Monday, January 26, 2015

Sawat dii!

Before coming to Thailand please promise me two will practice squatting/hovering over a hole, and you will bring a Costco size package of toilet paper with you? If you can answer yes to both of these questions then Thailand awaits you.

But really The Land of Pad Thai....and land of no toliet paper.
We started in Bangkok. Overrated. Moving on.

With two short nights there we scurried on out. The city is large, highly populated, and just simply spoke about a little to highly.

To escape the city we went a few miles outside of Bangkok where we enjoyed playing with kitties. Large 10 month old tigers, that had the hair on my neck standing straight up, but the cats were precious after all, and if you could get past the size of one paw being the size of your head then you were even able to enjoy the furry guys.

After, WHICH was really neat....We boarded our long tail boat aka boat very close to the water and if you are like myself you'd immediately search for life vests. Not to worry. There wasn't one onboard. But hey, the floating market was radical!!!!! Imagine going grocery shopping, you write your list and you get on your long tail and there you go floating down the highly packed river, everyone on boats, selling everything from clothing to local fruits. The sight was fascinating. I was wide-eyed the entire time, just thinking of life/grocery shopping in that way.

Headed up north our next pit-stop, Chiang Mai.Yes I love this place. Yes I want to return. Yes. Yes. Yes.
I was told by one of the moms I sat for that we must go to Chiang Mai, this small, not as busy, slower pace, touristy hub was perfect. The town has this adorable "old city" where we stayed, that is actually a moated area. The small area within the moat is all walkable, very cozy feel, and the area left a smile on our faces. Not to forget here they are known for this noodle coconut soup called Khao Soi. Woowers, wish I could have mailed you people some. Couldn't get enough.
We did a day tour our second day here and we covered it all. Ready.

-Visited the Long Neck Village, which is a refugee area for these women and their families as they escaped Myanmar(Burma), where they are sadly shoot still to this day. These women cannot leave the village and make all income from us tourists. What I saw was hard to believe. One this small village, the schoolhouse the size of an Americans "walk-in" closet. AND Lord have mercy these peoples necks. Was crazy, we bought some goods and I said a lil prayer. This world defines beauty in the most unreal ways. Fun fact they start wearing necks rings at age 4(females) and add a ring every 3 years. SOOO I would have 7 rings, now thats a thought.

-Elephant show, where a baby elephant indeed lifted me up over his head. Strong beebee.

-Rode a large few ton elephant through the jungle terrain. FUN! Especially when our guide insisted singing Justin Beeb the entire time. (what we get for saying we are Americans, oh well)

-Hung with some Cobras, and other killing snakes. Scary and the men putting on the show made us scream more then once. They would say tit okay tit okay si si downnnn miss amurika. Which we clearly translated to "Its okay sit sit down Miss America". But when these fools are kissing King Cobras that can have you dead in 30 minutes it was hard to sit down.

-We rafted down a river. Okay we sat on a bamboo raft and watched the gentleman meander us down the river.

We went back to our room, and since it was my birthday eve we hit the town. Had a lovely time chugging the local beer(Leo/Chang) and danced our night away.


Woke up, and it was indeed the day of Birth. We headed to the countryside of Chiang Mai, to our Treehouse.

On the way we made a stop at the "sticky waterfall". Was pretty cool the waterfall itself had ample amounts of calcium in the water making the waterfall not only beautiful but easier then normal to climb, even when barefoot. Pretty neat.

Back to the Treehouse....Couldn't have picked a more remarkable place. We slept in a treehouse! With a toilet, a shower, lil living room, and a bedroom. As I climbed up into our home for the night we couldn't get over it. We felt like children. IT WAS PERFECT! Had some amazing food, and ended the birthday with a bottle of champagne as we listened to the nature that surrounded us.

Next Pai getting here was well, interesting. Our driver was either wasted, texting, or had a lead foot that would NOT give up. This 4 hour zig zag journey in a mini van with about 12 others, was a ride from Hell. We laughed, and we were shouting in the back, and held on with both hands.
Pai is this small small small hippy town, that was filled with dreadlocks, baggy clothes, and reggae music. We relaxed and tried to stay outta the way, we didn't exactly fit in. We hung for two nights visited the street markets, gallivanted around, and relaxed at a pool. We had the itch to carry on and I must have ate something that the tum didn't like sooo we woke up super early to catch our bus and not to long before the national anthem was blaring over the streets load speakers I lost my marbles, completely. As Im dealing with that I am also crossing my fingers we wouldn't have the same bus driver.

++we didd't, we just had his brother+++

Leaving Pai was equallyy Hell.

