The last few weeks have been some of the laziest and we don't have too much to report. We've done nothing but hang out at different beaches across Thailand.
Following the Full Moon Party we visited Koh Samui and then flew to Phuket. The only thing in Phuket are prostitutes and lady-boys and sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. I learned two important expressions while there:
1) it's not a lady-boy unless you check and,
2) what happens on vacation stays on vacation except for STDs, those you take home with you
Just in case you were wondering, we never had to put either of those expressions to use.
To get away we went to the incredible island of Koh Phi Phi. We go to check into our hotel and when asked for our passports Gadi and I look at each other in horror. We forgot them in the safe of the last hotel in Phuket! Now we are forced to go back there.
Koh Phi Phi is paradise and it's hard to imagine that it was almost wiped out by the tsunami. We wanted to put our new certification to use so one day we went scuba diving. All I have to say is "wow"! We saw two kinds of shark, octopus, squid and not to mention all the amazing fish. On the second day we hiked to the top of the island (just follow the tsunami evacuation route signs) to catch the magnificent sun-set. Very romantic.
We had a very last minute change of plans and we are now in Bali, Indonesia! Again, my dad was working in the area so we seized the opportunity to meet up with him. It's been lots of fun to hang out with Pa, and I love that he spoils us rotten.
To fly to Indonesia we had to make a stop over in Malaysia. The thing about these two countries is that they don't like Israel too much, that is, no Israelis are allowed in. This shouldn't be a problem considering we both hold Canadian passports. That doesn't change the fact that Gadi is a born Israeli and I have several sets of Israeli stamps in my passport. I didn't think we were going to have any problems but Gadi was frantic! As we were passing through customs in Malaysia, Gadi was just sweating bullets. We gave our best "Canadian smile" and no one gave us a second look. All I have to say is "I told you so".
We took an island tour of Bali where we saw some Balinese dancing, visited several beautiful temples, played with monkeys and ate lunch overlooking an active volcano. We also stopped at a coffee plantation where they make Kopi Luwak, the most expensive coffee in the world. This coffee is made by collecting "droppings" of an animal (the luwak) which contain the coffee seed after eating the most ripe coffee berries.
That's right, the coffee was eaten, digested and defecated and is considered the best coffee on the world. I had to try it. At $3 for a cup of coffee, no more expensive than Starbucks, it tasted just like coffee. Good? Yes, but I can't say it was the best I've ever tasted.
We got tired of Kuta beach so we rented scooters and made our way to Dreamland beach, south of the island. The beach was nice but there were huge waves. I got smacked down by one and face-planted into the sand and coral. I didn't realize what happened until I felt the blood dripping down my face. Beside the beach was an amazing restaurant that has the nicest infinity pool overlooking the sea. It was beautiful.
As much as I've enjoyed my time I have to admit that I am all "beached out". I'm ready to move on and do something a little more cultural. Next stop is Chiang Mai in northern Thailand to visit the long neck girls.
I don't know if it is getting harder to write this blog or our beach time in Thailand is just making me lazy.
Yeah, we are in Thailand. Our stay here started in Bangkok. We arrived just in time for the most important Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement. As we are far from family we decided to spend our fast with some fellow Jews. In this part of the the world most of the Jews that you will find are Israelis and loads of them. But all the sudden we heard English being spoken in the Beit Chabad. Coincidence brought us two Canadian Jews from Montreal (Shona and Ariel) to hang out with.
Our accommodation was greatly provided by an Israeli couchsurfer, Yuval. As we contacted him we understood that we will be hosted in his house. Well, it was sort of his house. His place is an abandoned whore house turned bar-hostel-long-term-living place, oh did I mentioned that it is a hot spot for the whole Hippie community of Bangkok? We didn't quite fit in, we just didn't have dreadlocks and marijuana chimney. It's a really cool scene if you are into that. For more info go to The Overstay website.
Once the fast finished we were able to eat the delicious street food from the famous Kha San street. The pad thai and all the excellent fruit did it for us. To me in comparison with street food in India, Thailand has some hygienic standards.
As we discussed in a previous post (Plan to Plan) we rarely book hostel/hotel in advance and we never know what or where we will be the next day. Well, we were convinced by our new Canadian friends to follow them to a travel agency they knew and we ended up booking our lives for the next two weeks.
Do we regret it? Maybe a little but it's not too bad. Now we don't have to think too hard for the next couple of weeks.
Our first stop was at Koh Tao, a small island with some of the Top 10 diving sites in the world. We came specifically to this island to get certified in the PADI's Open Water course. This course consisted of in-class, confined and open water lessons. Yes, we pass with flying colors! Rebecca got a better mark than me on the written exam but no surprise there.
The dives were great. So many fish from every color and shape.
Our next island in our itinerary was Koh Pha-ngan. As planned we arrived there for the World famous Full Moon Party. Basically an excuse to party your ass off until the next day. As we learned later is that the whole week prior to the date there are multiple of other parties like the "Full Moon Warmup Party" to give you and example. In this island they sure like their parties. The even celebrate the Half Moon and Black Moon with a party in their honor.
Well for this party we were lucky to meet family friends. Yeah, we hang out with Tali, Einat and Michal Haymann. Our parents have known each other for the last three decades and we are always planning our next get together. The party preparations started by getting the whole crew all painted up with glow-in-the-dark colors. The whole beach is lined with bars playing different kinds of music. They compete against each other with drink specials and by seeing who can play the music louder. Everyone just goes crazy dancing on the beach. The rest of our days were spent recupperating by relaxing on the beach and eating lots of Pad Thai.