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10 Things I Learned While Travelling the World

I’ve been back in Canada for a little less than a month now and have had some time to decompress and to think about my trip.  At first, I thought I hadn’t really changed at all during my travels, but it actually has in a million tiny ways.  I’d like to share that with you now:

10. The Journey is the Thing

My trip had no specific goal, other than to relax, enjoy and experience the world that was far away from home.  This turned out to a great way to travel and, for me, to not focus on the result, but to really take the journey for what it was – an adventure into the unknown.

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9. We are all the Same

I included this in my last list, but I want to say it again.  I love people, and the truest realization I had again while I was overseas is that we are all, at our most basic level, very similar.  We just want to be happy; to have enough food to eat, a roof over our heads, some people who love us and a purpose in life that brings us joy.  I saw all kinds of people living in many different ways as I worked though six countries, but they all have this in common. We are all part of one big human family, and it doesn’t matter where you are from or what you are doing with your life, some things are the same within all of us.

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8. Travel is as Easy and as Hard as you Want it To Be

PATIENCE.  This one virtue has eluded me my whole life, and nothing cures the need for control than a less than smooth travel experience.  I learned about the essence of the journey in my search for patience as I met setbacks and mishaps along the road.   I learned how to be more adaptable, to let things slide, and to only care about the most important things along the way.

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7. Roll with the Waves

This one is a good follow-up to #8.  When I rolled with the upsets along the way, the journey got even more interesting: I saw some things I would otherwise have missed, or had a completely new experiences I wasn’t expecting to have.  By saying “Yes!” I got into more trouble, saw more unexpected things, and had more impromptu adventures than if I had stuck to a strict schedule and followed it the whole way along.

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6. Pay Attention

I learned that there is beauty in the details.  That every city is an intricate mess that somehow works in its own unique way.  That the road less traveled sometimes results in a washed out car or monkeys attacking your windshield.  To stop and save the kittens, get lost on a bike and get found again, and that fun can be found in every airport, bus station, or boat ride.  By paying true attention to my surroundings, I was also able to glimpse into the local life of the people, and have real experiences from the country I was visiting.  That, to me, is priceless.

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5. Embrace the Inner Hippie

I’m normally a goal-oriented, round the clock, by the book kind of person.  To escape that mentality for a while and embrace my inner beach bum was an enlightening experience.  I had whole days with no plans and nothing to do, vague ideas of where the day would take me, and days where I just went with the flow.  That rarely happens in my “real” life in Canada, and it was refreshing to break out of the bubble of who I think I am and step into the sandals of my inner Hippie Goddess.  She is someone I want to know better, and a side of me that I won’t soon forget now that we’ve been re-aquainted!

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4. Trust the Kindness of Strangers

In my travels I stayed with family friends, friends of friends, new friends and people I didn’t even know at all. I was welcomed into countless homes with open arms, to people eager to share in my travel journey and get to know me.  I feel SO blessed to now have friends from all over the world, and want to thank each and every one of you for your hospitality and help in exploring all these new places 🙂 If you ever travel, and someone recommends that you stay with a friend or you have family/friends to stay with overseas, DO IT! It will completely change your perspective on the country you are visiting, because you get to see it through the eyes of a local.  A thousand thank-you’s again to all those who put me up while I was abroad!  You are welcome to return the favour here in Canada anytime!

3. Comfort Zones are Boring

I did something new and crazy in every country I went to: Surfing in Indonesia, Parasailing in Philippines, and even Skydiving in New Zealand.  Get out of your comfort zone and try some new and crazy stuff.  It will enrich your travel experience and add a whole new level of fun.  Besides, that’s what travel is for: new experiences and adventures! It doesn’t matter how scared you are – do something wild and crazy!  eat that cricket off a Bangkok bug cart!  Take the jet boat ride through the canyon!  Throw yourself out of a plane! These things are the highlights of my travels as I look back on them now, the times I challenged myself and really went for it.

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2. Theres No Place like Home

Canada is an amazing country. I learned this while I was abroad through other travellers stories about my home country, that it is a well-loved place in the world and worth exploring in its own right.  Talking about it with others made me realize how much I love being a Canadian and how lucky I am to call this place my home.  I never really appreciated it until I left for a long time and realized what a phenomenal place it is.

