1 more night

That is fucking insane. Coming into this trip I found it hard to think about anything I had to do afterwards because a part of me never really thought it would end, partly cause I didn’t truly think we’d make it back in one piece, but partly because I didn’t think it would ever end, I mean, a whole month?!? But here we are, one night left. We’ve already left max, Skyler and Michael leave in the morning and I’m out tomorrow night. It’s crazy, I really can’t believe it. Tomorrow we’re back to the land of prices that don’t include taxes and street lights that prevent terrifying crossing experiences that always end up fine and no more random sightings of monkeys and elephants and negative street food and no more getting off the beaten path to find ourselves as the only Americans and no more gangham style (well…) and no more t shirts and shorts (I’ve worn strictly this the last 30 days and it is literally snowing in ct. Fuck) and no more flip flops and no more last minute booking of buses and no more sleeper trains with blankets too small and no more crazily delicious food for 0 money and no more conversion rates and no more struggling to say words and no more talking to random people about their life stories and no more truck beds with bean bags and no more excitement at the prospect of warm showers and no more malaria pills and much less completely unprecedented experiences and no more Southeast Asian food! and no more Southeast Asia. Shit. I’m really going to miss this place.
Obviously this part of the trip has been peppered with us reliving all of the amazing adventures we have gone on in the last 4 weeks. Trying to gain some of that elusive meaning from all of these different worlds we have seen. I don’t think it’s that possible, but there are some vague, perhaps trivial conclusions I think I have gained while being here, and seeing as this seems to be my start to my conclusion, I’ll share some with you.
Firstly, the world is humongous. Maybe it takes going to 3 countries halfway around the world and befriending people from all over to realize that my world is soooooo different from the one being experienced by so many other people. Did you know it takes 9 hours to get from Sydney to Bangkok in a plane! I thought they were essentially next door neighbors. There is so much world!!
Which brings me into my second point, I love traveling. I think I am at my best and really thrive and mostly just enjoy when I have the opportunity to glimpse into many other people’s lives and start to get a better understanding of what their realities are. Not only am I just absolutely enthralled by the similarities and the differences, but I just enjoy people’s stories so much, especially when they are told in somewhat unlikely scenarios, like in the bed of a truck taxi flying around a terrifyingly hilly island or in the street side restaurant stumbled upon completely randomly. This chance and luck of meeting all of these incredible people with wild stories seemed to me to be such an amazing coincidence, but I’m starting to realize more and more that people and places are just inherently interesting, even if they are not the most talkative or don’t have the best reviews on tripadvisor. And these interactions and experiences I am having are endless! I will never exhaust the interesting things in this world, I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of my own backyard, so that is pretty friggin exciting.
Luckily, and this is my third conclusion, I am such a youngsta. I totally thought that once I got to this blessed 21st bday all was downhill, but I was so wrong. With very few exceptions we only met people who were older than us, and most of the time the age difference was pretty substantial. Which means this is not the last time I get to experience this world or add to my repertoire of experience and that is mad (Australian for cool, not the New York slang). I have so much time to do so many things and that is just the greatest.
I think that this trip happened at a pretty perfect time for me in this life. I am about a semester away from the first decision I’ve ever made in which there really is absolutely no one path set out in front of me. Getting to meet so many people doing amazing things in an eclectic mix of places is incredibly inspirational and informative and intimidating and exciting and everything in between. I don’t think it’s necessarily hammered out exactly where I now feel that path goes, but I certainly have a lot more ideas of twists and turns I can take along the way. And i guess ive realized doing something that allows me to continue having these experiences would be ideal. Perhaps serendipitously I had the amazing fortune of meeting two Wes grads currently celebrating their honeymoon here in Southeast Asia. It seems pretty perfect to meet 2 super wes chillers 3 days before the end of the trip and its pretty impossible to not see aspects of their lives that are completely in line with ways I could wanna be living in some time. They were pretty awesome so I have some faith that maybe I can be awesome as well. Lets hope. Just a pretty solid way to conclude this trip and push me to think forward and move forward in the ways I want to and would be proud of. Alright. The conclusions seem more profound and substantial in my head but hopefully you like and I’m sure they won’t be the last.


Koh Phangan -

Alright guys two days into our time on this island, the hippy one, and once again super awesome. It started on the more populated side of the island with us 4 chill bros and the 2 Aussies. We were greeted off of the ferry by a woman promising us the best accommodations right near the best beaches for the cheapest prices. We believed her and took a cab her hotel’s way. We then read tripadvisor and instantly realized her promises were all just false, the pictures were all fabricated and that we totally should have passed. So we ran, along the beach, with our backpacks, to try and get a better place. And we were met by crazyman Tony, who with his persistence and his seemingly upper-induced enthusiasm we stayed there. 6 people in one room, it was great. And the beach, beautiful, and it had a swing (see picture)! We had high plans of attending the dark moon party with its high dose of deep, driving, progressive trance and therefore planned accordingly with a nice drinking intercultural drinking game. Aussies drink. We went to the party, found out it was much more expensive than we thought, debated sneaking in over the glass-plated walls, got involved in an epic race conversation, and then took the long walk home. It was amazing and such a Berkeley bro night, though we missed out on the amazing paint filled fiesta that the bros frequented. (See 2:30  http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yZEoxl5SGkk) Que lastima! Anyways, woke up this morning really pleasantly content with our first night. 
We immediately headed to the incredible homie’s restaurant whose name was Nat and was by far the smiliest and friendliest Thai man we have met and we have met a lot of awesome people here. He just clearly had so much love for what he was doing, instantly took a liking to us and just was the ultimate chiller who we all loved. If anyone ever comes here, find Nat. We then split with the Aussies who headed back to Bangkok as Nat hooked us up with a ride to the other side of the island and the bliss that came with it. On the ride, another German was in our taxi, Stefan, who will show up later.
When we got here to this side of the island we quickly discovered that the trick to every island or beach place or anything is to get to the other side. Like seriously, with less people and less development and less everything comes just the most chilled out and awesomely fun environment. Over here on Tong Nai Pan Yai, we all have the same feelings of really a place we could spend too much time. We were instantly greeted by a huge rainstorm and chose to immediately run into the ocean which was too perfect. Then we had a day with little to report, barring our hotel’s Infiniti pool and a trip to our next door bar, the Flip Flop Pharmacy, which is obviously the chilliest place ever here on what we have termed the land of Sandalopia. This was where we met back up with Stefan who ended up being a German soldier who comes here every year with a crew try call the big chicken club. This group comes from around the world and meets here every January, as many as can come, and have no communication all year and just show up when the time is right. It’s soooo sick and definitely super inspiring for us 4. Stefan has clearly seen some shit and though his incredibly friendly and generous self had some incredibly somber moments he left us with many pieces of advice about seizing our opportunities before they are too late. It was a great, yet tame evening, and we are super looking forward to our chilled out day tomorrow with our big chicken boola times and general chill lives heading into this end of our trip. 
Also we are waking up tomorrow at 8 to watch the niners game from around the world so lets hope that goes well. 
Chyeah!

