Back in Bangkok

31 01 2010

We are now back in Bangkok getting ready to go to Cambodia.  We applied online for the Cambodian visa but need to go to the Vietnamese embassy to acquire the Vietnamese visa.  Hopefully we can get that tomorrow and head off to Siam Reap in Cambodia on Tuesday – Wednesday at the latest.

IMG_4932 Ronald McDonald looks a bit different here

From Krabi we went with the bus to Ranong.  Ranong is on the Burmese border and we were hoping that we could go over to Burma for a couple of days but Pon, our travel agent in Ranong, told us that there is nothing to see in Burma – at least not close to this border.  There are two nice islands out of Ranong where we could have rented a bungalow on the cheap and snorkeled and sunbathed but we decide to take the night bus to Bangkok after one night in Ranong.

On offer were four categories of busses: 24 seat VIP bus, 32 seat VIP bus, 38 seat 1st class bus and 2nd class bus.  2nd class bus didn’t have any toilette but the others all had toilettes, air conditioning and a stewardess on board.  The only difference was the width of the seats.  the 24 seat VIP had seats like a business class airplane seats.  The 1st class had just regular seats and the 32 seat VIP was somewhere between.  Since it was over eight hours bus ride we decided to take the 32 seat VIP bus, which was quite nice but next we’ll probably just make do with 1st class.  At least while we are not thicker then we are now :)

As I wrote before, we have been under-blinged during the first part of the trip.  This has felt uncomfortable and people have been looking at us like we just landed in Thailand.  Finally we have made the minimum of two bracelets each, I have two on my wrist plus one necklace and Elínborg has one on the wrist and another one on her ankle.  Now we can finally blend into the seasoned farángs (foreigners) in Thailand.

IMG_4955 All blinged up

Madagascar trip 2007

29 01 2010

I just found our travel journal from our trip to Madagascar in September 2007.  Unfortunately it is still only in Icelandic.  I’ll begin by posting it in Icelandic and maybe I’ll translate it later into English during the long bus rides here if I get enough encouragement.

The journal was written for ourselves at the time so bear that in mind when you read it.  The posts will be back dated so you need to go to 2007 to find them or click on the categories shortcuts on the right side of the website.


I’ll start posting the Madagascar journey next time we have internet :)

UPDATE: I’ve posted all twelve Madagascar posts in Icelandic.  Just note that they were written as a private journal rather then for publishing.

Weather update

28 01 2010

Just a quick update on the weather.  Today it was 33°C (feels like 38°C) and calm with a slight breeze.  The weather is expected to stay the same for the foreseeable future :)

We are staying now on Ao Nang, close to Krabi town.  Today we went to Rai Le  beach on a long tail boat where I shot the video below.

The Thai people

28 01 2010

When we first came to Thailand – The Land of the Thousand Smiles – we were surprised how grumpy or at least not very happy a lot of the local people seemed.  Waiters in restaurants would not smile at all during service and the people on the street didn’t smile either, even if we would smile at them.  We started to think that The Land of the Thousand Smiles was just an advertisement slogan.

When we came to Ko Tao we noticed quite a different attitude, most of the people smiled all the time and if you would look at someone they would always burst out in a big smile from ear to ear.

Now after we have been to a few places we have noticed a clear pattern.  In the more crowded places people seem to give less positive energy to others, they smile less, are less open to chat and just seem less enthusiastic about life.  On the other hand when we go the the less crowded places that have a better connection to nature the people smile a lot more, try to chat with us given the opportunity and are more interested in the people and things around them.

I haven’t really noticed how this is in Iceland, most of the people I know back home are from the country side.  Elínborg says that they are chattier than the concrete kids but I haven’t really given it much thought.

How is this in your country? Please comment!

Danger in the jungle

27 01 2010

We are now on the bus to Krabi after a night in the Jungle.  We stayed at the Bamboo House in Khao Sok National Park, which is the biggest jungle in the South of Thailand.  The first thing we noticed in the jungle is that there are a lot more insects: flies, ants and other bugs  …oooppss just jumped to change busses… Yeah there are definitely more bugs in the jungle, not that it should surprise us, we just didn’t think about it.  We haven’t been plagued too much and the bites seemed to get fewer every day until now.  Elínborg got some red spots the other day (100-200 of them) and we thought that she had been attacked by ants but the woman at the pharmacy convinced us that it was something from the sea. My theory is that she is allergic to coral sperm as I saw some of the corals release something into the sea.  At least she got a crème that seems to be fixing the problem.

IMG_4892 Pigs on the way to the islands

Elínborg faced another danger in our bungalow when we were preparing for bed time.  She spotted something hairy dive behind our bed and I immediately  thought we were either dealing with a rat or a tarantula spider.  A rat seemed unlikely in the jungle but the other option was still open.  I had read that tarantulas are actually not poisonous so I grabbed the flashlight while Elínborg stood still frozen by the door.  When I moved closer to the bed I saw something shoot up the wall and down again so I couldn’t see it properly.  When I pointed the flashlight behind the bed I saw the cutest little eyes of a tiny mouse that seemed as scared as Elínborg ;)  As she saw me she moved frantically up the wall and out a hole close to the ceiling.

