19 Nov 2010

.Maybe Tomorrow. I find my way home.

Nothing much really happened so far. Bangkok is still Bangkok, still hot, still humid, still tiring and all the rest - just as always. It does feel like at home already. And yet again, I am leaving this home for more than a month. Just when it started to feel homish. Oh well.

By the way, did I ever mention, I am living in the future here? Yes, it's not 2010 as you might think, it is actually 2553. Can I just say, that future is nothing much different from the present? ;) Still the same thing. Although people are shorter, darker and speak not understandable language.

Last weekend was a bit of a challenge: Part of exam on Thursday, then second part of exam on Saturday, another exam on Sunday and finally the last [for now] exam on this Thursday. The only good thing out of it - it's over for more than a month now.

Sunday was a sports day at school. I joined my class, had some fun, some good laughs, played some chairball [don't even bother to try to understand the rules, I still don't get it all], won a second place, got a silver medal [with a bit of pink, Steffany was so proud]. On Monday we went out with some Thai guys from our class for some drinks. The guys took us to the place, where I actually got Hoegaarden [could not believe my own eyes when I saw it]. It was great night, more fun, more talks, more interesting people and fun fun fun.

Now I am already packed and ready to leave. Going to explore Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and hopefully some of the north-east of Thailand. We'll see how it goes. Just packed a backpack. 4.5 weeks on my own in SEA [not the Sea, but SouthEast Asia]. Well, not completely on my own, cause Steffany is for sure going with me. Of course, she is already complaining about the heavy luggage, stuffed with many unnecessary stuff and mud, where her high-heels will stuck for sure. But she is my girl and we will make it happen. Besides her, I have no one else. Girls trip out. We're gonna make it the best trip ever. At least we hope. And most certainly, we will do our best. And oh don't we know how `our best` usually end up.

Anyways, I will keep posted, but most probably only after the month. Steffany is not big with internet when abroad.

9 Nov 2010

.In.And Out.

It’s been a while. And it’s been a bit of a mess in here. One event was following another one and at some point it looked as it’s a bit too much to handle. But it’s ok. I’m still living in Bangkok and, well, when you think about it. Who could complain about this, right?

Although life in Bangkok reached `normality` level somehow. Not so much happening anymore. Just an ordinary life with some unordinary happenings. Mainly, you have to be here to understand it and to feel it. But let’s start from the very beginning.

Studies
I am doing two courses at the moment and it’s going pretty busy. The first one gave me a little shock on the very first lecture. I did not even notice when the lecture started. Teacher just went to the whiteboard and without even saying `hello` or saying any kind of the word started writing. So you had to follow and copy everything to your notebook. It’s been 57 minutes of complete silence, just copying. Fortunately, at least after this one hour she started speaking. So after a while it became clear – this is how it works: one hour of silent copying from the whiteboard, one hour of listening explanation of what was put on the whiteboard and then one hour in front of a computer, trying to put to practice what have been explained as a theory. Unfortunately some practice phase time is spent to explain some things in Thai and for people like me [I’m the only one like that in that class, by the way], who does not understand any Thai, it’s really interesting.

Another `fun` thing about this class – it lasts four weeks and during this period we have to hand in 4 term papers plus prepare ourselves for the exam. Isn’t that exciting? Papers are mostly econometric regressions and interpretation of the results, so you have to know the theory, apply it in practice and put it together with the previous literature review. So not copy/paste kind of thing, but actually work. Teacher has this idea that papers have to be written in the weekends, while I used to have this crazy idea, that weekends are supposed to be for time for you. I could not have been more wrong, now could I?

Another class can be very well explained by: first we have a summary of what is going to be talked during the lectures. Then we get a summary of what is happening and then the summary of what has just been said. So in short – it’s all about the summaries. It would not be too bad, but the teacher’s handwriting is impossible to understand even for herself, so basically, if you lost track of what is being said, you are lost in translation. Another big fun. The good part of the lecture – you get some free coffee. The bad side – teacher is always [but seriously, always, with no exceptions so far] late. If it’s 15 minutes, I can more or less handle that, but it’s usually 30 or 40 minutes, so you just sit there and waste your time waiting for her to show up.

And the very best part of the studies so far – this upcoming weekend. One more paper to write and two exams to take. Yes, I said weekend. Because there is one exam on Saturday and another one on Sunday. Reminder – if you decide to come to Thailand to study – just think if you really want to do this and have school 7 days in a week.

Could be of course, much worse. We’re still in the country that smiles.

Time around

During this last time I had several people coming in/back to Bangkok, meeting and having fun. There was two Americans, a German guy I met in Koh Tao and of course, all the Thai classmates and a few of exchanges that we are here and trying to enjoy every minute of staying in here.

So we did it all. We went to the night market, walked around, had some street kitchen food, which is still so unbelievably tasty that there is going to be a definitely one of the things to be missing when I have to head back from Bangkok. We accidentally get into the flower market, where like from that movie `flowers flowers everywhere!`. I am still wondering, how they are selling all them and what are they doing when flowers become too `tired` to be sold for costumers? Are they throwing those away? Cause that’s a big loss, since there are millions and billions of flowers there, with no exaggeration.

We managed to get to a German brewery with some very nice tasting beer and unbelievably nice Thai people around. There was a birthday party of 8 years old boy, who was giving us some of his birthday cake [which was mainly butter and sugar, but soooo good] and then finally his parents decided to pay for our beer. We also at some point started dancing around the tables, where we had some Thai girls joining us. It was fun night. On one night guys took me to some small place with some blues music played. Everyone who knows me knows that I am not big with blues or jazz, but somehow, in Thailand even blues sounds good.

My Thai classmates showed us, what they call `beer garden`, where you have a simple tables, a lot of beer, scene with some band playing covers under the sky in the middle of the city center. It’s really very much fun. We went there already couple of times and I am pretty sure, we will be back.

Oh by the way, did I already told you that it’s winter in Bangkok? Yes, they call it winter. The only difference from previous `hot like in the hell` is that it is slightly cooler at nights and blue sky appears more often, but that’s it. So yes, my dears, I am experiencing winter. Can I just say that this is definitely the hottest winter I have even been to?

One day I got angry on the world [well, me and world hardly come along, you see], so I went for a walk. I guess I just wanted to wash city of my face. It started innocently enough, I just wanted to go to see the China Town. Well, for starters some guy stopped me and nicely told me that China Town market is closed. He also wanted to offer me a tuk-tuk ride somewhere else [yeah, it’s a cheap trick those drivers are making in order to fool tourist and get costumers], but I just kept on going. And what a surprise – the market was working. I did some tours around, walked a bit, visited some temples and just kept on walking. So I ended up going through the same flower market, which in the daylight had even more flowers around. Finally I went into this temple with reclining Buddha in it [which is one of the `must see` points about Bangkok]. Well, the temple itself was big and impressive, while the statue I found a little boring. Although it is my first reclining Buddha I have see, so I have him a credit for that. I was already pretty tired from walking, but since I did not know which bus goes home from that part of the city and I was too tired and too angry to deal with tuk-tuk, I just walked home. So all in all, I made something like 15-20 kilometers walking around the Bangkok. Felt a bit as a tourist again. Which is fun sometimes.

Food

It’s already two months I am here in Bangkok [celebration starts tonight around 4 a.m. when I actually entered Bangkok from the airport for the first time two months ago] and I should probably say that I got used to the spiciness in the food. Now I am ordering spicy food which is manageable for me [to my surprise].

I still keep on trying new things around here. It’s very fun sometimes to order `something` and just waiting for what it is actually going to be and how it will taste. But so far – no disappointments. Thai food is really great. If you don’t like the country, you at least must love the food here. Still it’s surprising, because mostly it’s just vegetables, noodles, rice and chicken or shrimps and it still so nothing like we are used to back in Europe.

Koh Samed

Once again, when I had to work on a paper, I decided I cannot miss my chance and went to the Koh Samed island with my exchange classmates. It was a short weekend and still, very much worth it. Trip started easy and looked promising. I took a bus to Bon Phe, where I caught a ferry going to the island, where somehow I got a free pickup taxi which took me almost exactly to the beach I needed.

We stayed in Ao TubTim. I am telling that in case you would be going, because this one seems to be the right one to go. It’s not far away from the party beaches, so you can walk there, but the beach itself is not too big, not too crowded and not too loud. All in all, almost perfect beach.

I arrived in the evening, so that night we only had some dinner and went to one of the party beaches, had some beer, had some dancing [oh yes, dancing, I was missing it so much] and moved home.

Unfortunately my friends had the idea that `staying in the beach under the sun all day long is fun` and I had the completely opposite one. So we split the next day. I left the guys in the beach and went for a walk. In the beginning I thought I will just go to some of the next beaches and maybe find some shade for reading a book. But as always, I just kept on going and finally reached the very southern point of the island with some nice panoramic view.

I started my short trip through the beaches. And the more to the south I have been moving, the nice beaches I have experienced. At some point, when it was impossible to cross through the beach, I had to get back to the main road [well, main road looks just like a little country road, but still] and found some very nice spot for the sunset. But since sun was still high up in the sky, I went to the south. And at some point I almost made a mistake, considering maybe it’s not worth it. But I kept on going and it felt great. In the south I found a fisherman in a little boat and I just watched him for a while. It looked so peaceful and nice.

By the time I got back and saw almost a sunset in my spot, my guys already left the beach. So we met after a bit for dinner and some fun. Once again, we moved to another beach. We had some beers and then some fire shows started. In the beginning it was just some guys, showing some tricks with fire sticks but then it came time for `fire rope jumping`. I felt like I wanted to do it, but no one was willing to join me, so I decided, ok, another time. But then one of those guys came to our table and asked us to join. I figured that’s faith telling me – go on, do it. So I did. It felt extremely scary and I felt adrenalin rushing in my veins still for at least half an hour afterwards. Do one thing that scares you every day – was jumping in my mind. And I did. And it felt good. It felt like living. After my adrenalin experience, we went to the dance floor, did some dancing, met some people, had one last beer, talked to some bartenders and finally headed back. It was almost morning after all and I had to spend my next day working hard on my paper after all.

The last day in Koh Samed was easy. I just joined the guys at the beach, although I couldn’t stand just lying there, so went for at least a short walk to the North of the island. Unfortunately that was a time for us to leave the island, so we packed, took pickup taxi, went to the ferry and went home.

