So, I left LA on Tuesday, November 8, at 11.25pm. This put me into Taipei at 6.15am, for my flight to Bangkok at 7.55am. The flight was rather bumpy, and long, of course, but it was overall fine. My friend Kara is a travel agent and she was able to check me in, so I didn’t have to stand in line at LAX, but I did have to swap out stuff in my backpack. Taipei has free wifi, which I was reminded of when I asked for good food options there by my friend Kristina, aka Wired to the World – I even commented on the blog post where she said it! Silly forgetful Noelle. Anyway, the flight to BKK was fairly empty, so I was able to move up from the back of the plane (where it was FULL!) to the front where it was virtually empty. Not the front-front (aka business class), but I didn’t have to sit next to anyone.
Upon arrival into BKK, I saw some flooded fields, which someone said yesterday on the tvittah weren’t actually flooded, but shrimp farms. I’m not so sure – I seem to remember seeing them as proper fields the last time – and the woman who lives here behind me commented on them too… and, I don’t think there are THAT many farms out there. So, it’s a MYSTERY! When I got to the baggage claim, and my duffel bag came up, the zipper was open, so I was kinda freaked out. It turns out that the zipper seems to have just popped open – so I “unzipped” the zipper and then re-zipped it. Maybe when I go home I’ll get some safety pins and pin it, just in case it decides to pop open again. Also, I’m taking donations for a proper scuba gear case. Because, like cycling, scuba is so inexpensive.
I took the train to the end of the line – it’s a new train link that goes from BKK into the City. Then I took BTS to the MRT to the Hua Lamphong Train Station. All for about 3 bucks total. Then I waited and waited for my “train.” I had some good noodles while I waited, though. The train south isn’t running properly, due to the flooding, so I had to take a bus to a train station that was about 2 hours away. I tried to look at the flooding, but I was still tired, so didn’t really make it awake. Got to the train, and ran to my car, just before it pulled away. Damn if that duffel bag wasn’t the stupidest idea ever! I should have taken the big suitcase I had. Then my carry-on pack wouldn’t have been so heavy either! Live and learn is what they say, right? Ha. On the way through BKK’s public transport system, I saw several movie adverts for Twlight. Super awesome, right?
The overnight train wasn’t nearly as fun as it was when I traveled with Erik a few years ago, but it was fine. I do like train travel, especially sleeper trains, as opposed to bus travel. I couldn’t justify the plane, as it was over 3 times the charge of the train. Upon arrival in Surat Thani, I paid too much for the bus to the other bus to Khao Lak (a traveling couple next to me bought their ticket at the train station in BKK and paid 250 THB, whereas I paid 450 THB – DAMNIT!), but then eventually made it to Khao Lak.
I arrived at Sea Dragon Dive Center, again with the stupidly heavy duffel, and was super happy to have just arrived and be able to settle in. Upon dropping crap at the guesthouse next door, I wandered to find a room that I can rent for the time I’m here. I’ve decided to go with the one that does some cleaning and has towels (one of the things I forgot), and is also next door to the dive shop (kinda – over a ravine and through a restaurant called O’Rendezvous).
Just in case you’re keeping track at home, the things I forgot are:
Rain jacket, Tiger Balm, a towel… so far.
For those wondering, there are accommodations like mine, but also some that are very much fancier – there is a Le Meridien here, along with some other very posh resorts. Come visit me! This is meant for you, Ronak.
In addition to fancy accommodations, there are some awesome food stalls. I’ve been dreaming about the soup above for 2 years.
I went to Bang Niang with some of my dive shop friends last night, and the owner of The Rusty Pelican in Bang Niang is a Californian – from the Santa Monica / Venice border. So, I had Mexican food in Thailand, from a Californian. And, I met the twin of someone who likes to sit at my favorite Seal Beach Bar – 320 Main. So, it is a small world, after all.
I was super excited to see my dive shop peeps – I do love Sea Dragon Dive Center. Super stoked that Fiona has come back to work and said she might surprise me when I got here. Which she did! I gave her and my friend Lani a super sweaty hug. Yes, because I’m awesome like that. And because I carried my duffel and pack through town.
Being here is great. I love it. I do miss peoples back at home, particularly the godkids and godfamily, but it’s good to be here. I am indeed living my dream.