Saturday, January 15, 2011

Home Photo

Just since some people have asked, here's a photo of my dining room/bedroom taken from the entryway.  Due to the cold seeping in from all sides, I moved the desk into the dining room to make it more of a living room and I've since shut off the living room to help keep the cold out.  The elephant poster is from Chiang Mai - and almost perfectly covers up some of the marks on the wall.  The fresh flowers are just a bonus for myself. :)

First Stop - Bangkok: 10 million residents

The first day of the trip to Thailand was exclusively spent traveling.  We had left Kitami around 11pm Christmas Eve, had a Christmas dinner in the Beijing airport, and arrived the next day.  After 26 hours of traveling by car, bus, train, airplane, and taxi, we finally arrived at our hostel in Bangkok on December 26th, around 3 in the morning.  Our first order of business was to shower and get some sleep.  Once we were well-rested, we started exploring this city described as “a city of extremes: crowded, colorful, chaotic, and charming,” by the Lonely Planet guidebook.  There was so much to take in that I’ll do my best to just highlight a few of the adventures in Bangkok.

1. Shopping - Chatuchak Market and the MBK center

Chatuchak market is considered to be one of the biggest markets in the world, covering more than 35 acres and containing more than 5,000 stalls.  This was our first intro to bargaining and shopping in Thailand.  

 This is just a tiny, tiny portion of the covered part of the market

Next Stop: Koh Samui

Koh Samui was the perfect place to go while winter raged back in Japan.  We stayed on Lamai Beach in Koh Samui, which is one of the quieter beaches on the island - though arguably just as beautiful.  We arrived on December 29th, and stayed until January 3rd.  We enjoyed the beautiful weather, the quick access to the beach, wonderful food, and the company of tons of other travelers seeking to celebrate the new year in paradise.  Each day consisted of a variation of this schedule:

1. Big breakfast with lots of fruit
2. Hitting the beach
3. Delicious lunch, usually with real watermelon juice
4. A massage, maybe a little shopping, or back to the beach
5. A nice dinner somewhere along the main road
6. A drink or two at a nice or unique little bar that we happened to stumble across

Final Destination: Chiang Mai

1. Misadventure: Food Poisoning

Unfortunately, I began my time in Chiang Mai with a bout of food poisoning.  Luckily, almost any drugs are available in Thailand without a prescription, so starting antibiotics wasn't a problem.  After just one day resting in the guesthouse that we were staying at, I was ready to start getting out in the town. 

2. Tiger Kingdom