But all in all – Koh Samed is great. And it’s close to the Bangkok. So if you are wondering – it is worth going.

Dentist

Yes, that was unexpected for me. And as much as I hate going to the dentist, knowing that there is something wrong in my mouth – I hate even more.

It started innocently enough, I just felt something uncomfortable with my tongue. In the beginning I thought that it might be just a simple something, like filling moved a bit outside it’s place, but decided, since I am leaving Bangkok for a bit more than a month pretty soon, I don’t want to end up being in Cambodia and crying my eyes out because of a hurting tooth.

So I went and now my mouth feels like it was raped. It started innocently enough, just correcting one simple thing. But, as always with me and my teeth, it ended up with reparation of three of them. I spent there 2.5 hours and my jaw is still hurting. I know it will go away and I feel very much relieved that now I can go on a trip without worrying but at least for now I cannot properly open my mouth.

Although service here is high class and treatment is in high quality, so in case you are worried, you should not be – they will take care of you properly, in case you need that.

Off Topic

I have a stupid question – have you ever seen your death? I happen to have seen it twice already. And if the first time was long time ago and in the dream only, this time it was when I was awake, walking in the street. And it’s crazy, I admit, it wasn’t even facing the death, but that picture that flew in my eyes is still frightening me. It’s like a fragment from a movie, like some sort of open window for the future or anything. I am not sure if I want to experience that one more time.

You might wanna say that I was just simply throwing money away. I would say that I was just buying good-night sleep and peace. Peace with myself. And the world for that matter. It was not necessary, I agree. You were right and it feels good. But at least I can sleep at nights, not wondering `what if..`.
I am listening to the happy songs today. I guess that means that I am a happy person today. It took me a while, but I got there. On my own. And if feels good again. I have been finding those long time ago lost songs and it just brings old new memories back that makes me smile. I am smiling to the country that smiles.

Ordinary people don’t do things that scare them. Normal crazy people do one thing that scares them every day. Ona is doing crazy things every day so much that she does not even consider the consequences, naively hoping that `it will work out somehow`. It’s struck me today – what have I done? And now there are more and more questions every single day. What am I going to do now? I have to make this work, I want to make this work, but there are so many question marks floating around.

P.S. Can I get a tattoo on my heart please?

.In.And Out.

It’s been a while. And it’s been a bit of a mess in here. One event was following another one and at some point it looked as it’s a bit too much to handle. But it’s ok. I’m still living in Bangkok and, well, when you think about it. Who could complain about this, right?

Although life in Bangkok reached `normality` level somehow. Not so much happening anymore. Just an ordinary life with some unordinary happenings. Mainly, you have to be here to understand it and to feel it. But let’s start from the very beginning.

Studies
I am doing two courses at the moment and it’s going pretty busy. The first one gave me a little shock on the very first lecture. I did not even notice when the lecture started. Teacher just went to the whiteboard and without even saying `hello` or saying any kind of the word started writing. So you had to follow and copy everything to your notebook. It’s been 57 minutes of complete silence, just copying. Fortunately, at least after this one hour she started speaking. So after a while it became clear – this is how it works: one hour of silent copying from the whiteboard, one hour of listening explanation of what was put on the whiteboard and then one hour in front of a computer, trying to put to practice what have been explained as a theory. Unfortunately some practice phase time is spent to explain some things in Thai and for people like me [I’m the only one like that in that class, by the way], who does not understand any Thai, it’s really interesting.

Another `fun` thing about this class – it lasts four weeks and during this period we have to hand in 4 term papers plus prepare ourselves for the exam. Isn’t that exciting? Papers are mostly econometric regressions and interpretation of the results, so you have to know the theory, apply it in practice and put it together with the previous literature review. So not copy/paste kind of thing, but actually work. Teacher has this idea that papers have to be written in the weekends, while I used to have this crazy idea, that weekends are supposed to be for time for you. I could not have been more wrong, now could I?

Another class can be very well explained by: first we have a summary of what is going to be talked during the lectures. Then we get a summary of what is happening and then the summary of what has just been said. So in short – it’s all about the summaries. It would not be too bad, but the teacher’s handwriting is impossible to understand even for herself, so basically, if you lost track of what is being said, you are lost in translation. Another big fun. The good part of the lecture – you get some free coffee. The bad side – teacher is always [but seriously, always, with no exceptions so far] late. If it’s 15 minutes, I can more or less handle that, but it’s usually 30 or 40 minutes, so you just sit there and waste your time waiting for her to show up.

And the very best part of the studies so far – this upcoming weekend. One more paper to write and two exams to take. Yes, I said weekend. Because there is one exam on Saturday and another one on Sunday. Reminder – if you decide to come to Thailand to study – just think if you really want to do this and have school 7 days in a week.

Could be of course, much worse. We’re still in the country that smiles.

Time around

During this last time I had several people coming in/back to Bangkok, meeting and having fun. There was two Americans, a German guy I met in Koh Tao and of course, all the Thai classmates and a few of exchanges that we are here and trying to enjoy every minute of staying in here.

So we did it all. We went to the night market, walked around, had some street kitchen food, which is still so unbelievably tasty that there is going to be a definitely one of the things to be missing when I have to head back from Bangkok. We accidentally get into the flower market, where like from that movie `flowers flowers everywhere!`. I am still wondering, how they are selling all them and what are they doing when flowers become too `tired` to be sold for costumers? Are they throwing those away? Cause that’s a big loss, since there are millions and billions of flowers there, with no exaggeration.

We managed to get to a German brewery with some very nice tasting beer and unbelievably nice Thai people around. There was a birthday party of 8 years old boy, who was giving us some of his birthday cake [which was mainly butter and sugar, but soooo good] and then finally his parents decided to pay for our beer. We also at some point started dancing around the tables, where we had some Thai girls joining us. It was fun night. On one night guys took me to some small place with some blues music played. Everyone who knows me knows that I am not big with blues or jazz, but somehow, in Thailand even blues sounds good.

My Thai classmates showed us, what they call `beer garden`, where you have a simple tables, a lot of beer, scene with some band playing covers under the sky in the middle of the city center. It’s really very much fun. We went there already couple of times and I am pretty sure, we will be back.

Oh by the way, did I already told you that it’s winter in Bangkok? Yes, they call it winter. The only difference from previous `hot like in the hell` is that it is slightly cooler at nights and blue sky appears more often, but that’s it. So yes, my dears, I am experiencing winter. Can I just say that this is definitely the hottest winter I have even been to?

One day I got angry on the world [well, me and world hardly come along, you see], so I went for a walk. I guess I just wanted to wash city of my face. It started innocently enough, I just wanted to go to see the China Town. Well, for starters some guy stopped me and nicely told me that China Town market is closed. He also wanted to offer me a tuk-tuk ride somewhere else [yeah, it’s a cheap trick those drivers are making in order to fool tourist and get costumers], but I just kept on going. And what a surprise – the market was working. I did some tours around, walked a bit, visited some temples and just kept on walking. So I ended up going through the same flower market, which in the daylight had even more flowers around. Finally I went into this temple with reclining Buddha in it [which is one of the `must see` points about Bangkok]. Well, the temple itself was big and impressive, while the statue I found a little boring. Although it is my first reclining Buddha I have see, so I have him a credit for that. I was already pretty tired from walking, but since I did not know which bus goes home from that part of the city and I was too tired and too angry to deal with tuk-tuk, I just walked home. So all in all, I made something like 15-20 kilometers walking around the Bangkok. Felt a bit as a tourist again. Which is fun sometimes.

Food

It’s already two months I am here in Bangkok [celebration starts tonight around 4 a.m. when I actually entered Bangkok from the airport for the first time two months ago] and I should probably say that I got used to the spiciness in the food. Now I am ordering spicy food which is manageable for me [to my surprise].

I still keep on trying new things around here. It’s very fun sometimes to order `something` and just waiting for what it is actually going to be and how it will taste. But so far – no disappointments. Thai food is really great. If you don’t like the country, you at least must love the food here. Still it’s surprising, because mostly it’s just vegetables, noodles, rice and chicken or shrimps and it still so nothing like we are used to back in Europe.

Koh Samed

Once again, when I had to work on a paper, I decided I cannot miss my chance and went to the Koh Samed island with my exchange classmates. It was a short weekend and still, very much worth it. Trip started easy and looked promising. I took a bus to Bon Phe, where I caught a ferry going to the island, where somehow I got a free pickup taxi which took me almost exactly to the beach I needed.

We stayed in Ao TubTim. I am telling that in case you would be going, because this one seems to be the right one to go. It’s not far away from the party beaches, so you can walk there, but the beach itself is not too big, not too crowded and not too loud. All in all, almost perfect beach.

I arrived in the evening, so that night we only had some dinner and went to one of the party beaches, had some beer, had some dancing [oh yes, dancing, I was missing it so much] and moved home.

Unfortunately my friends had the idea that `staying in the beach under the sun all day long is fun` and I had the completely opposite one. So we split the next day. I left the guys in the beach and went for a walk. In the beginning I thought I will just go to some of the next beaches and maybe find some shade for reading a book. But as always, I just kept on going and finally reached the very southern point of the island with some nice panoramic view.

I started my short trip through the beaches. And the more to the south I have been moving, the nice beaches I have experienced. At some point, when it was impossible to cross through the beach, I had to get back to the main road [well, main road looks just like a little country road, but still] and found some very nice spot for the sunset. But since sun was still high up in the sky, I went to the south. And at some point I almost made a mistake, considering maybe it’s not worth it. But I kept on going and it felt great. In the south I found a fisherman in a little boat and I just watched him for a while. It looked so peaceful and nice.

By the time I got back and saw almost a sunset in my spot, my guys already left the beach. So we met after a bit for dinner and some fun. Once again, we moved to another beach. We had some beers and then some fire shows started. In the beginning it was just some guys, showing some tricks with fire sticks but then it came time for `fire rope jumping`. I felt like I wanted to do it, but no one was willing to join me, so I decided, ok, another time. But then one of those guys came to our table and asked us to join. I figured that’s faith telling me – go on, do it. So I did. It felt extremely scary and I felt adrenalin rushing in my veins still for at least half an hour afterwards. Do one thing that scares you every day – was jumping in my mind. And I did. And it felt good. It felt like living. After my adrenalin experience, we went to the dance floor, did some dancing, met some people, had one last beer, talked to some bartenders and finally headed back. It was almost morning after all and I had to spend my next day working hard on my paper after all.

