http://feeds.wnyc.org/radiolab this podcast explains the formation of the universe by exploiting what we know about the transitional phases of water. It’ll literally give you chills… Enjoy!
And, contrary to my prior beliefs, the pace of my life has quickened. It’s shit or get off the pot out here and there’s no way I’m getting left behind. I had anticipated the pace of life to be much more tranquil in a place like Chiang Mai, Thailand; but I’ve quickly learned that isn’t the case. Backpacking from Singapore was an amazing experience, and having Archie with me is as educational as ever. I’m learning how to take life, one beat at a time and even to tamper with the rhythm as I go. We’ve met amazing people within the last ten days who have quite literally changed the course of our journey for the best.
So here’s the low down:
We arrived in Singapore on March 1st after having left Seattle on February 27th… so February 28th never happened in our lives because we crossed the international dateline… o_O spooky, I know!
We decided to stay a night in Singapore and check out some attractions such as the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which has been on my bucket list, and the Gardens by the Bay, both of which were just as fascinating as the city itself.
From Singapore, we caught a light rail ish train to Johor Bahru, which is right inside the Malaysia border, so that we could take yet another train to Kuala Lumpur. it was in Johor that we met a man named Daniel right after we passed through customs who was very interested in us.. enough so that we were pretty hesitant to make his acquaintance. But the proved to be a very nice guy who bought us lunch and showed us around Johor and spoiled us with anecdotes about Singapore’s economy and history… Sorry Kirsten, I forgot to get a picture of this fellow.
The train from Johor to Kuala Lumpur was our first sleeper experience and, although it was initially a little rough, I slept like a baby.
Arriving in Kuala Lumpur at 8 or so in the morning was nice because we had the rest of the day to spend terrorizing the city. So we found a hostel (Agusto) with this nice lady named Ann who took us under her wing and let us shower and use a room to store our stuff for the day while we wreaked havoc. During this time, we went to the butterfly gardens, a deer haven and had lunch at an expensive ass little place that overlooked the biggest bird observatory in the world… which is where that giant thing almost ate Archie’s head off.
As you can see in the pictures, Kuala Lumpur was not the cleanest of places and the smog there for whatever reason was absolutely rampant that day… So on our way back to the hostel the winds picked up and mother nature got pissed for some reason. The rain, suggestive of a monsoon, began its down pour without warning. Needless to say, we arrived back at the hostel having showered AGAIN, and were greeted by fresh towels and lots of laughs.
The destination from Kuala Lumpur was Hat Yai, where we decided we would scope out some beach and chill for a minute: an ambition that was best left to the birds, we quickly realized. Before the train had even come to a complete stop in the station at Hat Yai, there was a violent banging on the doors of the train. Once a passenger skeptically opened the entry way, a sea of Thai’s flooded the cabin and rounded us up in our groups. Naturally, Archie and I were herded off the train and “guided” to a bus station, where our money and business were the only thing they were after. The most aggression I have ever felt in life stemmed from the feeling of being controlled, but I don’t know that I’ve ever been so pissed off at a great experience before. We handled it like champs. We dropped the dudes and proceeded to ignore them, even when they kept pursuing us, and chose to sit down and have a chat about the fact that this city had proven to be quite shitty in a matter of less than 5 minutes.
Yet it also proved to be one of the best experiences we had. Not only did we learn a lot about how we are viewed in these countries, but we also randomly chose to sit next to a soft spoken fellow named Hank. Hank was great. He carried one of those “permasmiles” on his face and his English was very good. A man from Holland, he told us that he himself had been in the southern region of Thailand for about 4 months, and was headed back home at that time. The reason for his departure was that he began to feel a lot of animosity towards himself as a white tourist because of the political unrest that’s currently stirring the country. Mom: I’m FINE, I’ll explain later. BUT Hank was the one who told us to go check out Koh Hai, an island near Phuket that was known for its splendor and not many tourists went there. So we did. We stormed past the other fuckers and continued on to find our own rides to this random island in the middle of no-where… using the guidance and advice Hank had provided of course.
It was during our trek to the bus station that I used my first Thai phrase “Kop-Kuun-Kaa,” or “Thank you,” which I obviously thought was pretty effing sweet. We asked a random Thai guy for directions to the bus stop and it turned out that the only common word between the three of us was “bus.” But he pointed us in the right direction and we arrived right on time to catch the next bus to Trang from which we would depart to Koh Hai.
Dudes. The drivers out here are maniacs; the roads are the closest thing to an actual cluster of fucks than I have EVER seen, and the worst part about it is that no one pays any mind to their own driving habits! It’s a rat race, really.
But we arrived in one piece to Trang, where we found that, low an behold, all the last ferries to Koh Hai had already departed. So, our second option was to sleep in a tent in Koh Mook for 200 Baht/person/night… that’s about $8. “We’ll take two nights, please.”
I have got to stop here.
We stayed on Kohn mook for 2 nights, it was lovely swimming with sea creatures of all sorts including, but not limited to: Sting rays, sea slugs, sea stars of all different shapes and sizes, hermit crabs, dead blow fish and squid, all sorts of crabs, toads, and sea anemone.
After arriving back in Trang, we overnighted it to Bangkok via the absolute dirtiest and oldest train that exists on this planet. I’ll leave out the details for Lindy’s sake.
It was all very well worth it when we arrived in Bangkok and spent a day traversing lovely Europeanesk coffee shop and side street markets with fresh mangoes for DAYS.
Slash we were treated like kings on the train to Chiang Mai, which I’m still avidly defending we earned.
Upon arriving in Chiang Mai, we found Julie’s hostel, one recommended to us by Malachai, but we didn’t really do so on purpose. We loved it and met some really cool people that were staying there as well. We went to the tiger Haven on Saturday and Doi Suthep on Sunday before arriving at our hotel Sunday night.
phew! glad that’s out… update about CELTA soon to follow… after my homework is done :)
I love and miss you all and would love to hear about what’s going on with you. Comment here or email me at email@example.com.
I’ve never seen so many people in one place before. I take my space for granted in America, where hand sanitizer is at one’s beck and call and “personal space” is actually a concept. Boulder would have a heart attack if it saw how these people treat their waste… because they just don’t, so it permeates every nook and cranny.. including the skies. Although I’m struggling with an innumerable amount of emotions right now, I haven’t been more proud of myself than I am right now. My conceptions of beauty mean nothing here, nor does my appreciation for sanitation. My affinity for small talk, however, is growing stronger and the service industry is proving to some good for me in the world. Upon entering Johor Bahru, we met a man named Daniel who showed us around the local area, chatted us up and bought us lunch. I never imagined people being so curious but there has been frequent small talk with the locals and lots and lots of smiles- the universal language.
The plan for today is to go sight seeing in Kuala Lumpur, catch the overnight train to Hat Yai (Thailand) and then hang out there for a bit and go beach hopping. I love you all.