Thursday, June 25, 2009

June 24 @ 11:08 pm - Journal Entry

Sitting here a little pink tonight...totally burnt today in the sun...oops! Looking at a burnt Laura (journaling), a burnt Sam (reading) and a quasi-burnt Tim (sleeping). I guess we didn't reapply the sunscreen enough!
What a great day though! Woke up at around 8:30...Lor jumped in the shower, got to conditioning and the water died (ha!), rough shower for her and no shower for me. After breakfast we talked to the guy who owns the place we're renting about getting some mopeds for the day. We wanted to drive around to some of the beaches all over the island and go snorkeling.
Headed out a bit later with the guys driving, and Lor and I sitting behind. On our map the paved roads were white and the dirt roads were red. I think we were expecting "dirt roads" like we have back home - smooth, flat roads made of dirt. These were more like "washed out, full of rocks, with holes a bike could get lost in" dirt roads! Super sketchy! The concrete roads were fun - the dirt roads were scary!
The 1st beach we snorkeled at was Ao Leuk...excellent spot...crystal clear rocks on the bottom...coral on either side of the bay. First snorkeled on the right and saw lots of cool fish and tons of coral. Took a break to lie in the sun (stupid, stupid, stupid - most likely why we're pink right now) and then headed to snorkel the left side of the bay. Were out there for about 5 minutes and I was off by myself when I saw... 3 baby black-tipped reef sharks!! They were about 2.5 feet long and super scary even though they were babies. I remained calm and called Lor and the guys over to see them. The guys loved it (I felt like a hero!). Lor and I didn't stay in too long after that - obviously the babies came from a mama shark and we didn't want to be around when she came back!
We had lunch on that beach and then headed to our next location. Here's where the roads got super bad! Sam and I almost went over on our bike, and Lor and I ended up getting off and walking some of the steeper parts. 2nd beach was a bit disappointing - cloudy water so we couldn't see anything - so we got back on our bikes (Lor and I again walking the sketchy parts), decided to only go to beaches that could be reached by concrete roads and headed off.
Our last beach (Freedom Beach) wasn't great snorkeling but had trees right near the water that gave great shade to relax in!
Finished off our day with an excellent beach BBQ - bought some of the biggest prawns I've ever seen from a vendor who cooked them up for us right there on the beach - amazing sea food!!
Here are some pictures...

Riding through the streets of Koh Tao.
Yep, that's fear on Laura's face...hahaha - Tim was an excellent driver, it was just the roads!

And here's Sam and I - Sam was also a class A driver!

Mid-ride!!! Lots of fun :0)

Laura enjoying the first prawn she's ever had in her whole life!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Could Somebody Please Pee on the Girl!

An excerpt from today's journal entry:
What a day! First of all - the place I'm sitting in as I write this is unreal...cliffs and greenery surround a cove of turquoise water. The sun is going down. The sand is white. Boats are bobbing in the water. I'm sitting in a cloth beach chair next to a girl who's covered in jelly fish stings. What?
Let me explain...
We got up a bit late today...had a bit of a hard time sleeping last night cause I'm coming down with a cold. Kelly and Julie (our friends) came to get us for breakfast and we discussed our plans for the day: rent kayaks and snorkeling equipments and paddle out to some good spots.
We got our equipment and the lady who rented to us suggested some good spots on the other side of the island. So glad we came over here cause this beach is really nice! The water is shallow a long way out and as warm as bath water!
We rented 3 kayaks for 3 hours and headed to our first spot. We put on our masks and fins and backward walked (ie. stumbled due to the fins) into the water. Visibility was a bit poor, just cause the sand was stirred up a bit. We were hoping it would be nicer farther out, so we kept going. All of a sudden I heard screaming, and looked up to see Laura thrashing and screaming about 20 feet from me. She was yelling something like, "it's burning me, they're biting me". I started swimming towards her as she thrashed her way towards me saying, "it's still on me". I took a quick look, saw nothing on her, and told her to swim to shore. Lor grabbed my hand and we back-paddled to the sand. We got to the beach and there were red bumpy gash marks all over her legs, bum, ankle, side and hand. There were little blue things all along the gash line so I pulled her to the water and started washing them off (Note to self: when cleaning stingers from a jelly fish bite, never touch your face...the spots I touched on my face instantly started to burn). Lor was in a lot of pain and nothing was helping, so we all decided that someone had to pee on the sting. I offered to do it, and asked the guys to cover me, but we decided that it would be easier for a guy to do it. Tim graciously volunteered...and proceeded to pee all over Laura's legs! Sam was geering up with the 2nd round of pee, but Laura said it didn't help, so his services were deemed unnecessary (he still says he wishes he got to pee on Laura!). We decided that Tim would put Lor in a kayak and book it back to the pharmacy on shore. I guess as soon as they got back to shore some locals saw what was happening and ran to get certain leaves that they ground up with water and put on the stings. Took awhile, but it worked!
Lor wanted the rest of us to keep kayaking, so we went across the cove to one other spot (the water was so rough that I got a bit sea sick...but it was a cool spot to snorkle for a bit...about 15 feet deept, but perfect visibility to the coral and fish below).
After that we headed back to find Tim and a green Laura (from the leaves rubbed all over her) lounging on the beach. And that was where we stayed all afternoon. Some walking, some swimming, some chatting, some sleeping. It was very relaxing!
Laura's pain has gone from a 12 (out of 10) when the sting happened, to a 6 when we got back to the beach after the leaves were applied, to a 3 or 4 right now.
Exciting day in Thailand!

