Monday, 27 February 2012

Being a Monk

Said my goodbyes to Laura and had a big fat burger with bacon and cheese along with a chocolate, banana and peanut milkshake. The meal cost me about a fiver (that's a lot for thai standards) but as it was the last time I was going to eat meat and chocolate for at least 5 days it was worth every penny (and every calorie). I grabbed the local bus to the temple armed with a piece of paper that had details of the temple to which I handed to the bus driver (to which I handed? how gay did that sound!) he kicked my black ass out at the temple (that's more like my standard of writing!) and I walked in wondering what to expect from the place. I had visions of 40 odd monks and being the only westerner there and having to keep to a strict daily routine. Wrong. Well, there was a daily routine, but it wasn't enforced by the 4 monks that where there. Yeah, 4 monks, and like 30 westerners, the opposite ratio than I expected! I checked my stuff into the 'dorm' and met my only other room mate, a German guy who was a bit of a robot. I mean he was a nice guy, but he didn't have an ounce of fat on him, didn't really have a particularly warm personality and was the kind of guy that would take any form of competition really seriously. Which was kind of perfect really as I wasn't there to meet people, I was there to unplug, immerse myself in something radically different and make me appreciate the social aspect of traveling again. I put on my white outfit that was to be my only uniform allowed for the duration of my stay and met had a cup of tea with a couple of the fellow inmates. I was surprised that they had unlimited access to tea, coffee and hot chocolate as surely caffeine would make your brain go into overdrive, not relax it for meditation? anyway, I wasn't complaining, I was nailing free mochas! As I'd arrived in the afternoon there was only the evening meditation left to do. So I'll give you an overview of the daily schedule:

5:30 Wake up and give rice to the monks - a sort of ceremonial act that was quite a nice gesture.
6:00 Breakfast - rice, noodles, veg, all vegan food and the only protein coming from nuts and tofu.
7:00 Morning meditation - 1 hour walking, 1 hour sitting, 1 hour laying down (I'll detail each after)
11:00 Lunch - same as breakfast basically with a food offering to the monks as before
2:00 Afternoon meditation - same as morning
5:00 "cleaning while meditating (or 'being mindful') - fuck that I was reading my book or watching films on my ipod!
6:00 evening meditation - chanting followed by 1 hour of sitting meditation then a bit more chanting then bed.

Ok, so for those of you who haven't dabbled with meditation before, the basic premise is to concentrate the mind on a mundane activity so that the majority of your brain can relax. When you're day dreaming or asleep your mind is processing all sorts of thoughts and is constantly active, so by meditating it allows your mind to be at peace which leads to less stress and a happier life. Now I'm not one for spirituality or supernatural activities but I do see the scientific logic behind meditation and I think that it does work. Having said that, it's bloody difficult to do the first few times! In 5 days of immersion with at the temple I only successfully meditated once and that was on the final session. During the walking, sitting and laying meditation you are told to breath in whilst saying to yourself "bho" then breath out whilst saying to yourself "do". The theory goes that as you concentrate on such a simple task as meditating you can then allow your mind to relax. The problem is that you innately start thinking about all the things that are "on your mind" be it travel plans, girls, people you've met, films you like, song lyrics etc etc and if you allow your mind to get lost into those trains of thought then it defeats the object of meditation as your mind is being active. So at first my mind was full of stuff that I was constantly fighting back to not think about and I couldn't keep my mind clear for more than a few seconds. Eventually, on my last day of meditation I decided that for the morning and afternoon sessions I would allow myself to process all the stuff that I wanted to think about, what I wanted to do after traveling, people I'd met, some excess baggage with Hayley etc and that way when it came to the evening class I would have noting left on my mind and could focus really hard and nail it. When It came to the evening class that day I decided to try adding a visual element to the meditation to try and appease my ADD mind so I imagined the silote of a bird and every time I breathed in and said to myself "bho" the wings of the bird would raise and on the breathes out whilst saying to myself "do" the wings would flap down and so on. about 10 minutes into doing this, without thinking of anything else, I slowly started to feel the stress literately dissipate out of the front of my brain and my whole body became numb. It was really nice, and lasted for about 20 minutes. Afterwards I felt so calm and happy and on the walk from the hall back to my room I stopped to sit on the bench and look out to the canyon and stared up at a perfectly clear night sky and saw so many stars I can't even find the superlatives to convey! It was such a great moment, absolutely perfect. 