Koh Phangan -

Alright guys two days into our time on this island, the hippy one, and once again super awesome. It started on the more populated side of the island with us 4 chill bros and the 2 Aussies. We were greeted off of the ferry by a woman promising us the best accommodations right near the best beaches for the cheapest prices. We believed her and took a cab her hotel’s way. We then read tripadvisor and instantly realized her promises were all just false, the pictures were all fabricated and that we totally should have passed. So we ran, along the beach, with our backpacks, to try and get a better place. And we were met by crazyman Tony, who with his persistence and his seemingly upper-induced enthusiasm we stayed there. 6 people in one room, it was great. And the beach, beautiful, and it had a swing (see picture)! We had high plans of attending the dark moon party with its high dose of deep, driving, progressive trance and therefore planned accordingly with a nice drinking intercultural drinking game. Aussies drink. We went to the party, found out it was much more expensive than we thought, debated sneaking in over the glass-plated walls, got involved in an epic race conversation, and then took the long walk home. It was amazing and such a Berkeley bro night, though we missed out on the amazing paint filled fiesta that the bros frequented. (See 2:30 http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yZEoxl5SGkk) Que lastima! Anyways, woke up this morning really pleasantly content with our first night.
We immediately headed to the incredible homie’s restaurant whose name was Nat and was by far the smiliest and friendliest Thai man we have met and we have met a lot of awesome people here. He just clearly had so much love for what he was doing, instantly took a liking to us and just was the ultimate chiller who we all loved. If anyone ever comes here, find Nat. We then split with the Aussies who headed back to Bangkok as Nat hooked us up with a ride to the other side of the island and the bliss that came with it. On the ride, another German was in our taxi, Stefan, who will show up later.
When we got here to this side of the island we quickly discovered that the trick to every island or beach place or anything is to get to the other side. Like seriously, with less people and less development and less everything comes just the most chilled out and awesomely fun environment. Over here on Tong Nai Pan Yai, we all have the same feelings of really a place we could spend too much time. We were instantly greeted by a huge rainstorm and chose to immediately run into the ocean which was too perfect. Then we had a day with little to report, barring our hotel’s Infiniti pool and a trip to our next door bar, the Flip Flop Pharmacy, which is obviously the chilliest place ever here on what we have termed the land of Sandalopia. This was where we met back up with Stefan who ended up being a German soldier who comes here every year with a crew try call the big chicken club. This group comes from around the world and meets here every January, as many as can come, and have no communication all year and just show up when the time is right. It’s soooo sick and definitely super inspiring for us 4. Stefan has clearly seen some shit and though his incredibly friendly and generous self had some incredibly somber moments he left us with many pieces of advice about seizing our opportunities before they are too late. It was a great, yet tame evening, and we are super looking forward to our chilled out day tomorrow with our big chicken boola times and general chill lives heading into this end of our trip.
Also we are waking up tomorrow at 8 to watch the niners game from around the world so lets hope that goes well.
Chyeah!


