Why watch all those tv programs and movies about exotic destinations when you can just visit them yourself?
I feel as though I constantly have the travel bug. So far, my travels have taken me to different parts of Canada, the United States, Mexico, England, France and Switzerland. This time around, I am going to teach English at a Winter Camp in Korea. While I'm that far away from home, I'm hoping to explore other parts of Asia.
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February 16th 2012
Don't worry, blog. I haven't neglected you! I haven't had much internet access lately, and when I have had web access, it's been slow or for a very short amount of time. I've been writing blog posts and saving them in Word for when I have steady internet access to post blog entries and photos. A good chunk of this might be after I arrive home on the 18th, but I'm slowly catching up!... read more
February 10th 2012
On Friday, Griff and tackled the Pune Challenge, which is part of the Sangam programme. It was really exciting to do something that event participants would get to do, even though I was an independent guest. To explain, you can attend Sangam as an event participant. Sangam runs events throughout the year with specific themes. Events are seven to ten days long, and run somewhat like a camp for adults. Some events are more serious and have a goal, such as focusing on one of the Global Action Themes (e.g. “Girls worldwide say we can save our planet”) from the UN Millennium Development Goals. Others are designed more to meet Guiding and Scouting members around the world. When someone visits Sangam outside of those times or without registering for an event, they are an independent guest. ... read more
February 9th 2012
On Thursday, we traveled from Bangkok, Thailand to Pune, India (pronounced Poona, for those wondering). Aside from when we flew to Korea, this has been our longest transportation day so far. For the sake of trying to keep things in the same time zone, I’ll start by saying we left the hostel in Bangkok at 8:30 Indian Time (10am in Bangkok, since *someone* refused to pack the night before). Getting to the airport took more than an hour by Sky Train and Airport Express train (both of which were quite packed). I was anxious, since our reservation said to be at check in at least three hours before departure (15:05). We arrived at the airport around 12:30. I was not impressed, since I knew how insane Thai immigration was when we arrived. There was a big ... read more
February 8th 2012
A few years ago, I really could not handle going to hospitals. I don’t necessarily have the association of death with hospitals that many people do, but my dad spent a lot of time in them when I was a child, recovering from various surgeries. It didn’t bother me as a kid, so I’m not sure what changed my opinion over the years. I’ve improved significantly regarding going to hospitals in the past five years or so. I think part of that has to do with the fact that I’ve had to get over that negative feeling, since many of my hospital runs have been with campers or camp staff. Fortunately, I tend to be the hospital escort, rather than the hospital patient. Anyways, when we were in Singapore, Griff started mentioning that he was having ... read more
February 8th 2012
On Wednesday, Griff and I did a tour that took us to Kanchanaburi Province, about 120km from Bangkok. The tour was to include some war history, traveling on the Death Railway, an elephant ride, and going to a tiger sanctuary. We were told that we’d be picked up by the tour company at 6:30am. Sooooo early. What made it worse was that they were early picking us up. I gulped a banana (grown locally – so good!) and hopped into the van. We drove through Bangkok for maybe half an hour, and then the driver told us we had to switch vans. We were right across from a hotel with these two girls waiting outside, but we didn’t pick them up. At the time, I was thinking that maybe they were doing another tour, but no, ... read more
February 8th 2012
In our return journey to Bangkok, we took the 1stclass VIP bus. Oooooooooooh. Getting back to the Phuket bus station was a bit of a challenge. We were standing on the main drag to catch the bus, but unfortunately, we were just north of where it turned, and thus couldn’t catch it. According to the hostel staff, buses run “approximately every 20-30 minutes until 5 or 6pm”. Not entirely helpful. Our bus to Bangkok left at 7pm, and we knew that it was about a half hour drive by tuk-tuk to the bus station. When we missed our bus at 5:35, we waited until just before 6pm before deciding to hail a cab. We were able to negotiate our fare down to the lower end of what the hostel staff said we should pay, and we ... read more
February 7th 2012
One of the best hawker foods I have found so far in my travels has been the pancake stands in Phuket. There are a large variety of pancakes you can have made for you. My favourite was the banana Nutella pancake, for the low price of 50฿ (less than $2CAD). I was able to see the pancake being made in front of me (it was more of a crèpe, I suppose. He stretched the batter out into a thin circle, then fried it and put bananas and Nutella inside before folding it into a square and cutting into bite sized pieces. Most of the vendors I went to also put condensed milk on top. I didn’t think I’d like that, but it was actually quite good. It’s completely unhealthy, but I’ll have to figure out how ... read more
February 7th 2012
Griff and I frequented a restaurant in Phuket called Orchid Café. When we first went there for dinner, I wasn’t really hungry, so I just had some mashed potatoes (random, I know). They reminded me of my dad’s home cooking. Of course they weren’t as good as Dad’s, but they were a good substitute. Orchid Café also had a really good (and cheap!) breakfast. I think the best part of my visits to Orchid Café was the fresh coconut I had. It was so fresh, and the coconut milk was delicious! Almost all the restaurants in Phuket served western food. I opted for Thai food whenever I could. At another establishment we went to, I tried the Phuket Paradise, a sugary adult beverage that had some good kick to it. It was a really pretty shade ... read more
February 7th 2012
Phuket is a beautiful island in southern Thailand. After we arrived by bus, we took a tuk-tuk to our hostel, Jinta Andaman. I’m not sure what Jinta means, but Andaman was because we were staying very close to the Andaman Sea. Jinta Andaman was less than a ten minute walk to Kata Beach, one of numerous beaches in Phuket. We were very surprised to see that Kata Beach wasn’t too busy. Sure, there were a lot of people there, but we were easily able to find a place for our towels. We could’ve paid 200฿ for a lawn chair and umbrella, but we were quite content just lying on the beach. We swam in the sea, enjoyed the sunshine and walked along the beach. On Saturday, we saw this girl paragliding. It looked really neat. If ... read more
February 4th 2012
Being in transit between countries (and cities) definitely has its ups and downs. Some of our flights have been really smooth (like our flight from Hong Kong to Singapore), and some have had a LOT of turbulence (Beijing to Hong Kong, I'm looking at YOU). I've never had motion sickness in my life, but was grateful for the airsickness bag immediately after landing in Hong Kong. Nothing significant, but I was unimpressed. I found it amusing though, since Griff had said I looked completely unaffected during the landing (he says I have a good poker face?). In some countries, immigration and customs have been really simple (China - surprisingly so, considering I needed a visa for entry). Some have been okay (Singapore -- easy immigration, but then my bag had to go through security before departing ... read more