The next day I had the shits bad. I figured the combination of toxic-ally spicy food and salad that was probably washed with the tap water had played havoc with my digestive system. I was also fed up of sleeping on a cold hard floor so chilled for the day and the next day I decided to make my way to Mehong Song. I managed to hitch hike my way to the outskirts of the town with some of the construction workers from temple and then hitch hiked the rest of the way into town. I offered both drivers some money but they refused so I said thank you and good luck in Thai (cop on cup, chuck dee) and signed into the first hotel I saw as it had hot water and AC :-). I spent a couple of days in Mehong Song but didn't really do much except update my blog and skype the folks back home, which was the first time I'd spoken to Lillerz and Rob since I'd left. That made me really happy and a wee bit homesick at the same time. They where both on great form and cracking me up! Really gutted to be missing Rob's stag do and wedding though.

Then it was time to head back to civilization, back to Chang Mai, my favorite place in the world. And I was ready to meet people again and get back into the traveling groove. 

Sunday, 19 February 2012


Woke up and met up with Dave as we still had a couple of hours left before we had to take the bikes back. We pretty much did the exact same route as the previous day except we didn't have the girls on the back so we where able to throw it round the corners a bit harder going up and down the hill. I realised pretty quickly that dave is a lot quicker/better/mental than me as he shot off into the distance and I couldn't/wouldn't keep up with him. He stoped half way up the hill though and we discussed grip distribution, braking limits and a few other bike related stuff then headed back down the hill in unisen. Both bikes had ABS (something neither of us had used before) so we where really happy with the stopping power at our disposal, but the bikes had clearly been used by lots of weekend warrior tourists as the wheels where squared off so I couldn't really lean into the corners as much as I would have on my own bike. We dropped the bikes off and said our goodbyes to Dave and Laura who were heading to bangkok whilst we went to Pai. I went in the bus with Laura and Manny and the welsh decided to ride their mopeds there. I was a little jealous on the drive there as the roads where really crazy so it would have been fun on bikes, but at the same time I think I might have died! Plus I needed to put in some ground work with Laura who was clearly a bit pissed about the previous night. On arrival at Pai the dorm spicy Pai had massively over booked so the welsh stayed in a tent whilst me and Laura got a mini villa. I was chuffed as after two nights of sneaking around the dorms trying to keep quiet I wanted to have a place to ourselves. So we went out for a meal and I made up for putting my foot in it the previous night. Twice.

The next day we rented a moped and plodded around the nearby waterfalls most of the day, did a we bit of shopping, had the worst massage of my life, and headed out for a meal with a few of the guys from Spicy. I still had a niggling issue with meeting new people (I spoke about it in my blog post on the cooking course) where I was fed up with having the same conversations with people. I even decided to play a game with one of the people from spicy that we would go up to a complete stranger and instead of starting with "Hi, where are you from", just bust out something like "so where's the most interesting place you've had sex?!". So I decided to check out medatation places and got recomended to a buddhist temple between Pai and Mei Hong Song that took in westerens, fed them, tought them meditation, gave them somewhere to sleep and all for nothing (but donations where appreciated). So as Laura was heading back to Chang Mai the following day we had one last night together :-(. We talked about meeting up at some point in Laos but that didn't really pan out how I expected....

Pai was a cool place and if you're a hippy who likes sitting around getting stoned all day you're in heavon. But I'm not, so I headed off to be a monk.....

