to me. He started at me and showed me the knife in his hand. I promptly unzipped my fanny pack (what, my hot pants didn’t have pockets, ok?) and gave him my wallet, while showing I had nothing in there. He opened the bill fold and took out all my cash: only about 1,300 Baht, since we had all left our ID’s and extra cash in our safes in the room. He dropped my wallet and booked it. I picked it up and hustled in the opposite direction. I hustled home, freaking out, and let every one know what’d happened. All in all, an unsuccessful Full Moon, but an experience that I will never forget.

Josh and I went to sleep, along with Fiona, Louise, and Laura shortly after: The boys needed to leave early, and the sun was about to come up. We packed in the morning, and hailed a cab. As we walked out of the room, Hot Pocket walked in. He had been out all night. Good for him, I guess. At least I didn’t have to deal with him.

All in all, this was one of my favorite legs of the trip. I got to meet some amazing people that I will never ever forget, and for the first time, really got to experience group hosteling. Something that I’m experiencing again now, in Koh Tao, but that’s a story for another day ūüôā

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Hot Pocket Cameo on the left.

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Koh Lanta – Rescue Dogs and Psychedelic Shakes

So it’s been a while. ¬†Last I signed off, We had just checked in to our room in Koh Lanta. I was excited for this island, as we had a big week coming up with the Full Moon party, and where we were was well known for being a very laid back area. Great for relaxing, and slowing the pace down.

After we checked in to our room, I settled down to type up my last blog, whilst Josh went in search of food and drink. I’m pretty open to all types of food and when asked what I wanted I just said, “get me 300 baht worth of whatever.” I carried on typing, and moments later I got a message: “You’re sure three hundred?” Yep. I was hungry, and I could eat two entrees no problem. Portions are not like home, and if you’re really famished, you can find yourself hungry again pretty quick.

Josh returned home with more food than we had eaten in days. He found this AMAZING little place on the side of the road, with a wonderful woman who was super friendly cooking, and serving. We wound up eating there 5 separate times. We feasted until we could no longer move, and slept like babies.

The next morning, we did one of my my chosen activities. We headed to the road, waved down a tuktuk and made out way to the Lanta Animal Welfare Society. This amazing non-profit is “one of a kind” on this island. I really wanted to check it out, as a co-worker of mine does similar work. They sterilize wild cats and dogs, and if they cannot release, they rehome them to people on the island, or to people over seas. it was amazing to walk around and see the work that the volunteers do. We learned that in the last 11 years, they have reduced the wild dog population of the island buy over 90%. We lucked out, in a way that we got to meet 8 tiny little puppies that had just appeared weeks before, and got to play with some of the other dogs, waiting for flights home.

After and afternoon in the sun, we relaxed in the AC at home, and waited for night to fall so that we could enjoy the beach air without ruining my precious pale skin. Koh Lanta is quite well known for being the only place in Thailand that… well.. is a little more relaxed with the law. Many beach bars openly sell spliffs, weed, and mushroom shakes,¬†while¬†paying off police to look the other way as tourists and locals alike indulge in some of the finer things in life. We sat next to a large bachelor party and enjoyed watching them order large amounts of shakes, anticipating a wild and entertaining evening. These things did not come cheap and between the 10 of them must have spent close to 250 to 300 dollars¬†Canadian rounds¬†of psychedelic Slurpees. After sitting on the beach watching the tide come in with the rising moon, I learned how easy it is ¬†for locals to rip tourists¬†off. With a party of unsatisfied, sober men sitting beside us, we retired for the night, relaxed, enjoying the good vibes, and better¬†conversation with a buddy I haven’t gotten to speak with nearly enough with this past year. With one more day on the island, and nothing planned other than to sleep in, the morning¬†was looking good.

While Josh slept in, I was up early, refreshed and ready to get out to see Lanta, Our bus the next day left at 7:30 AM so I wanted to make the most of it. I hit our local eatery for breakfast and coffee and watched as the town started to wake up. ¬†I hadn’t heard from my roommate, so I let him sleep, while I walked next door and got a massage. 90 minutes later, and still text-free I opted for a walk on the beach, picking up shells, followed with lunch, at the usual spot. The woman asked about Josh and let out a big belly laugh when I explained that he was being Sleeping Beauty. I had her whip up a very spicy Papaya Salad (his fav) to bring home, and when to wake him up.

After doing so, we opted to find a tuktuk driver to take us across island to Old Town, which I can only describe to people back home as being the Steveston of the Island, with little shops with pseudo-homemade items and niche little restaurants, it was kinda cute, but something you only need to do for a little bit.

