Sunday, March 30, 2008

horn- check, breaks-check. India!!

hello all,
Well I am in INDIA!!
I was so excited to get here. I felt like I had to pinch myself in the taxi to believe I was finally here.
Getting here was not all that easy. My flight was scheduled to leave at 2:40am this morning (march 30th) but when I arrived at the airport they said it would be delayed...until 7:25am. It took a few hours for Air India to get their act together but they put us up in a VERY nice hotel, I would even say posh, and feed us. By the time I got to bed it was 3:20am. The wake up call came at 6am and then it was back on the bus and to the airport where we found out our flight was delayed again until 9am. Well that was just the time we need to clear security, immigration, and the like. I did not go through this alone. I met a nice woman named Rochelle from Melborn who was rather frazzled by the whole thing and I got to be the cool calm steady one who lead her through the process.
We landed at 12:30pm and after collection bags and clearing more security I got a pre-paid taxi to my hotel.
I had planned to do a blog entry before I left that did a bit of a trip recap but I never got the opportunity.
I had also planned to send one out with the chant that has been going through my head the past few days and filling my journal. It went I bit like this:

Now I am hear.
It is hot and dusty. I haven't seen any of Delhi yet.
I wish I could be more descriptive but I have a ragging headache from too little sleep and even less to eat.
The menu at the hotel is full of words I don't know. Some I do, but most I don't. It is a bit daunting. Oh I don't know if I have mentioned this but I have gone partial vegetarian in Asia. Meat turns my stomach here, the the veggie food is so good. It is not like Japan where they put pork of some sort in almost everything. I will eat seafood as it is free-range and mostly organic, not that the stuff we put in our oceans is organic. The only downside i have realized on my arrival here in India is that I am not familiar with the names for veggie food here. More to learn!!
oh the poor head. I want my bed.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Travel diary

Well I am in Ayutthaya although I haven't seen much of the ancient city yet.
Yesterday was a long travel day and today not too different. At 10am Viki, Kristin and I boarded a water taxi to take us to a small pier where we got into a taxi (more a pick up truck with bench seats and a cover) that took us to the main pier on koh Pangnag where we said our goodbyes and then I left on the boat to the mainland and the girls went to Koh Tao.
On the mainland i boarded an overnight train to Bangkok. The train was supposed to take 12 hours, but we were delayed and it took 17 instead. I would not have minded the extra sleeping time but I had to get to the Chinese embassy before 11:30 to apply for my visa. The train pulled into the station a few minutes before 11 and I raced to drop off my big backpack at the baggage station, then to change some more money, then to a motorcycle taxi. The taxi driver said it would take 20 mins, I told him to hurry. And hurry he did. He raced through the streets, between cars, trucks, and other bikes. When we took the highway I had to close my eyes we were speeding so fast I felt gravity pulling on my skin... but perhaps that was just the wind. I tried not to think of all my exposed skin that would be taken from me by the pavement if it were to make contact. Instead I trusted, but made sure I had my eyes open when we were weaving between trucks so that I could tuck my legs in to keep them from grazing the burning exhaust pipes that we came so ever close to. We both survived and I was so touched by his understanding of my need to rush that I gave him an extra 50baht...well i also had no time for change as I arrived to the embassy at 11:25am.
The big rush was over, I had made it. I got my ticket (number 590) and took a seat. I talked to the travellers beside me to see how long they had been waiting. The couple beside me had number 433 and the embassy was currently calling number 333. They said they had been there an hour and expected it to be at least another hour before they were called so hours before I would be. They told me to go and get something to eat or walk around. I went to the official at the door and asked if i should go with my number and if I would have an hour. He said yes...maybe he didn't understand me. I came back in an hour and everything was locked up and lights turned out. I can't imagine how they got everyone out of there so fast, the place had been packed! just fabulous! I could have cried, I very nearly did. I called Viki and she sympathised, if I didn't have her to call I would have cried then and there and that would have totally frightened the security officials. I had worked so hard and given up time with her so that I would be able to get my visa for China without paying the extra cost of a rush visa. Being as tight for cash as I am now, I needed to get my visa in today. So that really sucked.
I went back to the train station, got my bag and boarded a train for Ayutthaya and that is where I am now.
I will probably go back on friday and pay the cost of a same day rush visa.
Now I am at an Internet cafe that is full of young boys playing video games, even dance dance revolution as a video game! I don't get the attraction. Books are soo much more exciting! ... as is tv, not going to lie.

