A Travellerspoint blog

Home sweet home Thailand

overcast 85 °F

Andy and I got a place for the month in Koh Tao while he takes his last diving instructors course. We are really excited to have a place to call our own and not have to pack every other day. Yes it is a great deal for $150/month but then again the first thing I said when I saw it was it feels like I am camping in Mexico. I say Mexico bc Andy hung these red Christmas lights on the porch which he says uses 1/3 less electricity than 1 bulb. All we need is a margarita blender and some tamales and we have a fiesta! It was advertised as a bungalow but resembles a cabin more. It is off the beaten path and I mean that literally, the path is dirt, large rocks and hills. We have a motor bike and every time we drive home I can’t stop laughing bc I am trying to hold on to my chest from everything bouncing and then hold on to Andy from falling off. It has a “kitchen” which was only a sink till they delivered a burner yesterday….i was like “oh…now I understand”. We are one big happy family with King and Kong the 2 geckos who like to hang out in the bathroom and the cat that I am bribing to be my friend. Oh and don’t forget the mosquitos, lets just say the net over the bed is not there for decoration! The best part is the hammock which has created fierce competition. It has to be an extreme emergency to get up bc you know you will lose your spot for the rest of the day. The toilet is “charming”, it isn’t a squatter but it has one of those self flushers which consists of you throwing a bucket of water into the toilet to flush it. In the middle of the night the whole seat flew off the toilet when I tried to sit down.

When we aren’t having fun at our house we are enjoying the island. Koh Tao is very close to the larger and more popular Koh Samui island. It was a 10 hour bus/boat ride getting here but worth every minute. It is one of my favorite places in Thailand so far, it is a good mix of all the beach towns. Though it is mainly a dive town, it has great beaches and a charming town with a nice nightlife.

While Andy dives for most of the day I have picked up yoga. I am used to practicing Bikram yoga back in New York and while it is great I was excited to try out some other styles. It was Vinyasa yoga and with all the doors open and it being on the beach it kind of felt like Bikram. I was reminded why I was so into yoga back home. That feeling when you walk out is worth every second in the poses. The only thing that would make it perfect is if my mom was here with me on Mother’s Day! You deserve this vacation more than I do! Xo.

Posted by Kegan00 16:59 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Singapore/Thailand

sunny 90 °F

Since I have last written we have left Bali, had a 2 day layover in Singapore and now in Thailand. Bali was sad to leave but I can't complain with Thailand. First though Singapore was a blast. It was like stepping into a western city. The city was cleaner than my New York apartment and it also had a lot going on...like my New York apartment. I was tempted to chew gum but then drove past a road actually called Canning Lane and decided against it. We had an amazing time but that is probably bc we had an amazing guide. We used a program called Couch Surfing and you can find people part of the program in cities you are going to and stay on their couch for free. After some research we found a guy who lived in the city in a luxary apartment with pool, etc. Not only was his apartment awesome he was the coolest guy. He moved to Singapore from Michigan for Biogenetics a year ago. He took us around the city and then we went out with him later that night. Really neat program if you are looking to make a new friend and for cheap accomodation. The first night in we didn't arrive in Singapore till 3am so we found 2 chairs to curl up in for a few hours. Luckily we were in Chengi airport and has received the "Golden Pillow award" 2 years in a row for being the best airport to sleep in according to www.sleepinginairports.com. I think New York airports are rated among the worst.

Now we are in Thailand and I am island hopping on the west and Andy headed east to Ko Tao for his diving courses. He rented a place for a month so I will head there in a couple days. I went to Phi Phi island for a couple days. It is where they filmed the movie The Beach. Really beautiful and party island, lots of kids. Now I am in Krabi and checking it out here till I leave for my 10 hour bus/boat ride to Ko Tao.

Posted by Kegan00 17:31 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Ubud

sunny 90 °F

Ubud is by far my favorite city in Bali. They say there is an aura here that is supposed to have a calming effect. The name Ubud comes from the word ubad, Balinese for medicine originating from an herb growing near the Campuhan River. They say the river can cure you of diseases and ailments. It is also a place where a lot of artists come live, so pretty much a hippy town.

Bali is also known as being the "island of a thousand temples", they say there are actually a million on the island (more temples than houses). Here temples are the meeting points of humans and gods and are a resting place for the gods during their stay on the island. Temples come to life only on certain festival days or at temple anniversaries (odalan), when they are decorated to greet the gods with offerings. The offerings are something they do everyday holiday or not. They make these little offering trays out of palm leaves and fill them with all different things, mainly flowers, incense and rice. The offering is a gift to the gods and to discourage evil spirits of disturbing the harmonious life. I asked one of the girls making them how many she makes a day and she said 60, 150 on holidays. Once they are used they cannot be used again as an offering. They really make Bali extra magical with all the flowers and incense burning all the time. The deep rooted culture reminds you how old it really is. Balinese was strongly influenced by Indian and Chinese, and particularly Hindu culture, beginning around the 1st century AD.

