Only six days to Delhi
30.12.2007 - 07.01.2008 34 °C
I guess it's been a few days since I last wrote. My apologies. But Happy New Year!
After flying back to Bangkok from Hanoi on Boxing Day, I made my way to Koh Chang, an island off the coast of Thailand, near Cambodia. I had plans to meet up with the Aussie and the Kiwi I had met over Christmas in Hanoi. We didn't book ahead based on the travel agent's recommendation that there would be 'plenty' of accomodation on the island for New Year's. This was dumb. We got there on December 30th, and found that the entire island was completely booked out, and the only room available was at this woman's house for 1000 baht (about $30). Since there was three of us, it wasn't that expensive, but when we got there, it was just a space in her living room with a couple mattresses on the floor. No door. We moved into one of her crappy bungalows for the same price on New Year's Eve, and then bolted the next day.
New Year's was a good time, though. We went to a backpacker's place called the Treehouse on Lonely Beach, and it was overflowing with people, but very, very relaxed. There was even a fireworks show. My sandals got stolen though. Either that or I was too drunk to find them at the end of the night. But it wasn't a big deal, I think I paid 55 baht for them, which works out to less than $2.
After New Year's, we decided to find some much needed quality accomodation and found an awesome place on the opposite side of the island. It was like a hotel, but it was built over the water connected by a long pier. We spent six days there, rented motos virtually every day and explored the whole island, finding beaches no one went to, navigating dirt paths that these scooters were absolutely not designed for, and generally just lying in the sun. We also took a boat on one of the last days to a smaller outlying island that had a very picturesque little beach. I admit that I shaved my beard off before I got to the island because I didn't want to be disgraced with a beard tan, but it's coming back in nicely, and by the time I get back to Van (which isn't too far away now), it'll be full again.
I'm back in Bangkok again, this time for almost a full week before I leave for India next Sunday, the 13th. I'm pretty excited to see a culture completely different from Southeast Asia, and I've heard many people simply cannot handle the culture shock India provides. I'm reading a fantastic book right now called Shantaram, a true story written by an Australian that broke out of maximum security prison in the 80's, escaped to India, lived in a slum, fought in an Afghani war, acted in Bollywood, and ultimately got caught and spent more time in an Aussie jail. It's probably the best book I've ever read and it has great insights into Indian life. Apparently it's being made into a film starring Johnny Depp. As for my trip, I actually fly into Colombo, Sri Lanka and spend a night there first, before flying to Delhi the next afternoon. I'm hoping I'll get a chance to look around the city, but they're not giving me a visa, so I'll probably be confined to my hotel room. I'm planning on doing a full tour of the state of Rajasthan, in the northwest of the country. Apparently there's a ton of culture there, and the Taj Mahal is just east of Rajasthan in Agra. I've only got three weeks, and I'll be back in Bangkok again on February 5th, before flying back to Vancouver on the 9th.
I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed; it's already been three and a half months, and the next four weeks will surely pass quickly. I'm glad I went away for so long though. If it had only been two months, or even three, I don't think I would have been as satisfied as I already I am. The time allowed me to get pretty homesick at one point, and then plenty of time to work through it to the point where the last three weeks have been some of the best of the trip, simply because I appreciate being away.
Some pics, I haven't taken a ton lately, so there's not much to choose from:
This was the little peninsula beach on the smaller island next to Koh Chang. There wasn't a soul around but us.
Another empty beach we took motos to. The dirt path to the beach was downright dangerous at one point, which made it so much more rewarding to get to.
I've been reading that there's some bad storms hitting the West Coast? Do you guys have snow or what? See you all soon ..