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1. I am SO lucky

The fact that I was able to pull off this trip still boggles my mind.  There was so much planning involved – a years worth of time and effort went into it, and now that I’m back I can see what a privileged position I hold as a citizen of Canada.  I have enough food to eat, a roof over my head, and friends and family who love and care about me.  The rest is just gravy!  Upon returning I went to my bathroom and turned on the tap, thinking back to all the times I didn’t have access to fresh water on my travels. Something as simple as turning on the tap can take on new meaning after travelling: it represents all that we take for granted, being from a first world country were every comfort is provided for.  I feel that, now, I am able to name how lucky I truly am.

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Well. That’s it!  I’m sure I will update this blog again in the future as life takes me on more travels, but for now I am happy to have landed back in Canada, ready to take on the world 🙂

xo

D

Categories: Australia, Cambodia, In the Air, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Phillipines, Singapore, Thailand | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

One Sweet Day in Melaka

Well, I’m glad I only planned on staying two nights here, because one and a half days was more than enough to see all that this little town had to offer.  I wanted to check it out since it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and since I love history I thought it would be a worthy stop.  I found it to be charming but super touristy, and although the food was good and it was worth a look around, there’s not much fun stuff to do besides take pics, check out museums, eat, and shop.

 
I left my hostel on a mission to find some good coffee and a big breakfast to fuel my day, and I found a riverside café with both of those things.  I chatted with my mom over breakfast (nighttime for her) and caught up on all the news from home 🙂 I had kind of a route planned out and first decided to check out the Museum Rakiyat, which had some good if slightly bland exhibits about Melaka, a kite museum and a really interesting exhibit about beauty practices all over the world, including scarifications, piercing, corsets, Chinese foot binding and more.  I found that really interesting, but not much else, and then while trying to follow my walking route I inevitably got lost, found, then lost again after finally getting my bearings at the extremely cute town square with outrageously decorated tricycles for hire, some with boomboxes attached, blaring 80’s tunes!!
 
 
My second museum stop was the Baba Nonya house, a Perenkian style house that showed how the rich Indochinese merchants lived when the area was a main shipping town in Malaysia. The women of the house were rarely seen, and lived their lives indoors and behind screens.  Fascinating!  I ate yummy Nonya food at the little café and did some shopping after that, there’s lots of kitschy little stores and antique shops, I sampled some baked goods (seriously there are SO MANY yummy things to eat here.  Oops.) and headed back to my hostel to hang out on the rooftop lounge and get to know some of my fellow travelers.
 
Today i sampled some Chinese goodies before leaving town, and may or may not have a box of pineapple tarts to snack on during the trip to Singapore!  My waistline cannot take the goodness that I found in Melaka!  Right now I am on a very bumpy bus to Singapore, where I will rendezvous with my travel companion Micheline and meet some family friends who are graciously putting us up!  Onwards!

 

Categories: Malaysia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mmmm, Melaka! – Foodie Paradise

I love Malaysia!!  It is extremely awesome here – I was not expecting such a clean, well-organized and developed country. I think im going to really like it here.  In between my first stop in Malaysia and the rest of my travels in this country, I’m going to check out Singapore, as well.  But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

I got off the plane at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal, thank goodness I did some internet research as my lonely planet is two years out of date, and was totally directing me to the wrong bus station 😦 i caught wind of this before making this tragic mistake, and got on a sexy bus that cost me 8 ringgit ($2.50 CAD) for an hour and a half bus ride to the new, beautiful bus station.  All the buses ran on time, left on time, were clean and air-conditioned and in great shape!! OH MY GOD ITS A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.  iT ACTUALLY IS. This type of service is pretty much unheard of in any other asian country I’ve been to, so needless to say I am already impressed.
My bus to Melaka was easy to find, super cheap (9 ringgits, or 3 dollars for a two-hour bus ride) and right on time.  I stared out at the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur from my bus window. it looked so orderly! No signs of poverty, no roadside shacks, just cheery looking row houses and palm plantations.  Woah.  Minus the palm trees, you could be in any developed country in the world and not know the difference.  The highways are also well maintained and well-marked.  If you know me personally, you will understand why I’m pointing this out, I have an organization fetish and this country’s got it going ON!! lol.
We got to Melaka in record time, and my cab from the bus station cost 20 confusing ringgits, I didn’t understand how I could have travelled for over three hours for less than twenty ringgits, and then my five-minute cab ride cost me just as much as that. HMMM. I got to my hostel, Ringos Foyer Guesthouse, and while it’s not much to look at, it was pretty comfortable and I met a bunch of interesting people there so points for that, even though it wasn’t the prettiest place I’ve stayed.  I was super tired from getting up at 4am, but decided to go for a little walk and check out the very charming town and grab some Nonya Laksa, a yummy curry soup that is a local specialty.  The cats found me, as they always do, and I shared some of the seafood in my soup with them.  I can’t help it!! I love kitties!! I walked around a bit more and oriented myself, and crashed hard that evening after chatting with some fellow travellers in the homey common area of my guesthouse.
xo
D
Categories: Malaysia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Manic, Muggy Manila

