The first weekend, we headed to Kanchanaburi for a very Ithaca-esque weekend: temple cave dwelling, long sunset walks, visiting the famous "Death Railway" and "Bridge Over River Kwai," hiking and swimming in the Erawin National Park (a beautiful 7-tiered waterfall & national park). The highlight was definitely a 12k kayak down the River Kwai - which we approached as more of a lazy river, taking our sweet time. After a perfect river stroll with a few laughable incidents (Barry tipping over and Justin briefly losing his kayak under a 'floating restaurant'), we indulged in a massive amount of proper Thai food on a river restaurant. It was one of those many Thailand weekends that I couldn't stop smiling about for days.
Barry & Justin in Wat Khao Pun (Cave Temples)
Floating Restaurants on River Kwai at dusk
Erawan Falls Tier 1 or 2
Justin on the famous Death Railway Train
Kayaking River Kwai
A rewarding lunch of Tom Yum Goong
Barry and Justin joined me in Sriracha for another entertaining weekend. We didn't do a whole lot other than eating and drinking well, Koh Sichang (island), and a quick trip to Pattaya - but I really appreciated their company as usual. There is a lot to be said for the privacy that comes along with living alone, but it also makes me value companionship even more, especially those based on mutual respect, pleasure, and intellectual stimulation. Even if their smelly backpacker boy selves stunk up my place, I was sad to see them move on to Cambodia. I will see both of them later on in their trips: Justin will visit again in a couple weeks before he flies home and Barry for Songkran (Thai New Year) in Chiang Mai in April, if not earlier when I venture to Vietnam.
Seeing friends from home who are traveling makes me anxious to get on the road. With my current weekly routine of school, exercise, food, read, sleep & repeat - I am itching for more adventure and counting the days and hours left in this semester.
I can't complain much, because life is on the brink of getting really exciting. In chronological order my two months of backpacking include: island hopping with a visiting friend from home, a couple weeks wandering Vietnam, a recently booked week-long trip to Hong Kong thanks to a family friend offering free accommodation, spending Songkran (the 4-day Thai New Year festival) in Chiang Mai, a few days exploring Chiang Rai, and a 10-day family visit around Thailand. Although I still need to secure a job for next semester, knowing the Thai school system and with the responses I've already received, it is the least of my concerns. I'm ready to wipe that dust of my backpack and hit the road!
PS: For any family or friends interested in being notified when I spontaneously update this thing, I have added a "Follow by Email" on the right-hand side (although I am not quite sure it works to be honest).