Monday, May 26, 2008

Koh Phangan

So we have been living the island life pretty much. A lot of chillin', reading, relaxing, eating, meditating, and so forth. We have been to about 6 of teh 16 beaches on this island and we have even "Beach hopped" because some of them are about a 5 minute hike away. I don't want to brag or anything, but i was on 3 beaches in one day! Oh yeah. Here are some pictures from them.
The first is of Di hiking through the jungle as we went from Haad Tien to Haad Yan beach, then a picture of the twig walkway on the rocks, another great picture from our walk, then a picture of the sky, and a picture of Haad Rim beach as we went on a boat tour of part of the island! It was fantastic!

Pictures from the Haad Rim Beach Party

Here are some pictures from the party. it was real fun. You drink out of Buckets! it consists of an alcoholic drink, a mixer, and a energy drink. It's pretty tasty and funny at the same time.
The pictures are of di drinking from the bucket, a board of designs you can get painted on your body, the fire sign for the party, me dejected because i had to wear di's purse during the party, and some dude passed out towards the end of the night! Enjoy~

Thailand- Largest Beach party EVER!

Hello all we are all good!

we just went to the largest beach party in the world on Koh Phangan Island! The pictures are not working right now but i will post some later. we are all good and we are happy and healthy! talk to you guys soon and see you all soon! 10 weeks left!~

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Annapurna Trek!

o we rocked out the Annapurna Trek in Nepal and crossed through the Thorong-La Pass at 17,768 feet. I actually made it to 17,777 feet because once we got up there i had to wee and the "out door" bathroom was up this little hill behind the tea house. A porter and i were heading to the "out door toilet" at the same time and he was heading left so i headed right. Then he switched directions so i in turn changed mine, then he did this the third time and after ascending 5000 feet I really didn’t want to go to much further up so I took control of the situation and told the porter, “Hey go left and I’ll go right, Thika?” That topped me off at 17,777.

Anyway the trip was great. We started our trek strong after a 5 day fast inspired by giardia and luckily is sprung up for us again about halfway through the trek. But we rested and made it through! Well done us!

Here are a few pictures from the trek. There is one of us, “looking the part, ehh?”

Another one is on these cages that porters wear and they hike and deliver chickens! How cool is that. We also saw some mules doing the same, but the porters out number the mule chicken carriers by a 30 to 1 ratio.

One is the sign at the top of the Thorong-La pass. Feel free to down load it yourself , show it to folks, and tell people you made the trek!

One is of the goat herders and their posse! It was cool, we got to be escorted by mountain goats!

And the final one is of a gorgeous mountain range who’s name escapes me but in was in the beginning of the trek. This mountain is BEAUTIFUL and the picture doesn’t do it justice!

All in all a great trek and you should do it before it “goes commercial.” The only road less section will be from Manang to Muktinath (about a 4 day section).

As a side note you really don’t need a guide if you have a decent map, and know something about the outdoors. We highly recommend going to the Acute Mountain Sickness talk in Manang- Very informative.

Also if you can stay where the porters stay if you get the change. It is a welcome changed from the hotels and you get to sit around the fire and hear their stories. It was a very rewarding experience for us!~

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Overland to Pokhara Nepal!

We took a bus from Sunali Nepal to Pokhara Nepal where we would start our trek. It was supposed to be an 8 hour ride.

I truly feel that the three 18-year old boys who drove the bus pooled their money together to allow one of them to get a drivers license to drive the bus and the other two could collect money and be ticket collectors on the ride. The three musketeers were young, free, had a good job and could travel their county at their leisure and at the expense of tourist and that is exactly what they did! The bus was to leave at 4:30pm and arrive in Pokhara at 5:30 am. We showed up at 4:20pm and they rushed us onto the bus. We get on the bus and some crazy guys wants 200 rupees for putting our bags on the top of the bus. Another Nepalise young man is silently shaking his head now at us. We give him 5 rupees to quiet his banter. The guy shaking his head ended up being a jerk but he was quite helpful then and there.