IMG_4898 The bungalow with the frightening animal

We only stayed one night in the jungle so we weren’t able to see everything that was on offer but we went to a fantastic elephant trek where we went for a walk into the woods with Kaidam, a 17 year old elephant boy, and his keeper.  Riding Kaidam was a fantastic experience, he was so careful and gentle going up the rocky slope.  At first we were in the saddle but on the way back Elínborg got to sit on his neck like a proper elephant rider.

IMG_4907 The elephant riders

During the trek we didn’t see too much wild life since an elephant has quite a presence.  We did see two snakes though just before they managed to hide in the bushes.  After the trek one of the guides guessed that the snakes were Black Cobra :-o

IMG_4910 Kaidam getting his payment

In the middle of the trek we were able to wander around the jungle on our own.  We walked along this stream and as Elínborg walked over a tree trunk a big Black Cobra started moving within a meter from where she stepped down.  Elínborg’s instinctive move was to jump back into a karate position, which scared the cobra away!  I was quite impressed that she didn’t even make a sound even though I heard her heartbeat pounding for the next minute.  It seems like Elínborg has nine lives like the cat and needed three of her in just two days :)

IMG_4903 Quick to regain her cool :)

ps. I’m trying out Windows Live Writer that allows me to blog while offline, setting up the photos and everything and then posting when I have access, so bear with me the posts look a bit funny for now.

From one island to the next

25 01 2010

It was with great regret that we left The Island View Cabana at Ao Mae Haad. Not only were we saying good-bye to a great beach town and a great resort with very entertaining Burmese waiters, we were leaving the wonderful Ko Phangan and saying good-bye to our Canadian friends, Isabelle and Kyle. We hope though that we will see them again in a couple of days in Krabi, before they head down to Malaysia.

With Isabelle and Kyle from Canada

With Isabelle and Kyle from Canada

We on the other hand took the ferry to Ko Samui, the biggest island of the three we have visited and most westernized. On Ko Samui you will find an international airport, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut and a lot of fancy resorts for package travelers. It had worked so well for us on Ko Phangan to go against the stream that we headed away from the main beaches on the east coast and took a taxi towards the west coast. This time we weren’t as lucky as before and didn’t find the town we ended in too exciting. We therefore took another taxi to the east coast and ended in the town where the main port is located.

...we're on the road again...

...we're on the road again...

Yesterday we managed to try three of the five types of taxis that we have seen here in Thailand. First we took the “regular” taxi to the port in Ko Phangan. The regular taxi is a pickup truck where the passengers go in the back with the luggage. If you are lucky there are benches on both sides and some sort of a roof, other times it is just the naked back side of the pickup (what ever that is called :). From the port in Ko Samui we got a party van with a huge stereo, disco lights and an mp3 player and to the port town we got a motor taxi, which is just a scooter and a driver (we needed two sets ;). The driver managed to put the bag between his legs and we jumped on in the back. The other two types that we haven’t tried yet are the normal yellow taxi and a tuk tuk, which is a motorbike with three wheels and has a bench for two in the back.

The night market

The night market

Last night we went to the food market down by the peer. The market consists of maybe 40 booths, each selling its own specialty. To name a few of the dishes the booths were offering they had:

  • Fried chicken either whole with the head and everything or single pieces (definitely something for you Deepak and Bob)
  • Grilled chicken and duck on a spear with the hearts, liver or feet available on a spear as well
  • Fried noodles with pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, crab or fish
  • Grilled squid or white fish of all sorts
  • Sausages or hot dogs made of pork, chicken or tofu
  • Some kind of meat balls made all sorts of ingredients
  • All kinds of different curries with rice or noodles (red, green, masman, etc.)
  • Dumplings with curry, fish or meets
  • All sorts of juices and shakes
  • Crepes with bananas or chocolate
  • Jelly and cakes and rice boiled in syrup and sesame essence
Fried chicken

Fried chicken

Different types of curries

Different types of curries

Jelly and other desserts

Jelly and other desserts

Coconu custard

...and our favorite - Coconu custard

…and a lot of other stuff that we didn’t really recognize. We finally settled on a box of fried chicken, a couple of spears of grilled chicken and meat balls and for desert we had the rice boiled in syrup and sesame and some sort of fried coconut pudding. Everything except the meat balls was absolutely fantastic and ended up costing us 120 baht with water or less than $4 all in all. We are planning to go again before we leave and hopefully we will be even more adventurous.

The meatballs waren't so nice :)

Everything except the meatballs was very nice :)

You need rest

You need some rest when you are full :)

ps. can someone update me on the Tiger Woods story ???  Are they back togeather?  Is he dating someone else?  Did she break is jaw with the 9-iron? Is she dating Björn from Abba? Is he a ladyboy (well he is half Thai)?