I have stories from the islands with Viki and Kristin but I don't know when I will get a moment to tell them.

I am very much looking forward to India. I have been nervous about this part of my trip. South East Asia is like an extended home for me, and Australia isn't exactly difficult to travel. India and Tibet have been my main destinations, the real traveling will begin so soon. It's funny to think that the other side of the world can arise no more fear, stress, or anxiety in me than a trip to Ottawa. I love how comfortable I am here, how easily I move through these countries and even when it isn't easy, it just washes over me. South East Asia and I are tight. What will India hold? I will love it I am sure, but I don't expect it to be as easy going as where I have been.
This experience is truly the best education.

Tomorrow I will update on my Wat touring. Perhaps I will be able to upload pictures.

These video games are giving me a headache. I must jet.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Heading back up

I have just left the islands...or rather I am waiting to leave.

I head to Bangkok tonight on the overnight sleeper train. When I arrive, after I drop off my application for a visa to the Chinese Embassy ( I still have hopes to go to Tibet) I wil head straight to Ayutthaya before returning to Bangkok to pick up my visa on Friday, visit my Thai family and then fly to India. I was able to get my ticket moved so I arrive early on the morning of the 30th, a day before I was originally set to arrive.

Koh Phangnag was amazing. Beautiful and I wish I could have stayed a week.
I have been having such a great time with Viki and Kristin. I have been thinking so much about Muskoka while here...very strange. Not homesick though, but maybe beig with two Canadian girls has made me think about home a bit. They are now off to Koh Tao....and I drag my feet to Bangkok. Ayutthaya will be great though. I am looking forward to that.

Happy Easter everyone.
The girls and I treated ourselves to a Mars Bar was amazing. pure sin. I loved it.
No easter eggs for me this year, but my parents are more than welcome to pick up some on sale and save them for my return... :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Down South

Sorry it has been so long.
I will update soon.
I am still in Thailand. I left Bangkok shortly after my last post. I have been in the south visiting my friend Viki. We went to Krabi which was paradise. And then I went to Phuket to go diving in the Similan islands area. The diving was wonderful.
I am now back with Viki in Nahkon and tonight we will take the ferry to Koh Pangnang. We were planing to go to Koh Tao but I have to get back to Bangkok to drop of my chinese visa application, see Ayuutthaya, and visit my Thai family and then it is off to India.
Sorry I have not been taking pictures. I have not really been in the mood.
I am loving being with Viki and her roommate Kristin.


Saturday, March 08, 2008


That's right, I have finally arrived. I am sorry I couldn't give Malaysia more of a chance, but Thailand was calling.
I am in Bangkok on Khao San road. I am really enjoying reacquainting myself with the area. Many things are just as I remember them. Restaurants and shops bring back memories and conversations. I passed and Internet cafe today and I could actually remember the emails I wrote from there four years ago. There were I few places I was looking for in particular. My hair is in a very bad state and I have been waiting get to Bangkok so I could return to my old salon. It has done well for itself in the last four years, they place has gotten a face lift and looks very stylish now. It was so busy that I could not get an appointment until tomorrow!!
There is lots and lots to buy but I am not really in the mood to spend money, but the more I walk down the road the more my eyes see things they want.
Tomorrow I am supposed to meet Graeme. That will be nice. Right now I am just enjoying being in the familiar.
I want to send out a bunch a birthday wishes. March seems to be a major birthday month.
March 3rd- My little nice Quoia turned 6!! (and got a phone call from her auntie in Malaysia)
March 5th- Graeme is officially old at 25.
March 6th- My dear Lianne also became officially old with her 25th.
March 6th- My Auntie Sue, radiant from her journey to India celebrated her birthday.
March 8th- Ebony, an old old friend, turns 24. Happy Bday Ebony, I am thinking about you today.
March 11th- The fabulous Justine will turn 25...also officially old.