The last day in Koh Samed was easy. I just joined the guys at the beach, although I couldn’t stand just lying there, so went for at least a short walk to the North of the island. Unfortunately that was a time for us to leave the island, so we packed, took pickup taxi, went to the ferry and went home.

But all in all – Koh Samed is great. And it’s close to the Bangkok. So if you are wondering – it is worth going.

Dentist

Yes, that was unexpected for me. And as much as I hate going to the dentist, knowing that there is something wrong in my mouth – I hate even more.

It started innocently enough, I just felt something uncomfortable with my tongue. In the beginning I thought that it might be just a simple something, like filling moved a bit outside it’s place, but decided, since I am leaving Bangkok for a bit more than a month pretty soon, I don’t want to end up being in Cambodia and crying my eyes out because of a hurting tooth.

So I went and now my mouth feels like it was raped. It started innocently enough, just correcting one simple thing. But, as always with me and my teeth, it ended up with reparation of three of them. I spent there 2.5 hours and my jaw is still hurting. I know it will go away and I feel very much relieved that now I can go on a trip without worrying but at least for now I cannot properly open my mouth.

Although service here is high class and treatment is in high quality, so in case you are worried, you should not be – they will take care of you properly, in case you need that.

Off Topic

I have a stupid question – have you ever seen your death? I happen to have seen it twice already. And if the first time was long time ago and in the dream only, this time it was when I was awake, walking in the street. And it’s crazy, I admit, it wasn’t even facing the death, but that picture that flew in my eyes is still frightening me. It’s like a fragment from a movie, like some sort of open window for the future or anything. I am not sure if I want to experience that one more time.

You might wanna say that I was just simply throwing money away. I would say that I was just buying good-night sleep and peace. Peace with myself. And the world for that matter. It was not necessary, I agree. You were right and it feels good. But at least I can sleep at nights, not wondering `what if..`.
I am listening to the happy songs today. I guess that means that I am a happy person today. It took me a while, but I got there. On my own. And if feels good again. I have been finding those long time ago lost songs and it just brings old new memories back that makes me smile. I am smiling to the country that smiles.

Ordinary people don’t do things that scare them. Normal crazy people do one thing that scares them every day. Ona is doing crazy things every day so much that she does not even consider the consequences, naively hoping that `it will work out somehow`. It’s struck me today – what have I done? And now there are more and more questions every single day. What am I going to do now? I have to make this work, I want to make this work, but there are so many question marks floating around.

P.S. Can I get a tattoo on my heart please?

18 Oct 2010

.Out.Koh Tao.Koh Phangan.

Once again, when normal people get time to prepare their paper for the final evaluation, they work on a paper. Ona, on the other hand, rushes with the paper and then runs away from Bangkok, so she could at least take a glance at some islands on the east coast of Thailand, which already started having the rain season. I just couldn’t help myself. Knowing that it’s the case of `now or never` [since I have no idea when is the next time I come to Thailand, if I ever come back], I decided it’s the right thing to do. To escape.

My trip started In Bangkok, trying to get a bus, going to the Southern [why the hell it’s called Southern when it’s clearly on the West, don’t ask me] bus terminal. And once again, of course, only in Bangkok, the city, known as one of the worst traffics ever, buses, that goes to West, has to be taken on the direction to the East. So after waiting in one bus stop and finding no buses, moving to another one, getting to the wrong bus [that’s also part of fun in Bangkok public transportation – you should never believe it – buses almost goes whenever and wherever they want], I finally got into the right one. And after `just` two hours of struggling in the busy busy traffic of Bangkok I arrive safely to the bus terminal I needed. Buying a ticket is a piece of cake, since there are plenty of buses going to the same direction at the same time, so I bought a ticket, waited for my bus and after a little while jumped in it and started moving. My sleep was not good at all, so I maybe managed to sleep for two hours max when I was waken up hearing `Miss. This is Chumphon and had to get off in the middle of nowhere [once again, I may say, bus stations in small cities are not stations. Just middle of the street], caught a bike taxi [scooter who takes you to where you want], which I thought will take me to the port, but no, he just took me to the train station. In the station I found a guy from the company, bought a ticket to the boat [with transportation to the port included, so I figured it’s a good deal] and had to wait [oh yes] three hours in the train station. I probably don’t have to say that it is a lot of fun staying there, just like anywhere else in the train station. But I did meet three nice Australians, heading also to Koh Tao, so at least we spend time talking and not falling asleep while waiting for someone to rob me [maybe that would have never happened, but I wasn’t ready to risk]. It was still dark when transportation came and took as to the port. In the `port`, which was a small thing with a big smell of fish, we had to wait for almost an hour, so there was nothing much else better to do but to make pictures, read book and wait for the boat to arrive.

Boat trip was a little exciting. I haven’t been on a boat for a long time now and I like it. Wind, islands around, water behind brought some memories and smile to my face. It was nice. But since I was a bit afraid of falling asleep, I mostly kept on reading my `The painted house`. Good book, by the way, if you are looking for something to read.

We arrived to Koh Tao with the sun and a lot of heat. We were all met by many [way too many, if you ask me] people who are offering housing, diving courses and anything else, you might consider be needed. Just so you know, if you ever come here, you might consider taking their offers, they have a huge variety of prices and accommodations, so you might get what you wanted. Since I was alone, and usually taking a room means taking a double room which also means paying double price, I went for the dorm style hostel, have them a call, arranged my stay and went for breakfast. No matter that sun came with us and the boat and I am a fast eater, during my breakfast the sun ran away [just like I ran away from Bangkok] and the storm began. I waited a bit for it to calm and moved to my hostel. It was only two kilometers, my back was light, so I figured I can just go, saving money and nerves on taxi [you always have to bargain and that’s tiring]. I found the place with no big problem, which was almost on the shore of the most popular and most busy beaches in the island.

The place I have been staying is `The backpackers hostel`. Well, what can I say – not recommended. Rooms are very much ok, eight beds in one room, but if you only plan on sleeping in there and not hanging out, it’s all fine and good, but the showers were not good. No hot water for starters, poor and water was weak. I mean I am not very demanding in the places like this, but if I get tired by trying to wash salt from my hair – well, that’s just not good at all. Good thing I was only staying there two days, if more, I would just gone crazy.

Since the rain stopped, I went to the beach, but it was too windy and a bit too cold to go swimming, so I was just walking playing with sand and water, reading my book and watching people going on little boats or going diving. Just a little tip – if you want to get license for diving – Koh Tao is a place to do it. Every second place is offering diving courses and it’s cheaper when anywhere else, at least in Thailand. I had no time, unfortunately. But most people are coming mainly for that, and who can blame them. So I was walking around and after some time I got tired of walking in the beach, I decided to walk in surroundings. I took one path which said `view point` and decided to follow. How far can it be right? I can make it in my flip-flops, right? Boy, was I ever more wrong. I just didn’t know it yet.

So I went on, up the steep hills all the time. It wasn’t so easy to go on a slippery road in those `not shoes`, but the more I went, the less I wanted to turn around. Besides, I always had a feeling that it’s just around the corner. There were plenty of corners, I may add and none of them were hiding that view point. After a while my road separated into two and I had no idea where to go. I saw a couple going the opposite direction on a bike, so I asked them are they coming back from the point view. They said yes and added that’s it’s far away. `I can make it` I said and they looked at me and my almost bare feet but let me go. And I kept on walking. I was tired, hot, my feet were killing me, the hills were never going to disappear, but I was so angry, that my principles just did not let me turn around and go back. I decided that I will reach that spot no matter what.

After maybe and hour and a bit of walking I came to it. So I sat there for a really long time, since such a long walk deserved a long break. The view was nice, you can judge if it was worth it in the pictures on a facebook. While I was there, I met an American and English girls who were travelling for a year. After their left German guy Swen joined me on the spot. It’s just that all of them came there by bikes. Not so mane stupid ones are coming there on foot. We were sitting there, talking with Swen, when some locals came from the forest and offered us some sort of strange fruit, which we tried and judged that it’s probably a jackfruit [do you know it? Tastes strange, not bad though] and left telling that they are building a bungalow up there and we come there next summer. After a while and Indian girl with a father came along. I finally met someone, who was wearing similar shoes and coming up on foot. That felt nice. So we were talking to them for a while and decided to finally go down. We let Swen and here father to go on their bikes and moved down on foot again. Although going down seemed like a piece of cake after going all that way up. At some point we met a girl, also almost barefoot and after a little talk she decided to turn around and go there another day [she, just like us, was sure that it’s just around the corner].

So just before going to different directions we exchanged phone numbers and decided to meet later on. I went for a swim [first time in Thailand for me!], shower, dinner and a beer. While sitting and enjoying my beer in the bar I got a short message from one of the waiter’s saying: “I think you are very very beautiful :)” which honestly, made me smile very much. But so I left, since I wanted to walk along the beach while waiting for the guys to meet for later.

I was caught in the middle of my walk by and English guy, who said they saw me couple of times already walking here and there and they just wondered if I was ok. Of course I was ok, I was in the middle of the paradise, but he offered to join him and his friend for a beer and, since I had nothing else better to do, I joined them. We had some beers in the bar just on the beach, watching some fire show around us, talking about this and that, it was fun. I was planning on making that a short night and go to sleep [since last night was spent in the bus and almost sleepless], but we ended up walking along the beach after the bar closed and just siting on the wet sand and looking for some stars to show up in the cloudy sky. For the first time in my life, once again, I saw the sea floods very clearly. The sea was so much far away now, at night, when it was during the day time.

