Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thailand Recap

Ok, so I was falling in love the moment we got to Thailand and now it's solidified. If I could find some sort of work there I would love to live there!

Pattaya is so much fun! The beach was wonderful and the Gulf of Thailand was amazingly warm - needless to say I spent a great deal of time soaking up the sun and swimming in the Gulf.

Chris' friend Jeff from the Consulate joined us on Saturday and we had a blast, it was probably my favorite night of the vacation. We hung out on the beach all day (which really, your day can't go wrong if you lay on a beach for 7 hours!) and then had an amazing dinner (Indian food, which I've eaten a lot of this trip - YUM!) and after went to a "walking street" filled with bars and clubs and restaurants, and all kinds of touristy stuff.

We had a couple drinks in different bars and then proceeded to find the greatest thing ever...parked in the middle of the street with music blaring and drinks flowing out of it was a Pink Bus...

We grabbed drinks from the Pink Bus and continued to walk for awhile but ultimately came back to the bus and sat there drinking and people watching for 3 crazy hours.

The location of the bus was special because we were in the middle of a busy street which made it great for people watching - and man did we get a show.

There was first a guy who was completely drunk and passed out at the next table, drooling. I kept my eye on him to make sure that he was still breathing...but he was and after awhile he did wake up and stumble off, only to return to the Bus several times looking rather confused. There were offers to help him find his way back to his hotel but those efforts were turned down. I'm still hoping that he made it somewhere ok.

Then, I hate to say this, there was the next Natalie Hollaway who provided us with more than enough drama. She was a pretty little blonde girl walking around with a sketchy guy (who we coined as her gay best friend after watching them for awhile). They stopped at the Pink Bus and did shots for a really long time and then she tried to hook up with another guy and the her friend got mad and was crying and mostly it was really funny but I'm still hoping that she made it somewhere ok and isn't dead in the canal.

I know that mullets were ok in the 80's - it was trendy and lots of people seemed to have one - but seriously, I don't think that the rest of the world knows how awful they really are! We started off with Mullet Watch '08 with the greatest mullet of the night. Super long and curly in the back - it was thick and needed a brush badly, and spiky up top - and bleach blonde...with cut off jean shorts (this was a guy by the way!). It didn't end there though because for the next 3 hours I saw more mullets that I ever did in the 80's - we ranked them and muttered our own words of advice on how to make them better (like that's possible!).

Anyway - the bus was rather special to us and provided endless entertainment - well until 3 am when we were finally tired and headed back to the hotel.

We headed back to Bangkok the next day, but not after another couple hours of laying by the beach.

Chris wanted to buy the bus, and I'm a huge supporter of that...if he does, that can be my job in Thailand - I can serve drinks out of a Pink Bus - I'm a fan of that idea!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Falling in Love with Thailand

On Tuesday I did spend some time in Ho chi Minh City's City Center and it is actually quite lovely - - I had just spent a lot of time in the not so great areas on Monday.

Tuesday night we left for Bangkok. We checked into our hotel and walked around a bit and I was quite excited to see an elephant walking around in the street - with it's owners.

We spent the day yesterday looking at all things royal and it was AMAZING. The Temples and Mansions were wonderful. I'll be sure to upload pictures as soon as I get home, although they do no justice to what we saw. In a lot of the areas (one of the previous King's mansion for example) you couldn't take pictures, which is ok sometimes as it allows you to take it all in a little more!

We went to a "Sky Bar" last night an saw amazing views of the city - it reminds me a little of LA which makes it fabulous and then ate at an amazing Thai food place and had more drinks at a funky little jazz club that was tons of fun!

We just arrived in Pattaya (about 2 hours south of Bangkok) and our room has a balcony with an ocean view!! It's really beautiful here - - I'm out the door for some shopping and then on to happy hour!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Figuring It Out

There's really nothing better than throwing your map aside and getting yourself lost in an unknown city. Yesterday I spent the day doing just that and trying not to get killed crossing the street and there will be more of the same today.

I spent the day walking yesterday, with no particular destination. I find that in order to really acclimate myself with a place I need to just figure it out until I find my way home.

