Sunday, April 17, 2016

Top of Wat Tham Suea, Krabi

This is the Wat at the top of a mountain side, 1,200 steps up.  The climb is brutal but you're rewarded with a beautiful sight.  Totally worth it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Shock of the Day: Sonkran is like a water Fire Fight

Songkran is the time of year for Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries to celebrate New Years on the Buddhist Calendar.

It's 12:29 (after midnight) April 13 (now) and people are starting the cleansing of the new year.

From what I gather, they target Farangs or Foreigners, with icy cold water and aiming for specific parts of your body to get a reaction.  They usually try and get girls more and aim for their breasts and bum, but guys have their junk as the main target.  Not really my idea of fun, but our friends wanted to see it so we're down here for their benefit.

I've seen footage and video of how crazy it can get for Songkran, but my husband left to hotel earlier today, officially a day before festivities and apparently they already started.  He described it as, "Boondock Saint's Fire Fight!"

I tend to think he exagerates but seeing as I've seen his start up footage of it as well as various youtube videos, I think he made a great comparison.  I see it as a Cancun meets water fight on crack and nationwide.
The crazy thing is that this celbration last for a few days from the 13-15 this year and the most car accidents occure duing this time of year.  Accidents are 9x worse this time of year than any other and they offer special Songkran accident insurance for that purpose.  Not only that, nothing is open during Songkran so good luck getting to stores and getting food or necessities before hand if you haven't already and live in a small area - like we do.

Oh, and they tend to like to get buckets and tubs of icy cold water and dump it on bystanders like a ALS Challenge on meth.

I'll let you know what my shocks are as I've holed myself in the hotel until it's officially April 13 and I'm well and prepared for the water war going on outside.

Shock of the Day: Sick and Stairs do NOT mix well...and Monkeys are still Assholes!

Sorry folks, I've been out of commission for the past few days because I've had a nasty stomach bug and I'm finally starting to feel better.  This Shock of the Day is a bit of a rant, so like previous rants, if you don't want to read my swearing for no reason, stop reading now.

Yesterday, I felt better than I have since I contracted the stomach bug was probably too soon to tackle something like Tham Seua.  Just to give you an idea of how many steps there are to get up there, there is the sign.

So the trek starts behind the sign and it goes up....and Up....and UP!  Well, I probably shouldn't have gone and done those stairs to say the least but another shock of the day came in the form of monkeys - another bane of my existance.  (rant starts here)

Not this guy or his band of furry friends but up top, there are some mean mother fuckers as my next shock of the day: Uberly agressive monkeys.  We met a very nice Indian couple and their young daughter towards the top.  Then went on ahead of us but we then heard some shouts and the little girl crying and so we ran to see if everything was alright.  We arrive at the scene with the dominant male on the father's backpack clawing and scratching.  Both mother and father were trying to protect their daughter from the monkey and so we grabbed sticks and banged on the blue railing to get the attention away from them and scare them off.

We asked if they were okay and if anyone was hurt but the father had aquired a few new scratches from the male monkey - hope he got that cleaned and checked out.  They said they were only walking by them when the monkeys came and pulled at their bags trying to steal shit, and a water bottle got lost in the mix of everything but for no apprent reason, the dominant male monkey started to pull on the little girls arm.

She, nor her parents did nothing to provoke that action and so they swarmed around her to try and protect her from the male monkey but he was being a little demon.  We were warned that the monkeys on top stole stuff but this is unreal.  We've encountered monkeys at Batu Caves in Malaysia and at other spots of Thailand but nothing this agressive!  Well, we had scared off the very teritorial and agressive male and escorted the family to the top and it seems they made it down fine, otherwise we would have heard them from the top.  This whole experience just solidified that I hate monkeys and self rightous hippies - some dumbass decided to add his two cents of "you're just making them angry".

No, dipshit, they were already fuckin' angry and I could careless if they are angry because they are attacking a fucking little girl!  If it was just an adult putting up with an asshole monkey, fine!  But she was defenseless and her parents were at a loss as to what should be done other than protect their child, so yeah, I'll fuckin' wave a stick at fuckin' monkey because fuck them once they start attacking, I'll fight back!

