Location: NE 3 - 32 - 13 W3 (my farm), Canada
I am officially home now. I would like to say how great it is to be back... but I can't. The day I got home, it started to snow and was a bone chilling -15. Now, that's not bad by Canadian standards, but coming from +39, it is not fun. Nothing has changed at home, I guess a million little things have happened, but everything is relatively the same. Not much changes in 3 months I guess. But enough complaining. I picked a really good time to come home... as far as leaving tropical paradises goes. It was the Rosebowl curling bonspiel in Rosetown this weekend, which is THE social event of the year, so I got caught up with a lot of friends that were home... It was also Easter weekend, so I got to spend some time with my family, which is great (in small doses)... hopefully spring weather is just around the corner... and NHL playoffs start tomorrow!!
As I stated before, I had a great time on trip. I did and seen way more than I ever expected I would do or see. I had no real expectations going into the trip, so everything was a surprise. I learned a lot about life, culture, myself, people, and just the world in general. I started a list of observations/lessons about travelling that I picked up along the way... here are a few of them:
1. If you are going to see the world do it now; before it all turns into one giant shopping mall. (when I was in Thailand 3 years ago they were opening the 1st Starbucks, today there are 91 in all of Thailand)
2. No matter how careful you pack, you always end up taking stuff you don't need and leaving stuff that you do. (I'm sure I didn't need 3 pairs of shoes/sandals, but could have used a rain coat a couple times)
3. No matter how empty your backpack maybe at the start of your trip, you'll always manage to fill it up. (I needed to buy another gigantic bag to put all the crap I accumulated along the way)
4. Travel light. If you need something, you can always buy it. If the country you are in doesn't have it, you don't need it.
5. Never leave your passport, money, or camera anywhere. ( I amazingly managed to accomplish this feat)
6. In South East Asia, never leave without your T.P.
7. Never walk when you can ride, never ride when you can fly. (this will save a lot of time and energy)
8. If you want to find out what a person is really like, go travel with them. The hardships of the open road have a way of stripping people down and baring their flaws.
9. When travelling in a group, the length of time it takes to decide where to go and what to do next is directly proportional to the number of people involved in making the decision.
10. When there are women involved in that decision making process, it increases exponentially. (just jokes... sorry girls)
11. Putting on more sunscreen after you already have been burnt does not reverse the intensity of the sunburn.
12. Get your travelling out of the way when you are young because when you get old you won't feel like going anywhere but to bed.
To those of you who have read my site that have travelled before, can probably appreciate some of the stuff on here. To those of you who haven't travelled, I hope that this site gave you a brief snapshot as to what travelling is about. I would recommend this part of the world to go see, it is majestic.
Heath's Asian Adventure has topped the Planetranger charts, as the most viewed site, and was consistently in the Top 5, but it is now time to shut it down. I really doubt if I could keep much of an audience with driving a tractor around the field this spring, starting a new job, and driving into Saskatoon on the weekends. Again, thanks to everyone who tuned in, there were thousands of you.
I will definitely be going travelling again sometime in the near future, this world is way too interesting to stay in one place for too long. Where to next... South America maybe... Africa perhaps... Antarctica who knows?? I think that this world is changing so rapidly that if you want to see it before it is destroyed or changed forever, you better get out there soon.
Location: Vancouver Airport, Canada
I'm just in the Vancouver Airport, I walked by the same internet place that I left an entry on when I was leaving on my trip, so I thought it would be fitting to leave another entry on my way home.
It's a crisp +10 degrees here in Vancouver, a bit of a difference from the +40 that I've been used to for the past month in Thailand... but the air is fresh, a nice change from Bangkok's smoggy air.
When I got into Vancouver yesterday afternoon I did a pretty cliche thing, went for a Tim Horton's coffee. It was nice, although they still haven't grasped the concept of hot coffee yet... it feels like you're holding the Sun in your hand, and you can't enjoy your coffee for 15 minutes.
I left Bangkok at 9:45 on Monday morning, flew for 18 hours and got into Vancouber at 12:10 on Monday morning... kind of trippy. The flight was good, I sat beside a lady that didn't speak English, so I didn't have to have the awkward airplane convorsation, where either they don't stop talking to you, and it's annoying, or you feel like you should talk to them but don't know if then you will be that annoying person that doesn't quit talking.
When I got into Vancouver I did some touring of the city, went down to the harbour, I've never really seen the city, just the airport. Pretty nice city, I think the best one that I've been to on my trip... It's ranked #3 in the world for best places to live. Seen where we send all of our grain, viewed the Rocky Mountains, and seen some of the saddest people I've encountered in Gastown. It just seemed sadder seeing homeless people here as opposed to Asia, maybe because I just don't think it should happen here, and they look cold.