Chaing Mai - Dave and Pete dice with death

What do you get if you cross two nutters with 650cc sports bikes and some of the sickest roads in the world? Fucking good fun! Man, I wish some of the bikers reading this could try out these roads, they where siiiiick. I was rocking a 650 ninja (not the full sports version, the one that was basically Kawasakis version of my old bike) with Laura on the back and Dave was rocking an ER6 with his mate Laura on the back. Yes, I know, it's getting really confusing with all these Lauras! We started off by thrashing up the mountain hill up to the temple over looking Chaing mai and the corners where beautifully sweeping and had some crazy undulation. Of course we were in full safty gear and our insurance covered us totally for use of motorbikes :-S. As the two bikes approached each taxi truck crawling up the hill, full with asian tourists, they would scream and cheer as we approached like a couple of heros. Then as soon as there was a safe straight I'd drop it down a gear, Laura would clench even tighter on her drip around my waist and I'd tear past them to the chorus of cheering asians and the roar of the 650cc engine. Fuck it was pro. On the way down it was suitably more scary as the bikes would gather speed at a scary rate between each hairpin corner so I took it a wee bit more easy on the way down. Then we managed to find the ring road that connected the sections of Chaing Mai, which was two lanes wide, had traffic lights every so often and some 45 degree turns. So every set of traffic lights me and dave would rev the balls off the bikes, Dave's laura would scream with fear and as soon as the green light appeared I dropped the clutch, hammered the throttle and red lined every gear before letting off a bit for one of the corners, leaning into the racing line and accelerating through before the next set of traffic lights. There was some traffic, but as we where belting off each set of lights they where just a dot in the rear view by the time we got to any corners so it was basically a race track for the two bikes. then we stopped in at the lake and chilled for a bit before heading back for some mexican food. That night man city where playing tottenham and if defoe had scored the tap in from a metre out from bales cross in the 93rd minute they would have gone top of the league and I would have been bloody happy. As it happens, the cross from bale was just out of Defoe's reach, then city countered, gave away a penalty to a player who shouldn't have even been on the beach (man city's Ballatelli) and City won the game. I keep thinking that if that goal had just gone in, I would have been in a better mood and not left the club early that night pissing Laura off. That night jam was being a royal pain in the arse, she was really jealous of the fact that me and Laura where heading to Pai the next day and talking to each other most of the night and kept giving me a hard time for every thing I said or did. Then Dave's Laura annoyed me by 'joke' punching me in the nads (I fucking hate when women 'joke' hit blokes) so I rapidly went from having the greatest day to having a rather annoying and shitty night. As Dave had gone home early I asked Laura if she's look after Dave's Laura for the night as it was her last night in Chaing Mai. This. did. not. go. down. well. She then stayed out 'till 6am with her and I was royally in the dog house.

No sex for Pete that night!

Chaing Mai - The Golden Triangle

So the Golden Triangle is where the Mekon Delta divides Laos, Burma and Thailand. Apperently it's a tourist attraction to see this as it has lots of history when it comes to trafficing Opium and that. On the way to this boat trip the bus stops in at some hot springs and the white temple in Northern Thailand but all of this was of absolute bollack all interest to me as I was shattered. I got in the bus at 7am looking like death, plonked myself down in the seat and slept the entire journey from Chain Mai to the Laos border and whilst all the other tourists stopped in to marvel at the Hot Springs and the White temple I slept on the back seat! fortunately I was to get another chance to see the White Temple at a later date but I wasn't to know that at the time. Anyway, did the gay little boat trip to Laos whilst being told all about history and that then eventually got to the Burma border to extend my visa for another 15 days and that all went fine. I even walked around the border town for about 20 minutes so that I could experience burma, but that was a pointless exercise as it was just some seedey dodgey shit heap. On the way back we stopped in at the Long Neck tribe to see that freak show and it was basically just a village shop selling tat, but all the sales reps had extended their necks with braclets for some wacky tradition. I'm sure there should be some cultural leason I should have gotten out of the experience but it litterally was just a sales visit and I learned nothing. On the bus back I managed to get some more sleep so by the time I got back to Chaing Mai I was actually fairly cherpy. I had been texting Jam on the way back and she had arranged a bowling trip for a few of the hostel guests so I figured that would be a pretty chilled way to manage my hangover. Wrong. Within a few minutes and some helpfull advise from these two Welsh guys called Conner and, balls I've forgot the other guys name, I got onto the beers and sangson buckets. Conner is bloody hillarious, he had me in stitches on numerous occasions, particulary during bowling. At one point he throw his ball down the lane, it went into the gutter and he shouted "Oh cunt" just as one of the songs had finished so everyone in the place heard. I laughed my ass off. Lillerz, it was just like that time in media studies when I said "shit'" just as the class randomely went quite or that time when someone started a sentance with "fuckinggggg" also just as the class went quite. I love it when stuff like that happens it always cracks me up. Anyway, we all bowled, I flirted with Laura (not the Aussie Laura from the night before, brighton Laura) and afterwards we all headed into town. Now you may have seen the pimp photo of me being touched up by 5 girls in club, that was taken that night. I felt like the biggest pimp in the club that night. After a bit more flirting with laura we eventually kissed then all went back to the hostel. I then discovered how much of a mission it is to have sex in a dorm with 8 people! We sneaked around between the bed, the bathroom, one of the tents, the TV room and had a bloody spiffing time :-).

