Sunday, May 20, 2007

So, some of you know that one of my main goals for this trip was to be somewhere where I could get angry because a monkey stole something of mine, ie, a shoe. I wanted to be able to yell "Hey! Monkey! Give back my ....! and have it taunt me and not give it back. I figured that maybe then my life would have some meaning. Well today I accomplished just that. Also my goal was to have a pet monkey, which I'll try for in the future, but I came close today. The monkeys stole my stick eventually, which was my only defence against them. I managed to get it back after a, them jumping on my back. At one point I had 5 monkeys on my back...most of the time just one...and I couldn't get the monkey off my back. I also played a game called monkey on a stick where monkeys cling to your stick and you fling them off at other monkeys afteter spinning them around for a while. Also, a large group of them got angry at me and started all moving at me at once, so I defended myself by swinging a monkey on a stick at them, and eventually throwing a monkey at them. So yeah, lots of monkeys and I got to yell "Hey! Bad monkeys! give me back my...stick!" another check off the things to do before you die list.
I know more pictures of various things is expected of me, but lets be honest. Monkeys. Come on. Everyone likes monkeys.

Monday, May 14, 2007

These pictures are all out of order.

Hand stand in front of the Taj...figured it'd be the appropriate thing to do. Next we have an example of the male love that is ever present in India. Ahh, the cow going into the guys I laughed. The guy inside was really angy. Then a filthy dog by a filthy trickle of water and finally a cow eating a box. Oh India, how I miss thee.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

So we have water buffalo bathing at the dirty banks of the ganges, some women sitting on some steps in Orcha, Shim and I, then Shim and I in front f the Taj Mahal, then a shot from Hampie.
So after chaotic India, I landed in Thailand and felt like I'd landed in a country-sized resort. I explored the Bangkok for a few days with an Israeli guy and his Thai girlfriend before heading to Ko Pa Ngan with them for the famous full moon party. The main highlight of Thailand for me at first was the food. It's really amazing and is a welcome change from the fried bread with sauce and rice of India.
So anyway, Ko Pa Ngan wasn't great at all...mainly because it rained the whole time. It was really expensive and the bungalow in which I was staying was located on the opposite side of the island, away from everything. The road to get there was basically dirt and rock soup, so when it rained the night of the party and we were going to have to take our motorbikes over that road, then across the whole island, we decided it'd be a better idea to keep on living. The next day we found out that there weren't a lot of people there because of the rain, and that around 8 people died because they went for a swim in the ocean while on various drug trips. So I don't think the party had the happiest vibes anyway.
We moved away from that "resort" the next day and the couple I was with got a new bungalow. I couldn't find anything in my price range, so I ended up sleeping on their front porch for the night. The next day I got the hell off that island and headed for the main land. I was alone again, and felt much better...the third wheel is never a fun part to play. I was planning on heading north and had already taken the first steps. On the boat to the mainland however I had a change of heart. I decided instead to return to a new island - Ko Tao and realize a childhood dream of mine; that being scuba diving.
I registered for my open water course the day I arrived. Met some nice people who I went diving with and I was with them for my birthday-which I spent breathing under water. Also, as mentioned in some comments, for my birthday I had the pleasant experience of being hit on by two ladyboys, one of whom followed me most of the way home.
After the 4 day course was completed, my diving buddy Ray and I still had the itch to go deeper into the water. Open water allows you a maximum of 18 meters. So we both registered for our "Advanced Adventurer" which is basically a license that allows you to go up to 30 meters deep. So I completed that course 2 days ago. It was really an awesome experience.
On one of the dives I encountered a trigger fish. We'd been warned that they attack as soon as you enter their territory and that the best way to defend yourself is to swim backwards and use your fins to protect yourself, so that’s exactly what I did. I hadn't realized it was a trigger fish until it shot forward at me with a seemingly angry expression on its face...until that point I'd never seen a fish exhibit emotion, but I could really sense that he was angry by the way he wanted me dead. Other things on the island that didn't necessarily want me dead, but somehow ended up in my bungalow were: a very large blue spider (with eyes you could look into), a scorpion and a large poisonous centipede. I tried at first to tell the spider (who was watching me from his post above the front door) to leave politely but he didn't listen. I then started telling him angrily that he had to get out otherwise he was going to die via my shoe. Again he didn't listen, so I started hurling my shoe at him. He dodged it every time with spider speed. So I got a broom and eventually managed to brush him outside where my friend the foot long gecko awaited him. The next day when I saw the scorpion on my bathroom floor I wasted no time and quickly and brutally murdered him with my shoe. As for the centipede, he was given his freedom, but with a price- a one story drop from my balcony.
Back to the water, when we went down to 30 meters, we were surrounded by thousands of fish (as usual, but there were even more here). We stood on the sea bed and our instructor cracked open an egg to demonstrate the atmospheric pressure at that depth. We batted the yoke around without it breaking. We were soon distracted from our game however by the three sharks and school of barracuda that were swimming around close to us. I've always had somewhat of a fear of sharks, but seeing them down there was more fascinating than anything else. When I looked back, the egg yoke was gone- sucked to the surface in the bubbles we exhaled while we weren't paying attention.
Later that night we went on a night dive. It really looked like a scene from a science-fiction movie- pitch blackness besides the beams of torches that cut through illuminating fluorescent choral and tropical fish. When you shine your flashlight beam into your chest to dim it, then move your hand back and forth in the water, the plankton suspended in the water flickers like sparks are coming out of your hand. I found this to be amusing and spent a while doing it. We also swam through some underwater caves and some choral bit me.
So that pretty much takes us to now. I think I'm leaving this island today...I've already spent around 10 days here, so it's about time I suppose. Next stop, some ruins on the mainland as I head north.