I hope I am not forgetting anyone and I have a little break in bday before my bro's, my mom's, and the fabulous Theo's, all in April.
Well that is basically it for me.
I may have to go get myself another massage.....hmm so good.
I will definitely be downing a Chang!

Friday, March 07, 2008


Well I have been in Malaysia for a few days now. I was in Melaka, and now I am in Kuala Lumpur. Melaka was quite, sleeping, and well dead. Nice historical town, but better on a weekend.
KL is okay. It isn't a huge city. Small by Asian standards. I thought it would be a lot bigger. It is walkable. Well the main city center areas are.
I went to some Hindu caves today. That was cool.
Last night (when I arrived), I met up with a nice Polish guy, who is a dive instructor in Puhket. Today I met a funky English woman. She stopped me to ask directions (that always happens) and we ended up spending the afternoon together. I showed her Chinatown and the layout of the city. She is travelling for 8 months and did the Kiwi Burn in NZ. Apparently it is like Burning Man in the states but on a farm in NZ...they had sheep floats!! how amazing is that! I so could have been there!! It was the first week in Feb. Oh well, next time. My not going to NZ is increasingly becoming a regret. some day.
My time in Malaysia has not be lonely.
Malaysia is not that interesting to me though. It is very multicultural, which was a surprise to me. The Malay are the original people to the area, then came the Chinese, then the Arabs bring Islam, then the Portuguese, then Dutch, then English who brought the Indians and more Chinese. Malaysia also borders Thailand and Indonesia so there are many influences from those countries. Chinatowns and Little Indias seem to be present in even the smaller towns.
Malaysia is not winning me over. Bali still rules. I always miss Thailand. Might head there tomorrow. More diving!!!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Men, men, and more men

wow this is strange. So my friend told me that he was creeped out in india by all the men on the streets and no women. Ok I thought, that will be interesting. Well I am staying in little India here in Singapore and the amount of men hanging around on the streets is frightening. I keep my head down and walk, or state blankly past them as if they are not there and are not staring at my chest.
India is going to be a challenge. I don't feel in any threatened but it is unnerving to move through crowds of men.
well besides that I have had a nice day. I went to the museum of Asian civilization today with an English women named Annie. Annie is a Buddhist, a veggie, an environmentalist, a teacher in Vietnam and a writer. It was cool to meet her. She told me she had never met a grown up Waldorfian. She thinks I have pretty amazing parents. We are in agreement. We talked about ethics, I talked about my amazing sisters, and we had a free veggie lunch at the Buddhist temple in Chinatown. FYI, steamed rice balls filled with peanut butter- fabulous!
I have been reading Antigone Magazine blog: and How to Save the World in Your Spare Time. I am all fired up and surrounded by men. Oh how the inner feminist is burning.
cure? Shopping. I have no money to spend but I can watch the Asians spend, I'm used to that. Sushi is also calming. So is starbucks. And maybe calling a fab sister.
tomorrow I plan to head to Malaysia. How, when, and exactly where to are yet unknowns.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Singapore- all of asia in one city

The city it great. It is like a more multi-cultural, more western, more new version of Tokyo. It is so cool. For those of you who don't know, Singapore's official language is English, that is what school is taught in but the city state itself is a collection of many asian ethnicities and just as many or more languages. Singlish is the English slang spoken here. It takes a bit of getting used to but it makes sense, kind of.
Within 5 minutes of checking into my hostel last night I was invited out by a german girl and her friends. Jenni has been here on an internship and lastnight was her last night and she wanted to go karoaking. Could I possibly turn that down?!! Unforunately the karoake place was full, so we headed over to a beautiful old street with tones of restaurants and bars. After a few drinks we headed to one of Signapore's maga clubs but apparently not near the biggest. Tonight one of my new Turkish friends has invited me out to the mega mega club, there are like 8 clubs in this building and it is a must see. So looks like my time in Singapore will be out nightlife. All fun. Today however is about laundry. and food. I am staying in Little India, I have not eaten all day and the smells of curry and nan are driving me crazy!
I put up some scuba pics.