Archive for the ‘Thailand’ Category

I nearly died today…. Twice.

Monday, December 28th, 2009

I went scuba diving today and nearly died… Twice. Here’s the first story.

I’m in Thailand currently for a wedding in Koh Samui. (Great place BTW) and decided to go scuba diving one of the days I’m here for.

We went to Koh Tao via a speed boat. On my first dive down. I saw this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bull_shark

A bull shark. It was off in the distance about 40-50 feet away and in murkey water. Pretty cool. I whipped out my camera and snapped a pic. Then it came back a second time and then a third time. Each time getting closer. The last round it was about 20-30 feet away and it was huge, probably around 5-6 feet long.

After the second spotting, I put away my camera and pulled out my knife. This was probably the biggest predator I’ve ever seen while diving.

My scuba instructor seemed genuinely awed and alert, so I was scared. But he didn’t seem scared so I wasn’t too worried. Now that I’ve gotten on shore and looked up the type of shark it was… I feel really fortuneate to have experienced such a creature and walked away from it.

Be prepared for crap

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Don’t read this post if you’re about to eat a meal or are squeamish about bowel movements. You’ve been warned.

While travelling a few weeks ago, I had a moment of great clarity and dread. I went into a restroom to drop a couple of kids off at the pool. When I finished my business I reached for the toilet paper, only to find the roll empty. I quickly scanned around and found a second roll, but not before I noticed that the toilet I was using was equipped with a bidet.

I’ve never used a bidet before.

Nor do I know how to use one. How do you use one? Do you just splash water on yourself, hoping that the force of the water loosens everything and it all falls neatly into the bowl? Or do you use your free hand to help things along? How do you know when it’s all clean? What about after your done? Do you just “air-dry”? Or do you use tissue paper as well? Which makes me ask, why not use tissue paper to begin with?

Then it occurs to me that I don’t know how to use a squatting toilet either. These kinds of toilets are even more common in Asia. Sometimes, they are just a hole in the floor. Sometimes it has water and flushing mechanism as well. How do you use one of these? Do you pull your trousers to your ankles? What if you have a particularly powerful session? (This is going to be gross) Won’t there be splatter? And what about cleanup? If it’s just a hole in the floor, will there be tissue paper? Or do you need to bring your own? There are just too many questions.

Paying for crap

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

An interesting thing I’ve noticed traveling around Asia is the fact that you need to pay to use restrooms in some countries. The cost is a trifle. .05c to .30c.

The thing that bothers me though is that usually they state that the money is used to maintain these facilities. And invariably, those facilities are the ones that are the dirtiest, filthiest and in the most disrepair.

I don’t mind paying. Heck I’d pay more if the facilities were better maintained. But then again, that’s just me.

Do I even work anymore?

Monday, January 26th, 2009

I feel like I’ve been a lazy bum lately. I haven’t really worked since late last year. Now it’s quickly approaching Feb. In the last two months I haven’t been able to really work because I’ve been travelling. Right now I’m on a flight to Taipei from Bangkok. I’ll spend about a week out here before I get back to Singapore. Then two weeks after that I’ll be on my way back to Thailand to spend a weekend of beach activities in Koh Samui.

Now, it may seem strange to most people that I’m complaining about this. But, anyone that knows me, knows I’m a work-a-holic. It’s strange for me to not have work and to just be travelling.

Well… Here’s to hoping I have work again soon.

Atop a waterfall. Knee deep in trouble.

Friday, November 14th, 2008

So we’re on our second day in Chiang Mai. Last night was amazing. We witnessed the Yi Peng festival and Loy Krathong.

Today, it’s just as amazing. But we got into a bit of trouble. We decided to do a bit of hiking along one of the local waterfalls. Great idea, if you decide to not fall into the water. :) One of my friends decided that she wanted to walk close to the edge of the water. But the slippery moss covered rocks got the best of her. So, here we are, lounging around waiting for her clothes to dry out; while I blog about it.

Six months already?

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by. It has been nearly six months since I’ve moved out here to Singapore. Amazing.

My company sends people out here on a regular basis from our parent company from San Francisco to train us and let us know about the latest tools and techniques that have been developed by the geniuses there. And they really are geniuses.

Anyhow, one of the guys they recently sent out here has reminded me about some of the little things here that are quite a bit different than in “The States”

1. What is the deal with all the little teeny tiny steps everywhere?
2. Who needs a knife when you have a fork and spoon?
3. Air-conditioning everywhere, but in the loo. 

