The Land of Smiles :)

For those of you whom I don’t see often, I will attempt to summarize the last few weeks of activity into one blog: I’ve become mildly obsessed with Mangosteens (a super sweet fruit that I found at the floating market a few hours from Bangkok) and a ridiculously great tasting ice cream from the Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan; I snorkeled with the beautiful sea life in Koh Nangyuan, ate squid jerky, was stepped on by an elephant, fell asleep for an 11 hour “nap”, fed monkeys peanuts (who by the way do not really eat the peanuts, they cram their cheeks full like a hamster & reach their little people hands towards you for more…. so when you see the tumor looking bulges on their neck do not be afraid…they are only peanuts), was forced to use the restroom in a trash can in the market because all of the squat toilets were clogged and paperless, had $460 USD stolen out of my back pack, lost my mobile phone in a cab, got gypped by a tuk-tuk driver in Bangkok (if someone in Thailand says “same same”, run for your life!! It is not the same…it is….different) spent a considerable amount of time contemplating the meaning of life and reached the conclusion that the purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly without fear for newer and richer experiences, so I’m doing what I love and exploring the World!!

After spending the day exploring San Francisco, Yung and I flew out at midnight March 8 to begin our adventure. After the 13 hour flight to Taipei, we walked around the rainy city overrun with mopeds and umbrellas. We rode the MRT metro all throughout the city, amazed at the organization of all of the Taiwanese people following in single file line onto the train and up and down the escalators, had my face painted by the crazy makeup lady in the market, ate see-through noodles and something that looked like chicken, visited the Brass Monkey, found hundreds of brightly colored cow sculptures throughout the city, got good use out of our metro coins, “borrowed” the Happy pig mouse pad from our hotel, survived off of animal crackers & stolen apples, visited the hot springs, and we were off to Bangkok. We visited the floating market and bartered with the locals that put a death grip on your arm thinking somehow this will make you want to purchase their goods. Yung had her blood sucked by some monster bug that left a grape sized whelp on her arm, we drank a LOT of bottled water and pineapple juice, bamboo rafted down the Kwai Noi river, rode the death railway, were bounced around like bobble heads rendering our vertebrate close to worthless and leaving bruises on the back of my legs during the elephant trekking at Saiyok Elephant Park in Kanchanaburi (it was worth every second of it) froze our butts off in the airport. We had a good time (even when were tricked into visiting a strip club “aka pussy show” thinking it was a discoteque club) but it was time to move on to Phuket. This place is amazing, the food is different, and they love to say “look around” even though you were already looking around! Even though everyone drives like their on crack and think its ok to reverse into busy traffic and honk at everyone in the process, there is something incredible and beautiful about this place.

The culture is so accepting and friendly …it’s a genuine friendly, not a “hi! I’m being nice to you because I want something from you kind of friendly” Unfortunately we found out the Phuket is a tourist hotspot filled with 70-100 year old men that look pregnant and walk around in skin tight Speedos. We watched Thai lady boys with perfect breasts perform at the Simon Cabaret show, sea kayaked through teeny tiny caverns, visited James Bond Island, snuck into a hotel pool by the ocean and collected hermit crabs on Patong beach. Despite having eaten the sketchy street food we somehow managed to avoid Delhi belly…. Arriving in Koh Samui we stopped at a rubber tree farm, visited the Wat Suwannakuha (Sleeping Buddha) temple swarmed with monkeys at the front entrance. We visited Na Muang Waterfall where I was told I look like Natalie Portman a movie star from the new Star Wars, and the locals asked to take pictures with me. We watched a spectacular firework display on Chaweng beach outside of Ark bar. The kindness of the monks is beyond belief! If you ever visit, please leave a donation, it is not assumed, but it’s very humbling to be part of their culture as you are welcomed so easily and witness their lives. Have a great day! … I shall write again soon…. Love, Syd

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