Thursday, August 25, 2005


so i showed up in bangkok after getting the hell out of chiangmai. at least it wasn't flooding here. well, not with water anyway, it was, however, flooded with farang (foreigners) and i had a hard time finding a thai person that wasn't serving me a banana pancake. it took me about two days to get sick of bangkok but i have been having fun regardless. i met up with my friend chris from beijing who is going to school here in thailand. we have been going out quite regularly. he took me to his campus (it is a resort) and we played basketball and hung out. since, i have been to the royal palace, seen a temple or two, shopped, watched numerous movies, ate everything in sight, drank some beer, changed hostels a few times, met some people, and been to china town (i am already missing china too much). now i am finished with bangkok. i will head to the islands and get some sun and relax before meeting chris and taking off to cambodia and vietnam. i will update this thing when i get back i guess, as there isn't much of a chance for me to get online. here are the few pics i took in the last bit in bangkok.

khosan road at night (and balloons) Posted by Picasa

this is one of the temples at the palace in bangkok Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 14, 2005

in thailand

allright, i forgot my swiss army knife was in my carry-on and had to leave it behind at the hk airport. i will get someone to send it to me i guess. anyway, i arrived in bangkok from hk and checked my email at the airport. my friends eddie and jenn had already left and told me where they were staying in chiang mai (thailand's second biggest city). i figured since i was flying out of bangkok in september, i could just skip it for now and booked a flight that same evening for chiang mai. while i waited i got a haircut. i arrived at around 9pm in chiang mai and found the hostel they were staying at but it was locked tight and so i waited at a nearby bar. hours passed and still no sign of them. the bar was closing and i didn't have a place to stay so i ended up staying at the bar in their staff room. it was kind of gross but it was warm. i met up with my friends the next morning and we headed to a small village called pai in the north. we stayed in a really cool cottage-type place with a really big courtyard and medicinal herb garden. the first night we went out and had a good time. the next day we rented motorbikes and eddie crashed with jenn on the back. it was minor but kind of scary. it was all our first time riding bikes. we went through some villages and went to a waterfall. it began raining like crazy and the drive back was nuts. the next day we went on an overnight trek through the jungle with a company that boasted it's non-touristy nature. their motto was that, if you saw another foreigner on your trip, you get half price. anyway, it was a hard trek and our guide was so hung over that he puked every half hour but it was still beautiful. it is the rainy season and we got wet but we saw gorgeous villages and bugs and all sorts of forests. we stayed the night in a tiny village. that night though, it rained really hard and when we woke up the next morning, we learned that the village of pai had flooded and that the bridge to the city was destroyed. our guide's aunt died with numerous others as their houses collapsed. we were stranded in the jungle with no food. and water. we decided we would trek to another camp, a bamboo hut in a bamboo forest. we had to stay there because there were numerous water crossings to get home and the rivers were too high and fast. another guide braved the trip to bring us food and stuff so at least we ate and drank whiskey and sang songs. it turned out to be really great. i built a bamboo bridge but lost the guide's machete when i accidentally tossed it into the river. oops. i bought him another though. we made it back to pai the next day to find it completely destroyed. the few places where the water had receded were knee deep in mud. luckily our gear we left behind, including my laptop were fine. but our guesthouse and the herb garden were anhilated. we cought a bus to chiang mai that morning and arrived to find it flooded here too. half the streets in the city are swimming. jenn and eddie cought their plane out this morning but because all the backpackers in the city were trying to get out, i couldn't find a flight. i have to stay one more day here. at least it gave me a chance to let you all know that we are alive and that our stuff is fine. here are some of the pics.

our trekking group at the end of our journey Posted by Picasa

just as i took a photo of these jungle kids, a swarm of fire ants went up my pant leg and bit me in a million painful places Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 08, 2005


dali was a traveller's paradise, much like yangshuo in guanxi province. the old city is a walled, cobblestone town with traditional buildings and small western-style cafes and restaurants. weed grows wild along the side of the street. the scenery is gorgeous and it is easy to retreat to the hundreds of small minority villages scattered around erhai lake. diab and i loved it. we arrived around 1am the first night from kunming and managed to find a great hostel. we went out for a beer and met a chinese minority girl who is muslim and is dating an english guy with whom she co-owns the bar. crazy. she hooked us up with a chinese girl and her mom for a trip the next day. we went to a traditional market, a butterfly spring, bai cultural dancing and tea ceremony, took a ride on the lake and anything else that seems really touristy to do. the next day i was ill from food poisoning i think. all day i writhed in pain in my bed and diab rented a bike and toured the city and countryside. the next day i was ok and we rented bikes and followed the lake while exploring all the villages. gorgeous i tell you. anyway, we stayed a few days and had a great time. i think that china has left its mark on diab. i am sad to say that i am back in hk for a few days and will be leaving china for good. next stop is southeast asia (thailand first). i will keep you all posted. thanks for staying with me for this long. oh yeah, here are the pics from dali. :)

making incense in a small village outside dali Posted by Picasa

the mountains around dali were gorgeous, the clouds just played around them  Posted by Picasa

the water pump keeper and a child Posted by Picasa

kunming, yunnan province, china

kunming was pretty fun. we were tired from two days and nights of travelling so we decided to spend two days in this city. we were suprised to find that it was so big and clean and actually quite nice. there is a large lake park in the centre of the city and markets as well as nice temples and some sights a little out of the city area. we met with some americans and isreali's and went to a club where foreigners could drink for free. from here it was only a four hour bus ride to dali, which was our main destination. see pics here for nanning and kunming.

the guy in the middle, the one who looks like a ghost, didn't have a shirt on and was wearing these little shorts. when he danced, his dreads swung around like pretty little ribbons :) Posted by Picasa

a temple in kunming Posted by Picasa

diab loved the fact that there was a large muslim population amongst the minorities of yunnan province. Posted by Picasa

purty!!! Posted by Picasa

nanning, guanxi province, china

so diab had an extra week and wanted to get out of hk. i was going to go to yunnan province after vietnam but thought that it would be good to travel with a buddy. so we took off from hk and went to shengzhen to catch an overnight bus to nanning. nanning is a large city (dirty, noisy, smelly) just like any other in china. the difference was that it was diab's first experience in the country and he was surprised to find it so different from hk. it was really hot and we found this pool table in a small bar at the end of a street so we had a couple beers and played with this cool guy. we had a train to catch that evening for kunming so we didn't see much. here are some pics.

a guy in nanning Posted by Picasa

playing pool in nanning with a cool guy. it was so hot we were happy to find this beer oasis. Posted by Picasa

third week in hk

so govind showed up first from his little stint in india and by then tai had moved us into a cool hotel on the island in wan chai. he knew a guy who knew a guy or something and we got a great deal. the next day, when diab showed up from the uae, we had already made ourselves at home and had no problem moving him in. it was almost a 28 cecil reunion in hk. first, let me appologize for taking so long to post this. it was just such a busy week. the four of us went out every night all night, partied, ate, saw sights and had a blast. govind was obsessed with the fact that from the front of every 7-11 you could see another one down the street. diab couldn't figure out where all the people were coming from. and i was just happy to have my friends in hk to relieve some of the homesickness i had been feeling. we saw the word's biggest buddha. we took every form of transportation possible. we went to the beach. climbed victoria peak. mong kok, causeway, central, etc. spent some hard-earned cash but oh well. one of the greatest weeks yet. check out the pics. some of them belong to govind and diab but i can't tell you which. they are fun though. cheers, and again sorry for the delay. j

hk from atop victoria peak Posted by Picasa

the boys on the star ferry to tsim sha tsui Posted by Picasa