Friday, December 28, 2007

goodbye Bangkok

We leave for Krabi + Ko Phi Phi tomorrow. I'm so excited to sit and relax in the sunshine and sand. Hoping to do some rock climbing and take a longboat to some of the smaller islands. And read my book.

Today I booked the last three days of my Thailand trip. Dimitri and I are flying from Bangkok to Chiang Mai next Friday. We are staying at the Eagle House and doing one of their two day eco treks through the jungle and Hilltribes. Eagle house is known to be particularly concerned about being respectful of both the environment and the Hilltribes. Everything I've read about their treks is amazing. Here is what our itinerary states: Day 1. Depart Chiang Mai at 9:30am and drive 20 minutes in the trekking truck to the market town of Maemalai where you will buy fresh provisions for the trek. Drive to Mork Fa Waterfall for swimming/lunch. Drive to Mae Sae and hike one and a half hours to hot springs-have a healthy hot medicinal shower. Hike two hours to a Karen Hilltribe village and overnight there. {Insert: Trekkers overnight in the simple bamboo homes of the Hilltribes. Showers are taken in waterfalls or rivers, your bathroom is the jungle. You will be awoken by the dawn chorus and the sound of the rhythmical beat of the Hilltribe women husking rice.) Day Two. Hike 40 minutes to the elephant camp. Then elephant riding, one and a half hours to the Lahu Hilltribe village. Bamboo rafting two hours to Sobkai Shan village. The trekking car will then pick you up and the journey back to Chiang Mai will take about two hours. Trek is through the Bong Duet National Park. They will provide us with rucksacks, mosquito nets and light sleeping bags. I'm so excited!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

No words.

Today was incredible. May be hard to put into words but I'll do my best. So far Bangkok has put me to the test. Just when I thought I was done with the madness streets, dirty air and chaos and ready for the islands...I have a day like today. We were up early and took a longboat for a two hour peek through the remote canals of the Chao Phraya River. Amazing. Seeing the river "villages" and Thai people out and working or cooking - they wave and smile. Happy as clams in their shacks, some without four walls. Somewhere within the canals the boat driver stopped at an orchid farm. Dad, I took some pictures for you! You can take tips for starting your own orchid farm.

After the longboat we went to see the reclining Buddha at Wat Pho. I loved it..but too many tourists.

From there we wandered. And wandered. And somehow fell upon a gigantic market. I've NEVER seen anything like it. Walking through I thought about taking pictures but nothing could replicate what I was seeing. Starting with flowers. Amazing flowers everwhere and stacks and stacks of them. All around you. Then we moved into the electronics section. Then through the tools and hardware. Then fabric. People everywhere buying goods for their homes...for blocks and blocks. This is where they shop. It was really intense and when we finally hopped into our Tuk Tuk to take us back to our hotel we all chattered in amazement about what we'd just walked through.

Tonight we are heading out for ringside seats to a Thai boxing match. I have absolutely no idea what to expect..but I can't imagine I'll be disappointed.

{Just got yelled at by Tim for spending too much time blogging! Wow, he was like my DAD or something! He practically threatened to put me into a time out. Yikes.}

For the record, this trip has been great in company. Traveling with forty year old men!: one is from Greece and has his doctorate in psychology, another an architect and Tim who is a writer. Its been fun talking about different parts of the globe and I still can't believe how little I know about so many places in our world. We had a long conversation with a fantastic Indian man yesterday. He lives and works here in Bangkok with his wife and family. He had an arranged marriage - Tim asked him if his parents did a good job with the arranging, "Oh yes. Very good." he said. I'm reading the Namesake (finally) and it was interesting hearing about his arranged marriage first-hand. We asked him what he thought of George Bush and he explained he doesn't mind him because people from India typically don't like muslims. ..."they don't see people as brothers. As human to human. They only see non-Muslims" he said. Learning about this part of the world and all of the complications between the different countries is wonderful and hard at the same time. What will come of our war? That's another post...Random ramblings for you!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas dinner.

Tonight we had dinner at a place called Cabbages and Condoms. Not only does the restaurant offer excellent food, but they also promote the health and safety aspects of condom use in a fun and amusing manner. All proceeds from the restaurant are used to fund the social development programs of PDA. We sat outside under condom-made lamp globes and a Christmas tree trimmed entirely out of condoms. Below is part of an educational sign posted in the restaurant and I found it hilarious.