Koh Tao -

Whaddup guys, I write to you as our third to last real leg of the trip comes to an end, here on the island of Koh Tao. Now to give some context to the islands on this side of southern Thailand I will say that from what we’ve learned Koh Tao is the island for diving and snorkeling, Koh Phangan is the hippy island, and Koh Samui is the resort island. We’re sticking to the first two. 
Our trip down consisted of a night train from Bangkok down to a city here called champhuon. Unfortunately we were not very on our game and by the time we booked our seats there were no beds left. Therefore to say we were uncomfortable for the 7 or so hour train ride would be an understatement. It was cold, not spacious, there were some slight issues with even being able to sit down…it was a mess. The fact that it fell on the night that ended michael’s birthday and began skyler’s was just a bummer. But then we got there and were quickly filtered onto a bus which took us to the coast and a ferry. We quickly realized how right we were in deciding to come here. The water was beautiful. 
After a pretty long ferry ride we arrived at the bustling beaches of Koh Tao ripe with young party-going tourists and lots and lots of bros. like seriously. They’re everywhere. We made it to our hostel and quickly got food and went straight to the beach. Now this island is hotttt. Like stay in the sun for five minutes and you are soaked in sweat. Especially for us 4 Jews. Sweat city. But the water, oh man. It’s warm and shallow and beautiful like Sihanoukville, but it’s like a million times clearer. You can see everything. We spent the first two days down here traveling between the beach - mostly in shade along with everyone else, the water, and our nook - a four person table set perfectly under a nice canopy located at a restaurant with the most delicious mango-coconut shake and a surprisingly solid and cheap assortment of Thai eats. The parties here are pretty much as broey as you can imagine and as we very much partook the first night, the rest of the time was spent recuperating. 
We did that in an active way the third and fourth days. First we went to this island a water taxi ride away. It is actually three hilly, tree filled islands connected by sandbar which are absolutely beautiful. We spent the day snorkeling - so clear and so many fish!, hiking - the climb provided the most exercise any of us had had on this trip, so many stairs!, playing frisbee (or fris as our hairiest companion likes to call it) and chilling on the super hot  sand. It was wonderful. At 5 we got picked up and headed back to our island and particularly our nook. Though this day was incredible, today was the day that really took the cake in terms of solidifying our love for this island. 
We should’ve learned from Sihanoukville that we prefer the secluded beaches but it took us three days to make the trek to the other side of the island  we had to go all of the way up, then all of the way down the huge hill of this island and seeing as the roads are shit and we were in the bed of a truck, it was terrifying. But alas, like all other adventures on this trip, we made it. Now this beach, well, it was a whole new brand of beach. Hopefully the picture does it some kind of justice but doubtful (it’s supposed to be a panorama taken with the handy dandy new update in iPhone but who knows if that’ll show up here. Not me.). Either way, whatever it does show does nothing to clue you all into what goes on under water. It’s just a completely different world! About one meter out the reef begins and it never ends. As you get deeper the fish get more and more colorful and crazy to look at and no matter where you are there are literally hundreds of these crazy fish swimming every which way around you. And because of the amazing invention of the snorkel you can just float there and watch then and follow them and swim alongside their schools and whatever! I can’t say I’ve ever been the biggest fish fan but I was so enthralled and flabbergasted and everything! Just amazing. And because there is sooooo much salt you just float and chilllll. Also there’s a jumping rock. Now I want to go scuba diving. It seems out of this world crazy. Though we’ve been chilling with these Australians, one of whom saw a bull shark yesterday at 20 meters down so that’s terrifying. The other of whom is coming with us to Koh Phangan so that’s awesome. Alright! Another long one!
Hope you think this post was mad (how these Australians say awesome)!

Koh Tao -

Whaddup guys, I write to you as our third to last real leg of the trip comes to an end, here on the island of Koh Tao. Now to give some context to the islands on this side of southern Thailand I will say that from what we’ve learned Koh Tao is the island for diving and snorkeling, Koh Phangan is the hippy island, and Koh Samui is the resort island. We’re sticking to the first two.
Our trip down consisted of a night train from Bangkok down to a city here called champhuon. Unfortunately we were not very on our game and by the time we booked our seats there were no beds left. Therefore to say we were uncomfortable for the 7 or so hour train ride would be an understatement. It was cold, not spacious, there were some slight issues with even being able to sit down…it was a mess. The fact that it fell on the night that ended michael’s birthday and began skyler’s was just a bummer. But then we got there and were quickly filtered onto a bus which took us to the coast and a ferry. We quickly realized how right we were in deciding to come here. The water was beautiful.
After a pretty long ferry ride we arrived at the bustling beaches of Koh Tao ripe with young party-going tourists and lots and lots of bros. like seriously. They’re everywhere. We made it to our hostel and quickly got food and went straight to the beach. Now this island is hotttt. Like stay in the sun for five minutes and you are soaked in sweat. Especially for us 4 Jews. Sweat city. But the water, oh man. It’s warm and shallow and beautiful like Sihanoukville, but it’s like a million times clearer. You can see everything. We spent the first two days down here traveling between the beach - mostly in shade along with everyone else, the water, and our nook - a four person table set perfectly under a nice canopy located at a restaurant with the most delicious mango-coconut shake and a surprisingly solid and cheap assortment of Thai eats. The parties here are pretty much as broey as you can imagine and as we very much partook the first night, the rest of the time was spent recuperating.
We did that in an active way the third and fourth days. First we went to this island a water taxi ride away. It is actually three hilly, tree filled islands connected by sandbar which are absolutely beautiful. We spent the day snorkeling - so clear and so many fish!, hiking - the climb provided the most exercise any of us had had on this trip, so many stairs!, playing frisbee (or fris as our hairiest companion likes to call it) and chilling on the super hot sand. It was wonderful. At 5 we got picked up and headed back to our island and particularly our nook. Though this day was incredible, today was the day that really took the cake in terms of solidifying our love for this island.
We should’ve learned from Sihanoukville that we prefer the secluded beaches but it took us three days to make the trek to the other side of the island we had to go all of the way up, then all of the way down the huge hill of this island and seeing as the roads are shit and we were in the bed of a truck, it was terrifying. But alas, like all other adventures on this trip, we made it. Now this beach, well, it was a whole new brand of beach. Hopefully the picture does it some kind of justice but doubtful (it’s supposed to be a panorama taken with the handy dandy new update in iPhone but who knows if that’ll show up here. Not me.). Either way, whatever it does show does nothing to clue you all into what goes on under water. It’s just a completely different world! About one meter out the reef begins and it never ends. As you get deeper the fish get more and more colorful and crazy to look at and no matter where you are there are literally hundreds of these crazy fish swimming every which way around you. And because of the amazing invention of the snorkel you can just float there and watch then and follow them and swim alongside their schools and whatever! I can’t say I’ve ever been the biggest fish fan but I was so enthralled and flabbergasted and everything! Just amazing. And because there is sooooo much salt you just float and chilllll. Also there’s a jumping rock. Now I want to go scuba diving. It seems out of this world crazy. Though we’ve been chilling with these Australians, one of whom saw a bull shark yesterday at 20 meters down so that’s terrifying. The other of whom is coming with us to Koh Phangan so that’s awesome. Alright! Another long one!
Hope you think this post was mad (how these Australians say awesome)!


