Living in a Foodie’s Paradise

Well today was a long day. Even though we didn’t do too much, I can honestly say that this is the most tired I’ve been in a long time. The first thing I noticed when we were driving in that the city was way more built up than either Katelyn or I had expected. It was crazy to see that there was a Ferrari dealership here. Upon driving in, I noticed that unless other SE Asian countries, they drive on the right here. BUT, most cars are Japanese imports and are set up to drive on the left. Just another contrast in this crazy country. This morning we woke up after our 22hr nap and ate an incredible buffet breakfast at the Best Western. We had originally planned on using the business centre there to book our travel tickets onward from Yangon. Well, that didn’t happen. We just ended up sleeping. After breakfast, we left the hotel for our hostel. That was an experience and a half in itself. We google mapped in and thought it would be relatively easy to get to. Thanks google maps. 2 hours and many kilometers of walking we ended up giving up and crashing at a cafe that had wifi. We noticed other tourists there and thought it prudent to go there and check if they had wifi. Thank god they did. Otherwise I guarantee you that we would still be walking around trying to find it now. On the plus side, we accidentally crashed the grand opening of the first KFC in the country because we thought it would have wifi. #sorrynotsorry Here comes the best park. We literally were walking around for 2 hours within steps of our hotel. Yay. We were walking by it and some locals saw our bags and pointed it out to us. Thank god. We checked in no problem, and then proceeded to book our onward travel ourselves. We thought we could do it through a travel agent, but found out that we could book all our flights online. So we did. All our flights and hotels for 2 weeks came to about $500 total… Can we stay here forever? This is insane. After a couple hours booking stuff, we figured we’d eat as we were getting hungry. We went down to the front dest and asked them where to get the best local food. The front desk told of us of this place about 1 block over. We got there and I was really sketched out as there was literally no one else in the restaurant. Also, there was no one else in the restaurant except for us. There was no menu at the restaurant (or if there was it was all in Burmese… not really super helpful). So we walked to the back and pointed at what we wanted and prayed to Buddha, Allah and pretty much all the gods that our food would be ok. We sat down, and our food was over in a few minutes, and they brought us a bowl of Vegetable soup. This was the best food I’ve had in a while. It was so flavourful and the meat was incredible tender. Katelyn had beef, and I had some sort of octopus dish (not that I knew what it was when I ordered it). We both had pop and were expecting to pay a pretty penny when we paid. All in all dinner cost us $9 US. Probably the best $9 I’ve ever spent. We explored the city after dinner, but mostly everything was closed. We tried to cut through a market which we had cut through earlier until some locals came screaming out at us and that put a stop to that. I’m still digesting dinner and exhausted as hell. Now, to explore Yagnon tomorrow!

Baptism by Fire at Don Mueng Airport

Yesterday was an EARLY day, we left the hotel in Bangkok at 4:30 am and were at DMK by 5:00. Bangkok has 2 international airports – one is for all the “full service” airlines (BKK) and one for low cost airlines (DMK). We scored a wicked deal on Air Asia flights to Rangoon and so flew out of DMK.

We walked into the airport from a calm Bangkok morning and into the 7th circle of hell. There were people everywhere. We saw people screaming and yelling to try and check in at a desk, needless to say we were a little put off. We made it to the check in desk 30 mins after we got into the airport (Security screenings) and went to drop our bags off. I dropped mine off no problem, but some guy tried to push in front of Katelyn and she promptly put him in his place.

We made it though immigration and security with no issues and ate a quick breakfast at Starbucks. After that we were off to the gate, and soon enough we were boarding the plane.

Air Asia bussed us out to the plane, and we found our seats. We were pretty much jammed in like sardines but it didn’t stop either of us from sleeping. After landing in Yangon, we made it through immigration and to the taxi counter with no issues.

After a really drowsy taxi ride to the hotel, we checked in (and now are apparently married) and found our way to the room. We promptly fell asleep (9:30 am yesterday) and woke up today at 8am.

And thats it, an intense 4 hours followed by 20 of sleeping. And now, 12 of eating because I’m starving.

There’s nothing like being stuck in a monsoon in a speedboat to bring people together

As I sit here writing this, we’re on the plane flying back to Bangkok from Krabi. My phone has decided that it needs to ruin my dreams of being a celebrity instagrammer and that it needs to alternate between the Apple Logo and a blue screen (sidenote, if anyone knows how to fix this please holla bc my phone is my 6th appendage.)

