Cil's Amazing Race, Part I

Trip Start Dec 04, 2006
Trip End Aug 05, 2007

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nathan here: So we arrived just in time to meet Cil in the arrivals lounge at the Singapore airport. When we heard that she was going to visit Australia, we tried to sell her on a quick visit to Asia. Well she agreed. Now she asked that we take care of the details so Tara and I agonized - literally - for hours over where to go and what to do. It took some time but we put a plan together and a theme.

Now all Cil knew was that she was flying to Singapore and that we would find a beach somewhere fast for her to visit. Well, not wanting to spend a lot of money and not wanting to spend a lot of time travelling, we decided our itinerary had to work around a lovely company called Air Asia (aka cheap and so far, reliable flights in Southeast Asia).

Tara here: To start from the beginning - Cil told us coming into this trip she was up for an adventure - so we sure planned one and we're calling it Cil's Amazing Race. After arriving in Singapore, she was surprised to find out that it was not pit stop. She received a clue that read - "Welcome to Singapore, where it is illegal to chew gum and the weather remains between 25 and 30 degrees celcius year round. However, this is not a pit stop but rather the first leg of your journey in Cecilia's Amazing Race." Yes, that's right. She asked for adventure and adventure she got.

Within two hours of her initial arrival in Asia, we hopped on a flight to Bangkok, Thailand for two days of sightseeing. Cil awoke to her first "detour." The clue read:

'A detour is a choice between two different, and at times challenging, tasks - each with its own pros and cons. We're calling this detour "Big Man or Not Quite a Lady. On this detour you can either travel by metre taxi to the Royal Palace where you must locate the Emerald Buddha; or, to Bangkok's Red Light District and negotiate a price to hire the services of a "ladyboy" (also known as a transvestite) to escort you on a tour of Bangkok's major tourist sites."

Needless to say she chose the first option so we spent day one visiting the Royal Palace and Wat Po, and then shopping in some air conditioned comfort as Bangkok was 37 degrees (in the shade). We moved from there to the new night market (which Nathan and I had not discovered in our previous visits to Bangkok). Well, it was fabulous. Maybe better than any of the other markets we had visited thus far. We rode a ferris wheel, dined on some street food and had a few - ahem - beers, well pitchers of beer really. Yes, believe it or not, Cil is enjoying draft Thai beer. So we stayed out late on our second night in Bangkok and had an amazing ride home on a Tuk Tuk. So despite a touch of culture shock at times throughout the day, which is only normal, Cil had a great day.

On day two we visited finished up some shopping and then went to Bangkok's Siam Ocean World Aquarium. In a word, it was just brilliant. We then picked up our bags from the guest house and headed to the airport for surprise destination number two.

Now, a word on this whole "Amazing Race" business. Turns out getting to the airport in time for our flight to Phuket was really an "Amazing Race". It was some kind of holiday in Bangkok (which we did not realize) and everybody and their brother was out on the road. You may recall that we have been back and forth from this amazing city a few times, so we feel pretty confident knowing how long it takes to get to the airport. Today, we left with plenty of time - and got stuck in the world's worst traffic jam. With the clock ticking rapidly, we pulled up to the airport and while the taxi was still moving I jumped out and ran to the airline counter while Cil and Nathan followed with the bags. The screen read "checkin closed" but I smiled a lot and persuaded them to let us check in anyways. We had to carry our bags to the gate - which we had to run to - and got on the plane just in time. I am convinced that if we had been one minute later they would not have let us check in. What an adventure. But, as we sit looking out at the beach, it was all worth it.

And so tonight we find ourselves on the island of Phuket. We know, it seems like we're here all the time. But just to let you know, Phuket is huge - about 800 km long - and this time we're staying on a completely different beach. So it is new experience for all of us.

Nathan here: Quick funny story. We were too tired to look for food so we had dinner at the hotel. Poor Cil, she ordered a cheeseburger and it arrived partially cooked. No problem, we asked them to cook it completely and, at the same time, asked that it arrive with no mayo dressing (Cil doesn't like mayo). Well, things must have been lost in translation. Ten minutes later, the waiter returned with a plate of fries, and a cheeseburger minus the burger. That's right, just two toasted hamburger buns with lettuce, tomato, etc but no burger. Had to laugh. Third time was the charm though.

Tara here: Tomorrow is another day with more detours and road blocks for Cil. We promise to update the blog as soon as we can, but as always, internet is not always reliable in Asia. So, stay tuned to find out where we will head next.
Nathan, Tara and Cil.
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