There are also performances going on every night in the town temples. Andy and I went to see a classical Balinese dance. It is very unique and I have pictures bc words won't come close to describing it. Very entertaining! Today we are thinking about driving to Basakih (the mother temple). It is about an hour away and we also are heading to the community center for Earth Day. The children there are putting together various activities to raise money. I don't know maybe I should never leave!

Yesterday Andy and I went trekking through the back of Ubud where all the rice patties are. It was about a 5k walk with streams, waterfalls, fields of rice patties and jungle. There is also a little cafe which overlooks it all. If you come here you must get the information from me to go. Best food/view, a must.

Monday we are leaving this magical place to head close to the airport to a town called Kuta. That is where all the surf beaches and young kids are. I think I even saw a Hard Rock cafe driving in from the airport...you get the point. Anyways, I am happy though because Mike (the dad from the Australian farm) will be in town the day before we leave. They have a house here since he comes surfing all the time. We are going to meet up for a coffee so I am excited to see him and hear how my chickies are doing.

Hope everyone is ready for the weekend. Happy Earth Day.

Posted by Kegan00 09:29 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Cafe Katie

sunny 90 °F

Today I took a Balinese cooking class at Cafe Bali. I learned how to make 3 of the main Indonesian dishes, soup and a pancake with Palm sugar and coconut called Dadar Gulung. The first dish is called Nasi Goreng and it is fried rice with vegetable and egg. The second was Bakmi Goreng which is the same as Nasi Goreng but with fried noodles instead of rice and then Gado Gado which is Andy and my favorite dish. We go around to all the restaurants and then rate each Gado Gado dish. It is Tofu, steamed vegetables with peanut sauce. The peanut sauce is clearly what makes the dish so yummy.

I ended up being the only one who showed up for the class so me and Wayan (my chef coach) headed to the market so he could teach me about all the vegetable and spices. He taught me how to tell when something is ripe and ready to be eaten. A lot of the vegetables and fruits don't even look like ours back home but they are usually smaller and so much more tasty. Then we headed back with our ingredients and cooked. After we finished I was left with 5 dishes to eat by myself. It was like Thanksgiving in Bali. I have all the recipes to share when I get back or maybe I can cook for you and you can let me sleep on your couch:)

The rest of the day I walked around and explored. Andy is set on going to a buffet dinner tonight. Thought they only had those in America...

xo

Posted by Kegan00 15:05 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Canadian artist/painter

sunny 95 °F

Back to Ubud which means back to internet! It feels good to be in "the city". Everything you would need for the most part is here. Considering we came from a town smaller than a city block. We did have a really good time and eastern Bali is so beautiful. I uploaded pictures of our drive from town to town with all the rice patties. They are mesmorizing. We left Tulamben a couple days ago and started driving south back to Ubud. We stopped in a beach town called Candidasa for a couple nights. It was a quaint town with a beautiful lagoon in the middle and a little bit of a drive away there was a white sand beach that I spent some time at.

Yesterday we got back to Ubud and staying at a more upscale home stay. It is amazing what an extra $3 dollars will get you. We have a huge room with a porch that fits 2 couches on it. I don't think we moved but to put a new dvd in. Today I am on the hunt to find out if we can get an extension on our visa. I really don't ever want to leave. There are tons of Americans who came and never went back. Andy and I have recently switched over to being Canadian. We decided it was best after the Balinese asked where we are from (and they always ask) and their response when you said America was "money money money". When you said Canada you get an "Oh" response and a blank expression. We figured we might be able to save a buck or two. Now that I am Canadian I figure I will be more artistic so I found a interpretive painting class I am going to take. I am just hoping my painting doesn't come out black with red splotches all over it!

Other than that I am still trying to get rid of my ear infection I got while diving. The pain is gone but I still can't hear out of my right ear. I will stick with the no hearing as long as it keeps me immuned to falling or coming down with something else. I am scared to know what is next...

We do have plans to fly out on the 29th to Singapore and then from there to Lao or Vietnam. Still trying to figure it out. Hopefully I will have another month here in Bali before I will have to decide. Sending you all my love. Hope it is warming up there for you (besides for you Zonies):) xo

Posted by Kegan00 10:30 Archived in Indonesia Comments (2)

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