Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Firm Handshakes and firm annihilation of an unsuspecting dance floor


Evidence of Colin and I parting ways. Colin went on to miss his flight shortly after this photo. (Beacuse we shook hands for so long).

Before we parted ways, however, we had what Tara Reid would dub "Wild on Kho Phi Phi". (Luckily, we didn't see Tara Reid, and thusly didn't have to throw up on ourselves).

The night started with a fine beachside dinner

I think Colin would agree with this: One of the biggest takeaways from this trip is that if you're going on a beautiful beach vacation (and you're not keenly interested in making nice with the chain smoking lushes from other westernized countries), bring a girl.

That aside, I can say that we had a blast and made exceptional due.

Our evening started at the "Reggae Bar", which would insinuate a chill, laid back atmosphere with hot island beats. However, a better description of the bar would be "Fight Club meets the Birdcage meets Saturday Night Fever" directed by Paul Reubens.

The bar had Thai boxing ring, a lady boy (e.g. drag) show, all sorts of table games, and a dance floor that Colin and I forever made our b!tch. (Sadly, I could not find a talking blue chair).

They had some legit Muay Thai Fighting..
video

They had some underage Muay Thai fighting..


And then they had some amateur Muay Thai Fighting...

(Now would be a good time to mention there are no discernible rules in Thailand or any SE Asian Country. Families of 4 ride on motor scooters (helmets seemingly not invented there), Extended Families of 20 ride in the back of Pick-Up trucks on highways and _____ (insert anything unsafe)).

We befriended some Canadians, and one of them decided to put his drink down and kick some ass. We were his entourage/trainers, and more so, we were ecstatic to not be in the ring.


After ending in a tie, they both exited the ring and presumably kissed their sister.


The boxing segway'd to the dance floor portion of the evening, where we explored the art of the white man's overbite and sweating:

Angkor Wat: A Remarkably Unfunny Title

Stuart and I parted ways in Bangkok on Friday. While he was going back to the good old US of A, while I decided to postpone reality by just a couple of days and check out the great temples of Angkor Wat. While I was excited to start off on the next, and final, leg of my journey, it was sad to say goodbye to Stu. Aside from the fact that we'd had a terrific time together, his boyish charm and steely good looks had proved invaluable in dealing with the locals, and negotiating my way through Cambodia without him struck me as a daunting task. But I pushed on and came out relatively unscathed.

For detailed information on the history of Angkor Wat click here, otherwise, continue reading for my brief and likely inaccurate description that I picked up while I was there: located in Cambodia (national motto: "Hello sir, you want massage?"), Angkor Wat is an enormous and inspiring cluster of temples and cities built by the Ancient Khmer between the 10th century and 16th century. The flagship of them all is the actual Angkor Wat, which is the pride and joy of Cambodia...it's featured on the flag and is the subject of the (pretty tasty) national beer.

There are many other temples than Angkor Wat in the complex though, which spans about 10 square miles or so. Basically every leader (or living god, as he was proclaimed) kept trying to one up the guy before him in terms of grandiosity and scale. This system was probably a real pain in the ass for the builders at the time, but it makes for some excellent temple-looking. While Cambodia is a largely Buddhist country, the temples were actually built to honor the Hindu gods, as the ancient Khmer were sold on the faith after sampling a particularly tasty chicken tikka masala dish (note: I just made that up, but wouldn't be surprised if it was true).

Okay, history lesson is over.

I had a motorcycle dude drive me around (I was on the back of the bike, which took a little getting used to), and I climbed and explored the temples for about 9 hours and had a blast.

WARNING: Significant Temple footage follows


High Angkor Wattage


Monkey walking across the bridge to Angkor Wat...that's not a lake but a moat, and a pretty serious one if I say so myself.

video

Drive by one of the temples

video

Riding through the gate to the ancient city/temples of Angkor Thom

Ta Prohm Wat...I liked this one, the jungle has really overrun the place. Part of Tomb Raider was filmed here...anyone else noticed the trend of us visiting the filming locations for crappy movies?

My main man Jim (probably not his real name) who drove me around. He thought I was the coolest guy around because I'm from California. Had a penchant for talking to me while driving when I would have preferred he kept his eyes on the road.

I didn't run into as many other fans of the Terps 2003 National Champion basketball team as I expected at Angkor Wat

Face of Jayavarman VII at the Bayon temple...there are about 200 or so of these faces carved into the walls of this temple, note the slight smile which was supposedly added to convey a sense of humanity for this powerful king.

Traveling alone can get lonely, but luckily I made a bunch of new friends!

