Southeast Asia comes to an end…

This post is originally from February 25, 2012

So here I sit, at an internet cafe all alone. I have said many goodbyes to all my new friends and shed quite a few tears. Everyone is now traveling down to the Thai islands and I am the lone one who has to fly back home to work. Alas,  I just cant believe a month has gone by!  I guess that saying is right…time flies when you are having fun!

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I’m going to backtrack a bit to Chang Mai… It was an amazing day jam packed with wonderful memories. First was the adventure to the elephant camp. Here I rode an elephant through the jungle. This camp is basically a massive plot of land for the elephants where the trainers work one on one with their own elephants. The trainers work at the camp and in the free time the elephants are able to roam free. You can tell that they are treated very well. We got to see them bathe and then there was a show for the tourists.  The elephants are so completely smart. They did all sorts of tricks and the whole time you can tell they are smiling. I think elephants smile! When we were done there it was off to the tiger park.

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The tiger park was totally disorganized. I paid to have encounters with 5 tigers. I was supposed to be one on one in the cage with 5 different ones – newborn, two different small ones(5 months), medium and large. With all the chaos I only got to see the babies, small and large but it was amazing. 424034_10151370791695434_405888680_nThe babies were between one month and 3. They were so

adorable and cuddly. I was kissing them and they squeaked. So freaking adorable!!!!  I think I shat my pants because I was so excited!  Once they got past the baby stage you couldn’t be near the head of the animal, but it was still very cool.427615_10151370767660434_319006237_n Other than the fact that my camera battery died it was amazing. These beasts are so beautiful and it was amazing to be so close to them. There is so much talk and controversy as to if the tigers are drugged. If they are, and I am adding to this terrible tourist trap then I am ashamed…but I have to believe what I was told by my guide that this park the tigers are treated well. The idea is that if the tiger is fed in the morning they become lethargic and able to doze their way through the encounters with the pestering tourist.422968_10151370776435434_1839332549_n In the evenings they are said to be more playful and that is when the park is closed. As well, the tiger becomes used to the daily feedings and thus their need to hunt is no longer a priority. When I was in the enclosure with the big cat the tiger was definitely lazing about. The trainer was one on one with me in the enclosure and had to remind me to keep my arms away from the head. I get so trusting because I feel like they are just a big house cats!
From there we got on the over night train and made our way down to the ‘Kok’. Bangkok is so bloody hot. The humidity is unreal and I love that mixed with diesel fumes. haha. Yesterday a few of us went and saw the Reclining Buddha. It is absolutely huge but the awe of it was a bit tarnished by the masses of tourists shipped in on coach buses. Damn tourists! From there we spent the afternoon on Kho San Road but had to get out of the heat by escaping to the air con of McDonalds as soon as we could.

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In the evening we went for supper…our last supper all together. I really had a fun group of girls. I felt especially old, but it was still a great bunch. After my last curry we were off to the infamous ‘Ping Pong’ show. If you want the X rated version read on…if you would rather not, just skip to the next paragraph. Before I came to Thailand I had seeing the Ping Pong show on my bucket list. I am sure some of you have heard of these shows, but if not let me explain… it basically is a sex show where the girls do tricks out their vagJJ. Why would this be on my bucket list you ask? Well, I have heard of birds coming out, turtles, razor blades and of course ping pong balls. It is one of those things I want to see with my own eyes even though I know it would be horrendous and perhaps a bit scarring.So we get driven to this completely seedy area. Parked outside is a coach bus and inside were all these Indian men. Like literally 90% of the audience was Indian men who had this disgusting trance-like look on each of their faces. To make it worse they didn’t leave after the show ended and stayed for the exact same show again and again. Trust me once is enough. Going in I thought it would be a show, where there would be humor and the girls would play with the audience so to speak. It was nothing like that at all. It felt very wrong from the beginning. Women who looked maybe 16 to about 50 would go on stage while the look on their faces was so incredibly sad. They looked completely gutted and it was awful to watch. A lady shot a blow gun and popped balloons in the air. Kind of crazy. Opened bottles, smoked…the list is endless. But it was their sad faces that made you just feel so heart broken. Then at the end, a man came out and had sex right in front of you. The girl just kept her eyes closed the whole time. By the time we left we were all so depressed and felt horrible for adding to this terrible industry.
We went back to Kho San Road and some partied more than others (I am others). Today all my friends left and saying goodbye to Waza our group leader was so hard. You make such close bonds with people in short periods that it makes saying good bye so difficult. But all good things must come to an end and now I sit here thinking where my next trip should be. First I do have to come home and pay this one all off.
I will leave the hotel at 3 am and the almost 24 hour journey home begins. Lets hope I can actually watch movies this time instead of spending the whole time in the toilet.