Wahoo!  I am finally out of Palawan!! To be fair, the place did grow on me after a few days, it’s a super cute if not smelly place, and its very cultural for someone who wants to experience the real Filipino way of life, I met some great locals and made new friends, so I can’t say it was all bad.  I was just ready to leave and am soooo excited for Malaysia + Singapore, having bought a Lonely Planet and started reading all about the places I’m going!!

I flew out of Palawan around 1pm and got to Manila without a hitch.  I’m staying with some mutual friends here, who turned out to be excellent hosts and great company as well 🙂  I got to their gorgeous penthouse condo, and there just happened to be a birthday in the house, so we went out to celebrate my new friend Marshalls Bday!  After the first decent shower I’ve had in weeks, we went out to the Sofitel, a very fancy hotel on the bay, doesn’t look like much from the outside, but man was it ever nice inside!  We played some pool while waiting for our table, and had a great ( if not expensive) dinner while swapping travel stories.
The next day I was on my own as my new friends had to work, so I ventured out into the sprawling big city by myself in search of adventure.  Instead of adventure I found a pancake house for breakfast and settled for that, lol.  Everything is so Americanized here! There is TONS of fast food, A Mcdonalds on every corner, and I even found a Starbucks to satisfy my caffeine craving!  Not quite the authentic experience I was looking for, but the Philippines was an american colony for 50 years and before that belonged to spain for 400 years, so it truly is woven into the culture here.  A hybrid mix of old and new which struck me as strange but, hey, its part of their legacy here!
I ignored the shouts and catcalls of the many touts and guys and duders and security guards and walked along the big, dirty, dangerous, smelly streets.  Seriously everyone shouts hello at you, whats your name, where are you from, where are you going….you get the picture.  I just smile and pretend not to speak english. I`ve got nothing against meeting the locals, in fact i love it but they way they approach me makes me feel threatened so i just play dumb.  I found myself at Rizal park, the place where Filipino independence was declared, and although its majestic, its basically just a big fancy park.  i got lost after that trying to find the historic district, and luckily got approached by a sweet lady tout, Mary Jane, who told me I was going the wrong way and offered to give me a tour of Intramuros, the `city within the walls` which is the oldest area in Manila.  I got into the sidecar and had a really enjoyable few hours in the old city, checking out all the old buildings, forts, and museums that I could handle, and talked to MJ about her life in Manila, which is hard but she was super cheery about it and assured me that it was way better here than her life of poverty in the country. She overcharged me for the tour but at that point I really didn’t care, so I gave her 700 pesos (about $18) and decided to check out some of the newer parts of Manila.  I swear I could have walked faster than the taxi that took me to Robinson’s Place, the traffic in this city is actually the WORST.  Add the smog and the heat to that, and , about ten million people, and you have one big dirty mess on your hands.  Still, it is an interesting city and I`m glad I made the effort to stop here.  I even saw my first prostitute deal go down!  A tiny Filipino girl and a big American dude – go figure.
At the mall, I experienced a new kind of culture shock – i felt like I was in America again!  Everywhere I looked were american brands, stores, and chains.  But it all came with some distinctly Filipino touches, lots of kiosks selling Filipino food and drinks, the strangest assortment of foods, and pretty much anything you can dream of was available in this mall.  I ate some delicious Pho (Vietnamese, Not Filipino, so sue me) and successfully maneuvered my way back to Bayview towers, a small accomplishment but I was still proud of myself!!
As I walked back, I noticed two more things – one is the huge population of transgendered men and women in Manila – the concept of gender is very fluid here and nobody seems to blink or care as lipsticked men and butchy women mingle and go about their business.  Its awesome!  The second thing that I saw was absolute poverty everywhere – people living on the streets, sifting through the garbage and living hand to mouth. It was hard to see, and while i was busy feeling sorry for them a whole family noticed me, broke into huge smiles, waving, saying hi and being super friendly and polite.  Wow.  To have such a happy, upbeat attitude for what they had, it really gave me a new perspective.  i waved and smiled back, gave the littlest one some change I had, and continued my way to my penthouse, feeling infinitely luckier than before.
My lovely hosts made me dinner that night, thank you Duncan and Marshall for taking such good care of me in Manila!  i went to bed early and was up at 4:30 am to grab a cab to the airport and flew to Kuala Lumpur without a hitch. My Malaysian and Singapore adventure was just beginning!!
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Flooded Forests and Floating Towns