Being that we haggled to lady driver down to a mere 16 CAD dollars, to drive us the 70KM round trip on a side car, we sorta just allowed her to do her own thing on the way, which ended up being the most fun and interesting part of the stay. She stopped in at her home to hang up her laundry and feed her kids, before taking us round island. On the way back, she offered to take us to a “local market,” which was really just a veiled excuse so she could buy groceries. After exploring the market, looking aIMG_8579t the fresh curries, fish, and produce, we made our way home, stopping once to pick flowers off a tree with her, which she explained, “goes in my curry!”

We got home early and packed and got ready for an early morning, so that we could maximize the amount of time that we could sleep. Given our experience with transportation around here, we couldn’t really bank on getting any rest on our big commute to the other side of Thailand to meet up with friends for the Full Moon Party.

Bright and early, we loaded in to an 8 person van and made our way back to a familiar bus stop, a couple hours drive from town… It seems that this little hub is the point for getting anywhere south of Bangkok, as we waited for two hours for a large sleeper bus to carry us to the ferry terminal, some 4-5 hours away.

Lucky for us, I suppose, that there was more than one bus to take. Our initial bus (bus number 2) was scheduled to leave at 12:30. Having only stocked up on espresso drinks, Pringles and water, I trekked out to find us hot food to hold us over. When I returned to the depot at 12:05, Josh gave ¬†me the bad news that the bus hd come early and couldn’t wait for us…. odd. Luckily he was able to switch with a couple taking the third bus to the same location. We ended up seeing them on the same ferry as us, so why the bus couldn’t wait until the original departure time is beyond me.

We loaded on to  a jet boat and made our final leg of the journey to Koh Phangan, getting ti watch an amazing sunset as well chatted on the roof of the boat.

 

Coming up next post: Parties, Paint, Buckets and more. You won’t want to miss it (Spoiler alert: I got mugged.)

 

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Vehicular manslaughter and losing contact.

Koh Phi Phi is one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been in my life. Given that I haven’t been many places, and that’s not the biggest up-sell; I assure you it will remain high on my list for a very, very long time. We left off last post on my birthday. We had just moved in to our bungalow/Hut like room. Bonus points: PRIVATE bathroom. That’s right. For the first time since we started the trip, we had our own bathroom to wreck, without having anyone else stink it up.

After a 3 hour nap/blog session, Josh and I had worked up quite an appetite, and quite a thirst for some birthday drinks. We changed in to clean clothes and made our way in to the town to hunt down a solid place to eat. I wanted somewhere beach front, since the beach was white, and we were surrounded by huge rock formations. The whole place reminded me of a tropical White Rock strip. We sat down at a place, and got settled in. Menus were brought and we started to browse. Josh has warned me already that since it was a popular resort Island, that prices would be a little more expensive than anywhere else. As I browsed through; nothing jumped out as appealing. I hummed and hawed and josh looked the restaurant up on tripadvisor to see if there was any reviews recommending a dish. Instead, we saw review after review of negativity. At Josh’s instruction we simply stood up and walked right out. With Josh the only one ¬†with cellular data, he took the initiative of finding something worthy of a birthday feast. We found ourselves in a whole in the wall that I can only describe as a cafeteria. The wall was used to write names/doodles and other various forms of graffiti. What stuck out most was the giant “THIS WALL IS BETTER THAN TRIPADVISOR.” The place hands down had amazing food. We went back the next day even, just because we knew how great it was. After the meal, we needed to find drinks. We needed to make my birthday more than just a day of commuting. We located a bar, appropriately called “Carlito’s” offering happy hour drinks until 9 and promise of a fire show at 10:00.

Carlito’s proved worthy of a birthday celebration. We took our front row seats on the beach and ordered none else than my favorite: Gin and Tonic. No Leo or Chang beer tonight. The first drink went down all to fast and we were both quickly rubbernecking for our server, who seemed to think that two men couldn’t possibly finish a single hi-ball in less than 15 minutes in 35 degree weather. We weren’t annoyed. Carlito’s had obviously prepared for people like us, and included a set of Connect Four on the the table. Offering up a best 2 out of 3, I accepted Josh’s challenge. Josh is a great team mate, but as an opponent, he intimidates me. He’s fiercely competitive, and he’s good at pretty much anything he does. A born natural. That being said I took him to school on Connect 4. at around 7-3 the waitress came back and we attempted to order six drinks at once. The language barrier of explaining that “No we do not want 2 glasses with three drinks in them, and no we do not want 6 shots in one drink and no we do not want 3 doubles,” we ended up settling for getting 1 can of tonic, 6 shots of gin in shooters, and two glasses of ice. I wish I had more time to talk about this interaction but just thinking about it infuriates me to no end.