Bangkok!

Wow, crazily we are now finishing up our Bangkok leg of the trip and are headed down south to the islands and the land of beautiful tans and perfect beaches and some crazy jungle parties and hopefully some awesome snorkeling and who knows what else.  I’d have to say that following all of the terrible stuff we had heard about Bangkok from all of the other travellers I am happily surprised with how much I loved this city.  To give some context, we have discovered that the route we are taking is a very well-travelled one and throughout our time in the hostels we have gotten information about the following cities from other people who have recently been there.  Obviously there is tons of variance between people about each place as everyone has a different experience and has different recommendations and different thoughts about the positives and negatives about each place.
Everyone has hated Bangkok.  Like actually hated.  They pretty much ensured us that we would be pickpocketed, ripped off, and stabbed immediately upon stepping into the city.  They told us the bustle of the city was so overwhelming we would have nightmares about it throughout our chillout time on the beach.  They told us we were headed for the most hellish city in this part of the world.  So much so that even though we were all probably most excited for Bangkok coming into this month, we were all dreading it and wondering if there was a way to get out of here even earlier than originally planned.  All of those people were dead wrong, Bangkok is incredible.
I think initially our time here was blessed with the fact that this is the place we were meeting Max, travelling and food extraordinaire, and completing the quadfecta (Yep, that’s what it is).  Max had already been here a few days and had essentially learned everything we needed to know about the city including all of the dankest eats, the most necessary markets, and the essential activities.  Basically Max knew that taking the tourist track in Bangkok, and hitting up things like the backpackers street (Khao San Road) led to an unhappy palate and an uncomfortable and annoying experience.  So we avoided it, and wow did we have an amazing time.  
I think the most appropriate way to start is to talk about the king who is nicely presented to you in this amazing picture.  The king of Thailand is displayed everywhere, you literally cannot go down a street without seeing him staring down at you from some giant picture, though this picture is definitely the most baller with his gold (not golden) robe.  And although it may seem to the everyday westerner that this much attention must be due to a super ego-centric monarch who rules with a heavy hand, this does not seem to be the case.  Everyone loves the king!  And its because he’s sooo awesome!  Like really the coolest leader ever, you should all read his wikipedia page because its sheer genius, however I will give some highlights.  First of all, he has been ruling for 65 years (!) and still is loved by everyone!  He is also an accomplished alto saxophonist who has played with a bunch of the best of the best!  To add to this artistic talent, he is also an accomplished painter and writer!  Additionally he has literally ended a war by telling the two sides to stop fighting!  Gahhh there is so much more!  Also, we went to a movie and before it starts everyone stands and salutes the king with a few minute long video that ends with something like ‘all hail the king, the inspiration for all Thai people’.’ And he really seems to be that!  Throughout my life, I have never seen a king so loved and so powerful and everything and it is awesome. 
Next up is the food I have consumed while in this wonderful city, definitely the most important part.  Our first real Max meal was a fish ball soup with pork that after some encouragement from Max, we turned into a spicy masterpiece.  Though I was sweating profusely by the end and there were no napkins (there are no napkins anywhere on this subcontinent), I was a happy camper.  That night we embarked on our initial street food experience with various fried egg and rice dishes.  The next day Max led us to what should be the noodle capital of the world where we ate at three different noodle spots in a block.  The first was a street food appetizer, nothing special but we immediately followed this up with Jay Fai’s delicious Pad Kee Mao and Pad See Ew.  Jay Fai was recommended by Max’s chef friends and could aptly be described as the ‘noodle goddess’.  She lived up to all the hype.  Next up was the most famous Pad Thai place in Bangkok.  Another win, though Thai Pad Thai is super different than the American version, definitely better too (I had heard that Pad Thai was started in the US but this is false so yeah).  I want to just go through all of the meals but seeing as we have spent the last 3 days eating this would take pages and you guys are probably all bored so I’ll just throw up some of the list (also it should be noted that we have worked to avoid white people food spots and have tried to stick to the : Streetside fried chicken, delicious orange juice, chicken satay, coconut milk, fried dough, lots of noodles, pork belly and so so so much more.  Bet you’re jealous and you definitely should be, I’m telling you the food here is amazing.
Gahh its hard to stop talking about Bangkok but this post is already super long and I should go, but other important things, they love gold here - like super yellow super strong gold, we have not yet gone to a ping pong show (there are no paddles if this gives you an idea of what it is) but we may when we get back, chinatown was sick (we did not eat shark fin soup), we took a boat-bus and it was a beautiful way to see the city complete with awesome pagoda-looking palaces and temples, there are also just temples everywhere that are so chill and great and spiritual and you can just sit there for hours, the markets here are so fun and amazing - particularly the weekend one which was just blocks of madness in the northern part of the city that was complete with everything you could ever want (including rows and rows of real, live cuteass puppies!  We almost bought one, but decided we shouldn’t).  OK!  Bangkok=awesome.  Come here.  Love you all lots.  Hasta luego chicas y chicos y el abismo!

Bangkok!

Wow, crazily we are now finishing up our Bangkok leg of the trip and are headed down south to the islands and the land of beautiful tans and perfect beaches and some crazy jungle parties and hopefully some awesome snorkeling and who knows what else.  I’d have to say that following all of the terrible stuff we had heard about Bangkok from all of the other travellers I am happily surprised with how much I loved this city.  To give some context, we have discovered that the route we are taking is a very well-travelled one and throughout our time in the hostels we have gotten information about the following cities from other people who have recently been there.  Obviously there is tons of variance between people about each place as everyone has a different experience and has different recommendations and different thoughts about the positives and negatives about each place.

