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January 8th 2010
Published: January 8th 2010
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Elephant ridingElephant ridingElephant riding

Apart from crossing a main road the power lines were very close to our heads! Nah, seriously, we would've hit some if we didn't duck!
2009 - well I thought I had a boring year - apart from this trip, didn't make it overseas, but stopping and thinking about it, I had a good year. Finished with Defence end of Jan, change shirts and sub-contract to Unisys. Have done a lot of local 4wding again, probably motivated by my mates at work and my new 4wd triton I got end of Jan 09. Then I sold my house in June. Then I did a horrible couple of weeks bush in July and hurt my ankle again. Then had a week off and went to the Gympie Muster (a big tick off life's list). Started a diet challenge at work and was doing ok barring all the birthdays and xmas parties, and then xmas and holidays I am back to where I started! Then went to Melbourne Cup (another big tick off life's list). And then a couple of weeks at Pucka, so that explains why the year felt busy. Has been great living with sister and the niece and nephew and will find out soon if/when I get to move into my house that is rented out.

Well we booked a while ago now - August or September maybe. But Sheree was so organized I was a slacker. Lucky I visited on 23 Dec and she reminded me about photocopying my passport. Well kind of because then I nearly left it on the photocopier glass when I got a decent copy.

Then was a bit fluey and only packed 2 hours before I left on Xmas day. Was excited when I got to the airport though and saw Sheree and it was all becoming real. Sheree had already checked us in so then we dropped luggage and went through security. I left my boarding pass on the bottom of the scan tray.

Xmas and boxing day - Got to Brisbane all good and then had the overnight to Singapore - shocking flight and could not get comfy or sleep. Along with the flu and recovering from third degree sunburn from a few days prior and now aching shoulders and neck we struggled through and did a Singapore City Stopover bus tour which was nice. All Xmas decorations still up. Then after the tour went to shopping centre where we were to meet the bus and struggled to stay upright so ended up lying down in the shopping centre for a little kip. Reminds me of last time I was in Singapore with Joanne only that was at the railway station.

Got back to the airport and had a free foot massage in an automatic chair which was nice and then found a nice corner of the building and gave myself a back/shoulder massage which only cause my headache to get worse… We went to our flight and was going to sit in lounge early - threw out our water only to not be let through because it was an earlier flight. Slept a bit to Phuket but still felt really bad, and then picking up luggage mine was not there. Just saw the lady and it showed up on a late trolley. That was 3 near misses so though it was over, but the biggest near miss was in the taxi nearly ploughing up the car in front’s bum, by merely millimeters, first time ever I’ve seen ABS used in anger.

Got to hotel and checked in under Sheree’s guidance but could not handle sweet welcome drink. Got upstairs, saw bed and that was that - stinking from 34 hours in same clothes and sweating in Singapore but I did not have a care, other than geez this bed is hard. Poor Sheree - yeah I’ll come to Thailand with you if you’ll be my keeper.

Sunday 27 December 2009
Woke up feeling mediocre the next day. Sheree braved brekky by herself and then I ended up eating and we went for a massage at 10am. We were waiting for it to open, but because I was so sick last night I missed the we are an hour behind now message so lucky the tailor lady told us it was another hour. Went for a walk along the beach and then heading back for massage we got a free scratchie for tours. Sheree won a T-Shirt and I was lucky enough to win a big prize - accommodation, laptop, camera, USD1000, a cruise, a video camera or something. We had our Swedish massage where Sheree told me later that she felt violated - the ladies were quite quick at tucking up knickers and then snapping them back into place but this was a godsend at $14. Then booked an elephant tour for that afternoon and headed up to collect our prizes. They were busy and we had to pretend to be gay because it was a couple prize so we had to go back tomorrow.

Went on our elephant ride which was exciting to say the least. Kept nearly losing my head in the trees which he was walking under, and he was very naughty and wouldn’t do what he was told. Ended up having another handler coming on foot to make him go and he ended up trumpeting which was quite cool but scary. Topic did come up of shows ‘when elephants go wild’ etc. Then walked downhill which caused us to nearly fall forwards off the seat. Got to bottom of hill and then managed to cross a main road - lucky people give way to elephants. Looked out to sea and then back across the road and nearly losing our heads to electricity wires, lucky we could duck! Poor Sheree’s beautiful dreams of elephants were shattered and we weren’t allowed to talk elephants for a couple of days.