Long story short the happy hour ended and the fire show kicked off, If you’re reading this, you’ve likely already seen videos on snapchat or other social media outlets. We had, in short time, finished our shooters and chase, and needed something to tide us over for the show. Naturally, I ordered us two Traditional Thai beverages: A bucket filled with alcohol, fruit juice, and red bull, aptly called a “Clitoris.” Josh liked his drink. Josh liked it so much that he went on stage. I filmed Josh nearly catch on fire for the sake of an awesome picture. I love this kid.

Soon after, the night came to and end, and we needed to go home. Somewhere along the way, Josh and his cell became separated. Bad news, since My phone only connects to wifi, and while abundant, is not entirely convenient. After scouring the beach and bar, we returned with one less cell  on our person, and retired to the bed to prepare for a day of regret and heat.

I woke up a year older, and felt great. No hang over for me! Josh wasn’t feeling 100% so I suggested he take his time getting up and I head to the hospital and get my wounds checked out and cleaned up, as per instruction of the last hospital. I walked in and told them I felt fine, but that I was concerned about the skin turning this strange whitish colour on my toe. As a self-diagnosed hypochondriac, I was prepared for the worse. After a quick inspection from the nurse checking people in, she gave me a funny look, got a damp cloth and wipe it of. “It just sand, it OK!” I just stared at the floor in shame. The good news is that all my scrapes seem to be healing extremely fast. I asked if I could go in the water and she said it should be fine, so long as I clean them when I get out. I walked down to the pharmacy and picked up a nice big bottle of antiseptic and carried on with the afternoon.

The great part about Koh Phi Phi is that it’s a very chill town. No one really cares what anyone else is doing, and there’s enough places to eat, drink, relax, boat… or do what ever with out really getting in anyone’s way. After a bite at the diner place, I picked up some post cards and we meandered through the village. Neither of us felt like doing much else, as my wallet was lightened 48 hours prior from the motorbike, and now josh faced purchasing a new phone. We picked up some snacks and chilled on the beach and watched the sun go down, chatting and sifting the sand for shells. We retired early as I really wanted to go to the Lookout on the island, a 4 kilometer walk away from where we were staying. We jumped in to bed before ten and took the time to chat with friends back home who were just getting their morning¬†started.IMG_8496

My alarm went of bright and early at 7:30 and I excitedly jumped up and through on clothes to hike in. Josh was not feeling it. I asked if he wanted to sleep in and I bring back breakfast: an offer he couldn’t refuse. I headed out solo on my journey, and made my way to the Koh Phi Phi look out solo.

This was probably the best morning of the trip so far, for so many reasons. I remembered to bring headphones with me this time and I threw my iPod on shuffle. Ever have one of those days where you never once have to skip a song, and it just puts you in the best of moods? ¬†That was my walk up. I made it to the top in a little under an hour: not bad for it already being 32 degrees with no wind or clouds. While i looked like I had just stepped out of the shower, I didn’t care, and I soaked in the amazing view. Worth every step.

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I hustled back down since I knew we were on a schedule and as josh explained: Shuttles will wait for you, boats will not, so time to kick it. I made it back in to town and decided to treat us to breakfast. There’s a place right off the pier called Mango Garden that is the highest rated place to eat on the island. I picked up 2 breakfasts and ran back to the room to get ready to go. After showering and packing, and a quick bite I wasn’t feeling so hot. Actually that’s not true. I was feeling really really hot. And I was grumpy/anxious. I was worried that I might have gotten heat stroke, and this was terrible timing for that. We took all our stuff down to the pier on loaded on to a school bus like boat with bench seating and waited for the boat to take us to our next destination: The island of Koh Lanta. I was looking forward to this place as it’s a little bit more laid back, and relaxed, with less tourists.

The boat right was smooth sailing, uneventful and short; only one hour long. I spent it scrolling through photos and thinking about people I missed back home. While I am having the time of my life, there really is no place like home and I really cannot wait to be back. But just not quite yet: I have more adventures to do! We offloaded and were collected by the resort/hostels pick up service. This is where, according to me, I almost died a third time. Josh insisted that “This is just how Thais drive, we’re totally fine, just don’t look at the road.” My knuckles were so white that you could practically see the shadow od my skeleton glowing through, as the driver straddled the middle line, passing tuktuks, people stacked 4 deep on mopeds, and trucks loaded with children in the truck beds, at 100 KM/h. Shockingly we made it there with no reported casualties.

