My last day in Bangkok, and arriving in Siem Reap, Cambodia

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I left my lodgings around 10am, totally sure I could get to Wat Po, enjoy a massage, and get back to my place with plenty of time to take a refreshing shower and make my way in a relaxed manner to the airport.

I got everything done except the relaxed and plenty of time parts.

Things don’t look so far apart on the map, and theoretically you can get there from here. Just not quickly, or easily. Each train and boat are run by different companies, & use a different tickets. I got there fine, though, it took a bit longer than I expected.

I was determined to get that massage.

I had to take two trains and a boat there. I had to take the same back, but in reverse. Except, as a result of being over tired, over heated, thinking that I had to rush, I misread the sign, and got off the freakin boat too early. Right about then the effects of the massage wore off. At that point I was just praying to get back in time to hose off, and get to the airport in time.

It was a mad scramble to get myself out the door. I contacted my host via LINE, an app that is like Viber and a bit better than Whatsapp. Sadly, one of his dogs, thy was in the Vet hospital, finally passed away. I felt so bad that I couldn’t talk more with him!

The best part of my dash to the airport was I only had to take one train. Oh, and once I got to the right station, I was worried about finding the right bus, but a nice traffic officer, who was managing the rush hour busses, told me I was in the right spot for the A1 airport “express” bus. Traffic was awful! LOL. I got to the airport JUST in time. AirAsia’s check in area is not well signed, so I asked a fellow at one of the desks if I was in the right place, and his eyes got big and looked at his watch – I got there 1.5hrs before the flight. He and a co worker rushed me through.

The coworker gave me a mild panic attack – he kept asking for my visa paperwork. He couldn’t give me my boarding pass without it. I had no idea what he was talking about, since I was planning on doing the Visa on Arrival – the only “paperwork” I had was the $20USD for the visa in Cambodia. I was sure I was going to miss my flight, but the other associate said, “OH, Cambodia”, the agent was thinking I was going to China. Whew!!!! THEN, as I put the pack on the scale, I brushed against the tape that the security guard slapped on it on the way to the check in desk. It had to be scanned again. Thought I was going to shed a panic tear. The checkin agents said not to worry, that they would take care of it. I was really praying my bag would make it to my destination with me!!! Asia’s low cost airlines are much more strict on carry on weight – only 7kgs. My pack is less than 17kgs, I don’t think I could sneak it past. Plus, I have a supply of sunscreen and bug repellant.

After that things got much easier. Security was fast, and I had just enough time to hit the loo, grab a sandwich, and change 3000 BHT into about $97. I hate changing cash, but I knew I’d need it in Cambodia.

The flight was quick, and I forgot that I had ordered a meal. I’m still glad I got the sandwich, because the AirAsia meal was less than “meh”.

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Once my flight arrived, and I made my way to the Visa area there was quite a line, but it did really move quickly. I had a moment of concern when I saw the people around me take out their extra passport photos, but the Visa agent just charged me $1 extra, and it was no problem. Then you just wait in a group, and once your passport is done, they call your name, hand you your passport, and you are good to go – 30 days for a Tourist visa.

Once I grabbed my bags, I made my way to find my driver. I’m staying at Seven Candles Guesthouse, and they sent a driver to pick me up for free – so awesome!

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Ko Samui : Day 3…or 4…

I think it is the 4th day including the day I arrived. These past few days have been like a real vacation. Wake, stress a little – I should be doing something- then I realize what I should be doing is being on the beach… All. Day. So I get dressed, grab my beach bag. On my way I stop for breakfast, at the open air market.

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Today it was stir-fried morning-glory vine with garlic, chili and brown sauce & rice for 40thb, and a morning snack of a small bag of sticky rice.

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There is a small part of the beach that has beach chairs you can rent for the whole day, for only 50thb ($1.50). The woman who gave me a pedicure on the beach told me about it. Oh, yeah, Thai women roam the beach offering pedicures, manicures, & massages.

Lunch was a carved pineapple and a coconut. The fellow added some small bananas, too.

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I also got the lowdown on when Songkran is being celebrated near Lamai Beach. It starts tonight and all day tomorrow. I will not have a dry walk home tonight.

Koh Samui – Day 1

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I caught a taxi at 4am to BKK airport. I was worried that I might not find one, but my host assured me it would be easy and less than 200THB. Luckily, I only had to wave down two taxis to find one willing to take me to the airport AND use the meter. I was at the airport in about 20 minutes for 179THB. ( just a little over 5 USD).

I had checked in the night before, which was a good thing since they had changed my flight to bout 20min earlier. Another huge plus to checking in online is that you can usually avoid at least one long line. I went straight to the bag drop. Yes, shocker, I actually checked a bag for this trip. I had bought a large container of sunscreen, a couple small bottles of Mozzie spray (mozzie = Mosquitos) I had originally planned a train journey,so liquids weren’t a concern. Luckily, Bangkok Air has agree checked baggage allowance of 20kg/ about 40lbs. I felt SO STRANGE walking towards major transit without my backpack!!! Strange, but free. I managed to even have a few moments to grab a snack at the BA club, before heading to my gate.

