Saturday, February 13, 2010
First off we just want to thank all of you who take the time to leave us comments!! We get ridiculously excited when we log on an see new followers and comments!!
Also we are still having issues with pictures so bear with us!!
So we last left you in Ko Lanta. We cant seem to remember which night we last told you about and we don’t have wi-fi right now to look it up so we are going to start our recap on day number 2.
So we slept in our first morning in Lanta- it was lovely not having to wake up at the crack of dawn and throw our backpacks on and trek out to wherever. So we got up and had a nice leisurely breakfast at a place with free wi-fi and we got to skype Molly- woo woo!! After breakfast we headed down to the beach which was just a 30 second walk from our bungalow. On the way down to the beach the one bartender who had a little Kates crush gave us a beep beep from his moto. So once we got all settled on the beach after about 2 seconds of sitting down we were already sweaty and hot and decided it was time to get in the water where we remained until 5pm only getting out to eat, have a beer and re-sunscreen.
Now lets take a short break here to tell you about the sun here. It is so flippen hot and sunny all day long that we have developed quite the tan. In one of our first times in the Bangkok airport we were waiting at baggage claim next to a flight that had just come in from the islands. Kate made a comment about how when we go to the islands we don’t want to look freakishly tan like these people who had an unnatural glow to them. Well my friends- fast forward a few weeks and we are those people. It is not our fault. Our mothers have raised us right and we have used 4 bottle of sunscreen so far -even a whole bottle of spf 70!! And still we are tan!! How are all your tans coming along back home?? (Lyss we know you have been out of school for snow- have you had time to go tanning?? LOL)
OK back to the beach. So basically our days here consist of stewing in the freakishly clear lukewarm water. It is so hot we only make it out until midcalf before we give up and plop down into the water. This morning in particular we were having a friendly argument about who should go in search of floats because the idea of having to hold our heads above water for the rest of the day was just too much. As we were arguing we met a nice family from Chi-town- they didn’t know where to buy floats though. We tried explaining our philosophy about people in the islands with the crazy tans and they gave us a blank stare so we realizes we must be really tan. So somehow we lasted the rest of the day on the beach (sans floats) and eventually headed back to our sweatbox of a bungalow. The bungalow is so hot that as soon as you get out of the cold-water shower you immediately start sweating again. None of our neighbors seem to realize the excessive heat though as they all just sit calmly on their balconies as we complain and crazily fan ourselves sweating all the while. Once we finally cooled off we headed to dinner and had a yummy pad Thai, chicken with cashews and mango sticky rice which Kate wasn’t convinced she would like, but enjoyed it very much- so much we also got it the next night!! After dinner we headed to our bar with our bartender friends and had some beers while we played Jenga, connect 4 and tried to solve the stupid wooden cube puzzle.
We awoke the next morning to the awful awful click of the fan shutting off- an indication that the island had lost power. People here don’t really make a big deal about losing power like they do back home. When we asked them at 9am what happened to the power they calmly replied that the island had turned it off and it would be back on around 4:30pm. With nothing to do but sweat we booked tickets for the next day to a new island and headed to the beach. It was so flippen hot!!! After about 2 hours in the water we decided we must find floats!! The difficult thing about finding floats here is that no one really seems to know what we are talking about despite them being sold in many locations. We finally decided that we would ask the bartenders if they knew where we could get them. We finally got him to understand what we were looking for by describing it as a bed in the water and our bartender hopped on his moto to go in search of some for us. Unfornately he returned about 10 minutes later empty handed and dripping in sweat. He put a good effort in though. Determined to find a float we went to hotel reception and tried describing it to them again- we had already done this earlier and received a blank stare. Somehow we got our point across and they told us to head down the main road and eventually we would find them. Lucky for us as soon as we turned out of the driveway we saw a store that sold them (this store was literally 10 steps from our hotel driveway but we had never seen it because we always walked in the opposite direction). Victorious we carried our deflated floats back to the bungalow where we set about blowing them up. When I say we I really mean Kate because Caitlin can not blow up a pool float to save her life. She really tried though!! So Kate blew up the 2 floats and we headed back down to the beach where it was now high-tide and it was a little difficult to keep the floats away from the jagged rocks in the water but we tried our best and toughed it out!
Later we headed back to the sweatbox and did our nightly routine of dinner and then bar and jenga but tonight we drank gin and tonics instead of beer!