Monday 28 December 2009
We wrote off all our days until lunch time with the morning routine of get up, brekky, massage and only then ready to
Elephant soccerElephant soccerElephant soccer

Out of about 6 shots, 5 went into the corners.... Better shot than most Aussies :)
face the day. Sheree did get up earlier sometimes and go for walks/shopping. After withdrawing money and having to pay $6 for the service (and another $5 from my home bank) I noted to draw money in Aus and get it changed at a good rate with no fees. Anyway, first thing today was put on our gay look again and go to pickup our prizes. Had a few free drinks and checked out a couple of nice hotels and club looked ok but didn’t suit my travel style and besides I am booked out for a few years and would like to prove it first as well. Got paperwork for a free week of accommodation which probably won’t use because they’ll put you somewhere they can hounder you to buy the club deal again and accommodation isn’t that expensive anyway. Stef was cool though and we got some good local information out of him including shopping bag deals - if you get a black bag it is a good deal and the blue/white striped bags are that you are a sucker so next stall gives you an appropriate starting price.

Had dinner at a local market which I am still impressed Sheree was impressed with. It is a road in the day and the Thai’s setup tables/chairs and portable kitchen trolleys every afternoon. It started raining but a banging noise and the commotion did make me consider panicking but then realized people were not as lucky as us to be sitting under cover. Another night at this same market we watched a guy replace a broken bulb, with metal piers (no plastic handles) standing on plastic chairs that he had to stack about 6 of to get high enough to change bulb.

Another thing I noticed and finally worked out - they drive on left, but some roads are drive on the right. They are connecting roads to two one way streets and it saves crossing each lane at each end.

Then after dinner we went to Thai Boxing. It was awesome! 2 Aussies fighting and they get a big roar. We had good seats from being early but ringside is about 5 rows back and then people get there about 5 mins after the fight starts and we had to move and then the kid who obviously didn’t have to pay for a seat was sitting on my leg half the night….. Awesome fighters though - World Champ was there and did a demo of about 10 kicks in 4 seconds enough to set a big man back on his heels each kick. Then coming home, was organized chaos, just jump on a bus that is heading in your general direction…

Tuesday 29 December 2009
Morning routine. Then we went for a fish massage. Was THB100 for 10 mins which is $3.50 but man it was scary. The little fish had quite sharp teeth and made me scream which is very girly of me. Uncomfortable like being tickled only not the nice edge to it. I think we chatted to a couple of Sydney guys at Maccas in town where Sheree passed on info that if you only paid THB1000 for a visit it was probably a ladyboy. The guy was shocked, disgusted and horrified which was very funny.

That night we stopped in at the Playhouse and Sheree had pizza for dinner which I tucked into. They had a fire dance display though which was pretty cool. Then at home there were some serious bangs that were quite frightening but when Sheree called reception the explanation was yellow bangs which we kind of wrote off as fireworks.

Wednesday 30 December 2009
We asked about doing boxing training but was a drive away so checked out Bangla Stadium and we got in there. Was $14 each for an hour and a half, which Sheree, I just checked photo time and date and we were only there ½ hour, oh well it was still fun, some awesome video too getting into trouble for laughing after hitting this little Thai coach pretty hard and in some awkward spots.

During our shopping, which we did every day but didn’t diarise that much, I found an ice cream that was vegetable, corn, nuts, beans, peas and carrots or something - wasn’t bad but I’ll eat my veges cooked and hot thanks.

That night we headed to Fantasea. Was a good night again. At dinner I had to try all desserts and Sheree tried a pink thing that wasn’t nice but she spat out and hid in the bread roll. An English lady I’d been talking to asked if we liked the desserts, I said they were ok and she called me a liar. She said they had tried a little pink thing that tasted like candle. It was such a good description of taste and texture we knew exactly what she was talking about and Sheree showed her where ours was. After the elephant show, I patted an elephant that sniffed my hand and snotted a big elephant goober all over my hand which I couldn’t wipe anywhere. We got home and the air con was broken, which we thought in the afternoon, but were too lazy to get up and do anything, then were up around midnight trying to get it fixed. Were offered a bed to share in a noisy room but ended up getting a fan.

