Tuesday, October 5, 2010

beaches and bangkok!

remember that movie the beach with leonardo dicaprio? well that was filmed right here:

it's phi phi island {pronounced "pee-pee"} and it is listed in the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world! {i don't know who the governing authority was that ranked it, but it worked for me - it was gorgeous!}. we spent a day island hopping around the bay of bengal and this was our first stop. we were confined to the beach though because the rest of the island is thick jungle full of wild dangers, and you have to have a professional guide take you through. all the islands were like that and i kept having "lost" flashbacks.

{we had to learn to live together, so we wouldn't die alone.}

on another island there were tons of monkeys in the trees. cute, but we weren't allowed on the island because they would likely attack us, so we fed them from the boat.

the water was clear blue and just perfect for swimming. they stopped in several places where there were coral reefs and let us go snorkling. it was my first time ever snorkling and it was so fun!!

until i got stung by a jelly fish. holy mother that hurt {well, it hurt far more than my tattoo, but not quite as bad as my bikini waxing, which is the most horrible thing i've ever felt - am i right ladies?}! anyway, i was quoting friends the rest of the day and convincing myself that no matter what i would not let anyone pee on me.

we also got to watch huge storms come up over the main island of phuket {as fun as it is to mispronounce this, it's actually pronounced "poo-ket"}.


after a few days in phuket we took a train through the country to bangkok.
FRIENDS! this is very important: Never Ever Ever, Under Any Circumstances, Take A Train In Thailand! we had been warned by friends that the trains were less than desirable, but it was cheap, we got a first class sleeper cabin so we thought it would be okay, and we thought it would be romantic to take a train and see the countryside. NOPE! it was horrible, awful, no good! it was dirty, there was old gum stuck in the sink, the toilet was the kind you stood over {and on a bumpy train many people missed making the floor extremely gross}, and the worst part - roaches. EVERYWHERE! they were crawling all over the train and our room. dannon was quite the hero that night saving me from creepy crawlies. finally we decided to spray a very thick protective barrier of deet on all the walls, beds, and floor of our cabin. i'm pretty sure we're going to get cancer from breathing poison all night but it ended up keeping the roaches away. i wanted to burn my clothes and bleach my skin after that trip. and i looked like this all night long:

once we got to bangkok we checked into the hilton and spent the day rolling around in cleanliness and class {thanks to dannon's uncle!}. what a relief to have the fancy hotel after our little train adventure!

our room was up on the 22nd floor and we had a giant window looking out over all of bangkok {which is a very sprawling city, a lot like l.a.}.

the hotel also had a beautiful rooftop pool overlooking the bangkok river. the locals insisted it was a clean river, but we saw a lot of sewage being dumped into the river upstream and it's brown, so...

{being silly in bangkok}


a few things we learned in thailand:

* drivers are CRAZY! sure there are lines on the roads, but no one really uses them. everyone just sort of goes for it however they can. a cheap version of a taxi is a tuk tuk, which is a sort of go cart. we took one once and we thought we were absolutely going to die! definitely good if you are the daredevil sorts. :)

{terrified for our lives!}

* everyone lies to you. well, to us anyway. being white we couldn't hide the fact that we were tourists, so we were targeted at every turn the moment we left the hotel. taxi drivers and street vendors flocked to us everywhere we went trying to get us to buy this or that. and of course they would raise the price by 3-4 times what things actually cost. we couldn't even have a conversation walking down the street because we were too busy rejecting hasslers. our thai friend warned us that we would have to watch prices even at big department stores because they would try to quote us crazy high prices. if you go to bangkok, take a friend who knows the culture or who even just looks asian, otherwise be prepared to deal with the hasslers.

* when they tell westerners not to drink the water, that goes for ice cubes, smoothies, and any fresh fruit, veggies, and salads that have been rinsed. every time we got thai iced teas we would feel really dizzy for a few hours afterward. but i mean, you can't have a thai iced tea without the ice! it was usually worth it, but one day we apparently got more than we should have and we both got really sick. dannon was so sick we had to take a trip to the doctor. luckily seeing a doctor and getting medicine for two people only takes 20min and costs $25. we were all better the next day. seriously america, healthcare doesn't have to be so difficult!