We woke up the next morning and headed out bright and early to catch the ferry to Ko Ngai. It was a short ride which was a pleasant surprise. We pulled up to a cute little island, a long-boat came out to pick us up and there we were on the cute little island with no ATM and no electricity expect for at night. We got a cute little bungalow right on the beach- and even though we had planned on taking a day off from the beach since Kates back was peeling like a string cheese - we decided the beach was just too pretty and uninhabited to waste the day. Kate was a champ and blew up our raft and we spent the day floating and shelling…and we now have an extra 4 kilos worth of shells in our bag. The beach here was really pretty with clear aqua colored water- not quite as clear as Lanta and a little rockier but still beautiful! The island is so tiny there are no roads or cars or motos just half a dozen resorts right on the beachfront (we use the term resort loosely). The beach even had some shade which our overly tanned bodies appreciated.
Later that night we went to get dinner at our hotel and we ran into 2 couples we had met on the ferry. They were from Minnesota and we very excited to hear our American accents and they invited us to sit and have a drink with them- as we were fellow patriots. We sat and talked with them for awhile swapping travel stories and advice. They told us about a good coral reef right off the island which we decided we would explore the next day. After dinner we headed back to our bungalow where Kate discovered a cockroach in the bathroom but being the tough chicks that we are we just killed it and turned in for the night.
Our second day was much like the first. We awoke at 6am to sound of the fan turning off- there is only electricity on the island from 6p-6a which we think is dumb because its flippen hot during the day!! We spent the day shelling and floating and exploring the colorful reef. We saw lot and lots of pretty fish- angle fish, parrot fish, little pink and turquoise fish that like to swim right up to you like they are going to attack you and a lot of other cool fish that we don’t know the names of. This beach has a crazy difference between tides. In the morning at high tide we only got out about 5 feet before we were up to our necks in water while later at low tide you had to go out literally 500 yards to get past your ankles. We would have to take a break halfway out and try to submerge ourselves in the 6 in deep water to cool off.
Later we sat at a table on the beach and played cards and had a few drinks. We ended up chatting the couples from Minnesota again. They told us to tell our moms that they were parents and they were watching our for us- giving us motherly advice. They also gave us a piece of valuable advice about bugs. They said you should never put your luggage on the ground as it makes it easy for bugs to crawl into it. We hadn’t been overly concerned about this but put the thought in the back of our mind as we headed back to the bungalow. Upon arrival we found a bit of a cockroach motel- the bungalow clearly did not belong to us anymore but rather to the family of roaches that had overtaken it in our absence. At first it wasn’t a huge deal- Kate gave a little yelp as she found one in the bathroom just like the night before. Then Caitlin gave a bigger yelp as she saw one on the wall. At this point the advice from the couples came to mind and we thought maybe we should pull our bags off the floor. Kate placed her purse on the bed and gave a scream as she felt something crawl out of it onto her arm. We figured she must have just imagined it as we didn’t see a bug. However 2 seconds later when she put her hand back in the back a huge 2 inch cockroach crawled out of her purse and onto her arm,. At this point we were jumping squealing and screaming all over the tiny bungalow. We ran out onto the porch to compose ourselves and were a bit surprised that none of our neighbors seemed to hear us and if they did they didn’t care enough to investigate. Then out of the blue came a little Thai lady and her daughter who was about our age. She told us she had heard our screams while they were walking along the beach and that she was worried about out us. We told her about the bugs and she asked if she could come inside and look. She found one crawling on the bed under the pillow and bravely killed it for us. At this point we were grossed out but thought we could still brave it. Then we saw another one of those little suckers on the wall and we bravely knocked in into the trashcan with the help of a broom and decked out in our roach-hunting gear of beach hats and trekking sneakers (Bridge think mouse hunting in Trilogy gear) Kate went to kill the intruder in the trashcan. Then 3 of his little buddies crawled out of the can which lead to blood curdling screams and 2 girls fleeing the bungalow. Kate then marched her way over to reception where no one happened to be, so she went to the next safest place- the bar- and demanded a manager come to our bungalow and move us. So Kate returned manager in hand and we started collecting our belongings to move. When we shook out a couple things and didn’t see another bug we thought it was silly for the manager to stand there while we packed so we told him we were fine packing and that we could move on our own. About 2 minutes after he left a roach crawled out of Caitlin’s backpack brining another round of screams and maybe a few tears. Kate stormed back to reception and the bar looking for the manager who had apparently disappeared but she found another man to take his place. This man was not quite as apologetic and understanding as the first and found the 2 screaming blond girls with tears in their eyes to be hysterical. He also apparently thought nothing of the two roaches he picked up with his bare hands. He helped us throw stuff in bags and carried our packs to our new room on the other side of the resort. When we got to the new room we did a careful inspection and shake out of all of our belongings, repacked and turned in for the night. Or so we thought. At about 3am we were awoken by a guy talking outside our room and a knock on our door. We ignored this and tried to fall back asleep but at 3:36am his friends and one lady with an obnoxiously horrible voice and a cell phone/mp3 player joined his outside out room. While he did have OK taste in music the sing-long wasn’t exactly appreciated at this hour- nor was the smoking of various substances. Caitlin finally got up and shut the window thinking maybe they didn’t realize people were in the room they were standing in front of. They noticed someone was in the room and knocked on the door and window again but we have seen Oprah and the power of fear was there so we just ignored their knocks again. Of course a resort with no electricity doesn’t have phones in the room so we couldn’t call reception (not that anyone would be there) and we didn’t want to leave the room with them right outside so we waited it out. As soon as they finally went to bed and quiet was restored- click the fan shut off signaling no more power for the day. We woke up after an awful night of sleep and marched right now to reception and demanded to speak to the manager. He was a very sweet man and said he understood our anger about the cockroaches and the rude neighbors and he gave us a 350 baht discount on the room. We paid our bill, had breakfast and hopped on the ferry to Langkawi.