And just to clarify, that's two Laura's in two nights. back of the net.

The next day started off brilliantly, we went down to a nearby cafe that had a burger called "The King" which was 500 grams of meat in two patties in one fucking big burger. If you finish this beast you get your photo taken and put on the wall of fame. So if you're heading to Chaing Mai you can see my pretty face on the wall of one of the resteraunts :-). After that Laura and Manny where both feeling a little under the weather so decided to chill while me, the welsh guys and a couple of non descript new arrivals to the hostel headed to the lake for a day of chilling. me and conner rented tubes for a pound and floated in the lake for a couple of hours whilst the sun set then we headed back to the shore to join the others, play some tunes out of my ipod and speakers and chilled till the lake closed to the public. Then we all headed back to town, had some local food from the street market and I have Laura a massage with a happy ending. We decided on an early night, but conner was cracking me up for about an hour and we where giggling like a couple of giddy school boys much to Manny's annoyance who was trying to sleep!

Chaing Mai - The cooking course

For some reason, I woke up in a bit of a grouchy mood. Perhaps it was the previous few days of chasing after girls with no pay off, perhaps it was exhaustion from the trek but I just didn't want to speak to anyone. I guess I was just sick of the same conversations, of meeting new people every day and having to tell them my name, where I was from, where I'd been, where I was going, what I did for a living blah blah blah. So I kinda put a bit of a fuck off expression on my face and kept quite for the morning of the course. I got picked up from the hostel by the really friendly owner of the farm and we headed to a nearby market to be shown how they make rice, coconut milk and a few other things. I was in the mood to learn stuff so I paid close attention and enjoyed the buzz of the market, I just didn't engage in small talk to any of the others in the group. We got to the farm which was situated a few miles outside of Chaing Mai itself and picked the food we wanted to cook. We all started off making paste for our curries and I insisted on putting around 5x as many chillies in mine than everyone else! (this still wasn't spicy enough!). I also took a bite out of the spiciest chilly in Thailand which the average pussy would probably cry on, but it merely tickled my rubber tongue. I'm pretty much immune to spice now! After we finished making the paste we took the ingredients over and cooked up the curry, pad thai and tom young soup. Then we sat and ate and tried each others cooking and then the owner guy said we could chill for a couple of hours before we made the rest of the food (to allow us to get hungry again). This was music to my ear and I was first out of my seat to make a bee line for the hammocks and grab some much needed sleep. When I woke up and walked back over the rest of the group who where sat chatting on the lawn I was a different person. The sleep had sorted me right out and I was blabbering away about all the places I'd been and telling stories about some of the adventures. There was an English golf pro who was there on his holiday who was a very likable landaaan geeeza a few other people and a couple of french girls, one of which had the most beautiful eyes I'd ever seen. There was something about her that just screamed beauty and her accent was so hot. Anyway, we cooked the rest of our food, for most of the people it was spring rolls but I'd already cooked a million of them in Vietnam so I went for chicken steamed in banana leaf and for desert banana's cooked in coconut milk (luuuuush!). After we finished eating we chatted for a bit longer, the owner dude told us about his plans for expansion and we all headed back to town. When I got back Jam gave my hair a well needed chop with some clippers (for the fee of a bucket when we went out) and we planned where we where going to head that night.

I usually start a paragraph each new day but the events of the day where in such stark contrast to those of the night that they warrant and new section. First thing on the agenda was heading to the night market to pick up some meat for the evening. I flirted with Manny for a bit but to be honest I didn't really fancy her all that much. It's worth giving Jam a special mention at this point, she is the hottest Thai girl I've seen so far. 26, spoke ni-on perfect English and was really cool. She made my Chaing Mai experience (not like that) as she was so helpful and fun to be around. I didn't even fancy her, she was more like a cool sister to me and pretty soon she was like my accountant who I just gave money to without even questioning her as she was constantly arranging activities, buying cheap drinks from the bar and sorting out taxi rides for all of us. We had some pre drinks and a thai BBQ at the hostel first and I got chatting to Laura for a fair bit. I really fancied her from the word go, she was just so easy to talk to and so cute. We talked about loads of stuff, and she managed to be open enough for me to say anything I wanted to without it becoming seedey or smutty. We headed to the riverside bar along with a bunch of really cool Canadian guys and by that point I was a little pissed. Now the riverside bar is a pretty trendy bar designed for rice Asians and has live music every night. They usually have two bands, both of which where about 6 piece (lead, rhythm, bass, one female vocal, drums and keyboard) and both do covers of some of my favourite bands. They busted out hits from bravery, killers, coldplay, adele (the female vocals where on the nose every time) kooks etc and I was in heaven singing along to most songs and getting on really well with all the locals and the guys from the hostel. After the bands had finished we all headed to the main bar bit of chang mai and I bumped into the feisty asian aussie girl (Laura) from the trekking and her two dull mates (the sisters). Now I won't go into the graphic details on here, but I was up until 6am at the hotel with all 3 girls plus a couple of German guys (funny story for my bloke mates).... And I had to be up at 7am to do my Visa run the next day!