I got a little bit of sleep that night and next morning, since it was showering a little bit from the sky, I decided instead of going to the beach, to go and look for some more point views of something. I found a `OK view point`, which wasn’t good at all, so finally ended up getting a map of the island and decided to go the east side of the island [I was located in the West], but since I had to go through the hills up and down again, I decided to put on some decent shoes and call Swen, if he wanted to join me. He wanted to, so we met and moved to the East. Of course, in the middle of our walk, the pouring rain caught us, got us completely soaked, but we decided not to give up and move on. It was worth it, big times. An extremely silent nice beach we found. It wasn’t sandy at all and you cannot go swimming there, but the rocks and stones around made it very nice. Also, dark blue sky and very green trees around after the rain just made it even more perfect. We enjoyed the view for a bit and finally started heading back [meeting darkness in the middle of nowhere is not the best deal you could get, for sure]. On our way back we turned to a little road, passed through the bottle house [where house has millions of bottles in the walls, and, according to the owner, brings light from outside during the day time and light from inside when it’s dark outside. We talked to the owner and he seems to have a very interesting life story. We also talked about business in the Koh Tao, lands, prices and laws and it’s all so complicated, that if you want to have a business in there one day – you have to be careful and study it all.

We went on because it was supposed to be a viewpoint `really close`. It was really close it’s just that at some point we took a wrong turn and end up nowhere. Even there we managed to find a little view point and since it was also becoming dark, we moved down. On our way back, we, of course, found the right view point, which was nice, I have to agree, unfortunately not much was visible due to the dark period of the day already. We cam back to the city and it was already completely dark, but we decided to meet up later. So I went back to the wonderful showers in my place, had some dinner later on and met the guys for something that is was better known as `my last night in Koh Tao`. I have decided before going out that it is going to be a short night for sure, since I had to wake up early for the boat to Koh Phangan and I was already tired. Do I need to mention, that once again, I was so wrong about my expectations?

We made a completely international group, sitting in the bar on the beach, even during the little rain [which felt nice and I loved it]: Indian, German, English, American and me. After a little while a Dutch guy joined us and people started moving around. Some of them went home, some went for dancing or something and it was only me and Rick left there [the Dutch guy]. We were spending time very nicely there, having a nice conversation, watching people around having fun. After a while the bar closed, but we did not want to go anywhere, so we stayed there at the beach, talking about almost everything. I knew I had to go home and get some sleep, but somehow I just wanted to stay there and enjoy the conversation. It’s not everyday you meet such people, that you know you might never see again, so you try to postpone the separation as long as possible. We were there till all of the people were gone, security checked the place and shut down the lights and finally we decided to go somewhere. We found some sort of a bar [more like a tent than a bar] and decided to continue there. At some point Swen showed up from somewhere and we were still there. Almost just before the dawn, that `bar` closed and I finally decided to go to sleep. It was way too little for me of the sleep, but I needed at least that little.

I probably once again, don’t have to say that I overslept in the morning and almost made it to be boat. But I did it and not enough, in the boat I met Tom and his friend. We shared a boat and then after a short while I left in Koh Phangan, while the guys moved forward.

I came to the island with the sun, which, after a bit hid under the clouds. I phoned the place I was planning to stay – The smile beach resort. Well, what can I say – highly highly definitely recommended. It was fantastic place. Although going to it was a bit complicated, since it was the low season. I managed to bargain bike taxi and got a ride to the most beautiful [at least claimed as such] and very silent beach. My resort turned out to give me a wonderful bungalow with a king size bed and a fan for only 250 Baht [~7 EUR] and the shower was perfect [even more than perfect], the staff was helpful and amazing and only 10-20 meters to the beach. I also had hammock just outside my place which just made it even more perfect.

After such a long days and nights in Koh Tao, I very much enjoyed Koh Phangan and it’s silent and beautiful beach with almost no tourists around, just walking around, making pictures, reading a book, and so on. I had it all. I had my own butterflies around, frogs to listen in the evening, even an evening refreshing rain and even swings just on the beach, which made it completely perfect, I just couldn’t believe. In the beginning I tried to get some trips around, snorkeling or something, but due to the low season it was impossible, so I made my best to just enjoy if full time.

I was mainly just swimming and reading a book and being with myself, contemplating and trying to make order in the chaos, better known as my mind. I’m not sure if I managed that, but at least a had a rest my body was begging for.

I finished my book just before leaving and kind staff let me exchange my book with the ones that they had on the shelves, so I almost shrieked when I saw a book I wanted. Lisbeth Salander was with me again. I started reading immediately. My `taxi`, which turned out to be a pretty fancy car of the resort with a manager driving, came to pick me up just before my boat left and so I left the second paradise, don’t know why, but almost crying. Even though I left no one there, it was still sad that my trip is almost over.

To my surprise, the boat was going back to Koh Tao [how was that possible, especially with the price I paid for the ticket, I still don’t get] and my oh my, can there be more of coincidences, Rick was on the same boat. We met just outside the boat, so we exchanged some last sentences, wished each other nice time in wherever we went [he headed to South, I was going back to Bangkok], he left and I stayed waiting for my bus.

.Back in Bangkok.

Bus ride was ok, even though the bus was pretty old, but at least it took me to my city. We got off the bus at around 3 a.m. and after a little waiting for the bus to go home, which never came, I just took a cab and got back to my dormitory. I managed to get a little bit of sleep, prepared myself and went to the school. Here we go again.

My lecture was a little odd, I may say. I have never had this experience when there is no clear start of the lecture. Teacher just starts writing things on the whiteboard with no words expressed. I was writing everything down and watching the time. So after 57 minutes of the lecture she said her first words in the lecture. Well, that will be something interesting in this course, I made a guess. And somehow I get the feeling, I was right about this one.

All the rest is again, business as usual. Same sun, same heat, same cloudiness and pollution cap, nothing is changing. I feel like I’m at home again.

8 Oct 2010

.Out.North.

Usually, when they give you several days off from lectures, so you can catch up on the readings and prepare yourself for the exam properly, normal people tend to do this. Me, on the other hand, have never been an ordinary normal person, so instead of reading, we have decided to go to the north of Thailand. People told us that it’s very nice, and we had to check it out by ourselves, of course.

Planning the trip here in Thailand, where you have a lot of tourists, is pretty easy. For the starters, we needed a train ticket to Chiang Mai. I was pleasantly surprised by the services in Bangkok train station. The guy, just outside the station asked us where and when we are going and what kind of tickets we want to get [you know, with/out AC, fan, sleepers or 3rd class seats], then took us to the ticket office and helped us to buy the tickets. Piece of cake – highly recommended for everyone, very easy.

Although the train itself was not keen to pleasant surprises, it was delayed. So instead of leaving Bangkok around 22.00, we have stayed in the station while waiting and got into the train only at around midnight. Well, what can you do, right, at least you are in the train and it takes you to the desired destination. Train journey reminded a bit of travelling through Siberia. Similar TV through the window, although plants and buildings and people look completely different. It’s like the same television, just different channel. Since it’s the end of the rainy season here in Thailand, everything was extremely green and very exciting.

We arrived to Chiang Mai way later than we expected, but decided not to stick to this place, but move out to Chiang Rai the next day already. While having not so much time, we went straight to the guest house to check in for the night. Believe it or not, but the place was pretty nice, room pretty ok, and with shared shower, but pretty clean. So basically no complaints about the place at all and it cost 70 Baht [around 2 EUR] each. Besides, the place is offering huge variety of services – train/bus/plane tickets, trips around, basically everything you might be needing. The place is called Julies guest house – if you ever consider where to stay in Chiang Rai, I definitely recommend this place – clean, cheap, close to the city center and all in one. They even have a fridge and some tables, so you can relax and have some beers in the evening, for which you pay almost the same amount as you would in the shop. Very nice, really.

So after we checked in, it was time to go for a walk around the city and some dinner. We stopped at some place, cannot remember the name now, but definitely can show it on the map, if necessary, and I have to say, I don’t know if I ever ate better made curry. Oh my, that was a delicious piece of that thing. Well, maybe it can compete with Kelvin’s curry on some level, but it was definitely very very good.

So after the dinner it was dark already [it’s getting dark here very soon, keep in mind], so we past through couple of the temples, walked through the city center, went to the night market, where people were pretty pushy, but still nothing to compare to Chinese markets. And, what a discovery (!), used books shop. I bought some sort of novel [since Salander with a dragon tattoo was already almost finished], my friend bought touristic guide for the places around. I just so much loved the idea that you can buy used books much cheaper than in the ordinary book store, since I’m now very big on reading.

We had an easy night that day, since we knew we have to get up pretty early and still catch a bus to Chiang Rai. So in the morning after check-out and breakfast we decided it was time for the first Thai massage. We took a turn and chose not particularly ordinary place, that is a women jail, where women in it are doing massages and most of the money are going to them, when they leave the jail, so the idea is very promising. I probably don’t have to say that is was my first decent massage ever, Thai massage – even more. And I have to say it – I just loved it. It was amazing how they are working and how good, fresh and light you feel after it. And ok, you might know this already, but for me it was a bit surprising, that it’s not just some back massaging, but also some stretching and everything. Well, in short – you definitely have to try real Thai massage in Thailand so appreciate it accordingly.

After the massage we took a very fancy [but oh my how fancy] bus to Chiang Rai, which took exactly 3 hours to get there. While we were passing through the places around, I was amazed by how beautiful nature there is around and what small nice little villages people live in. We got to the place, took some sort of pick up to the guest house we were staying and arrived successfully in one piece. Once again, the place we stayed in was just awesome! Small, but very nice. The name I cannot recall again, but something to do with `Buan Baa`. Anyways, I can always google it and tell for you exact name, since once again – highly recommended. The room was just big enough, with own shower and we paid ~4EUR each for the night. The staff was very nice and booked us a guided tour for two days of trekking in the surroundings and since it was already pretty late, we went for the walk – just so we could experience some of Chiang Rai.

We liked Chiang Rai much more than Chiang Mai, to be honest. The city was much smaller, but so much nicer and people around were very nice, not pushy at all in the night market even. At 9 p.m. we went to see the attraction of the city – some sort of big clock and light show. So we sat there, waiting for the light show to appear when some Thai people, who were sitting next to us, offered us something. Some sort of a fruit, that I have no idea how it’s called [forgot even a Thai name for it] that looks a bit like a small potato from the very beginning. Turns out, it is an extremely tasty thing, but I was delaying the purchase of it, so now, since I tried it and liked it, I think I’m gonna buy some for myself here, in Bangkok.

We also called it an easy night, since the next day we had to wake up pretty early and be fresh for the two days trekking in the jungles. In the morning we some people from travelling agency [who made some pictures of us for the new advertising of the tours], then an unbelievably nice guide of our trekking – Vin and went for it.