Everyone has hated Bangkok.  Like actually hated.  They pretty much ensured us that we would be pickpocketed, ripped off, and stabbed immediately upon stepping into the city.  They told us the bustle of the city was so overwhelming we would have nightmares about it throughout our chillout time on the beach.  They told us we were headed for the most hellish city in this part of the world.  So much so that even though we were all probably most excited for Bangkok coming into this month, we were all dreading it and wondering if there was a way to get out of here even earlier than originally planned.  All of those people were dead wrong, Bangkok is incredible.

I think initially our time here was blessed with the fact that this is the place we were meeting Max, travelling and food extraordinaire, and completing the quadfecta (Yep, that’s what it is).  Max had already been here a few days and had essentially learned everything we needed to know about the city including all of the dankest eats, the most necessary markets, and the essential activities.  Basically Max knew that taking the tourist track in Bangkok, and hitting up things like the backpackers street (Khao San Road) led to an unhappy palate and an uncomfortable and annoying experience.  So we avoided it, and wow did we have an amazing time.  

I think the most appropriate way to start is to talk about the king who is nicely presented to you in this amazing picture.  The king of Thailand is displayed everywhere, you literally cannot go down a street without seeing him staring down at you from some giant picture, though this picture is definitely the most baller with his gold (not golden) robe.  And although it may seem to the everyday westerner that this much attention must be due to a super ego-centric monarch who rules with a heavy hand, this does not seem to be the case.  Everyone loves the king!  And its because he’s sooo awesome!  Like really the coolest leader ever, you should all read his wikipedia page because its sheer genius, however I will give some highlights.  First of all, he has been ruling for 65 years (!) and still is loved by everyone!  He is also an accomplished alto saxophonist who has played with a bunch of the best of the best!  To add to this artistic talent, he is also an accomplished painter and writer!  Additionally he has literally ended a war by telling the two sides to stop fighting!  Gahhh there is so much more!  Also, we went to a movie and before it starts everyone stands and salutes the king with a few minute long video that ends with something like ‘all hail the king, the inspiration for all Thai people’.’ And he really seems to be that!  Throughout my life, I have never seen a king so loved and so powerful and everything and it is awesome. 

Next up is the food I have consumed while in this wonderful city, definitely the most important part.  Our first real Max meal was a fish ball soup with pork that after some encouragement from Max, we turned into a spicy masterpiece.  Though I was sweating profusely by the end and there were no napkins (there are no napkins anywhere on this subcontinent), I was a happy camper.  That night we embarked on our initial street food experience with various fried egg and rice dishes.  The next day Max led us to what should be the noodle capital of the world where we ate at three different noodle spots in a block.  The first was a street food appetizer, nothing special but we immediately followed this up with Jay Fai’s delicious Pad Kee Mao and Pad See Ew.  Jay Fai was recommended by Max’s chef friends and could aptly be described as the ‘noodle goddess’.  She lived up to all the hype.  Next up was the most famous Pad Thai place in Bangkok.  Another win, though Thai Pad Thai is super different than the American version, definitely better too (I had heard that Pad Thai was started in the US but this is false so yeah).  I want to just go through all of the meals but seeing as we have spent the last 3 days eating this would take pages and you guys are probably all bored so I’ll just throw up some of the list (also it should be noted that we have worked to avoid white people food spots and have tried to stick to the : Streetside fried chicken, delicious orange juice, chicken satay, coconut milk, fried dough, lots of noodles, pork belly and so so so much more.  Bet you’re jealous and you definitely should be, I’m telling you the food here is amazing.

Gahh its hard to stop talking about Bangkok but this post is already super long and I should go, but other important things, they love gold here - like super yellow super strong gold, we have not yet gone to a ping pong show (there are no paddles if this gives you an idea of what it is) but we may when we get back, chinatown was sick (we did not eat shark fin soup), we took a boat-bus and it was a beautiful way to see the city complete with awesome pagoda-looking palaces and temples, there are also just temples everywhere that are so chill and great and spiritual and you can just sit there for hours, the markets here are so fun and amazing - particularly the weekend one which was just blocks of madness in the northern part of the city that was complete with everything you could ever want (including rows and rows of real, live cuteass puppies!  We almost bought one, but decided we shouldn’t).  OK!  Bangkok=awesome.  Come here.  Love you all lots.  Hasta luego chicas y chicos y el abismo!


Sunsets 
Sunsets here have been beautiful, and they are something we have noticed and sat there watching in multiple situations: as the sun went over the jungle in the Mekong, the water on the beaches of Sihanoukville, the landscape of the Angkor region (picture), and today as we drove through Thailand on our way to Bangkok.  It is a pretty awesome way to trigger memories of all we have done, cause no matter where we are, the sun always sets and one part of our days stays the same.
(Also, I’m currently trying to distract myself because the driver of this minibus is fucking insane.  Stays posted on the right side of the road (they drive on the left) so we are weaving through oncoming traffic while tailgating cars from about 1 meter back while driving 120 km/hour and he just stays talking on his cell phone.  People are scared but I have never heard of anyone dying on this ride so we should be fine, right?)


But if you see the beginning of the last post, mixed with 2 posts ago, you will see that I wrote this before writing the PS we made it, it just didn’t register on tumblr. So yes, we did make it.  Safely.  Turns out every driver in and around Bangkok is batshit crazy.  Good thing we take a train out of here tomorrow!