The Vancouver International Car Show was on in BC Place so I went to that, there are some pretty cool concept cars coming out. After that I was pretty jet lagged so I had to crash, and slept for 12 hours. This morning walked back down to the harbour, took in some more sights and fresh mountain air, then caught a bus to the airport.
Well, next stop Saskatoon...
Location: Bangkok Airport, Thailand
Hangin' up the sandles...
Well as quickly as my journey began, when 4 months ago Melissa asked me to go travel and within 3 weeks I resigned from my job, moved out of my house and booked a flight, it has now come to an end.
I'm just in the Bangkok International Airport, killing some time before I board my plane back to good 'ol Canada, after a breif stop in Hong Kong. I have had an unreal time on this trip, I've done and seen way more than I ever could have imagined. Same as my last trip though, it is the people that you meet that really make the trip, and I have met some very interesting and cool people, both local and other travellers.
I spent my last few days in Bangkok touring the city by day, and taking in the interesting scene here at night. We (Me, Carolyn and her friend Shannon) went to a Tranvestite Cabaret the other night, which was definatly a sight to see... the highlite of the show was when they did a theatrical rendition of Micheal Jackson's "Thriller". Some of these 'men', if you didn't know any better are actually quite attractive 'women'. The night before I went to a "ping pong show", which if you don't know what it is, I won't explain it, I'll just say it's not what you think it is. I've been to one before, last time I was here, but I had to go agian, just to refresh my memory... and it is still unbelievable.
Yesterday I was stitting at a internet cafe and a buddy of mine from Wilkie, Morley Miller went walking by. We just knodded at eachother like it was no big deal we ran into eachother half way across the world, he came into the cafe, we talked about our what we did the night before, and then just said see ya back in Saskatoon. It was a pretty random encounter, I never knew he was even in the country. It just goes to show how small this world really is.
(side note: I just seen a rat run across the floor, not going to miss that)
What else can I say?? I've enjoyed writing on this site, I've gotten a lot good feedback from everyone at home. I appreciate all of the messages that everyone left for me, they were always good to read. To everyone that I met along the way, thank you for all the good memories, and hopefully we can keep in touch... even though I know it never happens.
I'll have a couple more updates over the next week or so, I've got some more pictures to put on that I couldn't put on from over here. So stay tuned for a little bit longer...
What's in store for me now?? I've got a few job offers on the table right now, all in Sk... So I've got some decisons to make (I might need to bring out that lucky 10 Baht coin).
See most of you at the Rosebowl this weekend...
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Greetings from Bangkok,
I got into Bangkok a few days ago, this is the 5th time I've been through this city now. It's starting to feel a little like home. I go to the same guesthouse every time, the people here know me, so I almost look forward to coming here... somewhere familiar.
It hasn't gotten any cooler from the north to here, I think that it feels hotter here, more humid. When I walk out of my room in the morning, I start sweating instantly. The bathrooms are out in the open air, so as soon as you turn the water off, you start sweating. Everyone walks around with a constant bead of sweat running down their face. I've picked up a trick from the Thai's though, I cover my body in baby powder from head to toe, absorbs and keeps you feeling fresh. (too much info??)
Bangkok is probably THE place in Asia to shop, so that's what I've been doing here. Spending Baht like its monopoly money, it looks a lot like monopoly money so it's easy to do. It is a game to go shopping here, they expect you to barter with them, this makes shopping a lot more fun. They start at about double what the price is, I counter offer about half of what it's worth and we end up in the middle, both happy (although I am pretty sure I'm still getting ripped off). I kind of wish it is like this at home, imagine going to Wal-Mart and the cashier says "that'll be $48.50" you come back with "will you take $24.25??"
I got into the city on the 29th at 5am, on the train, came to my same guesthouse... I had some breakfast beside some people that were still drinking from the night before, this place never goes to sleep. It just so happened that Carolyn, the girl that I traveled through Laos with was passing through Bangkok the same day, and it was her birthday. So we celebrated her birthday with a few buckets and listening to some live music on Khao San Road.
The next day I went for a bit of a tour outside of the city. Took in a floating market, played with some tigers at the Tiger Temple, and went to The Bridge on the River Kwai. All of which were really interesting... The market is in a town around Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak, where the streets are canals and all the commerce is done on small wooden boats. Although, today it is mainly just a big tourist trap where they try to sell you crappy souvenir. The Tiger Temple is a tiger sanctuary where there are about 15 tigers that have been taken in and cared for that would have otherwise died in the wild. Again, a bit touristy, but pretty cool to pet a tiger. I'm not sure if the Thai people have drugged these animals but they were pretty lazy. We were there for about an hour, the most any of the tigers did was stand up make a circle and plop down again... maybe thats just the way cats are? Finally we went to The Bridge on the River Kwai, and a WWII museum. The best part of the day in my mind, as I never knew much about this war calamity. I guess there has been a book and movie made about it, but before my time. The Japanese forced over 200,000 Asian labors and 60,000 POW's to build this railway from Bangkok to Burma. Over 100,000 Asian's died and over 15,000 POW's died due to overwork, disease and malnutrition.