Lastly we finally made it to our last stop in Thailand, Chiang Rai here we visited the breathtaking white temple. A man devoted his life making this temple of all white, was quite the sight.

And thennnn we witnessed a Monk (age 54 ish)using a selfie stick. Taking a selfie.

And we left.

Now we just crossed the boarder into Laos, getting adjusted for the evening on our 12 hours bus ride to Luang Prabang, Laos.

Let's do this.

Oh yea the busses are "expected" to break down. Casual.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Kiwi Land

N Zed. New Zealand. Land of Kiwis.

rubbish means trash.
crisp means chips.
sweet as means cool
jandals means flip flops
motorway means highway
gutted means lost for emotions, lost for words
stubbies means VERY short men shorts
takeaway means togo
andddd Kiwis are what the native folks prefer to be called also is their national bird.

After being surrounded by a new vocab list when I didn't think it was even possible for we all speak perfect English, I was wrong. Was fun. Rubbish is fun to say, so is jandals!

New Zealand was divine. As I was talking to Hannah on our last day, I was lost on how to explain this country, so work with me here.

Picture your favorite artist sitting on a large plot of land, this land being NZ. This land is like an artists masterpiece drawn so perfectly using the most beautiful colored paints, pencils, markers, crayons, water colors. This land seems as if the ocean was poured perfectly around two large masses of land(North and South Island)The water was blue, deep, clean, fresh blue. The mountains were covered in sheer moss that seems as comfy and plush as my bed back home, the mountains were so tall that clouds could only reach midway, each mountain looks like someone spent decades chiseling each collision of Earth's plates into the most picture perfect mountain I could only dream of. The greenery was endlessly lush in every direction you looked, the perfect shaped leaves, the most gorgeous bark, the purest of waterfalls crash down leaving mist against your skin.
This land is breathtaking, and brought endless moments of stares of awe. I found myself frequently having to put down my camera for I couldn't capture what was being seen.

Amongst the beauty, there is safety. HOLY COW. What a uplifting change. New Zealand feels so safe, not because laws are crazy intense or cops are enforcing at every corner, because I saw maybe 4 cops the entirety of my time here. This country is peaceful, no ugly, no rude, no horrible terrifying news, and genuinely freaking pleasant people to be surrounded by.

America worries about the most peculiar things, when I step back and think its the many idiots that have ruined our once before relaxed country.  WELL if you need a refresher, head over to New Zealand. Every way we would look, we easily followed up with "this would never be allowed in America" such as

-no rail guards on anything, not along bridges that drop off into the ocean, none for street cable cars to instruct you to keep back, etc
-open container is fine
-driving with a beer responsibly is fine
-STOP signs are to harsh, here they say "Give way"
-parallel parking can be hard, who cares if you aren't right by the curb
-no signs saying not to litter, you know just not to
-a car crash is indeed an accident and is resolved with a sorry and a payment if needed
-no security when flying domestic, just walk up to your gate and welcome aboard.

I swear I could have 100 bucks taped to my back and no one would attempt to take it.
 You may think, well they are just asking for something to happen. Which isn't the case. Call me naive, you just gotta experience it for yourself.
The list is endless, the happiness here is visible. I have always been told, Never trust anyone, but here that rule doesn't apply.

It made exploring so carefree and such a joy, hard to explain.
two big thumbs up.


While we were here we packed our time with adventure after adventure, traveling from the north tip of the North Island to the south most tip of the South Island!

Sheepville had me again in awe for my father dear used to be a rather impressive sheep sheerer himself so I was quite enthralled. From watching how sheep are sheered and how the oh so intelligent sheep dogs get these fur balls to round up and literally can force them into any direction within seconds and by applying death stares and standing at certain angles. Just awesomeness all around. Sheep industry here is like the wine making industry in California. huge deal.

We stopped at any water we saw, considering we were 100% surrounded by the deep blue it wasn't hard to take millions of pictures while constantly pointing "look at that" "woah look wow"

We got to enjoy the Haka dance, which is a traditional ancestral war cry, dance or challenge from the Māori people of New Zealand. It is a posture dance performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment. And today is incorporated before the New Zealand Rugby team competes/ goes to war. Note to self, dont ask a local, " What is the haka?"

Milford Sound. google it. WOW, about all I can say. Breathtaking cruise tour we took in the great discovery of Milford Sound. When bored just look at google images. You wont be wasting your time. promise.

Visited SkyCity in Auckland, viewing he city from way tooooo high up, watching brave folks plunge off the top of the building, no thanks.

