Getting Scuba Certified in Koh Tao

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Koh Tao, in Thailand’s gulf is the second most popular place in the world to get scuba certified (behind, naturally, Australia). Though it is a tiny speck of an island thousand descend every year, many for the world class diving. It’s also absurdly cheap (almost half of what most US certifiers cost). So, I forgo the postcard perfect beaches one associates with Thailand to finally get myself scuba certified. Continue reading

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Chiang Mai and the Two Month Mark.

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Thunder is clapping above us, the dusk brings dark ominous clouds dripping rain and pushing us inside. I sit and watch the sidewalk darken, feeling the ricochet of water droplets against my ankles. As I have time to slow down I realize, today marks the two month point. Not the longest I’ve been away, but certainly the longest I’ve been constantly on the move. It feels as if I’ve been away for forever, or perhaps not at all. It’s hard to imagine life stationary, and despite the constant movement I don’t feel the need to slow down or settle down in one place. The excitement of constant newness is addictive. Everyday is new and exciting, full of possible adventures and discoveries; it’s intoxicating really. Continue reading

Bagan to Chiang Mai

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Our second to last night in Burma found us back on an overnight bus. This one did not breakdown. We almost wish it had. We arrived in Yangon at the too early/too late hour of 4am. When our previous bus broke down we arrived at a far more reasonable hour. After the most frightening taxi ride either of us had ever experienced we arrived at our hostel, where not surprisingly, our room would not be ready. We were allowed to sleep in the dorm though, and felt lucky to have found a bed in general. It was the beginning to our trip to Chiang Mai. Though Bagan is actually much closer to Chiang Mai we would have to back track through Bangkok given the uncertainty of land borders.

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A Weekend in Bangkok

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Before traveling to Bangkok I had heard I would either love it or hate it. My brief stay here has led me to the general conclusion that I like it. I don’t love it, though I certainly could see living here for a few years, as it feels strangely similar to New York, as I write I’m in Lumphini Park, which could easily be central park if you took away the palm trees and water monsters. It’s another big city, and aside from the oppressive heat, it really feels like home. Siam center in basically Beverly Hills indoors. And when I lived in Brooklyn and Pasadena much time was spent in neighborhoods where English was non existent and ordering was based on pointing. Food wise, Bangkok does not disappoint, from cheap street meals to local jaunts for fried chicken (Soi Polo fried chicken) to Pad Thai (Thip Samai), nearly everything we’ve eaten has been delicious, and for the most part ridiculously cheap-fried chicken, papaya salad and rice for two: $4.50. The benefit of our incessant food tourism has been two fold, first, we’ve eaten fantastically, and cond our wanderings in search of perfect pad thai has brought us through nearly every neighborhood in Bangkok. Plus, It’s hard to imagine being food homesick here, though it’s reassuring to know if I really needed a wood fired pizza, I could get one. Though Bangkok to many merely represents westernization, and therefore holds little interest, It is admittedly a nice to feel at home for a few days, to go to the movies (in a nicer theater than I’ve ever been in before), pick up necessities, and easily navigate public transport, in high air conditioned fashion. There are of course, things I don’t like about Bangkok, just like any major metropolitan city, and to be honest Khao San is pretty gross, but overall it’s an easy way to ease into south east asia. Plus anywhere that can feed me this well, for this cheap, will always win in my book.
Today we head to the airport, for a week in Burma!

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