Off to take in some of the finest entertainment 'The City of Angels' has to offer...
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Planes, Trains and Automobuses
I got up to Chiang Mai a few days ago after a bus ride from Phuket to Bangkok, and a plane ride to Chiang Mai, and now I'm just waiting to jump on a train to take me back down to Bangkok. I'm really utilizing all of Thailand's modes of transport.
Since I've been up in up here, I think that someone turned the thermostat up... or that's what it feels like. It has been hovering around the +40 mark for the 4 days I've been here. It might have been that hot when I was at the beaches in the south, but I never noticed. Here, it's uncomfortable hot.
Chiang Mai is an quiet city of about 150,000. They have lots of zoning restrictions here to stop the development of high rises within the city and keep the old world feel to the place. The city center is surrounded by a moat and a brick wall, that has mostly fallen down since it was built in 1800 to protect the city from invasion. It makes for a pretty picturesque city though. I came all the way up here because last time I was in Thailand I never made it up to this part, and everyone raved about it. So, I made the journey here.
I've been spending my time exploring the city, trying to find some of the old world charm while trying not to get too far from an air conditioned cafe or shop. There is a huge night market here, where you can buy every tacky souvenir, pirated DVD, and knock-off brand name thing you could imagine... so I've dropped quite a few Baht's there.
Two days ago I signed up for a 'jungle trek', which in hindsight was good to do, but at the time I was hating it. In my mind a trek is a nice paced walk through the jungle... I got with a group of eco-challengers or marathon runners or something because they were basically sprinting through the jungle. +40 weather, humid jungle, running... not fun. I was sweating so badly I don't think I could have gotten any wetter unless I was actually in water. Plus, I had to wear shoes! The first time I've had shoes on since I lived in that tree house like 2 months ago. Also, since it's their hot season over here the jungle was pretty dried up, so the scenery wasn't spectacular either. Day 1, we went to a neat tribe where the women put brass rings around thier necks starting from age 4 to age 45, 2 new rings every 4 years. In the same tribe were women who believed that they looked hotter if they put huge rings in their ears, I couldn't see it. Next we went to an elephant camp for a ride through the jungle. I got the bitchy old elephant who didn't listen to the guides and just did what she wanted to do, we went for a swim in a nice muddy lagoon where she soaked herself to cool off, along with me. Then we climbed/ran up a mountain side, for 3 hours to get to the village where we were to spend the night. There was a group of Thai tribes people that looked after us. It was nice to finally get somewhere to relax for a bit, had a nice supper, sat around a campfire and watched some traditional Thai dancing girls, to bed early... for a few hours. In the middle of the night we heard bamboo cracking as if it were on fire, sure enough about 30 meters from our bamboo hut (which is made with a grass roof) was a fairly large jungle fire. We started trying to put the fire out by hitting it with bamboo sticks, which pretty much did nothing, so we just sat and watched the fire to make sure it didn't come our way. Thankfully the wind was blowing in the other direction and it eventually burnt itself out. Made for an interesting night though.
The next morning we set out trekking/sprinting again, this time only for 2 hours and made it to a beautiful waterfall. Beautiful in the fact that we got to stop walking in the intense heat for a while. Went for a swim, jumped off the top of the falls, and there was a cool natural slide there that we slid down. Then we jumped in a raft and whitewater rafted down the river, the rapids where pretty small, I did manage to fall out though and skin my leg on some rocks. Finally my little 2 day adventure ended when we got on a bamboo raft and peacefully floated down the rest of the river.
At the time I was thinking this is not really what I signed up for, like when we were running through the jungle, or fighting a jungle fire, or skinning my legs on rocks... but now that I'm back and had a Thai massage, I think it was a good couple of days.
This morning I woke up in Chiang Mai and was not quite sure what to do before I leave this afternoon... I could have toured some more temples, but I think that I've seen enough temples to do me for a couple years. I just had happened to throw on a Callaway Golf shirt this morning (it was supposed to be a gift for McGregor but I ran out of clean clothes so I'll have to get him something else) Anyhow, since I had the shirt on I thought.. hmmm, maybe I should get an early start on the golf season and went for 9 holes at a really nice golf course just north of the city. I met up with an guy from New Zealand and we hit the ball around this morning, it was a great way to spend the day before I get on the train. I shot a 47, not bad for me, first round, and on a pretty challenging course. The hardest part of the course was trying to keep your hands dry from sweat in this 40 degree weather. I had a lady caddy that catered to me hand a foot, literally. She'd dry my hands for me before every shot, and at the end of the game, took my shoes off for me and rubbed my feet. I felt like a pretty big deal.
Off for a 14 hour train ride back down to Bangkok.