Fuck you, monkey and Fuck you ignorant hippie!

This was our view and very much worth it.  I'm feeling it in my quads and some parts of my calves but after all those steps, I'm shocked I'm not in more pain.

At the TOP! 

Yeah, it was pretty high up, but for me, this climb was pretty intense with my lack of energy from being sick all those days and also the heat was miserable!  The first time I climed Tham Seau, I was 21 and arrived two hours before sunset, rather than 9:00am.  It took me 1.5 hours to get up to the top and it was a struggle as my heartrate became rapid easily with the combination of me being sick, too much heat, sweating all my electrolytes and just plain exhaustion.  Yeah, I probably should have sat this one out but this was something I wanted to do again and experience with my husband so I was determined.

When those monkeys went apeshit - HA! - adrenaline quickly masqued my exhaustion and once I was on top of the mountain again, I was able to rest for another hour before making that trek down.

I can honestly say the trek down was a lot easier but still difficult with my exhaustion but we made it down in 40 mins including all my rest stops to catch my breath.  I don't think I want to do that anytime soon, but I can't believe there are monks that climb this bitch of a hill everyday!

Kudos to them!

And if you doubt how nasty these little shits can be when they decide to be territorial, just watch this video.  I'm not gonna lie, I laughed my ass watching this because in the back of my mind, I knew that monkey on the stairs could have been this crazy too, except we'd be falling down a fuckin' mountain if it decided to attack.  I'll just leave you with this footage, good or bad.


Friday, April 08, 2016

Shock of the Day: Laundry & 10 Baht Coins

Short one today because another day of transit but we were making our way back from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai after accomplishing our goal there.

I really wanted to feed a Giraffe!

So now it's been a week and we have to find a laundromat.  Well, we didn't have one near our hotel and the hotel would have charged us 40 baht per item!  That's roughly $1.35 USD for one sock or underwear.


So we went to a coin laundromat and guess what they take?  Only stupid 10 baht coins!  Now, 10 Baht coins have been the bane of our existence even back at home to do laundry because it's so hard to come by for some reason.  When I go to the laundry worker with my change and ask her to exchange coins, she give me stink eye and all I can think is, "Bitch, PLEASE! I know you have a key to get into the machine that take ONLY 10 Baht coins so go and exchange my coins because you'll just get it back anyway!"

Well, that same issue arose today trying to get our stuff clean and worse yet, we forget to bring our own laundry soap.  Luckily some other person doing their laundry took pity on us, exchanged our coins for 10 Baht and offered us some of her soap for free.

Goes to show that Laundry is a pain in the ass no matter where you are and there are nice people everywhere.


Thursday, April 07, 2016

Shock of the Day: Giraffes have Tongues like Cats

Today, we started early to get to a temple I've been wanting to see for years now and boy did we get there early!  Well, I looked on the website and it said the temple opens at 6:30.  Well, we get there at 6:30 and the sign says 8.  Shock of the Day, not really.  It's Thailand.

We actually ended up taking tons of pictures of the place before it was swarming with people and I actually noticed that some of the hands in the sculpture were creative additions like Wolverine and others.

Have a look:

Shock of the day, Wolverine's hand is in there

We then went to Singha Park, we not only rode bikes to get around the park but we went to the petting zoo and fed giraffes, zebras and long horn steer.  Giraffes have tongues that are rough like cats but if I remember correctly, it's also rough so they can eat the thorny acacia leaves.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Shock of the Day: Bugs are like beer food...ish

Short one today since we were mainly in transit.

We getting a ticket to catch an early bus to Chiang Rai but unfortunately it was sold out.  Well, it turns out that was the best thing to happen because we ended up going to a temple that I missed the first time I was in Chiang Mai and it was absolutely gorgeous.  (I'll add pictures on the next blog)

So I didn't know you can get blessings at these temples and I just watched two families kowtow into the temple and kneel at the monk to bless them.  He only blessed males and young girls because they aren't allowed to touch women otherwise they have to go through a long cleansing process for a month.  Needless to say, I stood behind as everyone else got a blessing and went to get my blessed bracelet from his assistant.

Cool Experience.