The place we reserved was interesting. Wait let’s back that up. The place that the booking guy at the hostel we stayed at in Bangkok booked us in to was interesting. We has specifically requested two beds, and air conditioning in each of our stops. So far, so good. This place had none of that. I offered to pay the difference as, me being rather large AND in charge, was sweltering. The woman pulled out a calculator and turned it around displaying 500. Not bad. 500 baht each, and since it’s my request, I don’t mind covering Josh’s portion too, due to my princess syndrome. We agreed and were excited to finally get some cool air on our skin. She then proclaimed “OK 3,000 Baht total for two!” OK that’s a little different. She wanted 1,000 total per night, just so we could have AC in our room. That’s over 150 dollars CAD and considering how cheap we’re travelling: that’s just not in our cards. We re-negged and took the original “fan room” that she offered us. We walked in and our jaws dropped. The room itself was fine, per se. It had two huge beds with nice sheets, a massive bathroom, and a vanity and a TV. What it didn’t have was wall plugs. Anywhere. Not one. It also didn’t have WiFi, which was advertised, and requested when we booked. Get this: there wasn’t even an outlet for the TV. It was just this massive CRT screen sitting in front of use like an Urn… or some other sort of hideous piece of useless art. Josh and I were having none of that. We couldn’t and wouldn’t stay here. We went back and asked for a refund, and that we needed to go somewhere with the amenities we paid for. She refused and said we needed to go through the booking company. Josh stormed off and I waddled after him, with my massive bag and sweaty head. We walked a total of maybe… 50 meters to the first hostel we could find. We asked what was available, and we were showing a garden room that was twice as big as my last apartment. It had wifi, CABLE TV, a fridge, massive beds, and a huge bathroom. I was scared to find out how much…. 2,400 Baht for three nights. 600 cheaper and it came with everything we wanted and more. Conveniently right next door as we still needed to connect to our next shuttle in three days at 7:00 AM. Josh went on a food run and we pigged out while relaxing in the cool air. Needless to say, some times things just work out fine.

Can’t wait to check out the island, and maybe get in the water for the first time this trip!

 

Oh and one more day to the list since I got a hike in ;

Missing you all at home.

59/100

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I almost died twice in 24 hours – Sorry Mom.

So Krabi didn’t really go as planned. The last place I left off, we had made our way to Ao Nang beach to take in the sunset, explore, and find some seafood to eat. All of this went pretty according to plan. Ao Nang is basically like Playa Del Carmen. Tons of bars, over priced beach resorts, and expensive food. We made the most of it and walked along the beach and back, and decided that we had better get seated ASAP to enjoy the sunset.

After a 15 minute search, we settled on a little place overlooking the ocean that has something of a Hamptons feel to it. Dinner was excellent: A tom yum seafood soup and a seafood glass noodle salad. I ordered both meals off the “spicy Thai” section of the menu, but both lacked any sort of heat whatsoever. I even asked them to make it “Thai people spicy.” No such luck. I gotta figure out a better plan to get some heat here.

After finishing our meals and settling up, the two of us meandered through the local stores all setting up for the Thai New Year, Songkran, the next day. As we walked, we discussed the game plan for the next two nights. I had only picked out one thing on the trip that I wanted to do: climb to the top of the Tiger Cave Temple, about 25 min North of Ao Nang. I suggested, based of price, that we rent motorbikes, considering they were only 8 dollars a day each. We picked them up and drove them around for a couple hours, until it was late. We scooted back to the hotel, as I had warned Josh: it was a steep vertical climb, and It’d be wise to get it done in the morning.

Morning came and we were up and out of the house the earliest all week. We hopped on our bikes and made our way back to our local (hey, 2 days in row counts, ok?) haunt and ordered from rice and curry for the trip. It was the best meal I’d had the entire trip. I told Josh then we needed to go back on our last day, before the bus came.

We settled up our tab and hopped on our respective bikes and headed out. I had never driven or been on anything with two wheels before other than one time when I was 12 and my Aunt Gina’s Husband took me on a motorcycle ride from Airdrie to Calgary, and back. Surprisingly, these things were simple to drive. Driving through these massive rock formations, with trees, and vines drooping down from the sky was breathtaking. I looked over to Josh at a red light and said “This is the most amazing day of my life and it’s only 10:00.” I never wanted this day to end.

15 minutes later it did. As I was navigating around a corner my front tire must have hit something on the road and the bike slammed down on the side and we started to slide. I don’t know how I managed, I assume by instinct: I crossed my ankles and arms over my chest and tucked my head in. I allowed my body to go limp, which threw me in to a roll, as opposed to sliding down the road. The bike, my back pack and my sandals rolled in to a small ravine, and I, in a daze sat up on the side of the road.

As luck would have it, I crashed right beside a family getting ready for Songkran, and hey rushed over. They, along with Josh led me to their home and sat me down to wash me up and make sure I was OK. One of them called EMS, who was on scene in 5 minutes. They asked if I wanted to go to the hospital. I hummed and hawed… I was okay. Was I? Is it just adrenaline? ¬†Wait I have travel insurance. Fuck it, “Lets go.”