Anyway, enough of my shitty luck with phones and back to today. Katelyn and I had decided last night that we would get up early and hike to the Railay viewpoint before we headed to Hong Island. Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men. We ended up sleeping through the alarm and got up just in time to pack and head to the pier to go to Hong.

We met Leem, the wonderful man who arranged all our tours at his office and he took us to Railay West to meet our speedboat. Within the first 15 minutes of being on the boat our tour guide Honey turn around and said “The Rain Come”. We didn’t think too much of it until we were in the middle of a monsoon. Thank god Katelyn and Sabah brought their beach mats because they provided amazing shelter for our new Spanish friends and us. It also made us low-key celebs with the chinese tourists on the boat, but you wont see me complaining about that.

As we approached the Hong Lagoon the rains stopped and the skies cleared allowing us to enjoy the natural beauty of the lagoon. We toured the lagoon and then headed to Ko Pak Bia for a beach break. Now, stupid me packed my swimsuits in my bag that I left at the hotel. So, I just read on the beach and listened to my music. About 40 minutes later we headed back to the boat and cruised over to Paradise Island.

Here, we ate lunch and I accidentally passed out for a good half an hour. Groggy, we headed back to the boat to head to our final stop, Ko Hong Beach.

We made it there safely and immediately hit the beach. Luckily, I didn’t have my swimsuit on as Katelyn said that the water was full of rocks and coral. We spent about 2 hours here and as we were leaving we noticed that the sky had begun to cloud over. As soon as we got on the boat, it started to rain again. BUT, this time we were prepared. Fortunately, it didn’t rain as forcefully or as long as the first time so we were able to enjoy the cruise back to Railay.

We manded in Railay 30 minutes prior to when we were told we would, which allowed us to head back to the hotel so the girls could shower,etc. (No complaints here, they needed it). After drying off, Katelyn and I rearranged our bags and waited for Sabah so we could head to the airport.

The return journey to the airport was the same, and included everyone’s favourite ocean tractor. We were a little early to the airport so I brought out my deck of cards and we played President until it was time to board.

This brings us to full circle… in a similar manner to what my phone is still doing. Seriously, if anyone knows how to fix it please let me know because I would love you forever.

Now – Katelyn and I are off to Myanmar in the morning and really don’t know what the connectivity situation is going to be like. I’m going to write posts daily, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to post them. So, If I can’t, expect a doozy of a post as soon as we get WiFi.

Ok, back to crying over my phone. À Bientot!

Surprisingly there was no pee pee at the Pee Pee Viewpoint

(Actually thats a lie. I saw an american bro watering the flowers on my way up).

Smile more. Ive been told I have a nasty resting bitch face, which doesn’t surprise me in the least. The last person to remind me of this was a 20-something Aussie guy working in a dive shop on Ko Phi Phi. So, thanks mate. I really appreciate it.

After a fun night out on the town, we had a late start to the day. After breakfast, we hit the market stalls and I decided to hike to the Phi Phi (or PP or Pee Pee) Viewpoint.

I left the girls to shop around Phi Phi Town and navigated the warren of streets to the base of the stairs to the viewpoint. Someone really needs to start cracking down on building codes in the country because my quads would really appreciate it. I mean, I like my stairs to be of even height and like not 70 degrees steep. But like to each their own.

I made it to the top of the 70 degree incline (I know I’m prone to over exaggerate. But not in this case friends) and was surprised to find a little shop selling Gatorade. Bless whoever decided to put that there. I downed three (no lies. My shirt was drenched with sweat and headed to the first viewpoint.

The view was spectacular. Theres no way to describe it. But here I am going to try and do it justice. Theres just something about the way that the stark limestone cliffs drop sharply into the crystal blue water that makes this place truly special. Holy fuck, look at me sounding like someone who can speak coherent English. Someone stop me.

Now, after hiking to the second viewpoint and taking the obligatory selfies, I paused for a moment. Lately, I’ve realized how important it is to put the camera down and experience the moment for myself. Its so easy to get caught up in doing things for the “likes” but we need to remember to do things for ourselves.

*gets off soapbox*

After hiking back to town, I met up with the girls again. Sabah wanted a fish pedicure (fish + feet = bad combo), so Katelyn and I decided to write a few postcards before heading back to Railay.

We got on the ferry to take us back to Railay and I was overcome by a sense of peace. For the first time in a long time I felt calm. Which isn’t easy for a Grade A ball of stress like me.  After we left the pier, I found the combination of the view+reading+music to be enough to lull me to sleep.

I woke up just in time for us to get off the boat at Railay. We disembarked with only minor issues (namely balancing the boat) and were back at the hotel in no time. We swam in the pool for a bit and headed off to dinner with our new friends from the UK.