Sunsets 

Sunsets here have been beautiful, and they are something we have noticed and sat there watching in multiple situations: as the sun went over the jungle in the Mekong, the water on the beaches of Sihanoukville, the landscape of the Angkor region (picture), and today as we drove through Thailand on our way to Bangkok.  It is a pretty awesome way to trigger memories of all we have done, cause no matter where we are, the sun always sets and one part of our days stays the same.

(Also, I’m currently trying to distract myself because the driver of this minibus is fucking insane.  Stays posted on the right side of the road (they drive on the left) so we are weaving through oncoming traffic while tailgating cars from about 1 meter back while driving 120 km/hour and he just stays talking on his cell phone.  People are scared but I have never heard of anyone dying on this ride so we should be fine, right?)

But if you see the beginning of the last post, mixed with 2 posts ago, you will see that I wrote this before writing the PS we made it, it just didn’t register on tumblr. So yes, we did make it.  Safely.  Turns out every driver in and around Bangkok is batshit crazy.  Good thing we take a train out of here tomorrow!


(There were some issues with interwebs so we have already been in Bangkok for a few days but I wrote this before the last post.  The next one too.)
Siem reap and the Angkor region

As we enter our 3rd hour of waiting in the line at the Thai-Cambodian border, I feel like now is as good a time as any for my post about what weve done the last 3 amazing days. 
Siem Reap is the home of the Angkor region which is a super ancient civilization that really held power from around the 9th century to around the 13th and some after that. The modern result is a whole series of giant stone temples, palaces, hospitals and other incredible structures. The region is humongous and about 15 km outside of town so the way it works is you rent a tuk tuk for a day and head around to different parts of the region. 
The first day we woke up for a 4:45 ride and made our way to the biggest religious building in the world, Angkor Wat, for sunrise. It was incredible to be there at that time and there were tons of others who had done the same, so the area was just electric. Basically everyone sets up on the western side of the temple and watches the sunrise right over it, slowly allowing you to see the general outline and eventually feel and understand the sheer majestic presence of the temple. As the sky lit up we began our tour of the temple, just one of the many buildings in the region. We decided to splurge on an hour long tour so that we could start to get a better idea of what the happenings were all those years ago. It was interesting and we were introduced to a lot of the art and murals and sculptures and what they signified. There were various wars depicted and we even saw Hari Krishna! There were also sooooo many headless buddha statues everywhere. This is because when the Khmer Rouge was in power they were Hindus and cut off all the heads of the Buddhas and sold them. That’s super fucked. There were 3 different levels and a bunch of towers so this first building took us a super long time and we had already done a lot of walking around but the views were beautiful, the tour informative and the temple eerily majestic. 
Our next move was to a few other temples, the most interesting of which was Ta Prohm, featured in Angelina Jolie’s tomb raider. Though none of us had seen this movie or care about it in the least bit, this temple is definitely worthy of being displayed to the world via a hollywood classic (?). It is basically a full temple built around a jungle, so there are trees literally growing out of the stone buildings. It is absolutely amazing. The temple also kinda feels like you are in an Indiana Jones movie and like if you take one more step poisoned darts are going to shoot out at you from the walls. Really exhilarating. Also it’s awesome because there are so many different paths and turns (in this and all the temples) that even though there are tons of tourists, you can still escape the hustle and bustle and find yourself completely secluded. 
Anyways after those temples plus some more we called it a day and went back to the hostel to prepare for New Years. Which was awesome. 
The next two days were spent around the main city of the Angkor region, Angkor Thom. This is another amazing series of buildings that is complete with more temples, the royal palace, a building dedicated to elephants that was super mazey, another for the lemurs, and a bunch of mischievous monkeys. Ultimately we ended the third day with a long hike up a mountain to a giant stone structure at the top to watch the sunset with about a million other tourists. It was beautiful and really bookended our trip nicely, beginning at sunrise, ending at sunset. 
The other awesome part about Siem Reap was our hostel. There were just a bunch of really chill people, mostly from Australia who definitely kept us entertained and having a great time even though we each had our own bouts with our first sicknesses of the trip. And last night we stumbled our way into an awesome Cambodian dance club where we were once again the only white people, and were once again completely loved by the crowd. It was super fun and we gigged our faces off until late into the night at which point we headed home to prepare for our early bus. 
Anyways, another 3 days amazingly spent, another blog post done, and we are still in nearly the same place in line here at the border!  How cray!

(There were some issues with interwebs so we have already been in Bangkok for a few days but I wrote this before the last post.  The next one too.)

