South East Asia 2005

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April 10th 2005
Published: March 10th 2008
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10th April 2005
On Ko Tao diving again

Jeremy and I have been in Ko Tao, Thailand, for a week now. He has his open water now, and I have taken him for 4 dives. We are heading back to Bangkok this afternoon (get there at 3am) then are going to head to Burma, Laos, or Northern Thailand - haven't decided yet. Its so good here.

16th April 2005
Ramble of an update

We are heading to Luang Prabang tomorrow (Laos) CANT WAIT, love Laos. Have been kind of stuck in Chang Mai (which is not too bad a thing - $3.60 for a Thai massage, same each for our room) because with the new years thing everything is shut or booked. Was definitely an experience, for 5 days you could walk outside without being drenched - it is meant to bring the water thrower good luck and is a sign of respect... Lucky we were away for three days on the trek. Hell it was hot walking up hills in the midday sun. We were at a waterfall and a 3 foot snake poked his head out. I love snakes, they are so beautiful. Got a couple of photos before he cruised off. So cool to see one in the wild. We met a good guy from Essex called John. He is getting a Japanese sleeve tattoo at the moment - 10 hours! Has filled himself up with Chang and Sangsom. Jeremy has had a stomach bug for the past couple of days, but I got him some ciproxin antibiotic and he has not eaten today and is feeling much better. It was going to take days to get a visa for Burma because the embassy is shut, so we are going to head to Laos and then to Cambodia before meeting Trace in Ko Tao. Today we hired motorbikes and drove to a mountainous national park that is just outside Chang Mai. Went for a good hike straight up. Lots of waterfalls. At the top there were a group of Thais singing and playing the guitar so we joined them for some whiskey and hard case half conversation. Was fantastic to kick back after the climb and listen to them sing, and cool off in the waterfall.

29th April 2005
I have not spent too much time lately in internet cafes, but thought I
would give an update of my progress:

Ko Tao- diving

Chang Mai - Thai new year with lots of water being thrown, and a 3 day trek.

Luang Prabang (Laos) - Fantastic world heritage town nestled in mountains

Nong Khiaw - after 8 hour river trip north of Luang Prabang. Amazing. Sitting on roof of the small boat soaking in the forested peaks, fishermen, swimming kids, and river.

Muang Ngoi - 1 hour north by river of Nong Khiaw. $1 bungalow on river. Really REALLY great overnight walk to hill tribe villages that were not corrupted by westerners to the extent that those in Thailand are. Had a sleepless night on a wood bench in one of the village huts due to the barking village dogs, roosters (that can't crow properly - or maybe its the Asian chicken accent...), and crashing thunder from a storm. Also the mum of the hut got up at 2.55am and started preparing vegetables!!!!!! Then the next day our guide somehow lost us in the bush while trying to get us down to a stream that we were going to walk out of the area on. Spent 1.5 hours heading straight down a gully with no track before some Hmong huntsmen found us and asked our guide what the hell he was up to. Pretty funny really. I loved it because we really were in the jungle - primary forest, big trees, vines, insects. Jeremy pulled a large rock from a place we were climbing down and just avoided being nailed by it. Most of us got sucked on by leeches (unfortunately I missed out, although I did get stung by a small wild bee...) We then heading straight up again for 2 hours before we got back to where we had lunch. Classic.

Yesterday we got a 9 hour bus to the capital Vientiane and hired 250cc off-road Hondas to explore Laos for the next 6 days. So good. We are so cool. Well... I'm pretty cool, and Jeremy is kind of cool.

We had to stop in Vang Vieng because it was getting late. It is beautiful, but is almost solely a farang backpacker town. The main street is internet cafes and pizza places. There were two restaurants opposite each other playing Friends, which is slightly surreal considering the landscape and towns we travelled through to get here. This place is set amongst limestone basalt peaks rising hundreds of meters into the air. Very beautiful (I seem to use beautiful a lot when describing Laos). You can take a boat up river and float down in tyre tubes and little shops along the way pull you in on request and sell you cold beer and/or food. Sounds cool, and it is probably the one experience that you hear most about from young travellers who have been to Laos, but we have off-road bikes and I think will get more enjoyment from getting a little bit away from the bulk of travellers.

Having the bikes is the fantastic (I have a good helmet mum, and even found some gloves). We have only just got out from the flatter area near the capital and it is unbelievably good to have the freedom to head wherever we want. First thing tomorrow we are heading to Phonsavan and the "Plain of Jars" on a 200km road described on our map as "Dirt road, 4WD only, wet season often impassable". Can't wait.

I got a puncture after only two hours of riding today! We were not too far
Fire-poi on Ko TaoFire-poi on Ko TaoFire-poi on Ko Tao

This guy was awesome
from a smallish village, and found a guy who fixed it while every kid in the place and a good chunk of the adults) gathered to watch. Our bikes are the Ferrari of the Laos motoring scene and no detail of their construction escaped the attentions of the gathering throng. After paying the guy $1 and buying him a large cold beer we headed off into the sunset (really).

I am off to bed now for an early start tomorrow - we found out today that it gets hellishly hot on the road during the day.

Click here for a blog about the Laos motorbike trip

9th May 2005
Fantastic news from Ko Tao

Trace and I are engaged!!!

I have felt that I want to share my life with Trace - for good -for a while, but decided when I arrived back in Koh Tao a month or so ago that I wanted to propose here. It’s a special, positive place for me. There is not a doubt in my mind that I want to marry Trace. With my head and my heart it is something that I really want.... and her smile when I asked her is something I will never forget.

So... we can celebrate when we are back (in a week).

I don't have all my email contacts on my webmail, so can you apologise to anyone I have not emailed with the news if they hear it first from you?

We are both very very happy 😊 😊

Additional photos below
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This is the lifeThis is the life
This is the life

"Paradise Massage", Koh Tao
Fire staffFire staff
Fire staff

Koh Tao
Fire staffFire staff
Fire staff

Koh Tao

Koh Tao
We needed to hire pants shirts and sandals as our singlets, shorts, and jandals were not respectful enoughWe needed to hire pants shirts and sandals as our singlets, shorts, and jandals were not respectful enough
We needed to hire pants shirts and sandals as our singlets, shorts, and jandals were not respectful enough

The fact that Jeremy and I had exactly the same clothes was cause for great hilarity.
Gold StupaGold Stupa
Gold Stupa

Royal Palace

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