Saturday, March 10, 2012

[Ham]mocking Real Life

I'm writing this from my iPod touch on a 12 hour journey back to Bangkok. As annoying as the touch screen is, I have not much else to do but twiddle my thumbs, so I figure I might as well put then to use.

My travels have kicked off with a bigger bang than I could have hoped for. Other than a series of unfortunate events, such as my beloved Chaco sandals being tossed out of the emergency exit on a bus in Bangkok and Joann's multiple battle wounds from the week, it has been a great start to my travels & hopefully just the vacation Joann needed from real life in NYC.

It all began on Friday March 2nd at the same place it began in October in Bangkok: Khao San Road. Only now, I felt completely out of place on the packaged tourist streets that I've grown to despise. But, as I am being a backpacker for 2 months, I suppose it is fitting to begin such a journey there.

I met my Thai friend Natt for a delicious Mexican meal in Bangkok, and man, was I surprised at how well Thais prepared one of my favorite cuisines. I met Joann at the airport when she arrived nearing 2am, and we wandered around without a wink of sleep until we left for Koh Tao at 6am. A 7 hour bus and 2 hour ferry later, we had ourselves a beach bungalow.

And so the days flew by with relaxing on the beach by day and drinking our selves silly by night. We also were able to hang out with another Ithaca friend who is living in Australia but was coincidentally visiting the same islands on the same dates.

Wednesday we ferried over to Koh Phangan, the home to the infamous Full Moon Party. Staying on Haad Rin (the dirty FMP beach) would have enabled us to stumble back & forth easily, but we opted for staying on a nicer beach a 10 minute taxi away. Our beach bungalow was basic with no air con and the standard manual toilet flusher, but the beach was lovely and felt nearly private.

Ah, the life of lying in a hammock reading my book all day, now that's a good life! I've had many times of such contemplation since moving to Thailand, usually whilst engaged in something totally awesome, that I really feel lucky. It was hammock stricken that it dawned on that this is my life right now, and I'm determined to find a means of living which allows me to continue doing what I love.

Which brings me to another digression. This past week, I found myself amongst a sea of foreign languages and accents. Some, I recognized as Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, German, Dutch, etc, but a few were very foreign to my ears. All these travelers were young - and all bound together by this common love for traveling. And of course, spoiled as I am with English being the international language, this allowed our communication. But then I got to thinking. Where are the Americans? I've been here over 5 months, and all of my friends are British. I've barely come across any Americans, and none at all after a week of traveling. I've met Canadians, Mexicans, Japanese and Timbuktuians, but why is such a major population so under represented? I stumbled across this article, which rang very true for me and is exactly what I'm determined to fight in my own life.

Back on track - no matter what words I so carefully choose to describe the Full Moon Party, nothing will ever do it justice. Through the hilarious, ridiculous, good and bad, it was absolutely a mind boggling experience. Days before the real FMP, Haad RIn explodes with travelers from all ends of the Earth. We ventured to Haad Rin the day before the FMP, and after a night of dancing until the sun came up along with thousands of others, it was hard to imagine what the following day could possibly bring - but, it did not fail us. I have so many thoughts about the FMP, I think it deserves it's own entry which I will try to do in my R&R time to follow.

The next few days are for recovering, laundry and picking up a few supplies at the Bangkok weekend market...such as a new pair of shoes seeing as Bangkok swallowed my travel shoes. Joann leaves tonight and I'm very sad to see her go, but so grateful to have a friend willing to waste 2 of her vacation days traveling across the world to gallivant Thailand with me. I'll be laying low at a hostel in Bangkok until Tuesday night, when I'll probably camp out at the airport to catch my early Wednesday morning flight to Hanoi, Vietnam.

Pictures are from this week, out of order, taken from my iPod.

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