Our trip started with a small pick-up to the river. Then we took around one-hour length tour with the boat and made way too many pictures from the surroundings, but it’s just so nice there everywhere, that you cannot really help yourself. After that one hour we stopped at the elephant camp, where I touched (!) elephant for the first time in my life and took an elephant ride around the small village. It was interesting, very uncomfortable although. Just try it and you will understand what I mean by that. Our elephant driver was unbelievable. He took the camera from my friend, jump off the elephant, left only the two of us on it [I was a bit scared he will run where he wants – the elephant I mean – but he was very nice and listened to the driver], took some pictures of us on it. We stayed there a little more, watching how elephants are posing in front of camera and kissing [or fighting, could never get which one is true] and went for a lunch. After lunch, our trekking trip started.

We were walking up and down, usually under the sun [and oh my god, that’s damn hot], mostly through some rice fields and local villages. Vin, our guide, was very nice guy – he was 43, a grandfather already, and he kept on telling us stories about the places, rice, villages and what people are doing in there. As the guide – he was more or less perfect. While doing some stops and listening to some local stories about opium, after a while we reached the village and the place where we were supposed to spend the night in. just before taking a rest, we went to the waterfall. And yes, I know, it was far from The Niagara Falls, but it was still the first waterfall I swam at, so it was pretty damn amazing for me. We spend an evening in that small little village in the middle of the jungles in the middle of nowhere. It was nice really. We even got a small room with almost pink mosquito net, then we had some very nice dinner prepared for us, watched some completely crazy local Thai TV series [that I cannot even explain to you, you just had to be there and check it out by yourself, because we were just laughing almost to tears].

For the first time in Thailand, I finally managed to get out at night outside, look up and see a million stars. I missed the sky full of stars, since in Bangkok, if you see three of them – you are a lucky person, so it was a nice reminder, that there is still such a magical thing like stars. Even in Thailand.

The next morning we woke up, had some breakfast, bought some souvenirs. And of course, just as always, when ordinary and normal females are buying some jewelry or purses or something similar, I had to buy a long, sharp and very much useful in the jungles knife [cannot remember how it’s called right now, but you know what I am talking about right?]. Just couldn’t resist, seriously. I just hope I will manage to get it back home safely, since it’s basically a gun. We also got cups for the reminder as a souvenir from bamboo. And this one was one big and much appreciated souvenir, since it’s hand made and from bamboo and will always remind me about this trekking.

A bit off topic, but bamboo seems to be a crucial thing here in Thailand. They do everything from it. Houses are built from bamboo, talking sticks are made from bamboo, even cups and who knows what more can be done out of it. Vin even made us a small shooting toy out of it. You have it, you put a small berry in it and you shoot – it sounds just like a real gun. Amazing thing. I was just wondering, if they had no bamboo around, how would they live?

So our second day was even hotter and walking under the sun was very difficult. We passed through some villages, some tea plantation, tried to make some pictures of the butterflies. I managed it couple of times, but it was so difficult, since they seem to be very quick and not in a mood of having their picture taken. But one of them landed on my hand, which was very nice feeling.

We ended up our tour with Vin and his brother listening to the stories about drugs in the Golden Triangle [area around]. Seems that there are at least 60 000 people involved with drug trafficking in Chiang Rai [and it’s a small village, so it’s really a lot] and it’s around 800-900 million Baht [would be around 300 000 EUR] trafficking of drugs everyday from/to Myanmar [ex Birma].

So in the evening we arrived back to Chiang Rai, walked a little bit around, tried to get to some temples, that we were kind of kicked out [nicely, though], because it was already closed, went to the market once again had a little snack. I ate some shrimps and they were sooo delicious, definitely highly recommended if you get here one day. The day before I tried some sort of bug, not sure how it’s called, but looked a little bit like a grass-hopper. What can I say, nothing compared to the scorpion, which was the most exotic thing I tried before, because this one did not taste good at all. It’s a good thing I bought only two of them and not the whole plate.

Later that night we went to some pub for a beer and met some back-packers there. There was a girl from Sweden, a very nice guy from California, who gave us some very useful tips about going to Cambodia, also one Dutch guy, who apparently saw our picture in the travelling agency, where we booked our trekking trip. So we had some nice conversations and went to bed, since the last day in the north was not a booked tour, so it’s a bit more difficult to travel. But we very much wanted to see the Golden Triangle, where two rivers and three countries meet in one point. We took a bus that went to Chiang Saen, local one, with a lot of local people. We were stopped at some check point for drugs [I was very scared, since they were checking passports and I left mine in Bangkok. And yes, I know, very stupid of me, no need to remind me that], but they did not check me, so we arrived safely. In Chiang Saen we took a pick-up kind of small bus and went to Sap Ruak, the place where they have an Opium museum and we went inside. Very small but pretty informative museum, which tells you the story about opium in that area [Golden Triangle]. After that we just saw some big nice stairs and decided to follow them, since the arrow up was showing `very beautiful spot` and we decided to check it out. And the amazing thing it – that was that exact Golden Triangle spot with two rivers and three countries meeting point. None of the touristic books were telling that so we were very happy to find it by ourselves. So we walked around, took some pictures, had lunch, caught a pick-up car, got back to Chiang Saen and headed back to Chiang Rai, since we still wanted to see a white temple just before we left.

We took a but to the white temple, got there and saw this temple, which from a bit far away looks like a glacial castle, just like from the old cartoon about ice queen and a brother, kidnapped by her and a sister, who went on looking for him. On our way back we took a pick-up, which took us to some sort of camp, took a lot of local kids and drove us back to the city. In the city we had a very tasty dinner [cost around 0.8 EUR) and headed for some internet.

You would probably ask why the hell we need internet in the place like that, but it’s of course, my `luck` struck again. It was the day, we could have drop/add courses for the school and I asked one of my class mates to do it for me [since I wasn’t sure if I can catch some internet in there] and she called me informing, that I have no registry data at all [which I had to have]. So we checked, tried to register me once again, which ended up as an unsuccessful thing, because the system told me I have to pay some money [which I didn’t really under normal circumstances]. So I left Chiang Rai wondering what went wrong and if I manage to clear the air out once I’m back in Bangkok.

So once we got back home, I took a shower, checked once again my registry failure and headed to the international affairs office to check what went wrong. I spend more than two hours here and there, because international office did not know what went wrong, so we went to the registry office [and I am very thankful for the guy from international office, because he went with me because dealing with people in registry office when they speak no English and I speak no Thai would have been a challenge], waited for some more time, they even called in a head of the registry office, since my case was extraordinary. So after some more waiting and looking for some documentation they realized that they did not registered me as an exchange student there. But in the very end they changed something in the system, so everything turned out to be ok, I am registered, I don’t need to pay anything anyone anymore and it seems to be in order. Once again, I realized that I should never relax, in any case, because something will go wrong earlier or sooner. But at least now it’s done.

Back from the North.

Since we got back, the business is as usual. We went to school made some presentations, studied a bit [cannot really lie, really not a lot], took the exam today and presented our outlines for the paper that we need to write and hand in next week.

Coming back to Bangkok reminded us about the heat and sun and about insanely big pollution, which is almost not felt in the North.

But, somehow, feeling like at home, it’s good to be back to Bangkok. At least for a while. Before the next escape.



.Studies in general.

Studying in Thailand is a bit different from the Europe. As I mentioned at some point before, they have one thing at a time only, having lectures pretty intensively every or almost every day, then taking an exam and with almost no break until the next subject, moving forward.

Since I so far only had one subject, it’s hard to compare with other, maybe this one is an exception, but the reading list was enormous. Three books [well ok, not completely full, but still] and about 40 articles for one subject, I am sorry, but it’s way too much. So if I was shocked about how much we need to read in Denmark, it was just a little piece of what we have to read in here.

The good thing, though, that exam was pretty easy. 50 true/false questions, most of which were from the preparation list of the questions, we received couple of days ago. So it’s manageable, especially if you have a good head, some logic in your thinking, even without careful reading of that pile of papers we received on the first day of school.

.Food.

One of the `must` here in Thailand is definitely food. It’s amazing really, with no doubts. It’s in comparison pretty cheap, very tasty and variety is pretty big. All of the street kitchens and local cuisines are offering mostly similar meals, but even if you eat the same name having meal in different places – they taste different as well. Still not sure why, probably different spices gives you different taste, not sure, haven’t learned that yet.

Fruit shakes are extremely good in here. Very refreshing and very tasty and variety is also very big. Just like fruits – they have so many fruits we don’t really have in Europe and all of them [so far with no exceptions] are very tasty. Most of those I don’t even know the names, so I will skip this part, but I even cannot normally explain the taste. Seriously, you just need to try it on your own. Even the fruits that you can find in Europe, taste different in here. Take, for example bananas. Not enough they have a lot of different kinds of bananas here [even baby bananas and oh my they look so cute], but they have so much more taste, that you can hardly compare them to the ones we can buy in Europe. Or melon, or papaya, or water-melon. Even pears have much better taste in here.

.Passport.

A friendly reminder [mostly to myself, though] – when you are travelling, never, but like NEVER leave your passport behind. Let it be your best friend and carry it all around with yourself. I am still questioning myself how I managed to do it, but then again, it’s me, I always manage the impossible. And even if you manage to get away without a passport in the guest houses [for the registration], travelling to the very border of the country with no passport, well, let’s face it, it’s not only stupid and crazy, but dangerous as well. Especially when you are on the Thailand/Myanmar/Laos border, where, do I need to tell, they have extremely bad relations in between?

Well, I can say I was lucky, I did not really need my passport so urgently in there, but still it was the lesson for the rest of my life. Because those check-points for drugs stopped our bus for at least 5 times in total, and couple of times they asked for my passport as well. It’s a good thing it was enough to say `oh but I don’t have my passport..`, but my luck can be not that lucky next time.

So no matter where you go – never ever make my mistake, always take your passport with you! I learned that the hard way, but you can learn it from my stupid experience.

.Barefootness.

It’s still surprises me a little bit here in Thailand, but in most of the places you go into [inside I mean], you have to take off your shoes. Not only in the temples [which is kind of common at least in Muslim countries], but like everywhere. If you go to internet place – take your shoes off. If you are going to the restaurant [ok, not every, but pretty a lot] – take your shoes off. If you visit a toilet [let’s say in the station] – take your shoes off and put on some slippers, hanging there.

