Saturday, January 23, 2010


Alla's "Baywatch" audition photo

If there's one thing I learned whilst traveling, it's this: if the "should I take the bus or an airplane"conundrum ever presents itself to you, you should most often chose "a plane". It's very simple but my cheapness has been clouding my judgement for years. Every once in a while a situation presents itself that even I couldn't choose the wrong answer; 18USD for an 11 hour bus ride or 50 USD for an hour flight. We chose the latter but probably only because of the Ko Chang broken AC/urinal bus incident. Something inside of me, especially when it comes to frugality and/or bargaining, brings out the worst/best in me. Because of my frugality, I've met many lovely people staying on random couches and hitchhiking both in foreign and domestic lands. On the flip side, I've managed to find my way onto the floor of an austere Austrian women who told me when I could and when I couldn't eat my own oatmeal, nearly beaten down by a Hawaiian man who saw me sneak into a hottub and ended up calling a park bench in Fukuoka, Japan home for an evening in early May last year.

We called this place home for four days.

But yeah, bargaining. The travel books tell you to bargain with the local merchant but what sick son of a bitch leaves a five dollar T-shirt, ahem four dollar T-shirt, on the bartering table in a sweltering tin shack over 30 baht (1 USD). Sadly, I do. If I had money, I'd more than confirm that trickle down economics doesn't work.

It is what it is - beautiful!

Alla, who was in charge of all bookings when it came to exactly where we stayed, chose a beautiful little bungalow on the northwest shore of Phucket. It was highly recommend by Lonely Planet (I'm sure "Lonely Planet" has made its way onto Stuff White People Like). The bungalow, called Seaside Cottages for those interested, was absolutely beautiful and extremely remote, as promised. Best of all, we met up with my buddy Kirk! I met Kirk nearly three years ago when I hosted him in Maui and we stayed in touch since then. Which brings me to my plug. If you aren't a member then you need to be. My parents in ding fuck Montana have even hosted someone. The potential exists that you could meet someone as cool as Kirk! Ok, so it looks as though that was a Couchsurfing AND Kirk plug.

Kirk, you sand baggin son of a bitch! We took a 45 minute "public bus" ride into Phucket-town. The "public bus" was an 87 diesel Nissan truck flatbeded out. At one point, there were 18 people on it!

Mosquito's: 125, Garrett: 0

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ko Chang

One of the shanties we stayed at in Ko Chang. This bitch put us back 13 USD/night.

After four days in Bangkok, we made our way down to Ko Chang via bus. What started out as a very comfortable journey turned near death sentence a mere one hour later when the A/C decided to go out. To exacerbate our plight, our seats were located mere feet away from the latrine. Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, the A/C line above my head exploded and immediately saturated me with at least 20 ounces of water. That turned out to be a gift in disguise as the water was ice cold and for that brief moment, I felt like I wasn't going to melt into seat 14A.

Wild monkeys dine on garbage.

After arrival at the bus terminal, we took a taxi (and by taxi I mean an old Toyota truck flatbeded out to seat 15) to catch the Ko Chang 45 minute ferry. Arrival at Ko Chang meant another hotel/hostel. Something that made itself quite apparent to us within the first few hours of being in Ko Chang is that this place is absolutely teeming with Germans. Germans in the resturant. Germans on the beach. Germans watching an evening screening of "Dodgeball" in the open air theater. I only mention this because it would be precisely three days later that a German would nick my newly purchased sandals. (I didn't exactly catch him/her in the act but, you know, fucking Germans - nothing changes)

Doesn't get more international than this. Russian girl, German styled helmet, Japanese scooter, American photographer on left-hand drive Thai soil all at the Isreali price of 7 USD/day.

One of my lifelong dreams has been to drive a car in a "left-hand drive" country (shooting for the stars, I know). Well I got half way there. Being balls deep in an economic depression, we didn't have quite the paper to put down on a Lambo rental, we was able to, however, scratch up enough coin to rent the next available class, a Honda Click. Remembering only a few short years back of the nearly daily auto/scooter accidents on Maui made me slightly skidish but I'm glad we rented it as we were able to see 85 km worth of the island at our leisure.

We rode a fucking elephant! A fucking elephant!

On a more local culture note, I took to the guy who sold us the elephant trek. His name was Paum. Anyways Paum grew up about three hours outside of Bangkok. His career options were a) work on the family rice farm for next to nothing in the intense Thai heat or b) learn English, talk to tourist and work for next to nothing in the intense Thai heat. He choose the latter and makes about 4,100 baht (125 Usd) monthly. This makes returning to Korea and teaching children slightly less nauseating. Scratch that. I just threw up in my mouth a little.

I laughed as a tourist taunted this leashed monkey with an umbrella. I wouldn't be laughing minutes later as that disease infested son-of-a-bitch clung to my arm as I walked to close to his parameter.

Near Maui-esque beauty minus the Hilton pretension and the Gucci price tag.