So they rush us on the bus only to take us to a spot no more than 200 meters on the main road where we load 5 more people on and wait for a good hour. 15 people plus our 3 young hostesses with the mostest! We take off again to a “main” bus stop where 11 more foreigners and locals get one. The best part of this stop came when our friend Easton got off the bus to smoke. Four Chinese punk rockers complete with black fingernails, guitar, and one with a very elaborate mullet! Spiked hair on top, short on the sides, and then long in the back that he proceeded to fix in the reflection of his phone/TV/music player. The guy that took the cake was the fella who sat in Easton’s seat. I told him, “Someone is sitting there.” His reply was a very monotone “Yehh, Me.” That was the extent of my liking for our them. It shows that the foreign teenage punk rockers have the same spunk as their American counterparts.

We head off from the “main” bus station and we travel for about 45 minutes- our longest continuous drive thus far, and we get to another “main” bus station. It is blazing hot on the bus so we alternate getting off and checking out the fruit and food vendors. The guy who told me not to pay the hawker for our luggage kept asking for smokes and was trying to be helpful. Every time I would get off the bus he would follow me and say, “hurry hurry the bus is leaving.” I’d rush back to the bus and get on. I would then seat out as much water as I just put in my body while off the bus. I would see that we were not heading anywhere fast so I would get off the bus again. This scenario played out 3 more times until we finally left. As we left the bus terminal, I say my Nepalise guide yell at the f\young foreign tourist he was sitting next to- “hey let’s make love” but he used a different verb.

It was getting pretty dark, which was a bit of a bummer b/c the view was supposed to be real nice. So from 4:30pm-8pm we had actually driven for a maximum of 1.5 hours! Great work guys! At about 9pm the young $ collector walks down the isle and announces that we are stopping for dinner. We pull up on this mountain side road with about 5 shops on either side. The young drivers and loving it. They are eating, flirting with the female waitresses, and bumming smokes from the foreign tourist. We are there for another hour and a half. The young men decide on a whim that it is time to continue on our bumpy voyage. As we struggle with warmth and trying to sleep we clumpity clop up the Himalaya’s. 12am quickly approaches and the young $ collector comes sauntering down the isle informing passengers that it is time to sleep.

We were told it was a continuous trip, but honestly nothing was going to surprise me now. As we try to get comfortable in the seats as the temperature drops, I realize my shorts and t-shirt was not the ideal PJ’s in the Nepal Himalaya’s. I see the isle as an option b/c the metal bones were fingering me through the warn out mustard yellow upholstery. The floor was filthy so I asked the young man if he had any paper to put down. He happily ran off and returned with a roll of paper that looked like it was designed for that exact purpose. He laid the paper down meticulously like he was lining the bottom of a hamster cage. He laid it down in an over lapping pattern as so if I turn during the night’s rest a crack will not appear. He seemed apt at this practice. I lay down, more comfortable, but still cold. People went at their own pace to decide when their personal bed times would commence. As I was waiting for the final conversation to subside and a blanket of freezing slumber to engulf the bus I thought about the different people who had entrusted the combined wisdom of 56 years to lead us on a overnight journey on the sketchy Nepal roads. As the last two travelers ended their final bedtime discussion, not one minutes passed that a man who would haunt the entire bus began to snore. A few people chuckled at the irony of this, but my mind moved on to the dread of a frozen sleepless night. I was thinking, “is anyone going to jar this guy?” After a while I took the position upon myself. After my midnight “anti-snoring” mission was successful I was able to steal away three glorious hours of sleep until the cold was too overbearing. I walked up to the drivers compartment complete with our three heroes fast asleep in their locked in drivers compartment. I knocked on the door and they were kind enough to open and let me in. I asked for a blanket b/c I had seen a few other lucky passengers snuggling up with one. The one young man who was away told me there was not any blankets, left. I sat looking around and sad because I knew no sleep would come over me for the remainder of the night. I saw under his teenage shuttle accomplice a blanket! I asked if I could use it since his friend was not and he happily obliged. I got the blanket, tapped the snorer’s head as I walked back to my paper bed, which had held up surprisingly well for my 3 hours of sleep. I wrapped myself up like a mummy and slept the best I could until the morning stops began on the trip to Pokhara. People walked over me as I tried to convince myself to stay unconscious but I was awake. I got up and tried to share the blanket with Di as we both sat in the seat but warmth and comfortableness on a “paved” road in Nepal is not possible. We arrived at 10am, a solid 8 hour ride turned into 16.