The place we ate at had the best menu I’ve seen on the trip so far. Menu options included “toodt”, “toofu/”tufu” and we had the option of “choodting” between different meats including “shimp”.

Katelyn and I left our friends at the Last Bar on Railay East to blog, and get some rest before we tackle the Railay Viewpoint Hike and Hong Island tomorrow.

Ok, I need to shower so Katelyn doesn’t have to smell me anymore.

Bonus: 5 Songs to Enjoy a Boat Cruise to (this is my way of apologizing for my soapbox rant)

1. On the Rocks – The Rural Alberta Advantage

2. Whatever Forever – The Mowglis

3. No Shade In The Shadow of the Cross – Sufjan Stevens

4. Lost in the Light – Bahamas

5. He’s a Pirate – Klaus Badelt (LITERALLY NEVER APOLOGIZING FOR THIS. YOU’LL THANK ME ONE DAY)

Nothing Ruins a Sunset Like a Chinese Man Puking In a Shopping Bag

Well friends. If you’re ever taken on a Sunset Cruise and really not enjoying it. Start puking in a bag. It will end that cruise quickly.

Ok. So a little bit of a backstory here. We decided this morning that we would head to Ko Phi Phi for an over night trip. Best decision ever.

We left Railay beach at 9:30 and took a long tail boat out to the ferry (it was too shallow for it to dock at the pier). Once we pulled up beside the ferry they expected us to basically jump from the long tail up onto the ferry… We managed no problem but some warning would have been nice!

The ferry landed in Ko Phi Phi (pronounced pee pee) at about 10:30 am. We said good bye to our little friend (the praying mantis) and headed into Phi Phi. Once on dry land, we found a hotel for the night and booked a day trip to Ko Phi Phi Le and then ate lunch.

The trip we booked went to Monkey Beach, Lo Sama Bay and then Maya Bay. We got a wicked deal and really couldn’t say no. We headed down to the long tail boats at the beach and met the with the rest of our group.

The long tail left the beach and headed to Monkey Beach. Supposedly there are lots are monkeys but we only saw one. But hey, I’m not complaining. Monkeys scare me.

We headed back to the boat and left for Pi-Leh lagoon for some snorkelling. The girls were champs and it was probably the best snorkelling I’ve ever done. There were soanh fish, and I even touched a fish. Can someone please take me back?

After getting back on the boat, we took a Cruise to Maya Bay. What a gem. This is probably the best beach I’ve ever been to. The water was so green and so warm it was amazing.

The boat dropped us off about 25m from a rope ladder and we had to swim over and climb up to get to the beach. Or so we were told.

This is where I’d like to thank my water polo skills. I was bag bitch (again) and even though Katelyn had a dry bag, we didn’t really trust it and I egg-beatered over to the rope ladder with it high above my head. Now, here comes the fun part. I had to climb up with it. Which happened no problem (thanks to my Pt for giving me upper body strength).

After the climb, we walked the path to the beach. What a treat. It was incredible. Because of the scenery we decided a photo shoot was in order. I’m waiting on that call GQ.

After swimming and just chillaxing (ew. Why did I just that word) we headed back to the boat for the sunset cruise back to Ko Phi Phi Don. Now here’s where it all went to shit (or puke as it were).

We noticed our lovely Chinese friend looked a little worse for wear getting back on the boat but didn’t think anything of it until his friend went running to the front to get a shopping bag. All I can say is, thank god we were in front of them.

Now, the sunset wasn’t that great but it would have been wonderful to sit out on the water to watch it. But, we decided to skip that because there’s something about the sound of vomiting that kind of kills the mood.

We made it back to the hotel safe and sound and are headed out for dinner and a few drinks.

So friends, like I said, if you’re on a sunset cruise for a date and want to kill it ASAP Ferg. Start puking. It’ll work wonders.

Sax on the Beach

Sorry mom and dad. But I’m not coming home. It’s decided. (Ignore the fact that I say this about everywhere ago, I’m serious this time). There’s something about Rai Le that makes me want to stay here forever. I think it may be the fact that you can only get here via long tail boat, which makes it so peaceful and serene.