Sailing Down the Mekong River

So our time in Laos has come to an end and it truly has been an unbelievable experience. I forgot to tell you that during the long drives throughout the country side we would see old B52 shells laying on the ground. We were told that basically the US bombed so many B52s during the Vietnam war that the Laotian people have used their shells for things such as boats; and what I saw at a gas station they use the shell to hold the gas!  Laos is an amazing country! Literally there is no begging and everyone is smiling, but at the same time nobody lives in ‘normal’ housing. All stick huts, or people literally living in the shop that they work at. I went to a little restaurant to grab some breakfast and the place was open so I called out ‘Sabaidee’ which means hello and two people bolt straight up from their bed all in a sleepy stupor. They went right from sleeping to making me my breakfast. It is such a different life!

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Before leaving Laos, we woke up before dawn and made our way to the main street that led to the Buddhist Temple. Dressed in bright orange robes, with shaved heads and bare feet, these men and boys come from afar to make their way to the Temple. On their way people of the community feed them. A bunch of us bought baskets of fruit and sat there in the dark until the Monks lined the streets. It was such a surreal experience to be in such an intimate setting with these beautiful people.

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We then had two, ten hour days on the Mekong River. Getting to and from the junk boat itself was highly interesting. Me with my massive back pack along with two other bags (from my shopping addiction), trying to climb over rocks and sand dunes to get on the boat made for quite the feat. Getting off was far more difficult as I had to walk on tiny planks to get across a few boats. The river bed was so steep that I needed someone to hold me from behind because I kept falling over backwards. Then at the end of the journey we had to get into a tiny boat to cross the border and this is when I literally fell over on to my back. I was stuck on my back like a turtle and a local had to come rescue me not once but twice. Oh the joys of carrying your life on your back.

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Yesterday we arrived in Chang Mai. This town is up in Northern Thailand. It is a great place with lots to do. Unfortunately we have to leave today so I tried packing in as much as possible in this short period. Yesterday afternoon I met with a tattoo artist. He is one of very few people who do tattooing with bamboo.  This is the ancient traditional way where they shred the bamboo stick and then take tiny needles and tie them on the the bamboo. From there they dip the stick into ink and basically tap the ink into you. I obviously couldn’t resist getting another tattoo in this unique way. Usually it is only the Monks who do this technique so coming across this man was very lucky. I got a pretty big peacock feather along the right side of my rib cage, and along the stem of the feather I got the word ‘family’ in Thai written beside it. The feather looks amazing and life-like.  I am very happy with it. The pain was effing unreal…but you only live once. I have heard that the ribs are a painful spot for tattoos, and that myth is a FACT!

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Today I am so excited!!! I am spending the first half of the day riding on elephants, and the afternoon visiting a tiger sanctuary. We are told that the tigers are owned by Monks and have basically trained them to be like house cats by feeding them regularly every day. They are never hungry so they don’t have that urge to go attack for food. I am going to shit my pants with excitement when I see this. I can’t wait to tell you about my elephant and tiger experience!

Arriving to the ‘Kok’ in almost one piece…

This post is originally from January 28, 2012

Greetings from Cambodia!

Two days before my departure I came down with the major case of the flu.  I am pretty sure it was the Norwalk Virus because I don’t remember being this sick in a very long time.  I even contemplated canceling this trip. On Tuesday I decided I was fit enough to travel and Wednesday boarded that plane…the journey from hell started when I flew to Seattle. As soon as I arrived in Seattle I started to feel ill again. I tried my hardest to will it out of me, but literally the moment we took off for destination Tokyo I was gagging. I had to break the cardinal rule of staying in your seat while the seat belt sign is on and make a mad dash to the toilets. During the course of that flight I spent more time in that toilet than I did in my seat. It was the longest, most brutal flight of my life. 10 hours of hell and puke.  Alas, I arrived in Tokyo worn out and wanting to head right back home.  I staggered to a spot on the floor and fell asleep among the hubbub of travelers.  When I woke I felt heaps better which made the 7 hours to Bangkok much more manageable!

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My roomie from the UK, Helen

The Kok (aka Bangkok) is a city I didn’t see much of upon my arrival. I finish the tour back in the this city so I will get a chance to take in the sights (such as a  good ol fashioned sex show) before I go home.Yesterday I met my roomie Helen as well as the rest of the group and they are all very friendly which I totally expected.  The group consists of all girls…not getting laid ladies…hahaha, but apparently there will be 6 Aussie men joining us in Vietnam. I called dibs on the oldest one because I am the granny of the group once again!