So one more thing you should learn, while you are here – check twice if your socks have no holes in them, before you go out. It might be not very pleasant when you have to take your shoes off in front of other people. It’s not my lesson I learned the hard way, because in a heat like this I don’t wear snickers or socks for that matter, but it’s useful to know, don’t you think?

.Used books stores.

This was a very nice discovery. You can also give them your book and get some money and buy some books cheaper for reading it might not be a very useful lesson for you, if you are not a reading fanatic, as am I, but still useful to know I guess. And yes, ok, you might not get the newest books in there, but you still can pick up some very interesting reading. I think I will look for the stores as such in Bangkok as well, since, especially while travelling, the book is a must, at least for me.

.Pharmacy.

One more thing to learn before you come to Thailand. There is absolutely no need to bring any drugs and medications with you. They have pretty goof pharmacies and quiet a lot of them around. They have all the necessary medications here, most of them cheaper than in Europe and they are much less strict with the doctor’s prescriptions. So if you get sick, you can find everything here.

.Christmas.

So, as I already learned – they have no Christmas in here. No snow and no Christmas and lectures during the Christmas days will be something new for me for sure. Well, even though I am not getting any Christmas this year, my Christmas song arrived very early this year, just couple of days ago. Still cannot stop listening to it, it’s like a friendly reminder, that some things are still magical. No matter where you are.

.Obsession.

I guess I just had/have to admit that I am obsessed. Sleepless nights, nightmares or just dreams are not making it easier. Of course, the funny thing is, when I admitted my obsession to myself, it stopped, which is a relief, of course. But it’s still there, decreasing in little steps but still next to me, just like a reminder, that it’s still not over.

The good part is – I am using my obsession as a support or some sort of kick-in-the-ass tool for `do one thing that scares you everyday` part. So now I am scaring myself with my travelling plans. And I know it’s crazy, and I know I’m psycho, but when I think about it, I only get this answer `who if not You, when if not now?`. And I can’t argue with that, I need to do this. For myself, for old memories and for, for the opportunity that shows up, but never repeats itself.

Don’t ask about it, since I don’t want to say that out loud before it’s certain, but just answer me, please – yes or no? Should I or shouldn’t? And, if you are worried, so no, it’s nothing illegal, nothing that could hurt anyone. Just a little crazy and a bit psycho. So?

29 Sep 2010

.In.Around.

I probably don’t have to say this anymore – but I am unbelievable when it comes to, from the first sight, pretty easy things. So besides of going to school, we are also sometimes going out, exploring the night life of Bangkok. It doesn’t really matter that every morning we have to be at school around 9 a.m., we still want to see it all. So one night we decided to meet at Si Lom, the place, that might better be known as red lights district.

Of course, me and Steffany wouldn’t be us, if we managed to go to the meeting point with no problem. So instead of getting off at Si Lom, we got of at Chit Lom and keep on wondering in the street thinking, where the hell the guys are hiding. Wondering took much more than ordinary people would stand and after several calls here and there I finally realized that I am in the wrong place. Plenty of curse words and I am, all furious about the situation, heading home. But while heading home I just pass through BTS [sky train – similar like metro, just over ground] station and decide to get on and this time get off at the right place. I manage to find guys with no problems this time [of course, when you are in the right place, everything seems just so easy].

After couple of days and after some shopping, when I realize how those people are actually small [it’s amazing, when you buy XS in states, S or M in Europe, but you end up in Thailand and the only clothes you actually can fit in are XL. Funny or sad?], we join our Thai classmates to the gym. One more new thing – badminton is apparently very big in Thailand. Everybody is playing it. Well, everybody, so meant us as well. It was a nice thing to do some sports, the only problem – no air conditioning in the gym, so you literally just feel like you are in sauna. May I just add that I don’t really like sauna?

Anyways, after this, we decide to go to eat and we end up going some place pretty far away [almost outside the city]. The place we arrive is actually very nice, we have some dinner and some beers, but just after the lectures and two hours in sauna while playing badminton my eyes are just closing with no compromises, so I end up going home. We did plan a going out night next evening anyways.

The night out was a fun night indeed. We [and by we, I mean Europeans] discovered some non-touristic Thai some sort of night club, where we were listening to the life band and had tones of fun. At some point some police came and shut the place [again, one more new thing to learn – police can do much things in here. For example to come and close a club for the night], so we went to some place for this ‘after party snack’. It’s interesting, back home, it would mean some kebab, McDonald’s or other similar stuff, but not in Bangkok. You go and you take whatever you want – chicken curry, seafood or boiled vegetables. Just like an ordinary dinner. No wonder, people are tiny in here – with such a heat and healthy food 24/7 you just cannot end up being fat.

Talking about the food – it’s unbelievable. But like seriously – fruits are so delicious [I still keep on trying new stuff that I have no idea about the names] that you cannot get enough of those. All the rest of the food is very tasty as well, although I always manage to get something really spicy. Still haven’t learn how to ask for non-spicy meals, but to be honest, I don’t think I ever will. Their pronunciation is way out of my league. I tried to learn how to say ‘my small beautiful octopus’ today and they keep on correcting me, although I honestly feel no difference between what they said and what I did. So the language is not the thing to come to Thailand for, but food definitely is. Of course, it’s mostly noodles and rice, but every time it tastes different. And I am keep on trying that new stuff again and again.

It’s still amazingly hot here in Bangkok and I cannot say that I adjusted to it already, but I’m getting there. Although for the last couple of days we are getting thunderstorms, every single night. No kidding, I think you can adjust your watch according to it – it starts at 6 p.m. and finishes at some point when I am already sleeping, so pretty late [or early in the morning]. But every morning it’s the same story again – hot sun, trying to shine through pollution cap and sometimes [but only on a rare occasions] really blue sky. That’s an exception, if you see it in here. Usually it is some dirty white kind of color.

23 Sep 2010

.Back.In.

Life back in Bangkok seems to be in order. I just got back from KL on Saturday night and already next day I realized that my school starts on Monday [better known as tomorrow]. So we talked to one of the exchange students here, just as I am about meeting before and going to the class together. Of course, I probably don’t have to tell you that I managed to get lost and not to be able to find the meeting point, so we ended up going there separately. Fortunately among all those Thai students it was pretty easy to find Europeans, better known as exchange students in the class. So we talked a bit and then the class started. Which was not bad at all. The first for me in here. Not the last one, though. Teacher seems to know the subject pretty well and all the writing paper and exam parts seemed to be manageable.

In the evening we went to Khao San street, better known as touristic very much street. For the first time I was riding this tuk-tuk kind of thing [some sort of taxi with no doors, but goes pretty fast and is a bit scary in the beginning]. We turned couple of times, got into smaller and with much less tourists street, where we found an Indian restaurant, where we had some dinner, some beers and endless conversations, more or less `let’s get to know each other` more or less. It was fun. So far as we know, we are four exchange students in here. Me, no need for introductions, I suppose, then a German girl and two Norwegians. We all have this passion for traveling, tasting different food, experiencing different cultures and we are all studying the same or similar thing. Somehow I get the feeling that we will get along just great in here.

Since the system in here is a bit different than in Denmark or Lithuania for that matter, lectures are pretty intensive. Those people here are studying one subject for one month, taking the exam and only then moving for another one. So this is what we are doing, everyday looking at that huge pile of paper [copied books and papers], some of us maybe reading those, others are just preparing to read, then attending lectures, trying to remember all that was said.

We got to know some of our Thai classmates as well. Amazingly nice people with awfully difficult names for us, Europeans, to remember and pronounce correctly. But they are nice and we get along just great.

Last night, the exchange students, we went to a red light district, ended up in the gay bar [well, actually guys ended up in there. Me, on the other hand, no surprise, of course, got off the train at the wrong station, so kept on wondering where the hell we are supposed to meet and was late for 1.5 hours. That’s the charming Ona’s luck, who is enjoying itself very much by making fun of me]. But I’m just glad that at the very end I managed to find them, and have some nice time with them.

This is the life being back so far. With the school and the heat and everything there is not so much time for traveling and exciting misunderstandings, that keep on following me wherever I go. But it’s still fun.

New stuff learned in Bangkok

Christmas.
They don’t have Christmas, can you imagine? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am not that stupid, I know that most of Thai people are Buddhist, but having no Christmas just sounds so weird. I was already almost comfortable that I will have no snow this year, but having lectures on Christmas eve and Christmas – that was a bit of a surprise for me.

So whoever was wondering, if I am coming back to Europe for Christmas – no, I won’t, I will be at school during the Christmas. I’m just guessing that I have been a bad girl last year [no, not this way bad, as some of you could start imagining. Stop] and Santa Claus decided to take away Christmas [I can handle that] and snow [this is going to be so much more difficult to handle].

Pink University.
Yes, can you imagine, my university is actually pink? It’s the color of university. I knew subconsciously which university to take for my exchange, right? Steffany is so pinkish happy, that it might be hard for you to understand. It’s not enough we are sometimes taking pink taxi [yes, that bright bright, really pink one, like in the picture on the facebook], but when we go to the school posters are colored in pink, there are pink buses around and so all in all – welcome to the world, where you don’t even need pink glasses, because everything is pink here already. Who could have thought that I will manage to get here, in one piece, with all of my luggage and pink taxi cars around, and also end up in the Pink University? Ahh, it’s just so fascinating man!

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19 Sep 2010

.Out. Singapore. Mostly.

My second trial to get out of Bangkok turned out to be successful. Not purely ‘no problems’ case, though. I just got to the airport building, took a first glance at the screen and what a surprise, my flight is pleasantly ‘delayed’ for 2 hours. Ok, I figured, 2 hours I can manage as long as it doesn’t turn into 2 days. When I got to my check-in desk, I saw the same member of staff from the trial to get out of Bangkok no 1, better known as ‘unsuccessful’ one. She seemed to be happy to see me, she waved, talked to me a bit [even though I know she was talking English, Thai English is sooo ridiculously hard to understand, that I could catch only every third word, but kept on nodding politely when necessary].

While passport control went with almost no troubles, security check was a bit of a challenge, I may say. I had no idea what went wrong this time, but my bag was scanned 3 times and they went through it manually 2 ties. Cottage cheese looked very suspicious for them as I saw, but the main reason for checking, I would guess, was my keys and a little Eiffel tower as a key-chain on them. Be aware of strange key-chains, when you come to Asia!

