The REST of Thailand.

I know I haven’t written in forever. I’ve been really busy since my last blog. My cousins from Delaware came out to visit for a week. We took them around SF and surrounding areas, then we went to Yosemite for 3 days, so I was VERY busy actually.

Yosemite was lovely. Usually, I go in November, so I’m not used to the heat, but with going in summer I got to experience rafting along the Merced river, which is only open June – July. We stayed at Camp Curry, which was also a first experience for me, because usually we stay at the Lodge.

Then, I came back up to Humboldt and have been busy getting re-settled into my apartment, THEN SCHOOL STARTED.

So, I promise from now on, just to myself, to start blogging regularly. Life, music, fashion WHATEVER. I just need to complete this, because I want to talk about other stuff, but feel obliged to finish my travel blog.

AND NOW…back to Thailand.

When we left off, we were on our way to Phuket. You’ve heard of it. You don’t have to look this one up in Google maps.  Phuket is a very popular resort destination. Just because it’s low season in most of Thailand, Phuket is not included in this.

Australians LOVE Phuket, I supposed.

So I was told we were going to stay at a hotel called The Katathani (because we were staying on Kata Beach). I looked up the website, http://www.katathani.com/ . I tried not to look up most of the websites, but I couldn’t really resist. It looks really nice, right?

RIGHT.

So that first day, we had a lot of travelling to do. We flew from Chiang Rai to Bangkok, and from Bangkok to Phuket. We  were flying Thai Airlines, and we got an upgrade randomly to “Royal Silk” which is the equivalent to Business Class. They served us fresh cool towels, and we got our soda served to us in fancy glasses. It was awesome.

Arriving in Phuket was HELL though. Once you leave out the exit doors of the Airport, you are immediately  bombarded by taxi drivers throwing signs and yelling in Thai at your face. Luckily, we set it up so that the hotel could pick us up and not have to worry about finding a reliable taxi driver.

So, the van we got to ride in was really nice. Nothing like our private van in Bangkok, but it was nice enough. Stadium style seating, water and cool towels. It wasn’t too long of a drive. Maybe at the longest an hour.

Upon arrival at the Katathani, we got greeted with another jasmine lei, which is a good sign I suppose. The lobby was really nice too. Maybe this place won’t be so bad…yeah right.

Let’s follow the bellboy to our room! Oh…it’s down this weird dark hallway…With one window at the end and fluorescent lighting..um are we in prison? Ok..our rooms…small, yet a view of the pool kind of and the beach kind of. Eh…it’ll do I guess.

-The pool was fine, though a little salty at some times (not that I was drinking the water, just that it gets on your mouth sometimes…)

-There were not enough chairs for the amount of people there, and we had to pay for chairs at the beach because Kata beach is public.

It just overall…sucked.

The first night, we hung out at the hotel. LAME.

The second night, we went to SIMON PHUKET! Yes folks, the place of all places to see the lady boys of Phuket perform, or so we thought. Upon entering this magical kingdom, instead of “cabaret style” which is what we were told, we were sat in fancy stadium seating, which was comfortable, but slightly awkward.

The show was like…1960s Vegas Glamor, meets drunken karaoke on a hot summer day…some of the acts were fabulous, others were rather dull…we weren’t allowed to to take any pictures during the show.

After the show, all the “Ladies” lined up along the exit, waving at people to come take pictures with them. Little did we know, was that they can legally ask for money for each picture, person, whatever. The one person we took a picture with, wasn’t even a picture, it was a video clip cause my Dad only had our flip cam out. We didn’t know that they wanted us to pay them…100 baht per person! 100 baht is equivalent to 3 USD (around at least).

The next day we left Kata Beach and Phuket (thank the GODS), to continue our journey on the island of Koh Lanta.

To get to Koh Lanta, we first had to take a 3 hour or so car ride to a dock.

From the dock, we had to take an hour boat ride. This was absolutely GORGEOUS.  If you’ve played The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, it looked just LIKE the ocean! All the little islands scattered around, some inhabitable, some just rocky with some trees. Once we arrived at the dock in Koh Lanta, we had to take *another* van to the hotel. This was a very interesting drive, because this was the real Thailand. This is where people lived, people farmed, people had families. Koh Lanta is a mostly Muslim island, and the people who inhabit the island are very family oriented, and often times people live their whole lives without leaving the island.

This was the real vacation we were looking for. Up until this point, we were very active, either walking around for miles a day in Tokyo or Bangkok. Not relaxing stuff, fun, but NOT relaxing.

The Pimilai was the exact opposite of anywhere else we had been so far on this trip. An outdoor based resort, we stayed in a very exclusive suite right off the beach. LITERALLY. I think I will make a picasa account or something, and post some of my favorite pictures from all over.

I had an irrational fear of a tsunami the whole time we were there, though. I think we were there for 7 days but it might have been 9. I’m not sure, the whole time was a glaze.

Instead of being packed to the brim, the place was practically empty. There were two pools, an upper and a lower. We mostly hung out at the lower pool, because it was more “Family Friendly” so to speak.

Most people that stayed at the Pimilai were newlyweds, and they stayed near the upper pool, which had strict “No Splash Rules”. SCREW THAT.

Also, the lower pool was closer to the ocean, which was INCREDIBLE. Have you ever swam in a HOT ocean? Probably not. The only fear with swimming in the ocean was rough currents sometimes, because Summer is Thailand’s off season due to Monsoon Season.

There’s just so much to say about my Thailand experience. I can say that my view on that side of the world has changed dramatically. People are happy with their lifestyles. They like living with their families, they like staying on the same island their whole life.

A really great book I just finished that is about India, not about Thailand, is called “The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga. It is an incredible story about how a poor child can bring his way up in the world. In Thailand, we hear lots of success stories like this one. A taxi driver on Koh Lanta was telling us about how he started as nothing. He taught himself to drive, he made enough money to buy a nice new truck. He learned English, not through school, but through his customers.

This kind of mentality just doesn’t exist in America. Success means what school did you go to, who do work for, what kind of car do you drive…

Why can’t success mean happiness?

Why can’t success mean I do what I want, and I am happy with that. I have enough money to survive.

For me, when I look to the future, I see success as having a job that I am HAPPY with, having money to survive, and hopefully travel. I see myself as married, raising kids that are happy. Living where  I want to.

THE END.

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