(for any one who isn't a maths genius that's 1 hours sleep)

Monday, 13 February 2012

Chiang Mai - The Trek.

I had a choice between spending about 50 quid for 48 hours worth of travel from phi phi to Chiang Mai or 80 quid to fly and get there in about 7 hours. No brainier really! I travelled with 3 Aussie girls who were heading in the same direction who were all pretty cool. Unfortunately on arrival at CM it became apparent that they had a much larger budget than me so they checked in to a fancy hotel with AC and wifi and I went to the more backpacker area in search for something budget. Managed to find a place called mojito that gave me a room for 150 baht (3 pounds) that was literally just a bed - but all I needed.

The next day I went for a 2 day trek starting early that morning. Got in the van and was greeted by these two loud Yorkshire lases that somewhat over zealously shouted 'who are you and where are you from then?' to which I replied 'really? It's like 8am guys, chill!' they where really cool though, one was 20 and had various tattoos around her body and the other was 29, stick thin, wearing a bright orange Ko panyang vest and had done loads of traveling so had plenty of cool stories to share. We stopped in at a butterfly farm on the way to the trek but there where litterelly no butterflys in there so that was a waste of time! When we arrived at the starting point we sat down to some rice and veg and got to know the group in a bit more depth. Other than the 2 yorkies, the notable charecters where an English couple couple and the guys was a huge black bloke that was one of the most friendly and likable people I've met, an annoying English muppet who was one of those stoner types that never really listens to what you're saying and feels the need to add pointless statments when someone is telling a story, 3 aussie girls (boring sisters and a really bublely asian girl called Laura, more on her later...) a spanish girl with a body an accent to die for and a few epically cool tour guides. The trek itself was pretty standard, walking up a big ass hill through trees and that and chatting to each other about where we'd been etc. We stopped in at a water fall and I watched the spanish girl for a bit bath in her bakini and nearly exploded in my pants. Then someone said to another person, rather loadly, "I think she's presenting" (off off nature programes and that) and I cracked up laughing. I got in there as quick as possible and stuck my head under and boy was it powerfull. Ice cold water smashing off my head felt amazing and was just what I needed having treked for the previous few hours in humid heat. We eventually got to the hill tribe and it stank of shit and there where chickens running around the place. Pretty much what I expected apart from the volley ball net with some locals playing kick ball over it (volley ball but with your feet). I joined in but was less usefull than the genuinely retarded guy there (bless him, think he had been dropped on his head as a baby or something) so I headed back to the hut to sink a couple of beers and watch the sun set. We told some jokes and I managed to pluck up the courage to tell my pilot joke to the big black guy (what do you call a black man flying a plane? A pilot you racist!) and he found it really funny (to my relief, the dude had done a fair bit of thai boxing in his life!) After a pretty impressive Massaman curry we all sat around the camp fire and busted out some classics. I kinda got carried away during dust in the wind as no-one knew the words so I sang it on my own and people stared suggesting I go for x factor (they must have been hammered!). Stayed up a bit longer and spoke to the main tour guide about the tribe, how they live off the land, how they make the food, and it was really interesting stuff. Only problem was that the English muppet kept asking retarded/disrespectfull/uncultured questions and contrabuting crap which was kinda wrecking the guides flow so I decided to hit the sack before I hit him!