Now we must stop here and tell you about how we were illegally in Thailand. For our own protection we couldn’t tell you people about this earlier in fear that you might know a Thai immigration officer and have us deported. Since we came into Thailand on a land crossing we only received a 14 day visa rather than the standard 30 day visa. We didn’t realize this little factoid until we only had about 4 days left. Our options were to waste a whole day and paying $70 for a visa run to Krabi for thirty more days or getting a $70 ferry to Malaysia for a day or just accepting the 500 baht a day fine and spending those days on the beaches with our fingers crossed for no police altercations. We chose door number 3 and thoroughly enjoyed our 3 days as illegal aliens. We were getting nervous as immigration jail won’t change your cell for cockroach epidemics but we had Google overstaying Thai visas and it seemed as if we dressed okay and acted apologetic and humble we could just pay a reduced fine and would be free to leave the county. We practiced our speech for immigration and were ready to go at it this morning as our ferry arrived at the immigration stop before entering Malaya.
As we got ready to disembark the ferry we learned that our passports were all ready in immigration and we would not have to face an officer and were supposed to remain on the boat as our passports got stamped and the like. We caused some alarm with the ferry operator as we explained our situation to him because we were supposed to have gone ashore with the passports for expired visa jail if he had known. But somehow we avoided Thai prison again and the director just told us to give him a 1000 baht fine per person and we were free to go. All our apprehension and plans for teaching the prisoner Madonna songs were in vain..we got an out of Thailand for free card. Make that out of Thailand for 2000 baht card. (about $60-$65)
We spent most of the day on ferries but arrived in Langkawi, Malaysia at about 7 today. Once again our passports were raced across town and we just had to sit and wait. While we were waiting we found out that Chinese New Year starts tomorrow and there are no hotel rooms in all of Langkawi. Great planning. With out planned out Malaysia root in the hole, we had promise when the man in charge of the passports told us he would call around and find us a room. He returns and told us to take a taxi to a hotel we had called already but somehow we had gotten a room there. Off we went hoping that soon we would have a room and a meal. We got to the hotel and they have never received such a call and had no rooms available and did not know of any. Defeated and mad we set back towards the road to look for a place. We met a guy from Detroit by way of China (Just like Emily…but he didn’t know of her0 who was so nice and walked all to about 4 guest houses and asked around for us but couldn’t find one either. He walked us to the main road and told us which way we might have better luck…we don’t know why he was so nice and helpful but it sure was reassuring. However we think when he ran into us we just must have looked desperate and hopeless and hot and sweaty…cause we were all of the above.
We spent about 40 minutes walking from hotel to hotel on the main road with our 35 lb backpacks and 20 lb carry-ons, 4 carved coconuts Caitlin picked up in Chiang Mai, two pool floats, and out huge bag of shells…but no where had rooms. It was terrible!! We hadn’t eaten all day and were about to pass out when we finally got one of the last rooms at a hotel. While Kate went to do a cockroach inspection on the room, Caitlin saw 3 people get turned away so we were just in time. We got into out room and had to walk a mile to the ATM to get money for dinner. Our appetizer was grape mentos and water followed by chicken satay and a Mayalasian form of donar (like she had with Adrianna in Spain She can attest to the deliciousness of. ) we are not relaxing in our hotel with actually mattresses, water pressure, and aircon. We don’t’ know what to do with ourselves. What a day! We escaped Thai prison and almost had to sleep on the beach all in the same day!
Tomorrow we are going to check out the beaches here and catch up on some school work before heading to the Cameron Highlands and maybe even celebrate the Chinese New Year. Until then we love when you leave the love!!
Happy Chinese New Year!!