Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sawat Dee (Hello) Thailand!

Where do I even begin. So far, Thailand is what I imagined and more. I've done so much in the last week since I left New Zealand it's hard for me to keep it all straight in my head, let alone try to put it all into a blog.

Phang Nga Nat'l Park
Kuala Lumpur: One of the things that struck me is how much the city focuses on the environment: Advertising recycling, recycling bins available everywhere, building sites touting their green-ness, carpooling and public transport encouraged and affordable. I was also surprised that their radio djs all had an American accent. There were times that I was listening to my iPod sitting on a bus when I could have been traveling through Chicago rather than half way around the world. The airport had free Wifi and reclining chairs. It was one of the nicer airports I've been in.

Phuket, Thailand: Unlike KL there is definitely a lack of concern for the environment, but for the most part its difficult to detract from the beauty of it all here in the green and tourquise water, the white sand beaches and the limestone cliffs (karsts) that drop right into the water. Most of Phuket has been rebuilt since the tsunami hit in 2004.  There are photos that show the destruction and now that I've visited here, I can't imagine the fear and panic that must have hit with the tsunami.

Attempting the fish tanks
  • The food. It's delicious. I have completely converted to a fan of Thai Food.
  • The doctor fish. They eat dead skin off your feet and legs essentially exfoliating them for you. The only problem is that it feels so bizarre, like little suckers all over your feet. All I can say is that I tried it. I didn't last more than 5 minutes total, most people have trouble at first but then enjoy it.
  • The island tours are cheap and offer an awesome way to see the bays from the water. The guides are friendly and the views are amazing and they are a water-lover's dream: snorkeling, canoeing, swimming. Best money we've spent on this trip so far have been our two tours.
  • The culture. It's different from what I expected. I still haven't worked out how the "lady boys" fit into it all either.
  • The beaches and the water. I love it all. It really does look as beautiful in person as it does in the photos.
  • The photos with Japanese tourists. Malena and I have been asked at least twice now to pose for photos with the Japanese. We agree and flash the peace sign with the best of them.
Our Japanese tourist friends
Tomorrow we wake up early and head to Koh Samui, an island off the east coast of Thailand, via flight from Phuket.  We'll spend the night there and then take a ferry to Koh Tao where we will spend some time diving in what is supposed to be one of the best places in the world.

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