Went to the coolest concert in the towns botanic gardens of Wellington, then once sunset it transformed into a brightly lighted magical plant wonderland. Also interesting how a New Zealander can sing these American songs perfectly, yet when they speak they have such a thick accent. Talent.

In Queenstown we enjoyed the nightlife fully, and had our share of fun by riding these gravity controlled "luges" down the mountain side, was a complete release of our inner child, Hannah and I didn't want to leave.

And last but most certainly not least, we ate, and ate, and ate a lot. So much food and such good food at that, and so thankful for stretchy pants:)

If I haven't convinced you to add New Zealand to your bucket list, then I'll try now....DO IT!

takin' off shortly, next stop Bangkok
Jen are you ready?(and Alicia for a short period) Happiness overload...

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The journey has begun! our flight to Fiji was a breeze, we departed pretty late so shortly after take off I was a snoozin' pup. Dad found a poker game on the individual TV screens we each had and was content for the duration of the flight. He also told me each time he "whooped ass" on the game, which was nothing shy of every 30 minutes. As the lights trickled on in the main cabin and we had been traveling for almost 11 hours, breakfast was being served ,and we were minutes from landing.


BULAAAA! First word Dad and I heard as we exited the plane, entering the wonderful island of Fiji. At first I was convinced they said Ebola and started to panic. Not to mention the Ebola form we had to fill out on the plane a few minutes prior. They smiled when they said BULA and never said it quietly so I had mixed emotions. Ebola or are they greeting us? Soon learned it was simply them greeting us. Essentially hello and farewell. We quickly fetched our rental car and were soon on our way. First impression I was reminded of Sri Lanka welcoming folks, humid as hell, and the tropical blue within sight.

In fact this country was a lot like Sri Lanka actually, minus the language barrier and the strict dress code that Sri Lanka has, so the memories began to fill my mind. It was relaxing and made me happy.
Fiji is poor, very poor, everyone runs around without shoes and lives in shacks some with electricity some do without. The average wage is 4 Fiji dollars an hour/aka 2 american dollars. PER HOUR. nuts.Makes you think. The people were happy, so damn happy it made me sulk in the numerous pity parties we americans have weekly, hell daily.

Children always catching my eye, here had me hooked. The family dynamic/parenting of the kiddos was one for the books.Children 3 or 4 years of age (shoeless) running around their village waving to us white folk like we were celebrities. I was really on the edge of my seat when we drove past this river bank, black as mud and these tiny humans again nothing shy of 4, cannon balling off the 15 foot bridge. No parents, no shoes, no swimsuits. The kids run around like monkeys so wild and free made me feel like I was living the life of the Jungle Book right before my eyes. Kinda loved it, was so stress free.

We stayed two nights in local hotels, nothing fancy and that was okay. The second night we travelled to the other side of the island were we spent new year and had a great firework show literally above our heads. As we drove through all the villages, my favorite part was when we stopped at a coconut hut and each got a coconut and chatted with the locals for a few minutes. So enlightening, such good english, and such hard workers. They shared with us about their families, their many kids, which coconut trees they prefer to climb and so on. I was avoiding questions about myself, what was I going to say "oh yea just some american girl traveling the world, thanks for your coconut that I'm sure took you a great deal of time to climb up a 30 foot tree and fetch for me", then to only gather cents for this coconut. man. Spoiled at its finest. I enjoyed the heck out of that coconut and Dad gave the men all his American change he had on him. They beamed with joy and we carried on.

The last two nights we stayed at an over the top holy moly exquisite resort beach front, yet spoiled again, but the fare was too good and having air condition was a huge plus. But the resort was seriously too nice.  We enjoyed live entertainment, lots of wine, and excellent food.
The last evening we took a small adventure, Dad drove around and we explored. We found this gravel road that took us past a cremation venue and we had the oh so pleasant joy seeing a cremation take place, mind you its nothing like the states, very visual, but thats what we get for exploring....not but a few feet ahead we found this oasis of a place that was just magical. This local resort that wasnt high class and just lovely. Ocean front and cheap messages, we helped ourself to an hour long message for 20 bucks. score! The best part was the lil hut for the message was literally feet away from the ocean and the misuse had me strip down and had no problem helping, slightly odd considering there was no privacy, and everyone staying at that resort had a great view of my transparent bod,  but I got over it and was knocked out minute 3.

Woke up this morning, packed up, and ready to head out. Dad had a little stomach episode this morning that had me freaking out so was it Ebola or Bula, now was the question.

Luckily it past quickly and now we are an hour away from landing in New Zealand.

Oh and Dad is at it again ''whoopin ass" at that poker game.

till we meet again.
ps having trouble uploading photos,bare with me