 

1. What is the deal with all the little teeny tiny steps everywhere?
   This is the strangest thing to me. Anytime you walk over a threshold or through doorway, you need to pay attention to where you put your feet. Singapore architecture seems to require these little 2-3in steps that are virtually invisible be installed. The first month I was here I was continually tripping over all of these steps. I had a co-worker actually break his foot by tripping on one of these steps. Strangeness.

2. Who needs a knife when you have a fork and spoon?
    Not a lot of people know about this. A lot of south east asian countries eschew knifes and chopsticks as their utensils of choice. Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are other countries that join in this tradition. Instead of a knife and fork, people use a fork and spoon. Instead of cutting your food up, people kinda pull it apart with a fork and spoon. Then you use both of the utensils together and push food onto your spoon with the fork to eat it. It doesn’t look awkward at all for the locals, but it is a skill that I have not mastered yet. I’m getting better, simply because knives aren’t always available, same as napkins.

3. Air-conditioning everywhere, but in the loo. 
   All the buildings here are air-conditioned. Singapore is known as the Air-con country for good reason. It’s usually frigid in the buildings. However… None of the bathrooms are air-conditioned. Which is weird and gross. It’s a bit of a shock to the system to be totally freezing, then walk into the bathroom and want to peel your jacket off because it’s 10-15 degrees hotter. Without the air-conditioning, the bathroom is quite humid as well. And, bathroom smells seem to get accentuated with the increase in temperature and humidity. Gross.
    I don’t even understand how these bathrooms aren’t cooler. They are in the center of a building that is air-conditioned. They obviously, aren’t vented. You would think that the temperatures would equalize somehow. I guess not. 

The misadventures of Jason.

Monday, May 26th, 2008

So I was supposed to go to Thailand last weekend for a nice relaxing diving vacation. I ended up hurting myself and getting sick a few days before. Sucks, but I had to cancel my trip. Jason went 1/2 way around the planet to meet up with me and I was stuck in bed. He had quite a trip though and many stories to share. For those of you who know Jason personally, you’ll know that there is no such thing as an ordinary vacation or trip. Here’s a link to his blog to read about his (mis)adventures. Jason.. I love your stories. You need to write them down and publish them.

http://jasonphippsdigitalhell.blogspot.com/

Paradise

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

I’ll be heading here in a few weeks for a weekend of Scuba Diving. Anyone else interested? <grin>

http://krabi.langhamplacehotels.com/

It’s only $30 USD a night.

 

Seaview Deluxe Room for $30 USD a night

Thanksgiving be damned.

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

After seeing this video I don’t think I’m going home for Thanksgiving this year. It’s the Thai Lantern Festival, Loi Krathong, during the same week as Thanksgiving in the US. It’s in an area in northern Thailand called Chiang Mai. OMFG this is too cool for words.

Songkran -AKA- I destroyed my new iPod and would do it again…

Friday, April 18th, 2008

I attended Songkran a few days ago. It’s the Thai New Year’s Water Festival. One word.

AWESOME

Traditionally it is the hottest period of the year. And it started out as a way to cleanse yourself during the new year with water. Now, it’s just an all out urban war. You can’t walk more than 50 feet outside of your house without getting totally soaked. Here’s the layout..

In a “normal” part of the city every 100 ft or so you’ll find a water station. (Basically anywhere that a hose can attach to) And around that water station will be 10-15 people with super soakers, buckets and pails. Anyone that walks down the street or drives by is fair game.

Someone walking down the street towards you… SPLASH..
Someone on a motor cycle… SPLASH..
Someone in a taxi.. SPLASH..
Someone in a Tuk-Tuk.. SPLASH..
Someone in a Bus with the windows open… Yup.. SPLASH..

At bars and nightclubs.. You know the buckets used to hold ice water for bottles of beer and wine.. Not anymore..

The best part is the roving Pickup Trucks. In the back of each of these will be 8-10 people and two or three huge barrels of water. They have their super soaker tubes dunked into the barrels of *ICE WATER* and go around spraying anyone that is within spitting distance.

And that’s a “normal” part of the city. In the more intense parts of the city, it’s every three to five feet that there is someone with a hose with your name on it.

I had a massively great time. I wasn’t quite prepared for it this year, I didn’t have enough zip lock bags to keep my gear in, And I should have worn flip flops and shorts, So my new iPod got trashed. But, I would do it again in a heart beat.

Here are some links.

Wikipedia
Flickr