Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Grr!!! I should be singing school out for the summer but instead I'm singing to the tune of desk warming. Desk warming is where native English teachers have to come to school and sit at their desks for eight hours (YES EIGHT HOURS!!!). At public schools there are around 4-6 weeks vacation in the summer and 6-8 weeks vacation in the winter for the students. During these vacations, teachers have summer and winter camps, but they do not run the entire vacation period. So when there is not a camp we the teachers have to sit at our desks for EIGHT HOURS! There is only so much T.V. and Internet surfing one can do.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Trip Summary

Here is a run-on describing our vacation:

Landed in Malaysia, boy it's hot and humid; love it! much better than the Korean cold; found the airport bus, only 8RM; arrived at Reggae Guest House 2, small room but not bad; Batu Cave's!!! Batu Cave's!!!, jump on bus; oh look at the giant gold statue; walk up a huge set of steps; just missed Thaipusam; beautiful offerings; Latanya watch out for the monkeys; super cheap and delicious lunch; check out the Petronas Towers; man I thought they would be bigger, still big though; still humid; let's check out the city; ooh there's a national Mosque; Latanya, "I gotta where what?", a burqa; but you look beautiful; it's sooo clean, they must have to sweep every day; Malaysia is so multi-cultural; Malay food is delish; flight to Cambodia, we have no idea what to expect; flying, the country side looks so nice and peaceful; picked up on a tuk tuk; check in; straight to the temples of Angkor; AMAZING!!! wow this place is so huge; you mean we can climb on, in and around the temples, sweet; no thank you we don't want any water, tuk tuk or postcards; did she say 30 postcards for a dollar; man I am tired from all that walking and we had a ride; let's rest; time for Khmer food; oh this is a great surprise, we will have to come back here tomorrow night; time to see the town; you mean that's it, we saw it all; back to eat some more Khmer food, still great and cheap; no postcards or guide books thank you; OK I will buy you dinner, wait who are all your friends? sorry too many friends; tuk tuk back to hotel; it's time for a bus ride; these roads are really narrow; I don't think this one and a half lane highway is made for buses, tuk tuks, cars, motorbikes, bicycles, cows, and pedestrians all at once; I feel like my knee is in my lung; the country side is very poor; simple houses; those cows look too skinny; the land looks too brown, I guess that's the remnants of years of war and the dry season combined; six hours later arrived in Phnom Penh; hustle and bustle; hire a tuk tuk to the killing fields; hey he has an American flag on his tuk tuk, oh, it's upside down; that could mean a number of things, but more than likely it's in protest; so we are from Canada; killing fields, ridiculous; Pol Pot, genocide, crazy; look at all those skulls; how depressing; back to the city; look at these palaces, do you remember the country side; city life her is fast; so many motorbikes; bus to Vietnam; border crossing, we beat all the buses behind us; wow, immigration was easy; back on the bus; six hours of a bus ride we are in Ho Chi Minh formally Saigon; and I thought there were a lot of motorbikes in PP, this place has it beat; reunification palace, well this is an interesting take on the war; War Remnants Museum, war is horrific; why in the hell was the U.S. in Vietnam, oh that's why; it's a bit different from our history books; did that really happen; let's walk around the neighborhood; man the weather is so perfect, warm but not too humid, Cambodia was much dryer; let's have some Pho, mmm this is good; no, Latanya don't drink that, it has ice! oops; time to fly to Hoi An; hey this guy keeps shaking his legs next to me; oh I think he has never flown before; he's like 30; wow it is his first flight along with 20 other Vietnamese on their feet to look out the window in amazement; arrive in Da Nang let's take a metered taxi to Hoi An; bad idea with the meter; check in and go get a suit made; let's shop around; boy Latanya is in heaven, custom tailoring everywhere; the town is so quaint; got our order for suits, shoes, dresses, shirts, skirts and blazer; let's try some more Vietnamese food, mmm it's so good; wait, 20 cent beer!!! oh yeah! time for a fitting and another fitting and yet another one; hey we look great in these clothes; strolling on the streets of Hoi An is so relaxing; power outage; what about your blazer; good you got your blazer, barely; time to fly to Hanoi; brr; more motorbikes; how do we cross the street, just like Frogger; to Halong Bay; wow this is truly an amazing sight; it sure is cold though, I thought we left the winter; back to Hanoi; walking around the city is a difficult task; time to check out Ho Chi Minh himself; he looks like he is sleeping; wow look at his neck, cool; that was interesting; let's check out the palace and the surrounding grounds; everyone is setting up for Tet, the Vietnamese new year; time to fly to Singapore; this place is too expensive already; this place is so clean, why? because you get a caning for graffiti, ouch; Singapore Sling, it feels like my wallets been slung from my hands; chili crab, it's OK, too much for what you get on the street corner; this pillow does smell like mold; let's just sleep in the lobby, OK; time to fly to Thailand, yeah!!! ooh Thailand is even more beautiful than I remembered it; oooh the heat feels good on the skin; Phuket town, is this it; let's go to the beach; wait how much for the ride? you said 40 Baht not 400, oh well; this beach is crowded but the water is nice; this is a great fusion, Green Curry Pizza, championship; ferry to Koh Lanta, one transfer and five hours later, where is our free tuk tuk transfer? this is our hotel? wow it's perfect, on the beach; the beach is so secluded; Thai cooking class; learned a lot; we just made that; mmm I missed great Thai food; that was easy we can do that at home; thanks for the private lesson; back to the beach; eat; beach; what do you mean you don't sell alcohol from 2pm to 5pm? drink and eat; sleep; eat; beach; eat; beach; eat and drink; beach; sleep; walk; watch out for the dogs Latanya; eat; beach; eat; beach; eat; drink; wait, ooh free T-shirts! wait, what about our free T-shirts? Snake blood and scorpion juice!!! yuck, not too tasty; sleep; walk; beach and eat; ferry to Ao Nang; that beach looks crappy, maybe it's better at midday; check in; this hotel is nice; Sun is very helpful; oh my, look at all those bugs, let's move tables, good idea; long tail to Railay; I could get used to this; watch out for the monkeys Latanya; I swear I don't see any fish, trust me; ahh, look at all those fish; they are only babies; getting a little sunburned now, but I don't want to get out; Latanya, to snorkel, your head has to be in the water, nice try though; long tail back to Ao Nang; hey man, stop hitting me with that hammock, gosh; let's get some good Thai food; the Massaman Restaurant is the best; 80% spicy please; the next day 100% please, perfect; time to go back to Phuket Town; time for another Green Curry Pizza and another to go; this hotel is not too bad, except the mosquitoes and that cockroach the size of California; Super Bowl time at the Roxy Bar; mmm Bloody Marys; Chad stop talking; did Bill just go throw-up? yeah; touchdown!! game over; good times guys, take care; time for another pizza and one to go; flight back to KL; one more look at the Petronas Towers; I still thought they would be bigger; flight back to Korea.