The next morning the majority of the group started heading down the mountain for the second day of the treck. Unfortunately the cool black guy, his wife and the hot spanish girl where doing the 3 day trek so they went a seperate way but fortunetaly the muppet was also doing the 3 day so we got rid of him :-). I chatted to the skinny yorkshire lass for most of the day and flirted a bit at the next waterfall. Then we all rode elephants for an hour which was pretty cool. The guides let us ride on the elephants neck one at a time (as aposed to in the makshift platforms they where attached to) and they where pretty impressive animals. After that we dabled with white water rafting and as the group was split betweet two rafts we had a cracking water fight using the paddles between each boat :-). Then we had a bambo raft experience which was pretty chilled, until I got a bit A.D.D and started rocking the raft and nearly tipped it! we all exchanged contact details and agreed to meet at an italian resteraunt at 8pm that night. Turned out that the resteraunt didn't exist and the dosey yorkshire lass had read a sign that was simply the Thai word for Pizza! As it happened I ended up going out with Jam, the Thai hostel receptionist, her two thai mates and a couple of girls that where also staying at the hostel (Laura and Manny). Laura was a 23 year old blode from Brighton who had a cracking smile, really friendly and wonderfull fake tits. Manny was a pretty cool american journalist who got entirely too drunk and went from being a massive flirt with me to going kind of weird and quite! I was pretty shattered from the trek and as I had a cooking course early the next day I called it a night after a few drinks at the 'reggea club'. Bumped into the Yorkshire lass who appologise for fucking up the meeting plans, and to be fair the hour long power cut didn't help trying to meet either!

It was around this point that I fell in love with Chaing Mai and decided to extend my visa to stay a little longer....

Thursday, 9 February 2012

West Coast; Krabbi and Phi Phi

The journey from Ko Panyang to Krabbi sucked. Hard. The boat was slow and stank and the van journeys where really cramp and bumpy. So we arrived a little on the grouchy side and checked into a pretty decent hotel. At least I thought it was pretty decent by 'traveler' standards, Dave and Laura on the other hand thought it was disgusting! The three of us headed out to a local restaurant and for once when I asked for a 'spicy' Thai green curry, it was actually spicy! The three of us all enjoyed our meals and the guy who owned the place was a really cool guy. He gave us some really cool info on how Thailand had progressed with tourism over the years and warned us how much of a touristy place phi phi had become. He was right!

The next morning we got up and headed to a cafe where Leonardo De Caprio had eaten at while he was filming 'the beach'. There was a photo of him with the lady who was serving us food so it was defo legit. Then I took my bag to get sowed up as it had got a bit torn by the zip from being packed to the brim. The lady sowed it up properly strong and it cost me all of 2 pounds! We got on the ferry over to Phi Phi and tried to catch some rays on route. the journey over was pretty damn spectacular with all the beautiful islands scattered over the sea. Then on arrival into the tropical paradise that is Phi Phi island I looked into the sea and saw a nappy floating on the surface of the water! Perhaps this was an omen of what to expect. Don't get me wrong, Phi Phi is a beautifull place and if I was there on a holiday with a larger budget I would have enjoyed it a lot more, however the cost put me on edge the whole time as I was fretting about how far my money was going to last. In hindsight I probably should have just set aside a bigger budget and tried to hold back a bit at some of the cheaper places I'd been, but my philosophy for travelling has been to hold back on accommodation and food and spend my money on experiences and adventures. Whilst looking for a place to stay I had a minor falling out with Dave and Laura over the rooms. This was none of our faults particularly, but as it was so busy on the island all the dorms had been sold out so we where left trying to find 'cheap' rooms to split with 3 people. As it happened we managed to satisfy all parties by Dave and Laura getting a very nice AC room with a double bed and sneaking me in so that we had 3 up for the night. The bed was plenty big enough for the 3 of us and as we split the cost 3 ways it worked out a bargain :-). The three of us headed out into town and I don't think I've ever seen as many beautiful people in one place before. Everywhere I turned there was gorgeous women walking in groups and to be honest I found it a little intimidating. They were actually too hot for me to talk to! We headed to a beach bar called Slinky's which was busting out some great tunes (I've become a little too attached to Rhianna hopeless place when I'm at a club!) but for some stupid reason they had a 20 foot pole in the middle of the dance floor for the local performances. This is all very well and good, but if you put a big climb-able pole in the middle of a bunch of drunk people they're going to climb it and apparently (although fortunately I didn't see this happening) people fall off it all the time. There was also a bar further down the beach which I think was called reggae bar that had a more chilled out vibe and sold spliffs (if that sort of thing takes your fancy - doesn't really do it for me) which Dave and Laura went to for a bit while I had a bit of a rave and pulled some German girl, who then promptly stumbled over when I walked her to the bar to buy her some water and then started pulling some other guy while I was waiting at the bar for the drinks! Fuck it, she wasn't that hot anyway. On the walk home I stopped in at a place called "the rolling Stoner" which was a Thai band that played a bunch of old school rock music, and they played a pretty epic version of Freebird which I was loving. I then realised that I didn't have a key to the room so went to find Dave and Laura back on the beach. Me and Dave got chatting to some Swedish girls who where genuine 10 to 2 wonders and tried snooze (at least I think that's what it's called) which is a tobacco based sweet thing that you place on your gum and leave there to soak into your gums. This sounds disgusting..... and it was disgusting. Crazy Europeans! The walk home then took approximately 4 days (at least that's what it felt like) as every street looks the same and leads to no-where and I was getting more and more tired and grouchy by the minute. Eventually found my way home and we worked out that all 3 of us had somehow got separated and each spent well over an hour to walk what should have taken 5 minutes!