So my shock of the day is Chiang Rai has a nice night bizarre with many things you can buy.  Well, it turns out you can buy at the food court fried buggies. Yuuuummy~

So we ate bugs.  Yup, they were like triple fried or whatnot.  It was extra crispy and honestly tasted a bit like chips.  The one I could stomach the most was silkworms, then grasshoppers but not a huge fan of the fat grubs mainly because of the texture.

Would I eat it again....sure, but let me just say, it's not my first go to as far as bar food or munchies.

At least I can say I tried it.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Shock of the Day: Reflex Test

Today brought us to a lovely canyon in Pha Chor but our shock of the day is brought to you, ladies and gentlemen, by Tiger Kingdom.

We also visited PooPooPaper, which I love.

Now, before you harp into me for going to see Tigers in captivity, let me just point out that A) Tigers are going extinct at an alarming rate and if it weren't for establishments like these, they would have all died out by now. B) they were NOT drugged or sedated - that was the mother fuckin' heat of Thailand making them drowsy because let me tell you they are alert - which brings up to the topic. C) They were hand reared and are used to human.  Yes it's not the most ideal of situations but until the outside world can get their shit together and stop kill and illegally trading Tigers, Elephants, Rhinos and other creatures, establishments like these and the like are these animals only hope for survival.

(getting off my soapbox)

SO, as I was saying, we go and pet tigers and discover 3 things about them (and us in the process)

1.  They are SOFT! ...or at least the 18 month - 3 year tigers were.  Not only that, they LOVE belly rubs!

 2) They have cute paws...even though they can maul you like confetti...and these big guys were only the medium sized tigers.  After seeing the X-LG cats, I can now see how they can easily take down a man.

3) I now know my reflexes are still pretty good.

So, we are petting Andy, our buddy here when he decides to stir up shit with his sleeping buddy see above.

Sleeping buddy DID NOT like Andy biting his ass and told his so in this pic.  You've never seen me and my husband get up so fast as soon as his buddy woke up, sat up and growled at Andy with a FU look as seen above and blow.

That's me saying YIKES as I see the tiger getting annoyed at Andy.

...And we're up while Andy is still being annoying to his bud.

Thanks Andy for the mild heart attack.  At least we know that our sympathetic response of fight or flight still has its edge to it.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Shock of the Day: Fish Manicure

Well, day three of traveling didn't bring as many delights as day two.  Speaking of which, I forgot to mention one event for day two.  So we were talking the water boat taxi and it's on a very polluted river: really disgusting.  We sat in the front so there would be less motion sickness and that logic worked pretty well.  Unfortunately, sitting in the front also means you are susceptible to river mist all over.

River Mist.
"Don't breathe that in."

Today was mainly a day of transit from BKK to Chiang Mai.  Not much to really go and write home about but we did see fish-manicure places.  If anyone of you read my husband's blog, you'll know how much he HATED doing that because it felt funny but because his best friend wanted to try it they did.  The first five minutes, there wasn't much action going on there but they then moved to a bigger tank where the fishes were HANGRY!

Both guys were laughing aloud at the weird sensation but it was definitely worth the try!

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Shock of the Day: Raining?

So, if you've been reading, you know that we have guest at the house at the moment experiencing Thailand for the first time.

First we go to Buddhamonthon to check out the huge Buddha and when we get to the top of the stairs, to be respectful, we took off our shoes.

It was mutha fuckin' HOT!

Trying to light our candles but epically failing.

Like, we would have gotten blisters hot as we stood there, but a worker came up to use and said that shoes were okay.

You didn't have to tell us twice.

We then grabbed the wrong amount of offerings and the same worker went back down and got two more incense for use - you need three total - for offering.

We watched as a lady lit her candel on a huge flame, dripped wax on a the platform and stuck her candle on the wax and proceeded to light her incense.

Well, we tried to do that but as soon as we stuck our candle, it blew out with the strong wind - someone was having a good laugh - and we tried to light them again but the wind was not liking us today.

Okay, so we opted to light our incense and light our candle that way and...that worked out just fine.  We kneeled and then waied and prayed and was on our way.

Our next shock of the day was feeding the catfish.  Okay, sure there isn't that much to the fish feed but they love really LOVE it!