Above: the stings on Lor's hand and belly...notice the lines of bumps (if you look close)

She was quite the trooper...

The sting on the back of her legs...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A few pics

Here are a few (not in order) pics of what we've been up to.
Here's where we were today...this is the beach from the movie, The Beach...Ma Ya Beach off of Kho Phi beautiful. We got ourselves a long boat and driver today and he took us snorkelling and to a couple of beaches...perfect afternoon!
Lor and I on the long boat...

The long boats lined up on Kho Phi Phi...

This was back in Bangkok, at the Grand Palace...

Another shot of the Grand Palace...

We are all doing great, and loving this little piece of paradise we find ourselves in. Kho Phi Phi is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen!
Off to eat green curry...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Journal Entry - Our First Day

I'm keeping a journal on this trip, and I figured the easiest way to keep everyone up to date is to post some of my entries on here...

June 15 at 8 a.m. - at the "At home' guest house in Bangkok
Our first morning in Thailand...must have woken up at 7 (didn't have a watch)...slept great though and I'm hoping that the jet lag is behind me (went to bed at around 9 cause I just couldn't keep my eyes open longer). Lor and I were freezing in our room last night (haha)...had to turn our air-con up to 22 degrees and pile on the clothes. Funny that we were freezing in Thailand - we got a good laugh out of that this morning!
Tim met us at the airport yesterday and we took a cab (no backseat seat belts!) to Kao San Rd. (the back packer street)...explored a bit...lots of stands selling everything you could ever need (even fake diplomas), lots of bars, etc. Not really my scene - more like a party street, lots of foreigners, etc. - but our guest house is great! Got some pad thai from a street vendor and it was really good! Then decided to go see some temples . A friendly Thai man told us it was a Buddhist holiday and that the tuk-tuks could take us to a variety of sites for a little over a dollar (it was subsidized by the government). Got a nice driver and he took us to 4 temple sites - a really tall Buddha, a Lucky Buddha, a marble temple, and the Golden Mount (where we had to climb up stairs to reach it the temple site...with all kinds of bells to ring on the way up - pretty cool.) The top also gave us a good view of Bangkok. It was so hot all day - definitely sweated through my clothes...the shower at night felt amazing!
Got a pineapple fruit smoothie when we got back to Kao San...and then went out for some great Thai food for dinner. A quick walk after dinner left me a bit "sensory overloaded" in my jet-lagged stupor, so it was off to bed.
1. Tuk-tuks are really fun...actually felt surprisingly safe even though 4 of us were piled in the back and our driver was weaving in and out of traffic.
2. They drive on the opposite side of the stree - didn't know that - makes crossing the street extremely difficult since I keep looking the wrong way.
3. The Thai people are extremely friendly and helpful - they want to know what your plans are and offer advice and tips...seems like 'just cause'.
Loving it here so far!