Well that was our vacation!!! Only three more weeks in Korea and then on to our next adventure.

Thailand Part IV

Back in Phuket town. We were familiar with the area by now. We had another couple Green Curry Pizzas and chilled on our patio. Later that night we had a visitor. The visitor was quite unexpected. Thus far we have had really good luck with accommodations (except Singapore). As we were watching TV there he was, moving up the curtain, looking straight at us. It was the largest cockroach I have ever seen!!! It was the size of Latanya's head! Normally Latanya might be brave enough to kill a bug and if I had to I would have. But this was an impossible feat. We asked the front desk to take care of it. There was no way that I would try and tackle that mutant of a bug. The small little Thai woman was equally shocked at the size. She did not hesitate and swept it out with a broom and pan. She apologized and that was that. By now it was time to get some shut eye. We had to get up at 5AM to see the Super Bowl.
Most people who know me, know that the Super Bowl is like my favorite day in the world. It is my holiday. There was a bar opened up all night for the occasion. It was called Roxy Bar and the owner was Nuno from Turkey. He just got into American football so he had to host a party at his bar. For $8.00 I had all you can drink Bloody Marys. Talk about championship!!! Latanya stuck with beer and the drinks that were bought for her. There were about twenty of us total. About half were just travelers and the other half were local foreigners. There was Chad from Alaska that kept talking Latanya's ear off, cool guy though. And there was Bill who would buy us a drink every quarter along with the rest of the bar. Keep in mind most of these people have been up and drinking since the night before. It was a classic atmosphere and we had a great time watching a great game. I had no preference to either team so the outcome was just fine. After several hours of Bloody Marys, Red Bull and Vodkas and Beer, Latanya and I were ready to get another Green Curry Pizza for lunch. We made sure to pace ourselves on drinks. We had a flight to catch. We got back to the hotel and checked out. It was time to say goodbye to Thailand. Thailand is honestly our favorite place. We will definitely be back and we can't wait.

Thailand Part III

When we arrived in Ao Nang it was the afternoon and the beach did not look too nice. The tide was low and it seemed more crowded from Lanta. Our hotel was further up the road from the beach and was nice. We really enjoyed our time there. The owner, Sun was so nice. It was great talking to him. We were able to learn about what it takes to own and run a hotel. His family owns it and he runs it. The place had only been open for nine months. He said there was lots to do. Ideally Latanya and I would love to own a small hotel of our own in Thailand. That would be a dream. You never know. We pretty much chilled out for the night.
The next day we took a long tail boat to Railay. The Ao Nang beach looked much better in the morning and was already busy when we left. Railay is part of the mainland too however because of the drastic steep cliffs the beach can only be accessed by boat. The beach was pretty crowded but the water was amazing. I borrowed a snorkeling mask from our hotel and looked around for a bit. I could honestly swim all day and all night. The water felt so great. If only the California Pacific felt this good. After a day at the beach we went back to Ao Nang and went to a reggae bar. They had a live band who played a lot of familiar cover songs. It was a great atmosphere. We made friends with their promoter. He had long dreads and was super friendly. We hadn't really done a night out on the trip so this was a nice change.
The next day Latanya did a spa and I just chilled on the beach. It was great to be relaxing. Our trip was coming to an end. That night we went back to a restaurant we ate at the day before. They had the most amazing dry spicy curry. The day before I had it at 80% spicy and that night I went for the full 100% and it was so good. Any more spice might have killed me. Not only was the food great but it was also cheap. We ate there for breakfast the next day too. After breakfast it was time to head back to Phuket for the night.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Thailand Part II