Siem reap and the Angkor region

As we enter our 3rd hour of waiting in the line at the Thai-Cambodian border, I feel like now is as good a time as any for my post about what weve done the last 3 amazing days. 
Siem Reap is the home of the Angkor region which is a super ancient civilization that really held power from around the 9th century to around the 13th and some after that. The modern result is a whole series of giant stone temples, palaces, hospitals and other incredible structures. The region is humongous and about 15 km outside of town so the way it works is you rent a tuk tuk for a day and head around to different parts of the region. 
The first day we woke up for a 4:45 ride and made our way to the biggest religious building in the world, Angkor Wat, for sunrise. It was incredible to be there at that time and there were tons of others who had done the same, so the area was just electric. Basically everyone sets up on the western side of the temple and watches the sunrise right over it, slowly allowing you to see the general outline and eventually feel and understand the sheer majestic presence of the temple. As the sky lit up we began our tour of the temple, just one of the many buildings in the region. We decided to splurge on an hour long tour so that we could start to get a better idea of what the happenings were all those years ago. It was interesting and we were introduced to a lot of the art and murals and sculptures and what they signified. There were various wars depicted and we even saw Hari Krishna! There were also sooooo many headless buddha statues everywhere. This is because when the Khmer Rouge was in power they were Hindus and cut off all the heads of the Buddhas and sold them. That’s super fucked. There were 3 different levels and a bunch of towers so this first building took us a super long time and we had already done a lot of walking around but the views were beautiful, the tour informative and the temple eerily majestic. 
Our next move was to a few other temples, the most interesting of which was Ta Prohm, featured in Angelina Jolie’s tomb raider. Though none of us had seen this movie or care about it in the least bit, this temple is definitely worthy of being displayed to the world via a hollywood classic (?). It is basically a full temple built around a jungle, so there are trees literally growing out of the stone buildings. It is absolutely amazing. The temple also kinda feels like you are in an Indiana Jones movie and like if you take one more step poisoned darts are going to shoot out at you from the walls. Really exhilarating. Also it’s awesome because there are so many different paths and turns (in this and all the temples) that even though there are tons of tourists, you can still escape the hustle and bustle and find yourself completely secluded. 
Anyways after those temples plus some more we called it a day and went back to the hostel to prepare for New Years. Which was awesome. 
The next two days were spent around the main city of the Angkor region, Angkor Thom. This is another amazing series of buildings that is complete with more temples, the royal palace, a building dedicated to elephants that was super mazey, another for the lemurs, and a bunch of mischievous monkeys. Ultimately we ended the third day with a long hike up a mountain to a giant stone structure at the top to watch the sunset with about a million other tourists. It was beautiful and really bookended our trip nicely, beginning at sunrise, ending at sunset. 
The other awesome part about Siem Reap was our hostel. There were just a bunch of really chill people, mostly from Australia who definitely kept us entertained and having a great time even though we each had our own bouts with our first sicknesses of the trip. And last night we stumbled our way into an awesome Cambodian dance club where we were once again the only white people, and were once again completely loved by the crowd. It was super fun and we gigged our faces off until late into the night at which point we headed home to prepare for our early bus. 
Anyways, another 3 days amazingly spent, another blog post done, and we are still in nearly the same place in line here at the border!  How cray!

P.S.

We made it. We’re in Bangkok. Max is here too. 4 chill bros.


Happy new year!

Bringing in 2013 here in siem reap was a great call. Super wild, super crazy, lots of gangham style, super fun.

Happy new year!

Bringing in 2013 here in siem reap was a great call. Super wild, super crazy, lots of gangham style, super fun.


Signs - 

Anyone who has ever traveled with me knows my strange fascination with the signs in different cultures and in different places.  For that reason I have taken pictures of them.  For that reason I am showing you all.  My favorites are the two with red crosses through things.  The first one seems to be saying no smiling (it was at the prison museum so maybe) and the other seems to tell us not to sneeze or sprinkle dust.  Just saying, they are awesome.  Also, the Cambodian language, Khmer, just looks super awesome, amiright??

P.S. I am struggling super hard to get a lot of the pictures up because tumblr sucks on phones and today is my first time using a computer in awhile.  Even now though, these computers don’t really allow me to do it in the right way, so you know, sorry (?).  Cheers, Mate!


Sihanoukville
Our second stop off in Cambodia took us to the coast and that beautiful place you see in that picture. I had heard about the beaches in Southeast Asia but I was still completely unprepared for how beautiful and perfect they really were. Sihanoukville is a nice little town about 4 hours away from Phnom Penh and it is complete with a huge beach bum community. It also has multiple beaches including one that houses the huge bustle of westerner young people all looking for the party, this one is called Serendipity beach. Luckily for us and due to the guidebook reading eyes of Michael, we were staying on Otres beach, about 15 km outside of the town and where people go to really relax. I wouldn’t say this beach is secluded because there are absolutely people around, but rather than hotels and clubs, every spot along the beach is a super chill bar and cottages and dorms , usually made with these huge structures of wood and bamboo, and each of the businesses has a unique feel and has completely communal beach chairs and hammocks and swings out front that anyone can use. It’s such a happy go lucky place, and because of that you meet a lot of people who came for a few days and never left. It really is like one of those cliche communities on a beach that you’ve heard a lot about and always wanted to visit but didnt actually think they existed and definitely didnt think you’d ever find yourself there. So it was amazing. 
The water was perfect. It was cooling when the air was super hot, and it was warm enough so you wouldn’t even shudder as you slowly waded in. The waves allowed for a little bobbing but never got uncomfortable or excessive, plus the water was so salty that you could just lie there on your back. And it was shallow enough so that you could walk out tens of meters and still be only at your waist, a place to stand was always nearby no matter how far out you were. This trifecta of perfection allowed us to spend hours in the water, slowly allowing it to suck any thoughts of stress or real life out of us for those blissful 3 days. Also everything was cheap, which meant a bunch of smoothies, piña coladas, spring rolls, and delicious BBQ. 
However there was definitely still a lot of poverty here, as throughout the day there were constantly people (lots of kids again) working to sell you stuff, be it sunglasses, pineapple, or massages (of which skyler and I each partook happily in). The poverty was especially present when we went into town to the night food market and were met by kids constantly pleading for anything we could give and happily accepted any extra drinks or food or anything. I also never truly believed I would be present in a restaurant where clearly  intensely struggling kids were being shooed out by our waitresses, but here I was. It offered another extreme juxtaposition of just how lucky we are to be taking this trip, and how much of the world doesn’t have that option or anything close to resembling as comfortable of a life as we have. But one thing I will say is that these kids are such a smily bunch and its so nice to see. When you see a bunch of them jumping around in the water or playing around with us or the other tourists or just laughing at their own or your joke, it really lights you up. I’m sure this happiness is partly a put on for us, but there is also a lot of genuine joy on the part of the Khmer people there, and that is so fun to see. 
Anyways, we stayed at a spot called everythang is everythang which was this awesome giant almost tiki hut with some swinging beds above the bar that we all slept in. It was absolutely beautiful and owned by this insane American woman who clearly fell into the category of someone who came to Southeast Asia to vacation and has turned it into a means of escape. There are a lot of people like that here, a huge ex-pat community of people who just never wanted to leave. They found jobs at hostels or promoting clubs or anything. They all call it paradise. We agreed at first, I mean what could be better? Find a job, sustain yourself and drink Mai-tais all day as you sit on a beach. And for us too, at the beginning, we all talked about how this was our favorite days of the trip. But the more we talked about it we definitely realized that though we would probably be super content spending the rest of our days eating delicious food and soaking in the sun in between dips into the water, this certainly isn’t paradise and we wouldn’t truly be happy here. Everyone who lives here clearly has something off about them, and as a result they party too hard, or talk too excessively about the problems with westerners. It seems clear that they aren’t actually happy, just using this as a way to get away, which is great until you get bored or realize you haveta get back. Essentially it seems really nice for a short period of time, I could probably stay here a week, or a month. But it doesn’t seem like the type of place any of us 3 will end up (though we were worried about recently graduated skyler). Anyways, despite the chill perfection we had while we were there, it felt good to jump on the bus and take our return trip to the hustle and bustle of the real world (well, were still on vacation so not that real) and get into those new and interesting places (and it is pretty refreshing to know that we still had the white sand beaches of Thailand to look forward to. But first, siem reap and the ancient mysteries to be revealed there.  Also New Years.