Anyways, I managed to get through with no of my stuff confiscated [woohoo], so I consider it went more than perfect. Flight, however, didn’t. it was late for way more than 2 hours, started to feel not funny at all anymore, but at least we managed to take off this time. During the flight Kafka has left me. And it kinda left some emptiness inside of me. Just like in Mr. Nakata. Although I usually pretend to be a boy named Crow.

I arrived to Singapore just in the middle of the night. All the passport and security checks went with totally no troubles and soon enough I entered hot Singapore night. It was even hotter than Bangkok night, if You can imagine [can you? I can]. I arrived to my place around 4 a.m., better known as B&B+ @ Liongis [which, I may say in advance, was really a catch – the best hosting I could have ever imagined and more].

Day No 1 or the day of walking.

My first night ar B&B+ was more than perfect, but very short as well. I woke up just early enough to see Liongis before he goes to work, get a map [which my blond mind, of course, forgot to collect at the airport] and suggestions of what I might be able to see for that day. So we did – everyone in that apartment went to work and a blond girl went explore the city/country [still a little fuzzy about that]. The day was sunny and hotter than Bangkokian days, but with no other choice of my hands – I went on exploring.

Day no 1 gave me millions of billions of miles on my feet. I managed to see all the major places in the city center and around it. I started by a walk along the river, followed by Chinatown, which was nice, really, if only people weren’t looking at me as I was some sort of white bear again.

After the Chinatown and some temple from “must see things in Singapore” I moved to the city center, went through real concrete jungles and offices [I would guess that at least half of the country/city works exactly here]. I went to the place that they call “Merlion park”. Apparently a park for Singaporeans is just some square of slabs with no green piece of anything. But that was fine. What shocked me – was the Merlion thing itself. I couldn’t believe it’s size is just as that chick’s with legs in Copenhagen, I was disappointed. Of course, only blinds and me manages to miss the real one and see the copy, that stands next to it. Oh, what a relief I just felt.

So after touching and making pictures of the symbol of Singapore, I went to explore some Marina Bay area, moving to some arabic block. Nothing very spectacular there was followed by Little India. I have never been in the real India, but this place looked very Indian as least for me, indeed.

While seeing some green place on the map, I considered it to be a park and thought that it must be a nice place to finish my walkings of the day. Boy, can you ever be wrong? That green place was closed and covered with a tall fence, and I had no idea why. Later on, people, who are living in Singapore, told me that it is some sort of big person’s [prime minister’s or someone’s..] residence or something. No wonder I had no chance of getting in. Anyway – angry about that I told to myself – ok, then I am going home on foot. That was a long walk, including some walking in the shopping district, so at least Steffany got to do some window-shopping. We try so both could be happy.

Anyways, the owners of B&B+ were so special and awesome people that we finished my first day in Singapore with real Singaporean seafood dinner. For the first time in my life I tried crab [wow, it has some very delicious meat inside of it]. It was sad at the beginning, since I actually saw the poor guy still alive before we ordered it, but that’s the life for you. We also had some huge shrimps and one delicious fish, but the name, sorry, I forgot right that minute they told it for me. After the dinner we have a nice walk along the beach while watching millions of billions of lights of ships and went to sleep.

Day No 2 or the day at Sentosa.

The next day started with a rain. So I was waiting for it to finish, since my goal for that day was to discover one small island, connected with Singapore Island with a bridge. Some sore of resort of Singapore, I should say.

So after the rain finished I tried Singaporean metro for the first time [I have to say the metro itself is not much different from others, except that it is insanely clean and tidy, but when operator started singing “train is coming, train is coming, train is coooooming” they surprised me] and then took a little train to Sentosa. From the first look it is very touristic place – plenty of fancy hotels, casino, restaurants and other stuff. I kept on walking. I stopped at Merlion statue, which is on of the main points in the island, made some walking around, ended up in some sort of ‘walking in the jungles’ kind of style path and decided to walk it. It must end up in the beach – I was sure about it. Turns out, I was wrong. Who could have thought? Again. Don’t laugh. After I got lost there in the woods somewhere, I found my way back just almost as easy as I lost it for the first time. So after some jungles I did end up in the beaches. I was walking around feeling like being in some sort of movie. You know, with palm trees in the beach, nice sand and calm sea? It looked just like that, just soo.. not completely real. But I could touch everything and I knew it’s real. So I was walking, taking pictures, enjoying the time for myself.

I walked up to one board, which proudly stated that ‘we are 136 kilometers from the equator’. Damn it, I thought, I am so close to the equator, it’s almost possible to touch it with hand and no, still not below it. Well, maybe next time.

When I got back from my small trip in Sentosa, B&B+ owners took their guests [a.k.a. me] to play some tennis. Boy, would you have seen me play. It was so sad, funny or pathetic, I don’t even known how to say – but one is clear – I am NOT good in tennis at all. The night was finished with some beer and some conversations before we all went to sleep.

Day No 3 or the day of museums.

I decided to take it easy on the third day. After all I had two pretty heavy days already. So I have been walking around the places I missed on my first day, met Liongis for lunch and then, decided and encouraged by Liongis, took a toud in Asian civilization museum and National museum of Singapore. Both were interesting, I have to admit. And I have learned some more about Asian cultures and I definitely learned some more about Singapore history, culture and development success.

After that we took some beers and stayed a bit at the pool, enjoying the cool weather after the really hot day. And after that we went for some Mexican meals and margaritas. It was my first time I tried margarita as well, and may I add – I will most likely will go for trying those once again.

After the Mexican meal we went to some place called Marrakesh I guess, but we drank Irish beer there [you would be surprised, but there in Singapore they have Guinness and other irish beers, even my beloved Hoegaarden and etc]. and some nargile [you would better know that thing as water pipe].

Day no 4 or the last day

From the morning it seemed that Singaporean sky just decided to cry non-stop. I was waiting patiently [or not] long enough, but then decided – enough and went to the Botanic garden. I knew I have to see it and some kind of rain is not going to stop me. I realized, a bit later, that it’s maybe even better that it was raining, since the park was almost empty [I had almost it all for only myself], plus the blossoms of the flowers just looked so nice in the pictures with a little drops of the rain on them.

So I dedicated all day for the Botanic garden and there was no single minute to regret it. It was amazing. Such a green thing in such a small place like Singapore, amazingly nice blossoms and different trees from Europe. Some rain forests, some orchids, some swans in the lake. Actually that one, the lake of swans I mean, had this small island inside of it and then a statue of several swans on a flying mode. It gave me some shivering and some memories from one movie, I have seen millions of years ago [more than 20 if you can believe me]. The one, I have seen in the cinema about seven sisters, who were coming to the lake in a shape of birds, turned into girls, did some swimming and went back in the shape of birds. Damn, I started to want to see that movie again. But it’s already about 10 years I have been looking for it with no luck.

After the botanic garden we had some Indian dinner, said goodbyes and the guys went for some salsa dancing lesson. I left there alone. A little time after a little and I packed all of my stuff and went to the bus station to catch my bus to the Kuala Lumpur, which, in Asia, popularly is much better known as KL.

Day of KL or day of having my ass kicked.

To my surprise, when I got to the border of Malaysia, I realized that this is a Muslim country. And the deeper I went into it, I learned that it is really a Muslim country. It just hit me how still so little I know about the world. About Indonesia, at least, I knew. Did you know that Indonesia is also a Muslim country?

A day started with no promising beginning. For starters, the bus stopped somewhere, but I mean, literally somewhere [well, for some maybe that place means something, but for me, poor European girl in KL for the first time – it was just somewhere] at 4 a.m. with no cash, no ATMs around, no public transportation available and no people [everybody seemed to have plans of how to get out of that place] I was staying there. There were some homeless people around, some strange, kind of seeking for troubles guys not too far away from me, but since I had no other option, I just stayed. The good part was, I remembered Karolina telling me that I can keep the book [which I borrowed in B&B+] so I was reading it for not falling asleep [that was a miracle to have that book, really] up until the dawn.

When it was already not dark anymore outside and people started walking around to work or somewhere, I went to look for a currency exchange booth or bank or anything. Of course, not surprisingly, I found nothing but an ATM. With no choice, I just took some money [way too much, to be honest, but how can I take just as much as I will pay for taxes while using foreign ATM?]

While finding no tourist information [that was a mystery for me all the time by the way – because I could not find any at any time and I could not find a map anywhere, even in a central train station! So if You want to explore KL – bring your own map! A must in your bag] I decided to take a metro [or something] to a more ‘city center friendly’ stop and walked with no directions or no map or anything.

As I mentioned in the beginning, this city kicked my ass. Big times. And yes, I know, I have been in the worse situations or met stranger creeps, but at that time, this one hit the bottom. In general people in KL were very nice. None of them talked English, but they were smiling and greeting me. So I sat down in front of some sort of city hall in a kind of nice park, but since it was an early morning, I was alone. I was just trying to finish reading my book [the last pages and I just was dying to know how the things ended]. And while reading I saw somebody coming closer. I wasn’t looking up and I thought somebody just needs to pass by. But I noticed that this somebody kind of stopped kind of close to me. Trying not to be paranoid, I kept on reading my book but started to feel really uncomfortable. I looked up and I saw this guy [****ing pervert, if I can be impolite] taking of his pants and getting ready to jerk off just next to me.

I can’t say I was afraid or scared, just a little shocked and disgusted. I would have just as simple as that taken the knife out of my bag and offered him to cut his balls for him [I was pretty pissed about all the picture I have seen], but since I had only my hand-luggage for the plane, knives are not acceptable. So without wanting to get into troubles, I just took all of my stuff and moved away. He wasn’t following me, which was a good thing. For him. But still, he destroyed my any positive impression about KL.

Later on I was just exploring the city, going here and there [not too far away, because I was afraid to look track without a map] having some, most probably Malaysian meal in the local place, exploring Chinatown [there is one in every city here in Asia I guess], meeting much more normal people than the one before. Two times I was complimented for my T-shirt [pink one with a bee, can you imagine? Who would do that?].

