Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Memories of Summer : Thai-ing it up in a Summer-y

It's September: leaves are turning and this weekend is Chuseuk Holiday: BUTTTT according to Blogger we have done NOTHING since april! Not true Blogger-man.
Our Summer in Korea involved many things: the highlight being Nancy, Merri and Terese all visiting us in May, a vacation to Thailand in July and many weekend journeys around seoul: Here's just a little look into our week in Thailand......

Elizabeth and I had a wonderful week on Koh Samui. Our flights took a mere 24 hours (10 hours in Beijing airport and 7 in Bangkok), so it was extra glorious stepping off the plane onto the little trolley that took us to the cutest, most tropical bungalow-style baggage claim area I've been in. Our hotel had a driver waiting for us and we were at the hotel 15 minutes after stepping off the plane! The name of the place is Papillon Resort and it is French-owned, so Elizabeth was able to enjoy conversing with the owners and many guests, as well as negotiating a free night for us =D It was really nice as our place is at the far end of the beach, away from the crowds. We're kind of in a bay, so the tide is out for about half the day and you can walk out a few hundred yards on the sand. Then when it comes in it comes right to the steps. So peaceful.

We went on a “sea safari” which involved getting on a 400hp (grunt grunt) speedboat that took us out to some islands in the Anthong National Marine Park where we snorkeled, hiked a little mountain to view a lagoon, went kayaking around some islands and had a delicious lunch of yellow curry and fresh fruit. We were even picked up in a really old Land Rover, HOO-AH! We weren't sure what to expect, but it highly exceeded any expections and was more than worth it for a whole day of activities. We would have been content upon arriving back on Koh Samui, but the day came to an end with going to an elephant camp where we rode an elephant, then watched a baby elephant do some cute tricks. Elizabeth and I both volunteered to lay down on a mat and have the elephant massage us with its feet, pretty funny. We went at two separate times as nobody else seemed brave enough to volunteer =D Little did I know that I was to receive the 'honeymoon massage' where the elephant gave me kisses all over my face with its trunk! I had to lay on my back while it did this, the elephant even thought it necessary to give a special touch in a special place. Yea, disgusting.

We also rented a scooter and drove around part of the island. We went up to very high point to a "view point' and on our way down the scooter seemed to be slipping. At first we thought we had just hit a patch of sand or two, then we stopped and realized we had a flat rear tire! Thankfully, we were only about twenty yards from a local restaurant, so we walked the scooter there and asked if there was any place close-by to get it fixed. A woman motioned to a boy who told Elizabeth to get on the back of his bike, and he led the way down the rest of the mountain to a local mechanic. He was out having drinks with his friends but stopped and replaced our tube, in the dark, and in ten minutes for only a 100 baht, or $3.50. Very nice guy. So, off we went, happy to have had what could have been much more difficult, end so quickly and cheaply. Ten minutes down the road, POP, the back tire blew and we wobbled back and forth, 'til we could slow down enough pull over and walk the bike to another restaurant. Anyway, this is getting quite LONG! Another mechanic helped us out and showed us the wear on the tire, so we replaced that and the bad tube we'd been given at the last place. Once the guy changed the tire, he led me out back and showed me his crazy, home made 4x4 suv then told me to get in and took me for a wild ride up and down a mountain. I was much more scared for my life in his vehicle than I was from the motorbike tire blowing going fast on congested road. Two hours later we left.

When we returned the scooter they tried telling us the tire we had taken off was not theirs and they weren't going to reimburse us at all, but I was persistent and they ended up giving us the majority of the money we'd spent getting the scooter fixed. Yes, we were wearing helmets if you're wondering, despite my head being too big, apparently all rental agencies only have size medium helmets. What's with that??

We spent the last day of our trip eating some more of our favorite Thai curry and pad thai before our flight. It took us about 30 hours to get home with 2 long stops in Bankok and Beijing, but it was fun filled (we had more thai food in Bankok and pizzahut & sleep in Beijing airport)...The long journey actually made us glad to be home when we finally reached Wondang :) Ready to start classes the next morning.

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