The hospital was nothing like I expected. It was immaculate. Spotless, brand new, and very technically advanced. I refused the wheelchair and walked in to ER where I had not one, but two doctors standing and waiting for me, along with a team of nurses. There was no wait. They started working on before I filled out any paperwork. Josh showed up and I gave him my blue cross info while i had my bandages applied. Less than 30 minutes later I was being ushered out, cleaned up and better off than before. I was led to the cashier, and I looked over to ask if I needed to pay now or let Blue Cross pay for it. Josh informed me that Blue Cross would prefer me to pay and then have it reimbursed, as it cuts through a lot of red tape. Well shit. I cant afford to pay medical bills. This is how people go bankrupt. They get out a calculator and they start adding up the cost of the visit: ER, Gauze, Bandages, Supplies, Antibiotics, T3’s, and a couple other meds. 98 dollars CAD. I eagerly paid cash and then… “Hey my arm is kinda sore… wanna score me a ‘just in case’ X-ray?” I paid the extra 20 dollars and was in an out in 10 minutes with the piece of mind knowing that my wrist wasn’t cracked.

The only way back to my bike was to ride on the back of Josh’s. Not fun. It’s a 115 CC bike and our combined weight is 455 lbs. Needless to say the bike struggled.We arrived to find my bike in working condition, minus a mirror, and some superficial damage. Could be worse.

Wait… It was worse. The family had left, and they had locked the bike inside their gate. What to do… We had no idea. Josh scooted off to get water and food while I sweltered under the shade of the lone shrub on the side of the road. No one came for hours. By this time i was about to have ¬†mental break down. I asked Josh if he would take me to the Temple. This was the only opportunity to do this, and I didn’t want to come home regretting not even trying.

After a few wrong turns, we finally made it to the base out the mountain. Josh took one look and proclaimed “Have fun buddy, I’ll be here for you.” And I started to make my ascent. I picked up a huge 1.5 liter bottle of water. The vertical is nearly 300 meters straight up, with 1237 steps, some as high as 2.5 feet. I made it to 250 steps before I needed to stop. I had a huge swig of water and looked around. There was monkeys EVERYWHERE. I was delirious, yet excited, because I was doing something on my bucket list. I quickly reached in to my bag to get my camera out. Since one of my hands was throbbing in pain, I had to place my water bottle down to take off the lens cap. ¬†And just like that, even though DOZENS of friends had warned me: A fucking monkey stole my water. I’ve included pictures of the monkey I wanted to shoot, as well as the one that stole my water. Sigh.

Being the idiot that I was, I kept going. I was not going to give up. I made it another 200 steps, before I asked a man coming down if there was water at the top. He confirmed, looked at my bandaged covering my arms, legs and feet, and asked if I was OK. I told him about the accident, and then the monkey theft. Wide eyed, he handed me his water bottle and told me he no longer needed it and that I would. I thanked him profusely and carried on my journey upwards.

Along the way I amassed what I can only describe as a following of disciples. A half dozen people would stop with me at each landing, hydrate and make sure I was OK. Pushing forward, an hour total later, I reached the top. It was the ¬†most exhilarating 15 minutes of my life. I drank well over 3 liters of water and laid down in front of a giant golden Buddha who just looked down at me, as if saying “See, I told you you could do it.” I has someone take my picture for me, and I made my way back to josh. By the time I made it down, I was in tears. This was my Everest today. I now understand why my dad wants to hike Kilimanjaro so bad. And I know, this summer, he’s going to.

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Me at the peak, bandages and all

We recovered my bike, and made our way back to the beach. After assessing the damage, we paid off the rental company and started home. I was SO hungry and for one thing only, when I am sad: Nuggets. Yes. I am 12,500 KM from home, and I opted to get McDonalds. We went home and I passed out.

 

We awoke this morning and packed up. ¬†A big travel day for us. After a final amazing meal at our local spot, we hopped our shuttle to the other side of the province, and hopped on a Jet Boat to Koh Phi Phi, an Island 47 Km out in the sea. The trip was beautiful and I enjoyed the rest. We’ve now gotten comfortable in our hut and I think it’s time to step out and take in the sights, and find somewhere to eat for my birthday. I said I wasn’t gonna updated my 100 active days, but considering I climbed a fucking mountain 2 hours after a motorbike accident: I’m giving my self two.

58/100

 

Much love

Hopping Time Zones, Bangkok, and Bus Nightmares.