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The flight was nice, and the inflight snack was like a large airline meal – very well done and fresh. Once we landed and I got my pack, I went to the minivan service for Lamai. Sometimes you have to wait til they have enough people, but it didn’t take long before we were on our way.

I was the last dropped off, and I waited for a bit for my host to give better directions. I was ready to make other arrangements, when she finally responded. I was only a short walk. The place is very basic, but there is AC, bathroom, and walkable to the beach. I’ll stay here for a few days unless I find a better place on the beach.

I ended up taking a nap. Naps make everything better. The sun shines a little brighter. What would have been a trudge, becomes a stroll. Once I woke, I managed to get going about 2pm. I made the walk to the beach and stopped at the Tesco Lotus – kind of like a Walmart with a Thai style food court. I had some stir fried noodles with veg and chicken. Then finished my walk to the beach. Not too far.

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Once I got comfy, a woman stopped by and exfoliated my feet. She started with one foot, said no cost if I didn’t like. She was nice, though she scolded me for not shaving my legs. So, it’s been a couple weeks…eh, I’ll do it tonight. Then she compared our skin colors, and laughed at the prices I paid for my hat and large cloth I’m using to sit on. Then she nodded sagely saying, “you pay farang prices, not Thai prices. Then we negotiated the cost to finish. She did most of one foot, but I felt bad not paying anything So I gave her 100THB, and said thanks, can’t afford the other foot. The price came down from 500 to 120 including both feet. Later she stopped by to tell me to not be on the beach alone after 6:30/7pm since I’m traveling alone. I’ll be taking her advice, and will be looking for a place really close to the beach.

The beach was clearing out about 5:45, so I packed up and headed back in the direction of where I’m staying, and stopped off to get a foot massage. This was the best one yet. I think I had a string dreams, and the massage seemed to last longer than an hour. I’ll be going back to that place.

Then there was pad Thai for dinner!

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Arrived in Bangkok!

I’ve just passed my first 24 hrs in Bangkok, and have the energy to write!

I arrived yesterday at 6:45am. Usually, when I get to a place that uses a new currency, my first stop after getting off the plane is the ATM for some pocket money. Guess what I forgot to do! I forgot to contact my bank to let them know I was changing countries! Since it was after business hours in the states, I had to collect my other currencies and buy baht at the airport. Not ideal, but at least I had train fare and some lunch money!

I made it to my lodgings and met my host, Witty. He gave me a tour of the flat, which was lovely, and brand new – only 3 months old. There is also a wonderful pool, that I’m going to take advantage of later tonight.

After I got settled and changed, he took me on a little tour of the shopping district. I’m glad I had him with me, as I got a great deal on a lifeproof waterproof iPhone case.

We parted ways, Witty went to his yoga class, and I window shopped, till I was ready to drop.

Before I staggered back to the flat, from lack of sleep, I went up to the cafeteria style restaurant area on the top floor. It works like this: you figure out what you want, go to the cashier and pay, you are given a ticket to exchange for the food item. What I got was yummy – it was called Thai Steed soup.

I mangaged to find my way back to the flat, and “tried” to write/fb/research. Nothing was going to happen. I went horizontal from about 3pm to 8pm.

Once I woke, I managed my banking, then ran down the street to get cash, and my street food dinner.

With the 5 hour nap, you’d think I wouldn’t be able to sleep. Not the case – I slept solidly for 7 more hours.

In A Plane, Somewhere Over Europe!

Today I’m traveling from Venice Italy to Bangkok, Thailand, via Stockholm, Sweden. This post is being written on the first flight of the day. I’m enjoying Norwegian Air’s free wifi, and nearly empty craft.

Norwegian is a low cost carrier, and so charges for any refreshment, so last night I prepared a few sandwiches. Lastnight was the first time I bought plain white bread. It was a loaf of 5 peices, crustless, and long – the size of two continuous peices of american white bread, so enough for 5 sandwiches. i made two turkey, cheese, tomato, greens, & artichoke pate, one ham and cheese, one cheese, and one peanutbutter rollup.

One of my favorite travel accessories is my EMS self inflating travel pillow. It rolls up small, and inflates super easy. its nice to have a bit if extra comfort for long flights.

A quick travel tip – a travel pillow can act as extra cushioning for butts sore and tired from sitting for hours on uncomfortable economy class seats.

I love my Keen sandals, the are usually really comfy, and perfect for SE Asia. However, i have to get used to more structured shoes again. I’ve been wearing my Vibram 5 Fingers Treking shoe for 2 months, and loved them from the start – rediculously comfortable, especially fir a minimalist shoe. I’m going to have to watch my step, since I cant feel the ground in the Keens.

Well, folks, I’m gonna go surf the net and research destinations! Ciao, ragazzi!!!