We got in to the hotel last night around 7:30. We arranged a transfer from the airport through the hotel, which was probably one of our best ideas to date. There was a van ready for us at the Krabi Airport when we landed, we hopped in and then drove about 30 minutes to the pier in Krabi town where we boarded a long tail to take us to the Rai Le peninsula. Even though it was twilight, the boat ride in was incredible. About 15 minutes into the trip, we slowed down and pulled up to a tractor that was waiting in the shallows of the ocean. Katelyn and I proceeded to look at each other with a look of mutual confusion but went along with it. The girls (Katelyn and Sabah) took the front of the trailer while I was in the back making sure that the luggage (and myself) didnt fall out of the back of the trailer while we went up the 60 degree slope to the hotel.

We checked in, and then decided that it was a little late to go exploring the town so decided to stay in our room and relax/blog/upload pictures/facetime, etc. Its important to note that Krabi is in the tropics, meaning that we had lots of little visitors throughout evening, which some of us weren’t to thrilled with. Over the course of the evening I think I killed about 7 moths, 1 cockroach and a couple spiders. There were a few lizards too, but we left them alone.

We headed off to bed, with dreams of Rai Le beach in our heads. We told ourselves that we’d get an early start to the day, but alas, with 2 girls that wasn’t the case. We spent today at Rai Le West beach and even though the weather wasn’t that great it was still breathtaking.

After lunch (with the best English I have seen to date…. “Sax on the Beach with Vodka and Syrub”) Katelyn and I decided to hike the Viewpoint trail. We though we knew where we were going but that was super not the case. We did some awesome exploration of the area but then bailed as it looked like a storm was rolling in. We stocked up on snacks on the way back to the hotel and looked into tours for the day.

This brings us to now. The girls headed off on an Elephant Trek which I decided to skip out on. While I was in Nepal, we did something very similar so I decided to save the cash and buy myself something pretty for being a bug murderer. This afternoon my plans are nothing other than sitting by the pool finishing this post and making some arrangements for the next few legs of our trip.

That’s all for now. I’m off to go find a beer.

Getting Felt Up By Tuk Tuk Drivers Isn’t Like It Used To Be

I’m sorry for not posting yesterday. Actually you know what… I’m not even sorry. I had a nap which in my opinion was more fun.
Anyway, what a jam packed frickin day. We were up at the crack of dawn to go cook with poo (ok maybe it was 6:30 am. But that’s the same to me).  No we did not cook with actual poo (the lovely woman that runs the school goes by the name of poo).
After bailing on the idea of getting a cab at the hotel, we decided to start walking to the BTS station. We got about halfway to the station and decided we needed a tuk tuk ASAP. We found one to take us to Ratchathewi station for 100B which was fine by us.
Tuk Tuks are like no other driving experience I’ve had. There’s something about the combination of feeling like you’re going to fall out if you swerve too quickly and being so squished your knees are in your ears, that makes the whole experience exhilarating.
As we were paying the driver at the BTS station, he turned around and looked at me and started petting my legs and laughing. I’m still at a loss, but hey I guess I have nice legs. Either that or he was confused by my near absence of leg hair. Probably the latter.
We booked it to the BTS train and luckily there was a train pulling into the station as we got there and we made it to our meeting point with the Poo van in time. We were incredibly lucky as there were only 6 people in our tour that day (Normally there are 12).
Before we reached the cooking school, we had a tour of the Klong Toey market. What an out of this world experience. I’ve been to my fair share of markets but this was by far the best market. Our guides, Noi and Tai were such wonderful people and were very knowledgeable about everything they showed us.
I think they chose our route through the market to scare the living daylight out of us first. Within the first 100m of us entering the market we saw live frogs, eels, live catfish (hey mom), all types of insects and much more. Throughout the rest of the market we saw incredibly fresh fruits, veggies and all the prerequisite market fare. My favourite part of this experience was getting to learn all about the local Thai produce and saw doe fruits and vegetables that I’d never seen before.
After the market we headed into the heart of the Khlong Toey slum to meet our new friend Poo. Her name is actually Chompoo… which sounds like shampoo (so, 6 of one 1/2 doz of the other). Normally, she isn’t there so we’re very lucky that we got to meet her and have her teach us her ways! After telling us about how she got the school started, and what it does to give back to the community, we started cooking. We learned 3 dishes: Pad See Ew, Nuea Pad Met Ma-Mueng (Beef w/ Cashews) and Green Curry Chicken With Rice. Surprisingly, I didn’t gravely injure myself or anyone around me. Each dish was extraordinary in its own right, but the curry was by far the best. It must have been the sweat and tears I put into grinding it in the mortar and pestle.
After saying our goodbyes to Poo, Noi, and Tai (the latter were our guides), we headed off to the Grand Palace. What an incredible place. Only a few rooms/buildings are open to the public as the Thai Royal Family still lives on the grounds. The tiling and details are absolutely incredible, which makes the entrance fee far worth it. We were able to enter the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. To me, it was kind of like the Mona Lisa… but, a little better. Its a little bit bigger, but only semi-lives up to the hype.
We finished at the temple, and then walked around the grounds which are massive. We decided that we had enough, and headed over to Wat Pho which is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. We took our obligatory selfies, and then decided that we needed a Thai Massage. Luckily, Wat Pho is where the Thai Massage School is. 200B for 30 minutes seemed worth it. Until I got on the table. I never knew such a tiny person could inflict so much pain. I mean, I do feel bad for being at least 1 foot taller than everyone else getting a massage (I think she was cursing me in Thai the entire time). But, man did we feel good after.
We headed back to the hotel and I had a migraine, so went to bed at 4pm while the girls went out shopping and to Sky Bar. The girls told me it was incredible, but the drinks were $40CAD Each!
Thats all for now, back to being crabby in Krabi!