Well here’s where this blog is going to take a little bit of a different turn! This is my one big adventure. While nothing that I am doing for the next twenty days I¬†going to count towards fitness, I’m going to fill it as full as possible with as many life experiences as possible.

My trip started out, not at the airport, but at work. Since I was trying to maximize the amount of time that I got on the trip, versus the amount of time I had to take off work, I opted for a red eye flight leaving at 2:00 AM Friday. Since my Dad works nights, and my Mom days, the three of us woke up early and drove in to Vancouver together for breakfast and to drop me off, so I could Skytrain to YVR in order to avoid having to get dropped off after work, or be stuck with a car downtown. After breakfast at 33 Acres Brewery (they serve coffee too, boss, I swear). I headed in to work for my last shift in a few weeks. Fearing the worst and hoping for the best, I got lucky with a very relaxed day. Not too busy, and nothing over the top stressful. They day flew by, which was good because I was itching to see my best friend after all these months.

At 8:00 on the dot my computer was off, my desk cleaned off and my backpack on. I was off. A friend met up with me to have a last meal before my flight since I had a few hours to kill before I had to check in at 11:00. I wanted something I knew I couldn’t get in Asia. So naturally I chose sushi. We walked up to Sushi Bang: my old lunch spot on Cambie and Broadway and I got my regular Spicy Sushi Special. It was delicious as always, though half way through I got this feeling eating sushi prior to a flight wasn’t the best of ideas. Oh well. Too late, and they’ve never steered me wrong. We followed up dinner with Lattes and a slow walk back to the Skytrain. This was surreal to me as it was my first time taking the Skytrain with no intention of taking it back int he foreseeable future. Eve sent me off with an amazing trip/birthday gift: A letter for every day broken down in to options like: “For when you need a pep talk,” “For the plane,” “For when you’re happy,” and “For when you miss George.” It’s proving difficult already not to break in to them all now.

After good-byes I walked through Security. They say you need to be three hours early for an international flight. On a Friday Morning Red-eye… Not the case. After exploring the entire wing of the airport, and finding nothing but duty free open, I was quickly at a loss. The only person working at the Duty Free became my friend quickly, as she was offering flights of free patron samples. After 2 flights and 30 minutes I opted to treat myself: 2 hours in the Premium Lounge. I was still hungry, and I needed a beer to calm my nerves.

After finding out it was $44 dollars I made the executive decision to drink as many beers as I could. 6 beers, 1 latte, and more than enough cubes of cheese and pepperoni: I was ready for my flight and set out to get on the plane.

I walked in and found I had lucked out. I shared a row of seats with just one person, he in the window seat and I in the aisle, negating any worry of fighting over elbow space. While he was your stereotypical rig worker with too much money (LV man purse, Yeezys, BBC hoody, Gucci carry-on), he turned out to be a super cool dude. Really friendly, knew lots about Thailand and gave me some great company, save for his dripping nose for the whole flight;¬†guess someone can’t keep their nose clean up north.

After a 14 hour flight we landed in Taipei, local time 6 Am. Due to head winds, we only had a 45 minute layover, which was great, I was antsy to get going. I found my next gate, and grabbed a coffee and some toast. The next flight was a newer 777 and had wifi, which made the final leg much more enjoyable.

After beginning my trip 2:00AM PST on Friday, I landed in Bangkok at 10:45 AM Saturday. It was rough, but I was so excited to see Josh. After getting through immigration I was easily able to find him as I’m pretty sure the average Thai height is like 5 feet tall. We took the Skytrain (yes they call theirs that too) to the Oasis Hostel in Ne Khao San Road, a popular backpacking area. My first Hostel experience was 10/10. Nicest people, a great room and an all around great vibe. After being introduced to Chang, and Leo, the local beers, we started out to explore the city. They day was a total adventure of looking at shops, drinking, and eating. We walked along a canal that circled the area, and i saw my first wildlife: A monitor Lizard swimming, looking for fish. I couldn’t get a good enough picture, sadly. We went back to regroup at the hostel, change and figure out a game plan for the evening.

Josh’s travel mate for the last month, Ryan, met up with us at the hostel and after quick introductions we headed for dinner and beers to get the night started. We found a restaurant that served great food. I enjoyed Beer and Papaya salad, while Josh stepped up his game and ate BBQ’d Scorpion. It was about 9:00 by this time and we decided to head back to the Hostel to see if anyone wanted to join in on the nights festivities. It was Saturday night after all. We stopped at the 7-11 (which are EVERYWHERE) ¬†and picked up essentials: a 26 of the cheapest whiskey they had and M-150’s (basically red bull in syrup form). We got to the hostel and met a group of guys from Victoria playing cards. After beating them all at their own game, I slammed an energy drink and states “I’m taking a 20 minute power nap while this kicks in. See y’all at 10:00.” Well that didn’t happen. I woke up at 2:30 AM needing to pee and I see josh passed out in the bunk beside me. I guess the early morning caught up to both of us. Oh well, I still had fun and we had a big day the next day.