Our next big adventure in Siem Reap happened two days later.  We booked a tour through a local company so we could see some of the countryside and another one of the cool attractions in Siem Reap – the flooded forest.  FINALLY, there is an upside to visiting this part of the world in rainy season: you can’t see the flooded forest in the dry season!  We took a trusty tuk tuk to our riverboat stop, a trip that was bumpy but fun cause we drove through some small towns and saw what Cambodia was like for the people who lived there.  It seemed like a simple but happy place – the people were just as curious about us as we were about them.  I even caught a monk snapping pictures of me on his cellphone in a temple we visited as I was snapping pictures of his beautiful temple!  I laughed when I saw him doing this, and obliged in a few photos 😛

Temple InteriorOur little tuk tuk ride came to an end at the mouth of a very dirty river where we boarded a noisy little boat and took off to see the “floating” town that was built on stilts to accommodate for the rising of the Tonle Sap river and lake that annually floods the surrounding area, turning their neighbourhood into a floodplain.  It was so surreal to see these rickety looking houses and community buildings towering high above us as we boated through the water below – it reminded me of some kind of surreal post apocalyptic place where the homes were rebuilt from leftoverscraps and whatever was floating by.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe water levelled off closer to the lake, and we caught a glimpse of the flooded forest around us.  It was magical – all the twisted trees poking out of the water.  We boarded a small long tail boat and glided soundlessly though the forest.  One of the ladies I was travelling with was deathly afraid of the water spiders climbing everywhere in the trees and on our boat, we thought at one point for sure we were going to tip and fall in the water!  Steph eventually just cowered at the front of the boat as we turned a corner and made our way back, making sure to tip our Cambodian boat lady for the trouble!

Woman drivers :P

Our tour ended in one of the floating villages, where we were shown a school and encouraged to purchase pencils and school books for the children.  From the well-rehearsed way this operation was run (children lining up to grab at the books and pencils, handing them back to their mothers for repackaging, the open and sharpened panicles in the packages i “bought”)  I could tell that the money was not going directly to the school or where we thought it was, but I had to give kudos to these enterprising Cambodians who had found a way to tug on our heartstrings and open our wallets to them.  I enjoyed spending time with the lil Cambodian kids anyhow, and had my encounter with the monk at the beautiful temple in the town, built high on the hank of the flooding river.

Me "giving supplies"

Me “giving supplies”

Siem Reap was a really worthwhile place to check out.  It wasn’t as cheap as I thought (except for accommodation which was $5 in our very clean dorm room) but the food and attractions were excellent so I didn’t mind paying.  The little town was easy to navigate by foot and there was lots of shopping and cute little massage places to keep us occupied in our downtime.  The overly enthusiastic hawkers and beggars littering the street were more persistent than the ones I encountered in Thailand, but the county has no social safety net and these people have to do whatever they can to survive.  I tried not to give into the children who were begin.asking for money or meals on the streets, as it’s a well-documented fact that parents keep their children out of school to work on the streets.  Don’t support child labor!  Give your money to a local NGO instead, which is what we did.

My four nights in Siem Reap flew past and before i knew it I was on a night bus from hell to Phnom Penh – the capital of Cambodia.  Epic trip, indeed.

In the mangrove forest

In the mangrove forest

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Siem Reap and Angkor WHAT??!