This would have gotten annoying

Friday, October 24, 2008

Report: That total loser from your high school spotted wearing attention grabbing T-shirt

As a people, we need to host a summit regarding the culture of dumb jock/ho T-shirts in vacation spots.

It's one thing for stupid shirts to be available for sale, however the crime is when people buy these shirts and wear them.

Don't get me wrong, funny t-shirts have a dear place in this world, but the ones Colin and I have seen at the Beaches (ex. below) almost make you wish for a specialized tsunami to come through town picking off only these t-shirt doters.


Note: I do like how there is one "Thailand" t-shirt with an old ship strewn among the examples of what to wear if you don't want to make or have friends.

If you'll note the "Sex Instructor- First Lesson Free" design; this one is experiencing tickle-me-elmo-type sales velocity in the creepy 40+ old man division.

Colin and I were in Kho Phi Phi- pronounced Go Pee Pee (Just like your parents used to request of you). Kho Phi Phi was one of the harder hit areas during the 12/26/04 Tsunami, with nearly all non-concrete buildings being destroyed (Some concrete buildings were brought down too). After several years of rebuilding, the island's popularity has returned to its pre-tsunami levels, however, almost 4 years after the tragedy, there is still considerable re-construction underway.




Areas still being re-developed.


The tsunami hit the shoreline on the left and washed completely over into the bay on the right, taking out many of buildings and people in the lowlands. ps. I was obviously kidding about the specialized tsunami thing... that comment and the t-shirts are all very tasteless.

Other news:
Pics from a beach hopping, snorkeling boat trip..

Bad movie reference warning: This is the beach that "The Beach" was filmed. The beach is certainly no longer a secret.. It actually receives more visitors a day than vpilf.com


Colin, after finding his second(!) treasure chest. Luckily no pirates stole the loot.. (I suppose we developed a good rapport with them, since we were staying at the "Pirates House" hotel in town. Seriously. Sounds corny. And it is.)


I have a very urgent announcement.....! CANNONBALL!!!


This was not our boat, but it followed us the entire time. When we were leaving the dock, Colin and I were jealous that this boat had lots of young people and seemed to be the party boat, while ours contained only a dozen people, mostly old... Apparently, we're losing our edge (read: might need to start wearing raunchy t-shirts to regain edge), because by mid-day we were so happy to be lounging about on our spacious ship, and not having to deal with the drunk youth. (Book clubs/regularity discussions/AARP, here we come).


Our spacious digs. Side note: The girl in pink is a very enthusiastic and loud Chinese girl. One of our fellow boat goers mentioned that she was a tad on the annoying side, and Colin aptly submitted that "She's actually pretty entertaining.. I'm just really happy she's not my girlfriend". (Poor guy in white bending over).

Her reaction to seeing a 3 inch fish was the equivalent of a normal person seeing a 3 ton shark. This proved to almost make me shit myself when I jumped into the water (which sharks reportedly roam), surfaced and she-from the boat-started pointing at the water and yelling frantically in Chinese.

She was pointing at a blue angel fish.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bend it like Babar

When Colin was bedridden on his 36 hour hiatus from "the living", Mary and I took a jaunt to the local elephant park to consume elephants in humanitarian research, entertainment, commerce, transport, scent and bodily fluid (not planned).

Due diligence findings are as follows:

Humanitarian Research: All zoos and fee admission animal parks are depressing. This was no different.

Entertainment:
Sadness over animal living conditions can be temporarily suspended due to absolutely spectacular animal shows. The video below is pretty awesome.

video

Other tricks included lots of hat stealing, rolling over like a dog, relay races and an elephant competing against a 16 year old boy in darts, and hitting its first 4, while the boy traumatizingly missed his first 6. If that guy goes postal anytime in the next 50 years, I'm convinced it'll be the elephant's fault. (Elephant stole his hat too).

Elephant Commerce (E-Commerce):
The second best purchase by your blog contributors since trip conception is an elephant painting. (#1- obviously shants).




The far right contributing artist is in the special needs program.

E-Transport: More uncomfortable than a Cutco knife salesman knocking on Owen Wilson's door.

E-Scent: Poo cutlet and used band aids.

Bodily Fluid:
Not great. Mary and I took a pretty jerky and uncomfortable elephant ride (as alluded to), and halfway through, the guide stopped to take some pictures. Just as he was about to snap the first picture, the elephant lifted his trunk up over his head and snot rocketed whatever occupies his snout directly in my face and on my shirt (Mary was luckily outside emitting trajectory). The following pic gives a decent indication of the aftermath.




