Ahhhh the tuk-tuk: Ubiquitous rats of the road. Assailers of the senses. "Tuk-tuk?! You want tuk-tuk?!" I had never heard of them before I left, but boy do I know them now.
For the uninitiated: a tuk-tuk (pronounced took-took, as in "the tuk-tuk took me to a cookbook nook") is just a little cart that gets pulled behind a motor cycle or little truck that you sit in. Sometimes it's only big enough for two, sometimes it's big enough for eight.
Fewer tourists, the people don't try and scam you at every opportunity, less humidity. All of which makes it easier to appreciate the country.
On the way out of Vientiane the markets had baguettes of all sizes leaning up against the stalls alongside the typical south east Asian food and wares. My first stop outside Vientiane was Vang Vieng. The little town sits across the muddy Mekong from sharp stegosaurus mountains.
The final night at the last hotel, albeit creepy and sweltering, passed without any parts of me being taken and wrapped in plastic. Phew. That morning I caught a boat to the mainland and caught a night bus to Bangkok. I paid for a shower at a hotel and booked another night bus to Vientiane, Laos. I arrived this morning. It is even hotter here, but less humid, which is (kind of?
I am staying on Railay beach. It is dead deserted right now in low season. Bars are empty and the music is blaring, there are hammocks hanging slack--it is eerie. The bungalow I am staying in is at a place run by an English guy. The sign out front says 650 a night, but I am paying 250. I got there at night after a trek through the jungle. You can only get here by boat.
For the past week I've been scuba diving on the island paradise that is Koh Tao. ALMOST paradise, I should say, as there are too many tourists and partyers for it to be a real paradise. Close, though. It is absolutely gorgeous here, situated off the east coast of Thailand. A few days ago I took a freediving course. Freediving is kind of like scuba, except you do it only by holding your breath.
Tomorrow I head south to beaches and scuba diving. Today I pet tigers at the tiger temple, fed and held a baby leopard, saw the bridge over the river Kwai, went to a floating market, and spent a frustrating hour on the phone with the visa people. Tonight I had lao khao, which is Thai whiskey. The guy selling it was in a back alley behind Khao San Road. He had five types: one "
I've been seeing temples, buying glasses, and doing cool things in Bangkok. Tomorrow I'm going to a tiger temple and then will be heading out of the city to a destination as of yet undecided. Today I took a Thai cooking class. The things we made were downright delicious, including delicious Thai peanut sauce. Most surprising base ingredient in peanut sauce? Tomato! I never would have guessed.
I've been staying at a buy one night get one night free hotel.
Every time I say I'm going to post a lot I never do. I'm a liar. I will try a new tack this time. Right now I am in Bangkok, sitting on my hostel patio alongside a river. There are little lizards on the ceiling by the light making chirping noises.
Japan stayed amazing. Kate came and visited me for about 6 days on her spring break. She will be the first one to tell you how glad she is that I convinced her to come to Japan.
Japan continues to impress. I forgot to mention that at the castle they were playing Snoop Dogg. They were also selling football shaped seaweed crackers with a sweet black sauce, rice crispies, a fried egg, and mayonnaise. Delicious.
What is brown and rhymes with Snoop? (answer at the end of the post)
I've been spending the days going around to different parts of the city. Today I almost made the mistake of getting on a women-only subway car.
I still have updates to deliver for Australia and even Brazil, but they will have to wait a bit. In an effort to not fall behind again, I'm going to skip them for now and come back to them.
After the 13 hour delay we boarded the flight at 1am like we were supposed to. So aside from having one less night in Osaka and having to sleep on the plane, and the 13 hour delay, it went pretty well.