So after a while I sat in the KL sentral [train station, a.k.a.] to wait for my bus to the airport. Here comes another creep. For starters he is being pretty nice, just talking to me. Seemed like an ordinary guy [pretty old though] who was just bored and needed someone to talk to. So we did. When he started telling me I should come back to KL, he will take me to the places, he will take me to his place to cook me dinner or he wants to marry a girl like me [well, that would be just stupid, but hearing this was creepy] – it started to hit me ‘girl, get the …. out of there’. To my surprise, when I kind of stopped talking to him [it was a very comfortable chair, I did not want to loose it just because of some creep], he started pointing out that, for example ‘my fingers are like men’s’. I mean – what the f…? Did he just want a good punch in his face? Then he said, that ‘my belly is too big’ and, if it was not enough that ‘I should do some running or swimming to make it smaller’. Then I got frustrated. I mean, no matter how fat I am, or become or can be, no moron has a right to tell me what to do with that. He was lucky I am not an angry bitch, just psycho one, so instead of getting angry and screaming I just starting finding people pathetic. So then I left, leaving the pathetic jerk sitting there. I don’t really need this. And I went to the airport.

At the airport I got extremely nice security check, nothing went wrong, they were smiling and being very nice. It kind of brought some believing for Malaysia in me, I might be considering coming back. Just not to KL I guess, but some paradise looking islands. When I saw a bookstore at the airport, my eyes started shining – I was missing Kafka or Trainspotting so much already, that I needed to buy a new book to read. And they had so many and so good ones, I couldn’t decide what to take. Finally I ended up grabbing “The girl with a dragon tattoo” which, I have to say frankly, so far got to me and I am very interested in what is going to happen. What next I should pick up for readings? Suggestions are welcome!

And then I got back home. Yes, home, Bangkok is already feeling like home. The same streets, the same room, the same heat and the same annoying tuk-tuk drivers, that don’t even annoy you as much. I’m back. In.

12 Sep 2010

.In.

After my unsuccessful try to get out of Bangkok, there was nothing much to do – just to stay. So I did. Stayed. Trying to use my time as efficient as possible in order to explore the city, find something unusual and interesting.

Sightseeing
As every ordinary tourist, I took a map and just walked around to the spots, that are marked in the map as ‘important’ ones. And of course my map became advanced couple of days ago, when one guy, who knows why stopped me in the street, start telling me where to go and what to see [usually those Tuk-tuk drivers are doing that, so after they can take you there, but this one seemed to be just nice, no additional bonuses for him], so he put some notes in my map. Funny now, when I think about it, but he drew a stick-man next to one of the spots and wrote 40m. In the beginning [since when Thai people speak english, you do not necesarrily understand it anyways] I thought that it takes 40 minutes to get there. Turns out – it‘s 40 meters statue of Buddha [am I spelling it correctly?].

I decided to start my trip by exploring what it feels like to ride a Tuk-tuk. It is some sort of taxi in Bangkok, kind of motor-bike on three wheels and pretty comfortable [from the look] seat for passangers. There are millions of them in Bangkok and they keep on constantly beeping, yielling `miss, tuk-tuk` and trying to convince you to take one of them. So finally, on the day I decided to actually do that, they all seemed to dissapear from the streets or from my sight. So anyways, I decided to trust my feet and give them a full walking-working day. Here we were, going, trying to get to meet with another ordinary tourist in the city – onfortunately, unsuccessfully. After that, I decided, it‘s time for me to get to what they call `grand palace`. The guy did not want to let me in and send me to `rent clothes`. Apparently, even my trousers that are below my knees are inapropriate. So I was waiting in a queue waiting for some proper [jeez louise I thought, proper clothes in the university, proper clothes in the palace, what‘s next] clothing and decided it‘s not worth it. It was so full of tourist, that lost all the specificness [is that even a word?] and I just quit. Next time I thought. Or maybe never. I kept on going.

I have visited several temples, all look very similar to one each other, I have to say. All has statues of Buddha, they are all golden, all around there are flowers, money [that people donate and they do that pretty generously I may add] and frankincense and people that are praying. Interesting enough to see the people praying, I have to admit, although, as for the buildings – they just start to look like just the one I have just came from.

I also visited what they call `marble palace`, which was not crowded at all, although the guy had to give me a scarf, so I could hide my shoulders [such an improper person I am] and it was pretty nice. Nothing very special magnificent, but I learned something new, which is always a good thing. This one had a lot of different Buddha’s sculptures inside, so apparently, depending on how Buddha looks like, means something. Mostly Buddha is just on a `walking position`, or `forbidding his relatives to fight other than some specific way`, or `teaching`, or `calming the ocean` and so on.

Turns out, some things just never change. 40 meters Buddha was just as exciting as a chick with legs in Copenhagen [yes, the one you know better as a mermaid] and still so far at least for me the best excitement was brought from non-touristic places. I remember on my first day in Bangkok I went to some temple [it was on a map, but I wasn’t going there, just passing by, so stopped for a minute of two]. I wasn’t sure if I can enter it or if I can make pictures inside [even though I am not religious myself, but I like to respect other’s choice to believe and what to believe], but one of those Buddhist’s guys invited me in and even more – insisted on taking the pictures. I was so impressed by his kindness, that I still remember him with a smile.

Contrasts
It’s hard to judge of course, after only several days in the city, but it is insanely contrasting city. You have a big modern building for the ministry of energy on the corner and just 5 meters away you have some huts, that are home for someone, but truthfully, it’s deadly hard to imagine living in there. Or you have a big supermarket on the corner and just 100 meters away you have scrapheap [or whatever you call that place, where it’s just a field there nothing more just rubbish and trash is all around] and people are actually living there. Or you have so many people that has hardly money to buy a decent dinner and clothes, while in the streets you see very fancy new cars with fancy people in them.

Colors
Apparently, colors are very important in this country. Or maybe in this city, not sure yet. If you decide to take that tuk-tuk taxi kinda thing I just wrote about before – you have to take one with yellow numbers. Why? Because they belong to the government, so they will be cheaper, most likely will try to cheat less and are there is more possibility they won’t drag you into those tricks, where they take you somewhere and on the way, they stop in some jewelry or souvenirs shop, where you could buy something [it’s the deal between drivers and shop owners].

It is also very important to know color of the bus you need. So far I’ve seen only red and blue, but might be much more [I haven’t explored the whole city yet] and different colors takes you to different places, apparently. For example, if you want to go to Siam square from Khao San Road you have to take Red bus no 15 and nothing else. I’m just trying to imagine how easy it should be for color-blind people to be in Bangkok.

In general, there are a lot of things that you just need to know in Bangkok. For example, if you take taxi, it might be pretty expensive, therefore you should take `public taxi` which also belongs to the government and is the cheapest one in the city I believe. Well, you live and you learn it. Or you just google a lot and you learn it too.

Food
I finally learned what is the name of my `pink fruit`. They call it dragon fruit and I still have no idea what that would be in lithuanian, but it taste good and that’s all I need to know. But generally speaking – fruits are pretty expensive [at least comparing to the other stuff, like meat sold in the streets]. Or overall speaking – who told me Thailand is `very cheap country, everything is almost for free`?? I learned my lesson never to trust what people tell you the hard way, so I wasn’t so trustful this time as well, and I have to say, it’s not soooo cheap. I mean, yes, some things are less expensive, especially if you go to non-touristic small places to eat – you get pretty good deals, but if you go to the store – prices are very similar to at least Lithuanian prices. Well, I still haven’t figured all the prices system here, but so far it does not look like `living for free` country for me.

But anyways, today, while exploring the city and getting some rain [again] I tried one of those small eating places in a non touristic street [I was the only light skin/hair person with big eyes to be eating there]. Funny, how they spoke no english at all and I know zero words in Thai, so they asked me something, I nodded and was waiting for something that I ordered. But like literally – something. Turns out, it was one of the top 10 meals I have ever had. Very simple, noodles with some vegetables, chicken and something more [still have no idea what that was, but nothing extra exotic like worms for sure], took around only 2 minutes for them to prepare it, but I was eating it with pleasure – very good really. And it cost me only 30Baht, which is actually a bit less than 1 Euro. The sad part although – this place is far from where I live, so no way I’m going to be a regular there.

Religion
People seem to be very religious here. Buddha’s statues everywhere, small ones on every second corner, so people can pray if they feel like it. And millions of people are visiting them every single day, donating frankincense, flowers, money and praying, praying, praying. It made me wonder – maybe it is good after all to have something/someone you believe in, maybe it makes their lives easier and happier? After all – they seem pretty happy on a daily basis.

Smiling
They call it a country that smiles. And when you look around, they look like a smiling country. They smile to each other, they seem happy, no matter what they do. But they don’t smile to you. They smile back at you though. Somehow I get a feeling that light skin/big eyes people made pretty bitchy opinion about themselves in here, so Thai people seem to be a little careful about that. But they smile very sincerely to you, once you smile to them.

Today, one little girl was staring at me [well, a lot of people stares at me here, I hardly see that, because I choose not to]. And she was doing that so nicely, because she did not want to stare, but probably I was just a very interesting and not ordinary thing to look at. So I winked at her and smiled. She ran away to her mother and told her the story [I don’t understand Thai, but that wasn’t really a rocket science from here excitement and mother’s reaction] all happy. But then again, when you think about it, how often white bear is walking in your city, winking and smiling to people, right?

Basketball
Definitely Thailand is not the country of basketball, that’s for sure. I doubt if they even know what basketball is. So looking for a sport bar or sport channel where I could possibly watch some games from world championship, seemed to be a mission impossible. I had to skip Lithuania-Argentina game and just enjoy the result I got from a friend. I managed to watch Lithuania-USA match last night. No I am wondering if it was a good thing after all to watch, I hate seeing those guys trying so freaking hard and still have to leave loosing. And I lost my internet connection just before Serbia-Turkey match, so it was almost heart breaking news when I got the message, that they lost with only one point and that the whole match was a drama all right! I wish I could have been there, in Istanbul to watch it live. Oh well.

Tonight I am still not sure if I can make it to Lithuania-Serbia game and how to watch it, to be honest. I am supporting Lithuania 100%, but I also support Serbia and I can see how hard those guys are fighting during this championship. They lie when they say that final is between USA and Turkey. The real final will be between Serbia and Lithuania and so far I can say, I’m just hoping for a very interesting game and for my internet not to be cut off in the worst timing.