In order to get to the island of Koh Lanta from Phuket we needed to take a ferry. The boat we took was about an hour and a half to Railay beach where we had to change boats on the sea. Both boats came together and we made the transfer. The next boat took over two hours and landed us at the harbor on Lanta. We were told that we had a free transfer to our hotel but all we could see were annoying taxi drivers charging ridiculous rates. Luckily a nice woman offered her help and arranged a free ride to our hotel. The island of Lanta is quite large with several beaches running along the west coast. Our beach was further to the south about three fourths of the way down the island. Our hotel was small. The grounds consisted of only nine rooms. The room was nice enough but the view was amazing. The hotel was right on the beach. For the next five days we were to be beach bums. We ate beach side nearly every day and night.
We took a cooking class at Lanta Thai cookery school and made some amazing Thai dishes. We learned how to make Green Curry and it's curry paste. We also made Tom Yam soup, Panang Curry and Phad Thai. Our teacher was such a great chef. We took the morning class and because of this we were the only students and had a private session. It was great just to talk to our teacher one on one. We learned about how he got into cooking and about his family. He taught us a lot about Thai food and culture. Everything we made was made fresh and grown on site. Even the coconut milk was made from the trees right outside. Because we made four dishes each there was no way we could eat it all. We took it to go and saved it for lunch and dinner. We were really surprised how easy it was. We can't wait to experiment when we go home.
Most other days were spent in the water and on the beach. We would wake up have our complimentary breakfast, omelette, toast, jam, fruit, tea and juice. After that we would take a dip. Then we would lounge under our umbrella. After that repeat several times until our afternoon nap. Our beach was often quite empty looking. Most other hotels were as small as ours. We felt isolated from the world. The only western anything was a 7/11 about a 15 minute walk away. The island of Lanta was much to our liking, seclusion and relaxation. At dinner time we would try a new restuarant.
The last night we ate on some axe pillows on the beach. The waiter told us after dinner to grab a free shirt at the bar. We were excited, a free shirt. We wondered what the shirt could possibly say. Perhaps it said Koh Lanta or maybe our beach or perhaps the restaurant's name. When we finished our meal and drinks we walked up to the bar in antticipaton of these free shirts to discover they were not free shirts afterall. Instead we were offered free shots. Big difference. We were laughing so hard because we were seriously discussing these free shirts for the past twenty minutes. We each had a different shot. Latanya had a shot of scorpion and spider juice. Which was a tequilla tasting liquor. There were about three scorpions maranating in the bottle. One of which was huge. I had a snake blood shot, which was a rice wine with snake blood mixed in it. It tasted like cough syrup with tequilla and Jagermeister. It was not tasty but surely an experience. The next day we were going back on the ferry to Ao Nang.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Thailand Part I

The all nighter wasn't too bad. I managed to get a few minutes of sleep here and there. Our journey to Thailand was much anticipated: we were really eager to get back to cheaper living. Singapore was a little too rich for our blood. In Phuket we took a bus to Phuket Town. Phuket town has a little charm in it's older buildings but it wasn't anything special. We were using the town as a starting point for flying into Thailand. When checked in we immediately wanted to go to sleep however we could not go into our room until two. It was still 11 am at this point so we went for an early lunch. We wanted to dive right into the Thai food so we to a local restaurant recommended in our guide book. On display were about 15 dishes with their names in Thai. Latanya asked the waiter for the spicy dishes with 4 dishes to choose from she chose a chicken dish. We were so excited to try an exotic Thai meal. The food was tasty it had the right amount of spice and coconut milk.  We washed it down with a  Singha beer. So excited about trying food that we picked at random, Latanya asked what the name of this exotic dish was. The waiter responded, chicken curry not exactly an exotic  dish in Thailand. Boy were we happy to be back in Thailand. The weather was quite warn and felt so good. It was easy to forget about the Korean winter. 
At two we went to our room and didn't leave until the next morning. We only had one more night in Phuket so we wanted to see a beach. We took an overpriced taxi to Patong beach and chilled out for the day. The beach was nice but overly crowded with tons of Europeans sunbathing. The water was magnificent. Later that night we had green curry pizza which was to die for and walked through the Phuket town night market. The next day we were to take a ferry to Koh Lanta to get some real beach living.