Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Update from Eric #2

As some of you may or may not know a good friend of Ashley and I is out exploring the world until Sept or so. As I receive emails from him I will post them on here because they are very interesting. Enjoy.

Sawatdee krap!

Thailand-where the pace of life here is unhurried, people are kind hearted and the food is spicy! Traveling around this country has been such a pleasant experience. If you've never been, getting around Thailand is about as easy as it gets and with the exception of Bangkok, no one gives you any hassel. Beaches, climbing, delicious "thai style" ice tea and coffee, $5 massages, amazing cuisine, snorkeling, trekking...what is not to like. I will really miss this place.

I did a fairly decent job of taking in a bit of the country over the last thirty days, which is the allowance period for an on arrival tourist visa. From Kolkata (India) I flew into Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and after a short layover landed in Krabi (Thailand), a small city located along the Andaman Coast. I spent a few relaxing days there decompressing from India and rejoicing that I was back in a clean, calm and green environment. Thereafter, I spent a few days each on the islands of Ko Phi-Phi, Ko Lanta and Railay. The islands here are really nice, but you have to choose wisely which ones to visit. Some can be pretty touristy and have a "spring break" feel, while others can be remote and very quiet. Regardless, there is something for everyone along the Andaman. And just when you think your far away from home as you sit in a chair sipping a beer in a bar out in the island forest that you had to hike a mile to reach with a headlamp on, a reggae version of John Denver's "Country Roads" comes out of the speakers and you are reminded again of just how flat the world has become.

But, as it turned out, the weather was not on my side. After some wonderful days on Phi-Phi the rain came and hung around for days. And it really stinks to be on an island when it's raining, there's no movie theater and your book is not very enticing. I don't recommend Orwell for the beach. With that I headed back to Krabi and worked my way up to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. I really liked this city and actually spent a week there before heading north again and spending a couple days in the quaint mountain town of Pai, where I was happy again to rent a small motorcycle and cruise around the countryside saying hi to the local elephants.

I've spent the last couple days in Bangkok. Things have mellowed out here and it's back to business as usual. When you inquire with the locals you get the sense that these cyclical party demonstrations are par for the course and neither party represents the masses. While tourism is or will take a hit as a result of the recent violence it's hard to notice as it seems pretty busy here, which is a good thing.

I've loaded a good bit of pics on Facebook. I'll try to add more over the coming weeks. I took a lot.

Indonesia is up next. I leave tomorrow and will land in Bali, the "Island of the Gods". I am really excited. Get to go back to the beach, hike some volcanoes and check out the orangutans. If I like it as much as I think, I may just have to come back or extend the visa.

I hope everyone is watching World Cup. Go USA!!! It is literally on every TV here. I love it.