Riding around...

For the record, the Thail massage count is up to 3..soon to be 4 today. And sorry the photos are so big in file size. I can't make them smaller and I can't crop them! So you get what you get.

Monday, December 24, 2007

not in "Kansas" anymore

Dimitri and I checked into our new fancy hotel yesterday and relaxed in waiting for Tim and Steve. When we entered the new hotel our eyes were big and round like saucers. Our time at the Atlanta with its sparse rooms and cheap fare was so great. All a person wants and even more than a person in a third world country could ever need. This hotel has 10-12 restaunrants and bars inside and a beautiful gym and spa. Our room alone has two bathrooms, three balconies, a dining room that seats 10, a living room + office, and two flatscreen TVs. Staying here makes our visit seem a bit less like Thailand. I sound negative and I definitely don't mean to be. I'm having an amazing time! I was just surprised at the difference and also at my reaction to that difference. We stayed up late talking and catching up. Let the rest of the trip begin!

Today we took a riverboat taxi upstream to visit some of Bangkok's Wats - or temples/a Buddhist sacred precinct with monks' quarters. We went to one small and less visited Wat and also to the Grand Temple. They are so beautiful! Buddhist monks were walking around in the traditional orange robes and my curiosity was overwhelming. At one point people were gathered, kneeling and chanting.

More yummy food.

Then hour-long Thai foot massages! The massages are so intense and walk a fine line between amazing and painful.

Will try to post some pictures soon. I have taken so many now it may be hard to sift through.

We'll be spending many days here in Bangkok and though there is so much to see I've also been reading about different parts of Thailand. I wish there was a way to also go North and spend some time in the tribal villages. Maybe next time.

Merry Christmas to everyone! {hugs} to you and genuine internet love from me.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

thai massage.

I had my first massage yesterday. The owner of our hotel suggested a place that would be "clean". Dimitri and I had a small adventure in just getting there. We tried two taxi's neither of which would take us where we wanted to go and they wouldn't turn on the meter. They wanted to take us to "different" massage places. Nope. Fine. We'll take the sky train. The massage place was so beautiful! Like a small paradise. 250 baht (aprox. $8) buys you 60 minutes of what I can only describe as a wonderful beat down. We layed on large, foam mats and changed in to comfortable clothing. Then, seriously, let the acrobatics begin. These women used their hands, feet, knees, elbows and forearms. They were all over the mats using their whole bodies. At points, pulling on your feet or hands as their feet are pressing against you. Stepping on us. Kicking us! Laying behind us and rolling our whole bodies over their knees. I'm telling you, I was totally blown away.

Tim and Steve arrive tonight. We move from our wonderful and small "budget" hotel to the fancy, fancy hotel. I have to say, I'm pretty sad. Dimitri and I have come to love this place and its staff.

Friday, December 21, 2007

first day

I'm up and waiting for Dimitri to rise from his room. He makes fun of Americans for our love of the internet but c'mon, its right here in my hotel! Yesterday was pretty crazy. All alone I managed to meet a British guy who works for MINI! and who bought me a beer and told me how to get on the sky train. Thanks for the beer and I was off to shopping at MBK = giant shopping complex similar to that of Japan. Now before you make fun of me for my immediate shopping satiation, please know that I was trying to just do it and be done with it before the guys arrived to meet me. Besides, it was still an adventure and I couldn't believe I made it there and back without getting lost. Bangkok is total chaos and so much like inland China except with farangs everywhere and people trying to indulge in the sexual culture. Sort of strange if you ask me. Its very dirty, populated and the streets are absolute madness with motorbikes, taxis, cars, tuk tuks (again, much like China).

Anyway, I sat for some yummy Pad Thai and gyoza and then after realizing tomorrow is election day and therefore no alcohol can be sold, I decided to pick up some bottles of wine for later. Dimitri arrived and we started chatting and getting to know each other. Tim had done a good job of filling us both in so that was easy. Dimitri is Tim's cousin from Greece whose trip to Bangkok stopped both in Dubai and Calcutta. He speaks pretty darn good english and knows so much of American culture and politics I'm a bit embarrassed I know nothing really of his. We made our way out for some dinner = curry. SO HOT! I mean, seriously almost inedible hot. But yum. Ummm...and then we saw an elephant on the street! A man was using the elephant to try and make money from foreigners by selling food to feed him. Totally crazy. I took some video.

