Archive | June, 2010

How to Survive Bugs in Your Bed, Cereal

Current Location: Mae Sot, Thailand
Current  Weather: 82
°F (feels like 88°F) – Cool and fresh tonight thanks to recent rains!
Days Gone: 46
Days Remaining: 170

My first nights here I slept miraculously well, waking up refreshed just before the roosters began crowing. Last Friday, though, I was told my hostel room had been booked by another individual, and I was being kicked out. The hostel manager offered me a room in a separate building with a private bathroom for a cheaper price. The room looked fine, but the “pay-in-advance” request (and low initial price) was suspect. I soon discovered, through conversation with another traveler, that the room in question was home to a large family of bed bugs.

I moved to the guest house next door, where I found, much to my dismay, another room with a bug problem. Luckily, after mentioning this to the hostel owners, I was immediately moved to the master suite with air-conditioning for the night. This was mega luxurious and I slept fitfully in a queen size bed. The next night, I had moved back to the newly cleaned and supposedly debugged original room. At around 11 the bugs reappeared en masse.… Read More

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Monkopalypse Now

Current Location: Mae Sot, Thailand
Current  Weather: 91
°F (feels like 100°F)
Days Gone: 38
Days Remaining:178

The “bus station” in Ayutthaya is actually just an extra wide street that buses all happen to park on. There is no ticket stand or information booth or any apparent organization at all. Because most of the writing on the buses themselves is in Thai, finding one that said “Lopburi” proved impossible. So I questioned the nearest vendor by gesturing toward the buses and asking, “Lopburi?” He answered with, “Yes, Lopburi, green, green!” Armed with this new clue, I walked back among the buses searching for a green bus. Almost immediately I caught a glimpse of a green bus pulling away in between two other buses. Jogging along next to the green bus, I called up to the windows, “Lopburi?” A Thai woman seemed to nod so I jumped on just as the bus began picking up speed. I found a seat and asked a different Thai guy if this bus went to Lopburi. He nodded and said “Lopburi.” This is how I made it to the city of monkeys.

Immediately upon arrival a pedal-bike taxi fellow agreed to take me to the guesthouse I named for 20 baht.… Read More

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The Journey North

Current Location: Ayutthaya, Thailand
Current  Weather: 88
°F (feels like 97°F)
Days Gone: 33
Days Remaining:183

I am no longer suffering from Conjunctivitus, woohoo! I had a lot of people ask me before I left, “What happens if you get sick?” This is what happens: step 1: get meds, step 2: get better. It’s just like at home, only cheaper, faster, and without air-conditioning. Now, granted, if I get something serious like Japanese B Encephalitis I’ll be in a bit of trouble – but the odds are (very, very) heavily against it and, well, in the game of travel, everything comes down to odds and risk management. So, newly healthy, I abandoned Koh Phi Phi and took a night bus back to Bangkok. And so it was that I arrived in Thailand’s capital at 5 AM for the second time in a month. This time I was slightly less clueless. Instead of finding a guest house to grab a couple more hours of sleep, I just bought a 10 baht Red Bull from 7-Eleven and wandered the streets while I waited for the public bus station to open (to head on to Nakhon Pathom). I watched as Bangkok woke up with the sun, street vendors sleepily dragging their carts into position and firing up their grills and woks.… Read More

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Fire and Water

Current Location: Koh Phi Phi, Thailand
Current  Weather: 90
°F (feels like 99°F)
Days Gone: 27
Days Remaining:189

Every night on Had Rin Beach grew more and more chaotic as the moon approached its critical mass, the vital signifier of the infamous Full Moon Party. It was kind of incredible to watch the build up; my first night I had to entire beach to myself, by Full Moon there were an estimated 20,000 people dancing in the sand. Everything was on fire. Thai guys spinning balls of fire and flaming sticks, occasionally on stilts also set aflame. Should one wish to risk their own skin, one could jump in a flaming jump rope. Or through a flaming hoop. There was also flaming limbo. Fire breathers lit up the night along with black lights and glowing neon paint on everything, including (or, perhaps, mostly) people. Massive speakers thumped along the entire stretch of beach and stall owners hawked their goods, which for the most part consisted of alcohol. Not sold in a glass or a bottle, mind you, but in a bucket. Think of the kind of bucket a child might use to build a sand castle, then fill that bucket with ice, upturn an entire bottle (about a third of a liter) of Sangsom (Thai rum), then fill the rest with one of many available mixers, a choice which includes the Thai version of Red Bull (more concentrated than the Western variety) or any other energy drink.… Read More

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