A Salty Surprise in Bangkok

No, I’m not gonna apologize for the title.

After an uneventful flight over (minus a mild case of food poisoning from Toronto to Helsinki), I made it to Bangkok safe and sound. The first 24 hrs in Bangkok flew by (but that may because I didn’t leave the hotel room… jet lag + work is  a fun combo).

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First Selfie of The Trip

So, when Katelyn and Sabah arrived I was anxious to hit the town. After some quick hellos and after the girls got settled we headed out to Khao San Road for dinner and some after dinner shenanigans.

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Ahh Thailand, I love you.

Dollar beers here are definitely a way better value than Jacks, if I do say so myself. I mean, 2 full sized beers for a dollar is a great deal. Dinner was great and it was wonderful to see Katelyn again after 2 months! We finished up dinner, and with a bit of a buzz went out shopping (No Mom, I didnt buy anything. You’re welcome.). Now, here’s where the fun starts.

Now, here’s where the salty surprise happens. No… its probably not what you’re thinking (Ya, nasty). About 15m down the road Katelyn’s eagle eyes spot a man coming down the street with a white bucket. I really didn’t know what was so special about him until he passed us. In the bucket were about 20 fried, dead scorpions. We paid our cursory 100B and mowed down.

Of course, it would have bIMG_2218een a little crazy for me to pass up this opportunity and because I was low on protein for the day decided “WTF lets do it”). Katelyn had already done this before and I thought she was going to eat the whole thing. LIES ALL LIES. I had downed the whole thing in one gulp and looked over at Katelyn who was gingerly eating hers (and eventually threw 1/2 of it out… Thanks kate.)

After some excitement (and because #MonsoonSeason) we headed back to the hotel, weird thai chip flavours in hand. G’night from Muggy Bangkok, and until next time!

Did you know, not planning a vacation can be just as stressful as planning one?

I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m INCREDIBLY Type A. I need to know where I need to be, what time I need to be there and 7 different ways to get there. But, If you know me well enough, this shouldn’t be news to you. So, having a trip partner that wants to fly by the seat of our pants and plan once we get there is giving me ulcers.

BUT (and this is a Kim K sized one)… its also incredibly exciting for me. Every trip I have ever taken has been planned from A-Ö (who knew there were letters that came after z!) and while I love my parents for this, it takes the spontaneity out of the trip. Yes, we have incredible adventures.  And yes, I love each and every minute of them (not just because I don’t have to pay…) but we never get to say “hey, you know what? I’m not liking where we are, lets go!”  or “Hey, theres a cool local xyz going on lets check it out” which can be a drag. This trip (apart from a week at the beginning) is a complete blank slate (or space if you will) and its exciting and horrifying at the same time.

Don’t get me wrong… my neurotic tendencies have arisen. Case in point: my trip binder (Katelyn if you’re reading this you don’t need paper copies of anything, I got you).  This binder is my pride and joy and I’d cry if I lost it… but that may be due to the fact that it has photocopies of my entire life in it. If you want to see the most organized thing in my life right now, I’ll gladly show you this masterpiece of travel planning. It has all our confirmations (hotels, flights, etc.) organized by country and in the order we’ll need them. BUT THATS ALL I’M GOING TO DO. While I’m with Katelyn it’s going to be fly by the seat of our pants, go where the wind (or tuk tuk driver) takes us – which is an opportunity I’ll be forever grateful for.

So, thanks Katelyn, for giving me the opportunity to shed myself of my neurotic ways (if only for a but. And also giving me a heart attack, anxiety and ulcers at the same time. But mainly the first part (I think…).