Okay..well I'm off to find coffee. Today we get massages! (and NO "happy ending")

Thursday, December 20, 2007

i made it!

What up from Thailand! Yep, I made it and am fed, coffee'd and sitting for a bit of connecting before Dimitri arrives from Greece. Its amazing how we can just find our way. From getting around the Tokyo airport to navigating Bangkok's crazy streets and taxi's, I landed on the steps of my tiny hotel last night at 2am. Thankfully I had stowed two small bottles of wine from the flight to relax and read with before going to sleep. Thank you JAL airlines...who by the way, rock.

The flight from Seattle to Narita in Tokyo was so absolutely great. I started reading Into the Wild (love, love, love so far) and literally 40 or some odd pages into it I decided to take a peek out the window - we were flying over Alaska! No shit! AND random side story: I was chatting with a fellow traveler from Canada (Walen) who also brought Into the Wild for his journey AND he started telling me that while he was reading he looked out his plane window and happened to be flying over Alaska. Yikes! Same story. Anyway, I also read the paper, about the history and customs of Thailand, Dwell and an US weekly magazine and finally threw on the headphones for music. Not to be cheesy, but it was like those times in movies where poignant music plays in the background as scenes slowly pass by - no dialogue. As I listened to Dave Mathews and Feist I watched the clouds roll by and my excitement was filling my whole body and spilling out in smiles and small, quiet seat dances. Thailand!

Okay, well I'm off to hopefully do some shopping at Siam Square and then back to the hotel to chill in a hammock and wait for Dimitri. Vacation.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

some thought purging.

Seattle rage:
Lisa was raging the other day. She was raging about the sometimes Seattle rage. Walker/biker rage. Liberal rage. Hell, go to Bethany Presbyterian church at the top of Queen Anne and you'll see their neighbor writes a new sign of rage nearly every day about the church and the noise of its members. There is a greatness living in an area where people care so much about how they live their lives. They live passionately and their passions enter into most of what they spend their lives doing. Its inspiring and has definitely changed the way I live my life to a certain extent.

It can also get heavy sometimes when I feel like I am being preached to. Or that if I don't buy all organic food I'm somehow lame. Or if I want to watch television or drive to grab a cup of coffee from my favorite coffee shop (vs. the one two blocks from my house) every once in a while that I am a crazy person.

I know, I know random thoughts and purging. I am taking off soon for my holiday trip to Thailand and I think my emotions are more vibrant. I was having mixed emotions as I packed. Thinking about missing friends, family and Tyson for the holidays. I drove home last night and a homeless person was chillin' at an intersection. I handed him the change I had (which I can honestly say I never do). I thought about those who won't have the opportunity to even have a great meal this Christmas and I can't help but feel a tug of thoughtful reflection as I prep to leave and relax in a place not a lot of people get to in their lives. How am I living my life? To its fullest most of the time I'd say. I do want to think about all the things the Seattle folks have taught me: Eating locally. Living in ways that reduce my waste and respect the environment. Appreciating the out of doors and playing in it. And hopefully trying to give my fellow humans who aren't as fortunate something to try and even the score in '08. Cheers to all of your holidays. Love you and have a wonderful, grateful new year!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

first day riding

Lisa and I headed up to Steven's Pass on Saturday for some snowboarding. We've got two big ski/snowboard trips planned for this winter - Whistler and Aspen - and I was excited to get out and make sure I still had some skillz.

We elected to take the MINI and I felt totally confident in MINI's abilities to make the drive..until we reached the mountain and the snow was coming down hard. Lots of people were pulling over to throw their chains on. We had no chains. White knucked I reached the entrance to Steven's Pass where many cars were sliding around the road and passengers were getting out and helping push. The MINI just scooted around all of them until safely parking in a little snow-covered spot. Lisa started calling her the Small Wonder in reference to the 80's show where Vicki is a robot. Good job, Vic!