Posted by Richard Tumin on Sunday, April 3, 2016

Not only that, they are pretty fearless.  Not that they are brave or anything, it's more like they don't know any better.  It's a Buddhist park so no killing of fish means no fishing.  So, when I hold out bread for them to eat, with a bit of it in the water, they just open their huge mouths and grab it.  We were essentially hand feeding the fish!  It was fun and absolutely cute.

You eat that good merit, you dirty, dirty fish!

So we take them to Yaowarat and have a fun time exploring but then we go into a dingy alleyway and to say it looks 'sketch as hell' is a bit of an understatement.  It felt like I had to hold on to my kidneys and liver in fear that I may wake up in a dingy room to find that I've newly stitched and without one or all of the aforementioned organs.  It was pretty bad.  Well, halfway down the alley there were 'raindrops' that sprinkled on us.

Lived to tell the tale with all organs intact...?

'Why is it raining...?' was on my mind instantly as I knew that day to be hot and clear but the defense mechanism of my mind was kicked and said, 'NOPE!  Don't think about it." and we moved on.  Apparently, my friend and I missed a rat the size of a cat that scurried down the alley and into a styrofoam cooler that probably had food to be served at the connecting restaurant to unsuspecting tourist.

Just sayin'.

On the bright side, we ended up in a street that we were looking for and found the food place that we were sure we wouldn't find.  Happy times, right?

Oh, and we came home and asked one another about the "rain" and had a good laugh about what we thought it was.  Answers ranged from "gutter water", to "pee", "poop", you name it.  I'll maintain it was gutter water and leave it at that because that 'gutter water' sprayed on my head!

Friday, April 01, 2016

Delights of Being a Host

I've been hosting people for a long time, whether it be family and friends visiting Hawaii for the first time or our guest from all over the world Couch Surfing at our place.

Flying in a Helicopter over Hilo.  LOL, you can actually see our old house on Derby Lane

One of the delightful things to see is how they react to new things.  It's almost like watching kid's open up a gift for Christmas.  There's suspense, shock, glee and excitement...or disappointment.

Yap, those are goats from the other side.  Don't know the name of the place so I dubbed it "Goatyville"

Most of our hosting experience happened to be in Hawaii, and because it's a tourist destination, we know what our guests were expecting out of our hometown.  We also threw in the added bonus of making recommendations based on our guests interest and likes.  As very proud residents of Hilo, we knew almost every nook and cranny, every hole in the wall and most every secret swimming hole.  We delighted in seeing our guest enjoy our recommendations, often times going with them to our secret spots because we enjoyed them as well.

Now that we are living abroad in Thailand, it's a whole new ballpark and we get to be the ones experiencing things for the first time and finding delight and joy in simple things, like cheap fruits and delicious food made in a food stall before you.  I've had four months for acclimation but my husband has been here for almost a year and he enjoys taking me to new things that I haven't seen yet and we have fun exploring different parts of Thailand together.  Living in a bigger city - or, at least having access to it besides getting on a flight - opens up a whole new experience of art and amenities that we didn't get living in a small town.  Now we can see concerts or shows, go to special art displays/exhibits and enjoy the city life is we so choose.  Granted we do live in a smaller more remote part of Thailand just outside of Bangkok, but a 45 min taxi drive and 20 min train ride takes us to the heart of Bangkok.

Our first guest from home arrived yesterday and I'm excited to see how they react to Bangkok.  We live in a small, one bedroom apartment with a living room and fold-out couch and one bath.  It'll be interesting living in such close quarters again with someone else for the next three weeks as we've not had a roomie since our last roomie left in May and we moved out of our Hilo house.

When asked about the taxi drive, their expressions were rather amusing because let's face it, the rules of driving here are way different compared to the US.  Rules are like cautionary notes or guidelines and not really set in stone and speed limit.

Pbtt!  Don't make me laugh! What speed limit?

Cost of living is so much less here and one of the appeals of living in a country like this.  We had fruits aplenty waiting for our guest's consumption and though we lived in Hawaii, where fruits were abundant, they were not cheap.  Over here, you can get a huge bowl with a variety of fruits for less than $5 USD.

I can't wait to see what their reaction would be to all the new experiences they are going to have here in Thailand!