Saturday, October 07, 2006

Here's a map showing where Koh Tao is. (I forgot my camera card reader in my room so no new pictures now)

I took my final exam today for my Open Water PADI certification. Before the exam I told my instructor that I think I've learned more about the English language than I have SCUBA. Now I have learned a lot about diving... however, before this course I had no idea what my instructor would have meant if he said, "Bollucks, you're taking the piss now mate!? Now, as I said, whack your answers down and fuck-off till tomorrow you bloody wanker"

Friday, October 06, 2006

You can't see it in the picture but the 7-Eleven on the left has 5 pairs of sandals sitting outside the door. When you enter a home, restaurant, or shop, it is customary to remove your shoes at the door. There is also a flip flop monster that steals your flip flops so when you walk outside they are gone. That is just part of life in Thailand and why the best flip flops are only 80 baht ($2).

I don't know what kind of "curry" I've eaten before, but if what I had last night was real curry then the other stuff wasn't. This beautiful restaurant sits right on Hat Sai Ree beach in Koh Tao. I had an incredible meal with a banana shake for just a couple of dollars. Life here is quite grand.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I found a resort on Koh Tao where I will complete my open water dive training. I arrived this morning around 10:00 am and the class starts today at 4 pm. It is a 4 day course. I am staying at the resort for 200 baht per night. (about $5.30 USD) The rooms are discounted for students. The normal price is 400 baht per night.

The resort is beautfil with multiple swimming pools and cascading waterfalls. My room is on the third floor overlooking the ocean and the upper pool.

Koh Tao is an incredible island. It reminds me of St. John with far less development. There is a main road that is about the width of a boardwalk that spans the western side of the island. You can rent a motorbike for $4.00 per day or you can walk or hitch a ride on the back of a bike.
I arrived at the Chumpon ferry dock at 5 am this morning. The sun had just began to rise. I left Bangkok at night and travelled overnight so the trip was not very scenic. However, everybody seems to travel at night because you don't waste a day and you don't get stuck in Chumpon overnight. (you also save on a nights lodging)

I met one American on the trip.... a 22 year old who "moved" to Thailand 4 months ago from Texas. He is the only American I have met thus far. There are loads of tourists and they all seem to be from Europe and Australia. A local Thai told me they rarely see Americans in comparison to Europeans and Australians. Also, he said there is a surprisingly large number of Canadians... hmmmm. (I have only met 1)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tuk Tuk ride during rush hour traffic.

So far I've only been involved in 1 minor traffic accident. My taxi today hit a motorcycle.. there were no injuries with the exception of the paint on the taxi and the motorcycle.
I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to travelling to Koh Tao tonight. I will leave Bangkok at 8pm for the island of Koh Tao. I will arrive tomorrow morning.

Bangkok is a great city but I am looking forward to some relaxation after 3 days in this thriving metropolis of 8 million people.

I am planning to spend about 1 week in Koh Tao while I get my PADI diving certification.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I arrived in Bangkok Monday afternoon (16:00) and took a taxi to Khao San Road. The weather was muggy and it was raining lightly. I was exhausted and somewhat out of it and I needed to find a place quickly. Unfortunately that meant I wasn't going to find any of the places I have been recommended to stay.

I tried about 3 places before deciding on the 4th. The first 3 were probably better but I was tired and the price difference was small. I paid about $15 for a room with a single bed, private bathroom, hot shower, and cable television. The television was nice because I woke up this morning to watch some MNF before going downstairs for the included breakfast.

My next step is to find a better place to stay. Tomorrow I am leaving Bangkok for Koh Tao.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Wow.. 13 hours later I'm in Taipei. The flight felt so incredibly long. I can't say how relieved I am to be off that plane. 4 movies, 2 meals, and 300 passengers.

The flight took off at 6 am (pacific time) from Seattle. After a warm towel service we were served dinner. I had the fish and rice. It was pretty good. Several drink rounds, and 4 movies later we were served breakfast. 2 hours later we landed.

This airport is incredibly sterile. There are thermal imaging cameras that monitor people for a fever. If you have a fever you have to wear a mask. The terminals are all quarantined. (they take bird flu very seriously)

I once again found myself in the exclusive first class lounge for EVA air. This lounge is their flagship lounge complete with a video game room (xbox 360's and flat panels), business lounge, showers, gym, and more. Oh yeah, all the food and drink you want. Right now I'm sipping on some Johnny Walker Black Label.
Seattle Layover.. Wow, I'm glad I met Jeff standing in line for my flight from Seattle to Tapei. I ended up with a 12 hour layover, but thanks to Jeff I spent it hanging out in the first class lounge.

Members are allowed to bring one free guest and since Jeff was travelling alone he said he could get me in the lounge. It was great. All the food and beverages you want for free.

T-Minus 1.5 hours.. Here I am leaving my house with everything I'm bringing to Thailand.