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My bus trip from BKK to Cambodia cost 300 Baht (about ten Canadian dollars) and took about 10 hours including waiting time, not a bad trip overall considering it included a border crossing as well.  I met some cool British girls and a German girl on my bus trip over there, as well – me and the Brits ended up doing all of Cambodia together!  Our journey started by Minibus to the border, we had the tour company arrange our visas, at an inflated price but it saved the hassle  of trying to figure it out myself.  It cost a thousand Baht (33 bucks) and I needed an additional passport picture to get into Cambodia as well.

We crossed the border without mishap, you could immediately notice a difference between the two countries. In Thailand the roads were populated with trucks and minibuses, in Cambodia there were hand carts being pushed by people, and tons more motorcycles.  We boarded a creaky bus to the main Bus Terminal, and waited there for two hours as our bus filled in (slowly) with tourists.  Another three-hour bus ride got us from the border to Siem Reap relatively painlessly.

The town was lit up for an evening of party debauchery – we were accosted at every turn by overly friendly tuk-tuk drivers, massage ladies, and shopkeepers as we tried to get our bearings and figure out where our hostel was.  Turns out it was a short tuk tuk ride away, across the river and separated from the noise of the main tourist area.  Still walkable though, but my favourite way to get around was riding sidesaddle on the back of a moto, which would set you back about a dollar to get anywhere in town very fast!  After finding our little 6 bed dorm in Angkor Thom Guesthouse to be quite comfy, we ventured out into the night and checked out The Red Piano, where Angelina Jolie created a cocktail while filming her flick Tomb Raider a few years ago.  The food was delicious and prompt too!

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Our journey took a lot of us, so we opted for an early night to get ready for some temple action the next day.  Our friendly (aggressive) tuk tuk driver from the night before was parked outside of our guesthouse ready to pounce, so we got him to take us around the temple complex area for the day for $20US – 5 bucks a person.  We also had to pay for tickets to the actual temple complex as well, a one day pass gave us access to all the temples, even though we only got to see three up close.

Our guide took us to see the “Tomb Raider” temple as he called it, which is named Ta Prohm and is famous for the ancient trees growing out of the ruins – the sunlight was pouring in on the day we visited and made for a spectacular viewing of the place!  We were allowed to climb in an around the ruins on the platforms set up for tourists – we marvelled at the facet that we were allowed so much access and freedom to wander through such a sacred and ancient place.  Us and every other Asian tourist group, of course 😛

Our “tour guide” tuk tuk driver took us to The Bayon next inside the bid temple complex, an impressive pile that featured many four-sided faces of the Buddha. – very serene.  Our last stop was the actual temple of Angkor Wat. We wanted to catch the temple at sunset, and spent the last remaining daylight hours exploring the huge temple and grounds, imagining what it must have been like in its glory days.  After a few attempts at catching the sunset in some memorable pictures, we headed to the NIght Market for delicious indian food and a night out at Angkor WHAT?! a tongue in cheek name for a sweet bar on Pub street.  Dancing the night away is always a good end to the day, I think!  We joined the touristy crowd and danced until the wee hours on the tables.  It was a very fun day, to say the least!

Categories: Cambodia, Thailand | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jungles and Flights

On our second day in Chiang Mai, we all decided we wanted to try ziplining in the rainforest, and we booked a tour with a company called Jungle Flights. They picked us up from our hotel in the morning and drove us up the mountain. I was sure our driver was out to kill us or someone else. Just sayin! It was a wild ride.

Our guides Johnny and Robin were so nice, spoke great English, and laughed and joked with us the whole day. They made our ride fun + the highlight for me was being lowered straight down 40m to the end of the course, it was so thrilling! I hate heights!!

We also got a free t-shirt, a yummy lunch and a (bumpy) ride back to our hotel. We loved the whole experience. The night brought us to the market, a surreal maze of stalls all selling a variation of the same souvenirs and trinkets. We shopped. Of course. I bought a sweet pair of sandals that I am still wearing, a birthday present for my sis, and a few shirts for my guy friends 🙂 prezzies!

One thing we learned about Chiang Mai is that the bars are packed with “bar girls” and the massage girls wear a lot of makeup and less clothing, basically the sex industry is very visible there, and we saw a lot of older white men alone on their vacations…we actually were so turned off by this, we didn’t go out our second night in Chiang Mai, either.