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This morning we got up early and headed for the Thai/Cambodia border. At once ‘the sickness’ hit me again. I started to feel like death as we were standing in line waiting in the intense heat. Getting out of the country I felt completely green…but the Cambodian Gods were with me because as we walked through no man’s land I started to feel human again.When we got to our hotel in the town of Siem Reip there was a moment of jubilation. They have Diet coke! I am sitting here sipping my dc writing on FREE internet awaiting to go to a very cool dinner. We are going to a place where orphaned children are raised and taught school, cooking and trades. I have no idea what I am in for…but I’m totally excited.

Do you want to join me on another adventure?

418452_10151367185795434_1867833814_nThis post was originally from January 24, 2012

Hi there Everyone,
It is that time again… I decided to get my ass out of here Canada during our winter rather than waiting til things turned to bloom. I might not have the full holidays banked or the money saved…but lets worry about that later. Life is too short!
This time I am headed to Southeast Asia. I fly into Thailand, travel throughout Cambodia, then into Vietnam up through Laos and back through Thailand.  I actually had this trip planned at the end of my Australia trip (over ten years ago),  but due to lack of funds (or no funds at all) I had to skip Asia and come straight home. I will be traveling by almost every mode of transportation…trains, planes, automobiles, boats, tuk tuks, elephants perhaps…but I will DEFINITELY not be sporting the camel this time. I think I have had my fare share of camel for this life time! I am incredibly excited for this adventure. I am traveling alone, but will meet up with the same Adventure Group (G Adventures) that I did in Morocco and India. I am sure I will meet a ton of amazing people.
Anyway, just wanted to give a shout out before I left and until next time I will see you on the other side of the world!

Taleeho!

The G Adventures Tour that I took –Indochina Discovery

Sailing down the Mekong River

So our time in Lao has come to an end. It truly has been an unbelievable experience. I forgot to tell you that during the long drives in the country side we would see old B52 shells. Basically the US bombed so many B52s during the Vietnam war that the Laotian people have used their shells for things such as boats; and what I saw at a gas station they use the shell to hold the gas!  Lao is an amazing country. Literally there is no begging and everyone is smiling, but at the same time nobody lives in ‘normal’ housing. All stick huts, or people literally living in the shop. I went to a little restaurant to grab some breakfast and the place was open so I called out ‘Sabaidee’ which means hello and two people bolt straight up from their bed all in a sleepy stupor. They went right from sleeping to making me my breakfast. Bizarre.

Before leaving Lao, we woke up before dawn and made our way to the main street that led to the Buddhist Temple. Dressed in bright orange robes, with shaved heads and bare feet, these men and boys come from afar to make way to the Temple. On their way people of the community feed them. A bunch of us bought baskets of fruit and sat there in the dark until the Monks lined the streets. It was such a surreal experience to be in such an intimate setting with these beautiful people.420796_10151370664645434_426082434_n
We had two ten hour days on the river. Getting to and from the junk boat itself was highly interesting. Me with my massive back pack along with two other bags (from my shopping addiction), trying to climb over rocks and sand dunes to get on the boat made for quite the feat. Getting off was far more difficult as I had to walk on tiny planks to get across a few boats. The river bed was so steep that I needed someone to hold me from behind because I kept falling over backwards. Then at the end of the journey we had to get into a tiny boat to cross the border and I literally fell over on to my back. I was stuck on my back like a turtle and a local had to come rescue me not once but twice. Oh the joys of carrying your life on your back.431678_10151370668325434_1555763995_n
Yesterday we arrived in Chang Mai. This town is up in Northern Thailand. It is a great place with lots to do. Unfortunately we have to leave today so I tried packing in as much as possible in this short period. Yesterday afternoon I met with a tattoo artist. He is one of very few people who do tattooing with bamboo.  This is the ancient traditional way where they shred the bamboo stick and then take tiny needles and tie them on the the bamboo. From there they dip the stick into ink and basically tap the ink into you. I obviously couldn’t resist getting another tattoo in this unique way. Usually it is only the Monks who do this technique so coming across this man was very lucky. I got a pretty big peacock feather along the right side of my rib cage, and along the stem of the feather I got the word ‘family’ in Thai written beside it. The feather looks amazing and life-like.  I am very happy with it. The pain was effing unreal…but you only live once. I have heard that the ribs were a painful spot for tattoos, and that myth is a FACT!419830_10151370690400434_37012383_n
Today I am so excited!!! I am spending the first half of the day riding on elephants, and the afternoon visiting a tiger sanctuary. The tigers are owned by Monks and have basically trained them to be like house cats by feeding them regularly every day. They are never hungry so they don’t go attack for food. I am going to shit my pants with excitement when I see this. I can’t wait to tell you about my elephant and tiger experience!