 

Waking up, Josh and I said goodbye to Ryan, who was meeting up with some girlfriends for drinks and massages (what a life it is here) while we geared up and headed out to experience The Grand Palace. A quick, yet horrifying tuk-tuk trip to the palace introduced us to this MASSIVE Structure. Surrounded in a giant white wall, and swarming with guards, it was quite the sight, and we didn’t even walk through the gates yet. The Palace itself was incredibly ornate, and absolutely gorgeous. It was amazing to see such an incredible piece of culture. As men, we could not have our shoulders showing, nor could we wear shorts, so we were hasty. It was 39 degrees and there was no breeze. I was dying. We got back to the hostel and showered, changed and started to hydrate. After a quick meal, we made our way out with Jo, the hostel manager for drinks. Of all places, we discovered a bar that played live music. Not Thai tho. Thai Blues.It was insane. One of the best nights I’ve ever had. We drank and drank and sang and danced. Midnight rolled around and I needed a change of scenery, so Josh and I separated from the group and found a great little Austrian run bar near the Hostel called “Wunderbar Cafe.” We had a great time catching up over way too many mai thais, and closed the place down. A short walk home and my head quickly found my pillow.

The next morning we both agreed we needed to take it eeeeeaeasy. Jo was at the front and we made our way out for breakfast, ending back at Wunderbar for Iced Coffee and Breakfast. Having my first western food in days, we both went all out, with a full English breakfast, coffee, and passion fruit juice. Just what we all needed. Other hostel mates came and went, but breakfast for the three of us slowly turned in to brunch, and the empty glasses from copious iced coffees had quickly filled the table. We all had a great time talking about work, family and friends back home; Vancouver for us, and Switzerland for Jo. Noon came and went and it was apparent that Josh and I wanted to do nothing but relax today. We had an over night bus coming at 6 so we figured we relax so we can sleep well on the trip to Krabi: a 12 hour trip from Bangkok.

Jo referred us to a great place to get a massage literally around the corner. After stepping in I knew right away that I liked it here. Everyone was so friendly and happy to accommodate. We walked in to the back from and on to these large, low side by side mattresses draped in ornate bolts of fabric, and pillows. I proceeded to have the best 16 dollar hour long massage of my life. The woman massaging  me took the liberty of saying that her husbands tummy is rock hard, while mine is soft and jiggly. We all had a good laugh over that (I guess :P). I told her that it used to be 40 pounds bigger which she told me she was very proud of me.

We made our way back to the hostel get all our things together, and to just relax in the communal area and to play cards. after a few beers we made our way to the bus depot. When we got there: The bus was NOT what we expected. Josh has had some excellent sleeper busses int he past. This was not one of them. The seating upstairs (double Decker) was PACKED, and the seats didn’t recline very far, and there was literally no leg room for me. I couldn’t stand it and took my things to sleep at the “living room seating area” downstairs with a couple other people in the same mindset. Win win for me and Josh, since the girls behind us didn’t seem to grasp the concept of reclining a seat to sleep in the middle of the night. The trip was fucking terrible, to be blunt. We both finally feel asleep, and at midnight the bus jolted to a stop in the middle of the highway, and the bus driver whipped the door open and yelled “FORTY FIVE MIN! FORTY FIVE MIN! ONLY STOP THIS TRIP TO EAT YOU GO NOW.” we groggily walked off and in to this SHACK set up like a third world cafeteria. The buffet of dishes they were serving all looked incredibly questionable and I couldn’t make out what type of meat they were using… and with 6 more hours on this bus, with only one bathroom, I wasn’t risking anything other that white rice with hot sauce and bottled water.

After 45 minutes we were herded back on the bus and off we went. The AC quickly broke after that, and the bus became a wonderful mix of BO, feet and sweat. Did I forget to mention the windows didn’t open?

I wake up at 6 to a bumpy road. Hmm we must be in Krabi! We’re off the highway! I grab my gear and as the bus pulls to a stop, we get out and see a sign stating that we were in Surat Thani. That’s on the East Coast. We want to be on the West Coast. What. The FUCK. We go to the ticket book and ask what is going on. The man says “transfer. Bus come in 2 hour,” and hands us a ticket. Wow. NOT HAPPY. We sit outside with 30 other groggy travelers who haven’y got a clue where we are, or where we are going. Luckily it didn’t take that long for the next bus to come up. And extra lucky this bus only had maybe ten people in it. Josh and I quickly opted to stay in the lower communal part with tables to ourselves while everyone else trekked up to get seats. 2 hours later and many games of crib later, we found ourselves in Krabi. Luckily, the hostel we checked in to appears to be the exact opposite of the bus. It’s clean, colourful and cool. The AC is on and we’re sitting here enjoying Lychee Juice, Pistaschios and Laundry service. It’s now 3:00 PM and it’s time to wake Josh from his nap.I hear the beach is only a 5 minute walk away and I hear another Maithai calling my name. Until tomorrow!