Next morning I checked into a pretty nice dorm room called "Mr Local" and headed to the dive shop to do my first fun dive. My instructor was an absolute hero, he was a Greek guy called Con (short for Constantatsheaehkbgfjyaegfsefjhswf or something) and hadn't wore shoes in 3 years. he even had "bare foot" tattooed on his foot! He was super cool and showed me a few tricks when I was getting my gear on to make it easier. Then when we got into the water I messed around with my BCD (Buoyancy control device) for about 10 minutes trying to get neutral Buoyancy (where you neither sink or surface) and eventually got the hang of it. He told me at the end of the dive that I just needed to release all my air then add a little bit then not worry about it, I guess that just comes with practise as I was much better on the second dive. The visibility was really good and amongst all the cool fish, marine life and coral I saw a couple of sharks too :-). They where only about 4-5 foot big but when you're in the water with something that you know is a born killer it still sets your heart racing :-) The whole time Con made me feel really comfortable and relaxed and after the first dive the boat headed to Maya Bay (where "The Beach" was filmed) and was frankly more than a little disappointed. There was speed boats and speedos everywhere and it wasn't even that beautiful to look at. Apparently you can do a special trip where you take a boat with 20 odd people and sleep under the stars and the view out to the sea is spectacular at night, but then you get woken up at 7am by hordes of speedo wearing Europeans and it costs a shit tonne to do so I gave it a miss. Unfortunately the visibility on dive two wasn't anywhere near as good but we still managed to see a couple more sharks in the distance and one of the other instructors saw a tiger shark, but we missed it :-(. After the dives I headed back to the dorm and exchanged numbers with Con, unfortunately we didn't manage to meet up that evening though. I hung out with the guys at the dorm for a while just outside by the street and we sunk some beers and vodka whilst playing acoustic guitar and royally pissing off locals at the massage shop next door. Then about 15 of us headed to banana bar (not that kind of banana bar newton!) which sold buckets and spliffs a plenty. After that we headed to the sports bar where by westerners can get in the Thai boxing ring and fight each other and receive a free bucket each for entertaining the crowd. I decided that I was far too hard to partake in such activity and didn't want someones death on my conscience (i was scared!) so headed back to Slinky's to throw some shapes and hit on some more girls :-).

And that was about it for Phi Phi. Like I said, if I'd had a shit tonne of money it would have been brilliant, but I didn't so it just seemed like a holiday spot for Europeans wanting to see where the Beach was filmed! Ironic really that "The Beach", a film about getting away from annoying tourist trap places like Samui, actually has become more of a tourist trap due to that film.


Friday, 3 February 2012

How to blog?

I had some feedback the other day that I feel deserves addressing.

I've made this blog to keep my friends and family back home informed and interested in my travels. The challenge I have is keeping everyone from closest mates to my extended family interested in everything I've been up to. So when I write this blog I try to censor out the really gory details of things that I wouldn't want my parents to know I've been up to, but at the same time not bore my mates who want to hear all the entertaining (and lets face it smutty) stories too. 

So this is my challenge, apologies if my blog is too centered around chasing women, but if this blog was simply "I went here, I did that, I learnt this" then you'd probably lose interest! And that's not to say that chasing women has been the main focus of my travels either, far from it. I've learnt a load of skills that I hope to use in the future, met some amazing people along the way and had some incredible experiences too (like the lap dancer with a SMOKING body I ruined the other night ;-))

So please do give me your feedback on how you want me to change/improve this as I'm not really doing this blog for me, it's for the people reading it :-)

Fuck these mosquitoes are annoying.