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!