We took a shiny tuk tuk (with a female driver and a pink roof!) To the airport, and departed rainy Chiang Mai, flying all the way down the country to Hat Yai, one of the southernmost points of Thailand. Total flight time? A whopping 2 hours. Both domestic flights I took in Thailand were quick, efficient, clean and so pleasant, much more pleasant than the average Canadian airport experience!!

Hat Yai was a pit stop on the longer road to Ko Li Pe, we still had to rent a minibus to take us to Pak Bara….the strangest place I went in Thailand.

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Bangkok Madness

Today was my first full day in BK and it’s still going – it feels soo long on account of everything I’ve done!  After a yum breakfast with my new roomie Camille, we headed out to check out the fish spa, a tank full of lil fish that eat all the dead skin off your feet.  I know, it sounds gross, but it’s actually like a luxury spa treatment in Canada so I wanted to check it out.,  It seemed kinda cool but our feet didn’t hurt yet so we decided to get into a Tuk Tuk and see some sights.  A Tuk Tuk is like a motorized open air taxi that runs on gas, makes a ton of noise and is also a super fun way to see the city…..if the city isn’t choked by traffic resulting from a protests from the Red Shirts.. aka Commies.  Bah.

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Pretty much the first hour all we saw was the back of numerous buses and cars spewing out filthy exhaust.  It made me miss my carefully planned bag even more as I had a dust mask in there I really needed!

The whole drive was a bit of a bust – they promised to show us a bunch of touristy sights on our way to MBK (the mega mall where I wanted to buy a Thai cellphone) but instead got dragged to three tailors (the kind that will custom make you a suit in like 24 hours) and a high-priced jewelry store before we realized we had been scammed.  One temple and like 5 crappy stops so this Tuk Tu driver could collect free gas cards from every place we went.  I argued with the driver (Me: “You didn’t show us anything!  Take us to MBK right now!”  Driver: “One more stop” Me: “NO TAKE US TO MBK RIGHT NOW.” Driver: silence.  Starts tuk tuk.  Drives to MBK.)

Overall it was not a bad outing considering we paid less than a dollar CAD (for both of us!!) for the whole trip, I guess if he gets free gas and gets paid by the hour he doesn’t give a damn where he takes us!! It ended up being a funny experience, but the Thais have their tourist scams down to an art, its unfortunate to say but I will be very wary of any overly friendly Thais from now on after that experience.

FINALLY at MBK, we stepped into the air-conditioned madness to find the biggest, scariest, weirdest mega mall I have ever seen.  8 floors. Everyone selling the same crap as their neighbour. What?? so weird! there was a floor for each product and after navigating the very confusing MBK food courts ( you had to exchange $$ for food coupons and then give it to the vendors – not an easy thing to figure out since no one speaks great English and we certainly don’t speak Thai!)  We enjoyed a very yummy Pad Thai and headed to the fourth floor to buy a phone. This was another confusing experience. EVERY store sold the same thing!! I found a lil Nokia  Thai phone that I liked, paid 1600 baht for it (about 55 CAD) and happily headed home, in an air-conditioned taxi 🙂 Yay!

When we got into the hotel, guess what was waiting for me??? MY BAG!  yes!! It made the trip all the way from Toronto with nary a scar or tear to show for it, everything was intact and nothing spilled.  YES!  Although it was very pleasant to wash all my clothes the night before in my underwear with a bar of soap in the bathroom sink, I was so happy to see all of my stuff 😛

My Backpack Finally Arrives!!

Camille and I wandered around our little district near Soi Rambuttri, getting foot massages (3 dollars) and checking out a massage school where we might get certified to do Thai massage later on in our trip!  Another round of Pad Thai later ( I know, I know not very adventurous but let me wade in here, people!!)  from a street vendor (I get props for that don’t I??) we grabbed some drinks and wi-fi at a local bar and waited fort he night to begin.  We met a bunch more people from our trip, and at the meet and greet were introduced to about half of our fellow travellers.  It seems like an amazing group, I cant wait to get started.

Leaving BK tomorrow. onto floating huts, jungle treks, elephant rides, and THE BEACH baby!!

Bye Bangkok I’ll be back twice more before my trip is over.  I’m glad to leave your smelly crowded-ness behind – but since I am a city girl it’s safe to say I am truly intoxicated by your beauty and crazy vibe.  Cant wait to come back and experience more Thai city life.

And Mom, Dad, as soon as I can figure out this damn Thai cellphone I will be giving you a call!!

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