Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nok Su Kow

After nearly a week on Koh Tao, it was time to get away from the touristy beaches and find ourselves the proper Thai street food that we so missed. Koh Tao was incredible, but extremely Westernized to the point that the locals would only respond in English even when we spoke to them in Thai. Even the Thai food was over-priced and bland, clearly catered toward the Western taste buds. It's strange that paying 120 baht (4 USD) for a meal on Koh Tao seemed absurd after knowing that better, more authentic Thai food for only 30 baht (approx 1 USD) was readily available everywhere else in the country. We had a fun-filled week of exploring the island via motorbikes & snorkeling in the Gulf of Thailand. While New York was battling power outages and 4 inches of snow, looking at the stunning beaches of Koh Tao everyday became far too normal of a sight. Once we realized it had reached that point, it was definitely time to head back to reality.

[The bugalows we stayed in Koh Tao - in the rain]
 [Koh Tao sunset]
 [Ko Nang Yuan - small island near Ko Tao where we stopped on the snorkeling tour]
                                                                                                         [Bangkok Burger Co]
A 2-hour ferry ride and an 8-hour bus ride back, we had arrived back in Bangkok. Nowhere on our route did we encounter the flooding, but apparently it is still happening in parts I have yet to see (such as where I am supposed to move & where our suitcases have been living at our old hotel). Despite being homeless, returning to Bangkok almost felt like coming home. We caught up with our other friends in Bangkok and spent two nights at what felt like an extremely luxurious hostel. We stayed in a dorm-style room, but soaked up every second of the most comfortable bed yet in Thailand along with a proper hot shower! Man, there nothing like a hot shower. As if that wasn't enough for Western comforts; we went to dinner for a friend's birthday at Bangkok Burger Company. The beef in Thailand is usually sketchy, as they do not farm cows here so it is not the meat of choice. This incredibly juicy, delicious burger was surely imported meat - the "La Parison" topped with mushrooms, brie cheese, and a gourmet sauce made me an extremely happy girl. Looks like we might be going back next weekend for another friend's birthday! I am drooling thinking about it..

A few of us headed to visit our friend in Chachoengsao (about 1.5 hours east of Bangkok) for a few days.  Her town was very nice, a smaller city but urban enough with a plethora of shops, street food vendors, restaurants and bars. Laura has just purchased a motorbike to maneuver her way around town. We had a lot of fun catching up with her and going out with the 20-30 other English teachers living in her town. I can only hope that life where I am moving will be half as fun as hers!
[Laura in the park in Chachoensgsao]
Connie and I continued on to visit our other dear friend, Corinne, in Chanthaburi today. A journey that should have taken 2 hours for some reason took 5 hours in a crammed van (literally there were 25 Thais squeezed 15 person van). I've had my fair share of experiences on the Thai bus system the past few weeks, but this was by far the strangest. On one hand it is easy to get around this country with many bus routes, but they all run on what we call "Thai Time," cram as many people in as possible, and make seemingly pointless stops along the way making everything take longer than necessary.

So far Chanthaburi seems extremely nice as well. A beautiful river runs through the town and the city is surrounded by picturesque mountains. Connie and I definitely have a lot to explore in this town while Corinne is teaching during the day. We will head back to Bangkok mid-week and have a reunion with many of our friends for Connie's birthday next weekend in Bangkok.
[Corinne by the Chathaburi River]

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