It snowed the entire time we were snowboarding. Any falls were nothing short of landing in what I can only imagine falling into a cloud is like. Powder. It was so beautiful and so so fun. After several runs we met up with Lisa's friend Graham and headed in for a few winter beers. This made for some less than sober boarding for the rest of the day and we managed to have a totally superb time.

Can't wait for Whistler in January!

Monday, December 10, 2007

good weekend.

Lindsay, Lisa, Me, Janna

Ladies met up Saturday night for some much-needed cocktail hours. Without planning too much, our evening was randomly blissful. The only instructions: 7pm Veil lounge. Many hours of chatting and laughter as people stopped by and were in and out. Then we headed to a holiday party...only to skip out early, grab a pizza and some pringles and descend upon a co-workers condo for more chatting. What I loved most was the mixing of all my different friend groups. My co-workers loved my non co-worker friends..who brought their friends who everybody liked also. Good stuff.

New friend Julie with Janna..and the pringles.

Sunday Lisa picked me up for some delicious coffee @ Zeitgeist and a few hours spent at Elliot Bay Bookstore = the most cozy and fun bookstore I've ever been in. Great Sunday.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


Sorry no posts! I had my wisdom teeth out last weekend and developed the lovely thing they call DRY SOCKETS this week. Yep, Pain. Lots. And some tears.

SO, with the medicated gauze stuffed neatly in my sockets I'm feeling pretty good for now. Another Dr. appt. scheduled for Monday.

I don't care what happens as long as I can consume delicious Thai food in roughly a week and a half when I land in Bangkok.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Urban Craft Uprising:

Had I not been miserably sick and laying on the couch for most of Thursday, only to rise and have my wisdom teeth removed on Friday (again, laying on the couch all day) I don't think I would've been as inclined to venture out Saturday morning to the Urban Craft Uprising. My sore and swollen mouth couldn't keep me down! I needed to break free from my sweatpants and television remote.

So many stylishly-dressed people turned out for the event including almost as many men as women. To see so many handmade wares and sweet designs was inspiring and hard on the pocket book.

A few good suggestions:
red boots design
fort cloudy
and a site that doesn't really help show how cool they are:
carmacazzi (their Gasworks design is especially sweet!)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

Surprise, Jora!

Even though Jora's birthday was yesterday, her family wanted to plan her surprise party during the time that Kesney and I were in town for the holiday. I'm still not totally convinced she wasn't in on the secret, but the party was an absolute success.

I've been friends with Jora since the second grade. She sat next to me in Mrs. Camerote's class. We've done nearly everything together including basketball, volleyball, band, dance, rigging the system so we had every single class together our senior year and studying abroad together our junior year of college. Through the years her sisters have become my sisters and her parents a second set for me, just as mine have been for her.

And here are the three crazy ladies from Hamel. The three of us have been friends since the 5th grade. When we're together its like a wrecking ball through a party. As I think I mentioned in a previous post, we have been separated for the past year: one in Chicago, one in Seattle and another in Hong Kong. But I think we're growing and figuring out why it is we're friends more than ever.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Happy Golden birthday to Jora today! Pics to come from her birthday party when I was home.

In the meantime, for something golden click here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hello to the 6 people I believe to be regular readers of my blog. I've been told (pete) that the name of my blog simply must change.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Many MN visits::::

Liquid lunch with Ann (very appropriate). Good times. Many laughs. And always great conversation. Miss her.

"Fancy" Manny's dinner with Tim. I told the host I was having dinner with Tim Alevizos. "Right this way." and I was whisked to a quiet table in the back of the restaurant. Note: His picture is on the wall just to the left of his head. He was very proud of that. He is sooooo fancy. And when the server brought us our check he told us the Total bill was on one side, and the Revised bill was on the other. $0.00. Comped. Have I mentioned how fancy Tim is? (Wink, Tim. Love you)

Wine with friends at Pete and Emily's. {notice the grey teeth}
I really miss seeing them and I'm so glad we're still friends despite the distance and circumstances. I hope I'm always in their lives. Thanks for all the love and support! Can't wait for the call when Angie pops!

And lovely, lovely Kate Z. A two hour chat with Kate passes in what seems like five minutes. She is so awesome.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Turkey Day Family Photos.

Very late. Just getting back into the swing.