 

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One of the many selfie selfie expirences

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Hey remember me? Whoops

So I did it. I put this off for an entire month. And now I’m paying the price and I’m going to be spending the next little while filling you in what happened for all of ¬†March. To be perfectly honest this one’s going to be extremely condensed, considering It’s just going to play catch up so I can get to the fun stuff. Hint:I’m in Asia right now

So! We left of with me getting back from Brothers Creek! March Weather SUCKED SHIT. That being said, Kristi, Marvin, and A few others managed to get out and have some fun. For the ones of you included in the updates, I’m sorry if I screw up some of the details, but I’m going off memory and we all know how that goes.

March 7th i got to meet up with one of my best buds, Andrew, to hunt down Kennedy Falls. Situated far in the back of the mountain bike trails hid a gorgeous cascading fall. As previously mentioned: rain was in the forecast. With a half dozen interested at the beginning of the week, we quickly we were reduced to just the two of us. I liked it. I haven’t sent enough time with Andrew since moving to Vancouver, and I appreciated the amount of time I got one on one with him. The hike winded through meticulously manicured mountain bike trails for the first kilometer, before branching off in to the hiking trail that led to a massive tree simply known as “the big cedar.” Scrambling over and under massive downed trees, washed away trails and sloshing through deeper than expected creeks. After a short stop and a few photos of the tree (it really is huge) we carried on towards the falls. They were really something else. I suppose that with us finally getting closer to spring at this time, and with the weather, there was a considerable amount of volume. If we were already wet from the mist and the rain, we were now. After a short lunch and a few photos for Instagram (haha come on you know it’s true), we headed back to the car for the traditional post hike beer. After a successful beer after brothers creek, I took us back to Green Leaf Brewing in North van to enjoy some Mexican and a couple pints.

The weeks following, I committed to the gym 4 days a week to round out my attempt at a perfect month: 20 days of at least 1 hour of exercise. 4 days at the gym got me half way there.

With the weekend looking decent, we attempted to get a decent group out for another walk. I use the term walk this time, as it was pretty much 2/10 on the scale of difficulty. That being said, Kaitlan and her new boyfriend Francois came out for the first time this year, along with Alex, Jenn, Andy, Sarah and Kirsti made it out. It was lots of fun and the walk, while easy, ended in some beautiful shots. It was great to include new people, and I think it will lead to more fun in the future, with some people starting to break out of their comfort zone, like I’m trying to do!

Due to the holiday, Kristi and I were not privy to our normal outing this week, trading it for work. it was fine though. We got to spend the day together, and I’ve really gotten to enjoying our time together. Miles is one lucky guy to find someone like her. Easily one of the most caring and sincere people I know.

While we didn’t get any Monday hikes in with Marvin, I did get to try something new: Hot Yoga. Did I love it? No not at all. But EVERYONE says that I will grow to like it. Early morning, I drove with a friend to the studio to meet Kristi. No dogs allowed so Marvin had to stay home. I thought I was doing terrible, comparing myself to the girls who were clearly pros. After the fact Kristi told me I did fantastic for my first time. Apparently I am more flexible than I think.

The coming weeks were hectic. A lot went down. It was incredibly stressful and I was majorly tested emotionally. I don’t deal with stress and anxiety very well. For the sake that this is a public blog, I’ll keep it private, but I’m glad I was able to get though everything. It didn’t help that I was NOT at all ready to see Josh in Bangkok, and I wasn’t even close to being packed. I finally had a Monday off again and I decided that I could finally use it to get set up for that. I understand why it is so popular, after doing it. The views of Howe Sound and Squamish are pretty impossible to beat. I can’t wait to go back and enjoy a sunrise or a sunset there. Juts breathtaking. As per usual: post hike beers at one of y favorite breweries: Howe Sound breweries where we basically negated the entire hike, eating our weight in Nachos and beer.

With a fully committed four weeks I successfully completed 20 active days. That pretty much wraps up all of march and a little bit of April. After the Chief I knew I needed to buckle down and actually get ready to go. Next stop Thailand.

 

Oh. PS: 40 fucking pounds down ūüôā

56/100 over half way!