Sat, 19 Feb 2000 11:26:17 +0000

Mike and Traces update #1

 

Hi Gang,

 

(Barbie could you please forward this to the Sales Services gang.  xo)

 

Sorry this can not be more personal however, broadcast e-mails are the only way to write if we want to do more than just write e-mails all day. Please excuse the typos as we have no spell check and cannot see the entire screen.

 

So where do we start?! I don't know how to explain all the weird and wonderful things, sights and smells we have experienced. So you don't get bored we will keep it to point form.

 

Flight to Seoul Korea, WOW got to ride in the cockpit over Denali (Thinking of you Jason)and for the  descent and landing. After a beautiful flight over lands Neither of us had  been to nor seen such as Alaska, Russia, Bearing Straight, China and Japan, we  arrived in the snow and realized how much farther we had to go as our next stop  was in |Bangkok Thailand 33 deg C. 

 

Seoul was expensive and cold. only one night there then off to Bangkok,

 

Singapore Airlines is all it is cracked up to be ... beautiful attendants!

 

Bangkok

CRAZY. The sights and smells. Once again was in the cockpit for landing, could  not see much due to the pollution and burning. Right off the bat we were on  Thailand time. Things happen a little slower here, a small 15'line at customs  in the "express lane" took over 40 minutes, oh well we are in no rush!

 

However the taxi drivers sure are in a rush, 160 kph into town in a crappy old  Toyota, I thought that was going to be the end of the trip.

 

Settled into our "traveling" accommodations. The Pan Pacific, we thought we would ease into this traveling thing. Gorgeous hotel, outdoor pool on the 23rd floor etc. Bangkok is noisy, smelly, polluted, and has the worst traffic in Asia, however an air-conditioned 30 min. cab ride is only about $3.00.

 

After a few days at the Pan, blowing our budget to smithereens. We decided to switch from the holiday mode to the traveling mode and look for budget accommodations. After a few major disappointments (What we could afford was horrific) we decided to stay were we could  not afford at the Pan Pacific. Oh  well hopefully we will make up for it in places like Burma and Laos.

 

Went for a 3-hour boat ride through the canals in Bangkok and stopped for a bite at a shack (we were obligated by our guide)on the side of the river. It took a lot of bravery to eat here as we were sure this would get us sick.. raw sewage dumping into the river and watching our hostess wash our dishes in the river. Oh well we got lucky no upsets yet....

 

Highlights of Bangkok:

-The Annual Water Festival: (the Buddhist holiday where the belief is that all the bad from the year is washed away) Everyone throws water at everyone. Marauding pickup trucks loaded with water guns and people with water buckets cruising the streetslooking for victims. Be you in your best business suit or a swimsuit you are a target. This lasts for about a week and we got wet!  

-Smelly roadside food vendors selling all sorts of weird things like fish we have never seen before, frogs, and things I can't describe.

-Friendly people.

-Kao San, a strip vendors selling to the travelers, and wash outs from around the world.

-Night markets selling all sorts of fake name brand watches etc. all surrounded by sex show clubs on either side of the street.

- Thai Kick boxing event with all the locals

 

 

Then we were off to Southern Thailand to a place called Rileigh Beach which is near Krabi.

 

Our friend Andrew Vardon (he showed us the sights and sounds of Bangkok with his own personal driver.  Nice way to see such a crazy city) whom we met through Sarah Price (thanks Sares for the intro) decided last minute to come with us to the resort destination of southern Thailand.  We flew to Krabi and took a longtail boat to Rileigh Beach where our friend Ruth lives.  The ride was in the dark with a beautiful thunder and lightning in the distance (don't worry Mom's it was safe) Ruth wasn't expecting us as she didn't think we would come over in the dark so we quickly had to find accommodation.  We found a night at this horrible tree house type accommodation.  Couldn't sleep due to open air night club next door and woke up with red dots all over us...we had bed bugs in the mattress. yuck.  Oh well the night helped our budget.  Moved to another more suitable accommodation:  Highlights of this area:

- Day snorkeling tour - the water and beaches are exactly as you expect - white sand, turquoise water and towering limestone formations.  Lots of fish too.

A few nights on a remote tropical island, 26 minutes to walk around it.  Lots of lizards.  Not much else to do but chill out and enjoy the wonderful food.

- Great kayaking trip through the Mangrove Swamps, Sea Caves and wonderful snorkeling

 

 

Enough beaching it and now we are back to Bangkok on Monday to get Visas for our next segment which starts with Burma. 

 

May not be able to check email for three weeks so don't get impatient with us:)

 

Big hugs to all!

 

PLEASE NOTE:

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