Thursday 31 December 2009
Massage today was my first experience of being walked on, both knees and feet. Rather painful but all hopefully for a good cause. Was told to go to sauna before massage tomorrow to try and loosen things up.

Well here is the ankle ache again. Could be the massage, the thai boxing or forgetting mobic tablet yesterday. Actually talking about that, was sore enough all over from boxing, might have to take it up when I get home, Sheree has a nice bruise on her knee from some of the kneeing we were doing.

That afternoon we had Pum’s Thai Cooking Class. Met Peter and Alex who were pilots and Daniel from Singapore. All very lovely and had a great time. Nam, our teacher was funny too. We learned a heap and got a recipe book. We dropped our stuff back to hotel and headed out via Bangla Road. Got down to beachfront where a stage was setup and watched for a bit but found a nice spot watching fireworks people were buying. A group of Aussies in front of us (Gaz and mates) probably spent $1000 just there and there was better than that in places all along the beach. The big flowery ones blew up an area about 3m x 3m square and some went off in the wrong direction but didn’t hear of anyone getting badly hurt. I did nearly cry though ending up with ash in my eyes. The other awesome thing is the Chinese lanterns. Spectacular.

Friday 1 January 2010
Slept in and didn’t have time for a massage before we had booked to go to the zoo. Got our photos taken with a tiger that they made growl which was awesome and Sheree got with baby tiger too. Then elephant show which was great and monkey show (both rode bikes and slam dunked) and then crocodile show where a little Thai guy shoves his head in the crocs mouth. And they wrestled with the crocs in shallow water. Less respect than I have for crocs.
Came home and had dinner then sat in sauna for a while and had massage which was great again and went to bed.

Found a Ti-phone that is pretty cool at $150, take off of I-Phone but ended up not having wi-fi which was a sticking point for me. Then checked out cheap dual sim phone at $70 but opted out.

Saturday 2 January 2010
Morning routine with a walked all over massage again. We had Thai though so Sheree and I talked to each other and the girls and laughed. The pants were too small for me to have my legs shoved up over my ear which Sheree pointed out that gave us the giggles again. Noticed in shower that the bottom of my foot is bruised from massages….
Oh, saw on way home from Fantasea a shop that might have Socceroo shirts so walked up there while Sheree was having her hair braided and they have them. Had to put name on though and they couldn’t spell Neill and they suggested my name. Booked Eves 11 and went and picked up 2 hours later after lunch.

That night we were heading to Pum’s for dinner but then Sheree wanted Maccas so we went near the Millenium Hotel at Jongceylon which had a cool water show and projected a video on a fine spray of water to make the screen. I had KFC Hot and Sour chicken and rice. Oh, had my corn before that too.

Headed home to get a last night’s good sleep in my now saggy bed. But couldn’t sleep and slept pretty bad.

Sunday 3 January 2010
Up late and shower and check out midday and then 2 hour Thai massage as a grand finale. Massage every day has been good for my neck but long flight home might undo all the good work. Then Sheree shouted me lunch at Pum’s which was nearly as nice as the food we made - no I’m serious, ours was better.

Then transfer home wasn’t booked but we got there and got flight. THB500 for exit tax wasn’t needed so have some money for my next trip already.

Monday 4 January 2010
Got back to Brisbane on time after having to wait for people on connecting flights in Singapore after we rushed from T2 to T3 and still didn’t get to see butterfly garden. Watched movies and listened to Kenny Chesney Under the Sun and Tim McGraw or Toby Keith (always get them confused) American Ride. Will have to buy them now.

Customs was quick and painless, even though the drug dog sniffed my butt which was uncomfortable - PS he lived.
Then stood in Virgin queue for ever with the staff on some kind of work slow mission but got the flight ok and got home in time to distribute pressies, have dinner and early to bed for work tomorrow.

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