Friday, December 19, 2008

climber's paradise.. .

from koh phangan, we caught a 3-hour boat ride to surat thani and a 2-hour bus ride to ao nang - a nice little shoreline town on the andaman sea. then, we caught a longtail boat with a few other couples to haad tonsai, a nice quiet beach next to the popular railay beach.

here, we found an amazing place to stay, nice restaurants, and pleasant people. we called the andaman nature resort our home for almost a week -- cheap bungalows with an amazing restaurant (it got very popular at night, showing movies 'til 10, and having seating and cushions to lay out on the viewing floor). also, during low tide, we could walk over to railay, a pretty stretch of white sand beach, full of very pricey resorts.

haad tonsai is a climber's paradise. surrounding the waters are large steep cliffs that fall either to the beach below or straight into the ocean. one day, we rented kayaks and navigated through the cliffs and into caves.

one day when playing cribbage at a local restaurant by the shore, we met two other fellows playing as well. we met them (smitty and bruce), and their reading friend val, and spent the rest of the day playing cards and conversing. they were all from brighton in the u.k. and regaled us of tales of beach raves with fatboy slim and their random hatred of beckham. we met up again with them at night to play crib under the waning full moon.

leaving, we still felt like we wanted to return. and, even now, we're trying to figure out a way to get back and are hoping that andaman still has a bungalow for us even thought it's so close to christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

island living. .

after bangkok, josh and i headed for koh tao in search of some island life.
after a long train ride and an EXTREMELY rocky boat ride, we arrived tired and travel-weary on koh tao.
the island was quaint and small, with nice beaches -- but it turned out it was mainly devoted to scuba diving, which we, it turns out, cannot participate in.
after staying a night at a scuba resort, we traveled north to haad sanrei where we found a cheap bungalow close to two of the shore towns. the bungalows were nice and clean and were owned by a lovely motherly lady. we beach bummed a few days, reading and relaxing, and also took a long very steep hike up a mountain to two view (where you can see both shores of the island at once).

also of note in koh tao, i had the most delicious pad si yew i have had since i've come to thailand -- so far, nothing can beat it. (also pictured: josh's american breakfast)

after koh tao, we took a much more pleasant boat ride to koh phangan, where we ended up staying for about a week. koh phangan is a much larger island with more to offer than just scuba diving so we made it our home for a while. we stayed at the awesome haad rin thai resort, where we made friends with the front desk lady, mam. (we even took her out to dinner one night which made for a fun adventure since she spoke little english and we spoke even less thai.) haad rin, the beach we were staying at, was full of restaurants playing illegally copied movies all day long and random party buses cruising the town. we frequented a local bar/restaurant most days and also took a few trips on motorbike to other parts of the island to see other beaches and to check out waterfalls.

overall, it was a little more touristy than we would like, so we packed up and left for krabi.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

floating downstream.. .

sawasdee ka.

we are now in ko tao -- a lovely diving island in southern thailand.
we just left bangkok a few days ago. there are protests going on there now and the airport is apparently closed down .. so i'm glad we got out of there.

in bangkok, we stayed on the famed khoa san road:

we took many a tuk tuk ride around town to various sites and temples -- as well as random tux and jewelry shops. :) (tuk tuk rides are basically free when you agree to stop and browse random stores they bring you to.)

our favorite driver, sinhka, was our first tuk tuk ride.

also, when we were there, we took a day trip to the floating market!
it was crazy! so many boats, knocking sides, pulling you over, trying to sell you souveniers, food, and fruit!

all in all, we had a busy few days in the capital city.
we were all tired, but happy travel cat remained oh so happy!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


quick blog update since i only have 6 minutes left on my computer here..

made it to bangkok and currently residing on khoa san road for a few days. off to the islands on the 25th.

we spent a few days in tokyo. was blow away by the sheer size of it. i was told the heart of the city itself was 8 million people. and the greater tokyo area, engulfing so many other cities -- so close together it was impossible to tell them apart -- is 36 million!

the train system was a maze to navigate. so many lines to choose from, so many ways to go. with the signs all in japanese, it was quite an endeavor!
shinjuku station at rush hour was a sight to see!

we also went to the 45th floor of the tokyo government building and saw the extending skyline. it was hard to know if it ever ended. .. .

later, now, we are waiting to catch a train from bangkok to chumphon. from there, to koh tao where hopefully we'll learn how to scuba dive! :)

it's been fun in bangkok. we have taken many a ride in tuk tuks! seen a bunch of beautiful temples. talked to many nice people. eaten a lot of noodles and rice!

hope everyone is doing well.
we miss you!

Monday, November 10, 2008


it's been over a year since i've updated this blog.
i find it harder to update it when i'm "settled" somewhere for a long time.

i left my heart in san francisco a little less than a year ago.
i drove 3 days straight cross country to surprise my mother for christmas and spent a long freezing cold month back in wisconsin.
from there, i caught a plane to sunny maui where i spent three months living on the north shore at a spiritual retreat and farm working in exchange for room and board.

each experience i chronicle here in this blog i feel like is life-changing. .. but i guess that's what i'm going for.

i lived in huelo, maui in a small bamboo hut which i shared with my gorgeous magnetic amazing roommate, emily. both she and i arrived around the same time as yves -- the adventurous swiss-frenchman on leave from school for a few months to explore the states.

over the months, we blossomed from a group of beautiful strangers clothed in rain gear in a new, scary, exhilarating environment

bamboo hut
emily and yves in paia
work boots
em and me in the tiki hut
paia bay beach

... . to close friends, exploring new places, sleeping on each other's shoulders, camping on beaches, sharing, and learning and living.

looking back, it's already been six months since i've left the islands.
the way of life, the attitude, the sunsets, the beauty. .. . it's been so hard to leave it all behind.

.. but on to new adventures!

to be continued.