Matthew's News and Gossip

Matthew's News and Gossip

A man with no talent, but armed with a digital camera, can waste lots of bandwidth

Thursday, November 07, 2002

So it's been a while--Sorry to those of you waiting urgently by the computer for the next gripping installment. Mostly I've been lying on the beach and drinking at night. So not as gripping a story as some of what's been going on in the past. A few nice day trips here and there, a few days with JB, Rebecca and Clova from Singapore in Phuket (bottom left of this map) and a few wild nights out with my friends Dave Russel and Joel Tornatore in BangKok, but not the cultural blowout that the previous several weeks has been. However, this is all changing as I just got to Ankor Wat in Cambodia, plus the blowouts continue, as Carter who was going to come and join me for the next few weeks is now not coming. (Read into that what you will...but I'm here and alone!). Anyway, let me give you a quick recap.

As those of you following at home should know I was on the island of PhaNgan )middle right on this map). I stayed on a lovely bungalow on the beach in Ban Tai (middle of south beach) for 150 baht a night (about $3.50!), hung out with a bunch of random backpackers including some stoner Californians, wild Aussies, some serious German girls and several Brits including Mark the east end Pharmacist and Rachel and Vicky from up north (well Birmingham) who will probably get miffed if they are not mentioned here. As I mentioned I went on a nice Dive at Sailrock in the morning. The big party spot is a beach called Hat Rin, and the big party night is the full moon. At about midnight, after some local firedancing at our own beach, on the full moon night we all headed over there clambering into a big jeep taxi (and passing a nasty accident and several police roadblocks, none of which bothered searching for the drugs that were on several people somewhere on the taxi!). It's a little like Burning Man on the beach. Everyone is taking wierd drugs and even if you're not but you're drinking instead, you end up really, really awake, due to the speed they put in the booze! So you get bodypainted, you go from party to party to rave all the way down and up the beach, you ogle beautiful girls with great bodypaint, and suddenly it's dawn!

Here's the full set from Ko Phan Ngan

I spent a couple of days riding around on a scooter. It's a tropical paradise, so I had to leave! I went on ferry and bus to RaiLai beach (about 100 miles south and on the East coast) as reccomended by Aga Cena. It is a headland made up of 3 incredibly beautiful beaches with famous cliffs. I went rock climbing with a half-assed instructor called Pet who left the instruction mostly to my climbing partner Dave, who is a stuntman at Universal Studios in Florida. It was really hard especailly as I can't really push off on my left knee (plus I'm fat!) but I made it up a 5 (the easiest grade), and halfway up a couple of 6a's before falling off all the time. The next morning my hands hurt so much I couldn't open a sugar packet! I resisted the suggestion to go again! Instead I lay around on the beach and went to a few more parties, meeting lots of friendly people (like these and these and these ones), trying disgusting Swedish tabacco called Snoot, and ogling lots of gorgeous young backpackers! Leaving RaiLay was tough, not least because of the fantastic food, but JB awaited me in Phuket, so I hoped on the ferry there where I met Dave again and a couple of nice Finnish teachers.

Here's the lot from RaiLai including my tatoo and hair braiding!

In Phuket JB and Rebecca were staying in Club Med. Clova was a little surprised to see me, given that I'd just left Singapore and my hair was now very different! Yes I had it braided in RaiLai. I broke into Club Med for a couple of dinners, but Phuket was notable for the morning I both broke up with Carter and watched San Francisco lose the World Series on the same day!. Even the rally cap I made out of newspaper (with help from the lovely Kung in the Bamboo bar) didn't help Barry and the boys come back. Clova, JB's daughter had a lot of fun with the elelphants that one resturant has to entertain the punters every night (and so did I!) We also took a great one day canoe trip with Seacanoe Thailand. There was just me, JB and Clova and one American couple Lydia and Greg from LA. (Lydia is the real deal, blonde and leggy and went to both USC and UCLA , and now works for Taco Bell!) We canoed around three amazing islands and canoed right inside one (called a Hong, a cave who's roof has collapsed, leaving the island "hollow"). We also saw this amazing jelly fish. I also met Nina and Vic in Phuket, two Danish nurses who I'd danced with in Ralai. They hadn't seen any elephants so back we went to the Dino resturant to see more.

Here's the rest from Phuket

Given that I didn't fancy a 24 hour bus ride, I splashed out $60 on a plane ticket, said goodbye to the touts all wanting me to buy a suit in Phuket and jetted on the new (and totally empty) Bangkok airways flight to BangKok. Did I mention how good the food is in Thailand? Even on the plane lunch was amazing!

More about my adventures in BangKok will follow, but I've just made it to Siem Reap, Cambodia (near Ankor Wat) and it was the worst journey I've ever had!
posted by matthew  # 7:25 AM
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