A Snout (not during expulsion episode).



The male elephants' credo: Live hard, Walk hard, Hope no one sees us hard.
The male elephants' pet peeve: Thong-like apparati.

Other news:


Went to a shooting range while Colin took an elephant ride in Phuket (I could have gone with him, but was fearful of the E-boner). To shoot a handgun in the U.S. you have to take at least an hour long training session. In Phuket, Thailand: I walked in, shot 10 bullets and was out in 3 minutes.


We had a hard time convincing the waitress of our discount qualifications.





Phuket?! I hardly know it!

Greetings Blogfans,

We've actually already left Phuket, but I thought of that title a week and a half ago and was determined to fit it in somehow. We've moved into the beach phase of our trip, as we flew to Phuket yesterday from Chiang Mai (where we were staying with the aforementioned miracle woman known as Mary...check out her blog to follow her great adventure). Stuart will have a different opinion of Chiang Mai than I did, as I was laid up with a pretty gnarly case of food poisoning while we were there (I'm fine now, thanks for asking). However, before I spent the next 36 hours wishing I was dead, we did all check out Tiger World, which is way cooler than Leech World, which we visited in Laos. Photos of us with tigers below:

Stu, Mary and Me with a big fella (has been declawed)...if we ever start a band, this is the album cover. Note that Stu is a little hesitant to actually touch the tiger.

I shelled out a few extra Baht to play with the one month old cubs. I'm going to use these photos mainly to get chicks.

This one was delicious. Overall, Tiger World was Grrrrrrrrrrrreat!

Stuart has kickass photos and videos from his and Mary's trip to the elephant park, but since I couldn't go I'm pretending it didn't happen.

Phuket is a tropical island in southern Thailand and is geared towards pasty white folks with a penchant for knock-off designer goods (ours aren't knock-offs, though, we've been assured that they're all real). A view of the warm waters of the Indian Ocean from our hotel is below.


This morning we boarded a boat to the island paradise of Ko Phi Phi, about a 90 minute trip from Phuket. This is where the movie The Beach was filmed...while I found the movie to be one of the worst movies of the past 300 years, the scenery was pretty so here we are. We just got in a few minutes ago, but so far it looks spectacular. It kind of has a Jurassic Park kind of feel to it, with lush jungles covering steep cliffs, and I keep expecting a pterodactyl to fly out of the trees at some point. Well, not really expecting it since dinosaurs are extinct, but you know what I mean. We'll follow up with pictures of this beautiful place (sans dinosarus...most likely) in the next couple of days.

Rock on.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

It's a short, it's a pant, it's Shants!

If you look closer, our esteemed hero, Colin wore a lengthy pair of fluorescent white shorts on the Gibbon Experience. The shorts were reportedly an under-understood online purchase of what appeared to be shorts, but upon further investigation, may not be. They are touted as the "Kobe Bryant Basketball" shorts, a fact that has had <0 impact on the foreigners we've talked about the shorts with. As mentioned, these 21st century jams were the pinnacle of white before the gibbon trip. However, if you've ever been outside, you're keenly aware of the resource, dirt. Shant brightness time line:





The Gibbons even made Colin bleed his own blood.


We didn't see any gibbons in the end, so we drank.


On the bus after GibbonX, Colin contemplates Plessy vs. Ferguson verdict.

I've probably been hogging the blog airtime of late, however, Colin is feeling a touch under the weather, and as they say in the industry, "two dudes doing things" doesn't sleep. We've been covering lots of ground in the last few days, traversing from Laos to Chiang Mai, Thailand where we're staying with a friend, Mary, who recently moved here to start up an Ice Cream store.

I encourage you to let that marinate for a moment.. And then go to your copy room, load letter paper and put a three hole punch through your Achilles. Mary, fresh out of law school, has quite possibly the most amazing gig I can think of. She is working for a European NGO who hired her to start up a Gelato-style Ice Cream store, and so she is in the process of ex-Pat networking, looking for a Thai business partner, a store location (likely in the New Mandrian Hotel) and once those are in place, building a viable retail operation with suppliers, employees and customers who want to drop it like it's Baht. It has been exceedingly nice staying at her house, and so, Mary, if you read this; Thank you, and we're sorry for hogging your computer.

We're only in Chiang Mai until Monday, but in two days we've managed to paint the town beige. Tigers, Elephants, a rented mini-vanish Toyota and a matadortravel.com meet-up featuring too much Sangsom whiskey. More on that if interested: http://matadortravel.com/travel-community/united+states/stu/travel-blog


All Colin ate at breakfast this morning.