Sihanoukville
Our second stop off in Cambodia took us to the coast and that beautiful place you see in that picture. I had heard about the beaches in Southeast Asia but I was still completely unprepared for how beautiful and perfect they really were. Sihanoukville is a nice little town about 4 hours away from Phnom Penh and it is complete with a huge beach bum community. It also has multiple beaches including one that houses the huge bustle of westerner young people all looking for the party, this one is called Serendipity beach. Luckily for us and due to the guidebook reading eyes of Michael, we were staying on Otres beach, about 15 km outside of the town and where people go to really relax. I wouldn’t say this beach is secluded because there are absolutely people around, but rather than hotels and clubs, every spot along the beach is a super chill bar and cottages and dorms , usually made with these huge structures of wood and bamboo, and each of the businesses has a unique feel and has completely communal beach chairs and hammocks and swings out front that anyone can use. It’s such a happy go lucky place, and because of that you meet a lot of people who came for a few days and never left. It really is like one of those cliche communities on a beach that you’ve heard a lot about and always wanted to visit but didnt actually think they existed and definitely didnt think you’d ever find yourself there. So it was amazing.
The water was perfect. It was cooling when the air was super hot, and it was warm enough so you wouldn’t even shudder as you slowly waded in. The waves allowed for a little bobbing but never got uncomfortable or excessive, plus the water was so salty that you could just lie there on your back. And it was shallow enough so that you could walk out tens of meters and still be only at your waist, a place to stand was always nearby no matter how far out you were. This trifecta of perfection allowed us to spend hours in the water, slowly allowing it to suck any thoughts of stress or real life out of us for those blissful 3 days. Also everything was cheap, which meant a bunch of smoothies, piña coladas, spring rolls, and delicious BBQ.
However there was definitely still a lot of poverty here, as throughout the day there were constantly people (lots of kids again) working to sell you stuff, be it sunglasses, pineapple, or massages (of which skyler and I each partook happily in). The poverty was especially present when we went into town to the night food market and were met by kids constantly pleading for anything we could give and happily accepted any extra drinks or food or anything. I also never truly believed I would be present in a restaurant where clearly intensely struggling kids were being shooed out by our waitresses, but here I was. It offered another extreme juxtaposition of just how lucky we are to be taking this trip, and how much of the world doesn’t have that option or anything close to resembling as comfortable of a life as we have. But one thing I will say is that these kids are such a smily bunch and its so nice to see. When you see a bunch of them jumping around in the water or playing around with us or the other tourists or just laughing at their own or your joke, it really lights you up. I’m sure this happiness is partly a put on for us, but there is also a lot of genuine joy on the part of the Khmer people there, and that is so fun to see.
Anyways, we stayed at a spot called everythang is everythang which was this awesome giant almost tiki hut with some swinging beds above the bar that we all slept in. It was absolutely beautiful and owned by this insane American woman who clearly fell into the category of someone who came to Southeast Asia to vacation and has turned it into a means of escape. There are a lot of people like that here, a huge ex-pat community of people who just never wanted to leave. They found jobs at hostels or promoting clubs or anything. They all call it paradise. We agreed at first, I mean what could be better? Find a job, sustain yourself and drink Mai-tais all day as you sit on a beach. And for us too, at the beginning, we all talked about how this was our favorite days of the trip. But the more we talked about it we definitely realized that though we would probably be super content spending the rest of our days eating delicious food and soaking in the sun in between dips into the water, this certainly isn’t paradise and we wouldn’t truly be happy here. Everyone who lives here clearly has something off about them, and as a result they party too hard, or talk too excessively about the problems with westerners. It seems clear that they aren’t actually happy, just using this as a way to get away, which is great until you get bored or realize you haveta get back. Essentially it seems really nice for a short period of time, I could probably stay here a week, or a month. But it doesn’t seem like the type of place any of us 3 will end up (though we were worried about recently graduated skyler). Anyways, despite the chill perfection we had while we were there, it felt good to jump on the bus and take our return trip to the hustle and bustle of the real world (well, were still on vacation so not that real) and get into those new and interesting places (and it is pretty refreshing to know that we still had the white sand beaches of Thailand to look forward to. But first, siem reap and the ancient mysteries to be revealed there. Also New Years.