Keep on keepin' on...

Trip Start Dec 14, 2004
Trip End May 25, 2005

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Wednesday, March 23, 2005

over the past couple of weeks we have woven our way south... by way of spending a few days in vang vieng, laos, a few more in bangkok, and another few in kanchanaburi. we have spent what seems like a great deal of time on various forms of transportation-- mini buses packed with people and luggage and laotian women needing to catch up with a missed bus... standard coach buses with the kind of services one would normally find on an airplane (they actually serve you drinks and food on these long bus rides!), and train rides that have been less than enjoyable.

we returned to bangkok last week to pick up our new travel partner, allison, who was quickly thrown into the overwhelming scene and feeling of being in southeast asia. (yay allison! the more the merrier, anyone else want to join?) we kept our time in bangkok to a minimum and then headed on to kanchanaburi. there we hiked for a day at erawan national park, the sight of some beautiful waterfalls, and it was great to relieve ourselves from the heat in such a perfect state of nature. we even saw some wild monkeys-- a good indication of being in a jungley part of the world. we like monkeys. i think we feel like we can relate to them a little bit right now... monkeying around the world, and all. :)

from kanchanaburi we got on a bus to get to another city where we would catch an overnight train to come south. as the bus rolled along, more and more people got on, and we were pretty happy that we were in actual seats. bus drivers in this country seem to have no qualms, whatsoever, about squeezing in as many people as can possibly breathe into the aisle space. we thought there would be overflow onto our laps, and for minutes at a time there certainly was. but, we got off (somehow snaked our way through the aisle... it would've been easier to go with a body passing method on this one), and found ourselves right in front of the nakhon pathom police and tourist office station. since our next step was to find the train station, jodie went into the station and asked around... a nice man offered us a ride in his pick up truck, and soon enough we learned that this nice man was the chief of police for this city. grateful to him, we hopped out of the truck and said our thank yous (khap koon kah, in thai), and put our stuff down to wait for our train. we soon discovered that some time within the past 20 minutes, our train tickets had spontaneously combusted! (we won't mention how or who or why... because after all, we just don't know what happened to them... and we want this person to feel free of guilt from now on...) language barriers don't even begin to explain the hour that followed. after many a hand motion, some tears, some laughter, traipsing through four different 3rd class train cars while whacking a few people with our large backpacks and being the spectacle that we always try so hard not to be, we somehow ended up in the beds we had reserved for ourselves, not really knowing if we'd get thrown off at the next stop.

thankfully, we made it through the night, and got on a new bus at 7am the next day to get to the port, where we caught a boat to the island we are sitting on now, koh phangan. this is the island that thousands flock to every month for the "full moon party" which is happening this thursday. although none of us are really the huge party scene kind of girls, we are excited to try this one out.

this island is beautiful and interesting. many unpaved roads, many foreigners riding scooters with no helmets because they somehow think that because they are in a tropical paradise of sorts they won't get hurt, many beautiful beaches, many hammocks, and us with our own mini-library of books. it will be a fun and relaxing week, and we are certainly happy to be here. our accomodation is a bit lacking, and we are experiencing the "flush-your-own-toilet" method at full force, but we do have beds, fans, and roofs over our heads at night. when you travel in the state that we did for almost 24 hours, there's not much more you can really ask for.

we are three happy, sunkissed girls, and we will certainly report more upon the waning of the moon. (happy purim on thursday too! getting drunk on this jewish holiday is a mitzvah, so, have a good one!)
much love,
rachel, jodie, and allison
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