Page 16 of Laura421 Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Vietnam » Southeast » Ho Chi Minh City January 5th 2012

Geo: 10.7592, 106.662 Laila and I flew into Hi Chi Minh City in VietNam from Bangkok, Thailand. On this trip we were only going to have a couple days to explore Saigon before we traveled into Cambodia. But we typically cram a lot of activities into each day, and the pace of this trip had not hit us yet, so we entered VietNam feeling optimistic about our short stay. Unfortunately, immigration took an unpleasant two hours, and, understanding that we did not yet understand their money, the taxi driver stole the equivalent of $40 right out of Laila's hands, even though the ride to our guesthouse should have been about $8. In Ho Chi Minh City there are more scooters (or motos) than I have ever seen in my life; hundreds of them, seemingly thousands of ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok January 3rd 2012

Geo: 13.7308, 100.521 My daughter, Laila, and I took a few days to explore Bangkok when she came to meet me in Thailand, on her month-long break for Chinese New Year. This Tuesday morning we had planned on going into the center of Bangkok, to see several Buddhas, wats, the Giant Swing, and the Green Mountain. We took a tuk-tuk, as Laila really loves riding in them, plus they are the easiest way to get around anywhere in the city. We visited a wat in the morning, had the most delicious vegan Pad Thai for lunch, and then stopped to look at a map to see how to get to the Green Mountain, one of the places in Bangkok I most wanted to see. As we were trying to decipher the map, a man came over ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Pathum Thani December 25th 2011

Geo: 14.0167, 100.533 It is Christmas Day. I love Christmas! I love Christmas Eve best of all, since anticipation is usually even more exciting than the actual event, whatever that event is. I am not Christian, but I do believe that Jesus was one of the great spiritual leaders born into this world, and I believe in something over and above us, some energy, some something, and hope that there will be a great meeting of souls after this life; agnostic would probably be the best way to define my beliefs. But I do love Christmas, for so many reasons: for the story of the baby Jesus, for all the excitement of preparation and gift giving, for the lights and decorations, for the wonderful smell of live Christmas trees, for the early darkness of the days ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Pathum Thani December 22nd 2011

Geo: 14.0167, 100.533 Let's go back to the market. I go there at least twice each day, once in the morning to buy my fresh young green coconut, and maybe bananas, oranges, mangoes, and then again in the late afternoon to buy dinner, usually a mixed salad. The market is very colorful; all colors of umbrellas bash against each other, protecting each vendor from the hot sun. The umbrellas are old, faded, ripped in places, and their hanging threads brush my hair as I walk by; many Thais are very short by US standards, but I have to duck and dodge umbrellas constantly. The umbrellas survived the floods here too, and still have enough good use to them, so, dirty, and torn, every day they are put up, and every evening they are taken down to ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Pathum Thani December 21st 2011

Geo: 14.0167, 100.533 I should have started this blog over a month ago; that's how long I've been in Thailand now, since November 12, 2011. But I didn't know how to start a blog, so I asked one of my daughters (the one who writes her blog from Shenzhen, China) and she said to use TravelPod: "It's free and it's easy!" We will see. Later on we can go back and fill in the gaps in this story, but I want to write about the markets in Thailand right now. When I arrived in Pathum Thani, on November 30, I had expected to be teaching at a secondary school here, but that didn't work out for many reasons. (Another story, but later.) I would not have ever picked Pathum Thani as a place to visit, much ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Nonthaburi December 12th 2011

Geo: 13.8456, 100.524 Traveling alone has its challenges, but the hardest is feeling isolated. Staying connected by emails, Skype, and phone calls makes this less of a problem, but two of those three require an internet connection, in my experience so far not ever a given here in Thailand. For my first two weeks here I did not have an internet connection where I was staying, so that made life much more difficult. When I moved here internet was promised; it was part of why the rent was higher than other places. However, at best it is not reliable. You have to keep trying, and hope there will be a connection, and hope that it continues, or hope that it comes back; certainly do not try to connect when it is dark outside because of the ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Pattaya December 7th 2011

Geo: 12.92, 100.9 I had a lot of time on my hands in Pathum Thani, and, urged by Bill and Ariel and Laila to travel around and explore Thailand, I went to Pattaya for three days in early December. Pattaya is known as a tourist destination, but also for its beautiful beaches. Bill booked me a reservation at the Shakespeare Hotel on Jomtien Beach, and I set off on my journey. I took two buses and one minivan to get into Bangkok, then I took the Skytrain to cross Bangkok to reach Ekemai Station, the eastern terminal. This all took some time, but that's what I had most: time. Taking a taxi would have been far easier, but I wanted to see Thailand as regular Thai people see it, not as a tourist. Traveling this way ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Western Thailand » Hua Hin November 27th 2011

Geo: 12.569, 99.9524 One thing I want to do while in Thailand is to ride on an elephant. (I rode on a camel in Cairo, Egypt, being able to look over to the Sphinx and great pyramids while doing it! What a story that was. We'll save that for another time, another adventure, but from memory, since it's long over.) Sunday, November 27 dawned hot and sunny. It was a bit hotter than previous days, but it is so nice not to have to think about piling on 5 or 6 layers of clothing, and then a bulky coat on top of that. Plus hat, scarf, double mittens, thick socks, boots. (I am from Maine.) But I digress. It was hot that day, and very sunny, so my walk into town felt warmer than usual. I ... read more

Asia » Thailand » Western Thailand » Hua Hin November 26th 2011

Geo: 12.569, 99.9524 While I was taking half of a TEFL course in Hua Hin, there were two weekend field trips that our little class took. The first weekend we were there nothing was planned, so three of us checked out Hua Hin's floating market, hoping it was similar to the famous floating market in Bangkok. This one was a disappointment. We 3 all rode out on one scooter; it appears everybody in Thailand rides scooters. I generally try to walk everywhere possible, but the floating market was too far away, and it was quite hot. Once we got there and parked the scooter, we looked for a way to enter; because we all look Western, we were directed to an opening that led to the boats. It cost 100Baht each (about $3 pp) to ride ... read more

North America » Canada » Quebec » MontrĂ©al November 11th 2011

Geo: 45.5075, -73.5587 Friday, November 11, 2011 I flew out of Montreal. Six + hours away from where we live, it was worth the extra driving time in terms of not having to worry about the travesty that is now termed "airport security" in the US. There is nothing secure about "airport security" except for the knowledge that basic Constitutional (and human) rights are being trampled on and ignored. At this airport I sailed through their security; except for taking off my coat, I did not have to undress, or take off my shoes, or remove any jewelry, or worry that someone would try to abuse me. Yes, I had to walk through a metal detector, but other than that, and having my suitcase and backpack screened, it was almost as easy as flying was before ... read more

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