Ho Chi Minh City is not a beautiful one by any means, there are great spots but those come few and far between. It is a fascinating place though - there is constant movement and craziness with people on the streets just chatting in groups, eating, and trying to get you to go on a motorbike with them. I did read that a lot of the older men that are trying to talk you into a guided motrobike tour with them were chastized from this country during the war. Before the war some were doctors and teachers and when they sided with the Americans they were never again allowed to have jobs in the professions that they now most are living here in Vietnam illegally on the streets and trying to show tourists the city.

One of my favorite moments of the day was seeing my first pet monkey. What a dumb thing in a city with all kinds of history!! It was really entertaining though. This cute little monkey was fully clothed and riding on a motorbike with a guy...I totally wanted him (the monkey, not the guy!).

Chris and I went to a rooftop bar last night, and I will say that the city is WAY prettier at night. It's also New Years for them and one of the main streets is lined with flowers and is really quite beautiful. The bar we went to was Siagon Siagon which is on the roof top of the Caravelle Hotel which is where foreign correspondents used to sit and watch the war.

We then went to an amazing Tapas restaurant and of course ate way too much! And then decidd to get a foot massage. It was more of a full body massage but they did do a lot to your feet...It was a little too rough for my liking but my body does feel pretty good today and for a guy to rub your feet for 75 min. for $7 I'm all about it! :)

I'm off for a run and then to again hit the streets to explore! We're leaving for Thailand tonight and I'm looking forward to it (more beach time ahead too!!).

Sunday, February 3, 2008

No more complaints about MY driving!!

For all of you who have had the pleasure of driving with me and are frequently scared, you should try riding in a car in Vietnam. I seriously thought I was going to die on so many occasions I quit counting!

Chris and I left for the beach in Mui Ne (a fab. little resort town like 200 km away from Ho Chi Minh City) on Friday afternoon around 4:30 pm - - and I can't even begin to describe the AWFUL driving that goes on here.

There are motorbikes ALL over the place - add crazy cars and rotten semi drivers with no traffic rules and you get a ginormous mess! People passing on the shoulder of the road, driving down the wrong side of the road, crossing the street haphazardly...At first it was a little fun, but then as we continued on and almost died a million times it was quite stressful!!

However, Chris is to be comended for paying attenting and getting us there and back safely!

We arrived at the beautiful Sailing Club resort and met a woman that Chris works with and her husband. They had been there for a while and had a prime spot for us on the patio overlooking the South China Sea. We drank some wine, ate a fantastic dinner and then headed out to a fun bar down the street where we consumed WAY too much alcohol, and met some new Vietnamese friends and one super sketchy German (seriously, what's with me and sketchy German guys?!?) who followed his true love (I mean is stalking her) from Germany to Vietnam (can you say crazy??!?!) - - anyway, he told us his tale and we proceeded to humor him and tell him how nice that was (only because we were wierded out and afraid, very afraid)...after we shut down that bar, Chris and I headed out with our two new Vietnamese friends to another club, but that was closing so we went back and reopened the bar where we had started.

I crashed around 2:30 and woke up at 7:30 (I had drunkenly scheduled a massage for 9 am) I went for a really crappy run on the beach and had breakfast and a lovely massage and when I returned to our room I crashed and realized that I really was still a little intoxicated. Chris had stayed out later than me and was in rough shape too - - we ended up getting down to the beach around 2 pm and ate lunch and layed in beach chairs for the remainder of day light.

Dinner was AMAZING Indian food - - the four of us ate so much, we ordered like 10 different dishes and drinks and our total bill was like $35 - - I'm still blown away by this...

We called it an early night on Saturday and this morning (Sunday) I got up at the crack of dawn (well way before dawn) - - my internal clock still is not on vacation time and while I'm not jet lagged at all, I was up at 4:15 am which is when I get up at home! So, around 5 am when I really just couldn't lay around any more I went down to the beach and sat there in total tranquility listening to the sea and being so content - - everything is so right in the world when I'm by a large body of water. I watched an amazing sun rise and when it was fully up I went for a fantastic run on the beach and had another massage.

We sat on the patio for a good chunk of the afternoon and none of us wanted to leave - this place is seriously amazing and the weather was perfect all weekend long - it was warm but really breezy and the water was unbelievable. We finally headed out and made it back to Chris' place alive, although neither of us wants to drive anywhere ever again...