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Thailand

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Perched awkwardly on a tiny plastic stool at a tiny plastic table on the edge of the Bangkok street quietly watching as tourists pass by representing every walk of life. Fried noodle meal number three in two days, taking longer to arrive than seems plausible considering the process involved. The wait, however, only serving to increase the anticipation and increase the enjoyment. The wait, and the chilling knowledge that each time may be their last authentic Thai street meal for a very long time. A tiny, shrivelled man drives the taxi stutteringly, accelerating and braking with wild and irritating abandon, his seat pulled far forward to the strange position required to necessitate the participation of his miniscule legs. The uninterested passengers nod absently from time to time in the back seat as he prattles on, assuming this to be nothing more than the briefest of exchanges seemingly required in Thai…

Following up from our 10 days of self-imposed exile and relaxation on the barely inhabited and outrageously lethargic Koh Siboya, we really ramped things up by heading to popular Koh Lanta. Despite still being considered far more laid-back and relaxed than the big boys of the Thai island scene such as Koh Samui and Phuket, Lanta has still transformed mightily over the past decade or so of its burgeoning popularity, or so we assume, this being our first visit. But it definitely boasts the ever so typically Thai island feature of numerous beautiful beaches running in a direct line down a single coastline, starting with what was originally the best and is now still picturesque but is now by far the most developed. Then as you make your way farther and farther down the plain, unattractive road lined with shops, restaurants, travel agencies, motorbike rentals, ATMs and gas “stations” selling…

The following correspondence was recently discovered near Koh Siboya in the Andaman Sea just off the southwestern coast of Thailand. It was found in a Chang bottle floating slightly lower in the water than all the other discarded alcohol containers floating around it. The intended recipient of the letters remains unclear, but anthropologists note that the bottle had been plugged with a pair of dirty ear plugs and several discarded Snickers wrappers. Why that matters is also unclear. Wednesday, the 4th day of the 11th month, the year 2015 Anno Domini We arrived at a semi-deserted beach lined with palm trees; hot, tired and uncomfortably dishevelled. The natives do not appear aggressive or violent, and in fact seem almost welcoming. They claim the island is known as Siboya in their language. Also in our language. We were shown to our lodgings, a small but functional bungalow set just back from…

With our at times uncomfortably structured, and strangely studious, tour of Bhutan in the books we were airborne yet again, fairly quickly touching back down in the welcome humidity and familiar chaos of colossal Bangkok for, by rough calculations, somewhere around the 9th or 10th time. Not a city I’d ever want to spend a long stretch of time in, but one that has an undeniable charm and personality so that each time I’m surprised by the pleasurable nostalgia we feel every time we find ourselves using it as a transport hub. In addition to being one of the more convenient places from which to get basically anywhere in Southeast Asia, the “Big Mango” is also one of the best-equipped cities in the world for travellers to regroup, re-stock and reload for the next leg of a long trip. I can’t think of another place we’ve been that provides as…

So, I believe we left off in Bangkok, where a few thousand unarmed protestors all wearing bright yellow, not exactly stealthy, had somehow seized control of both international airports. They were demanding the Prime Minister step down, as apparently he had already been charged with tampering with the election that put him power a year ago. Either way, what the hell? What’s next – a few dozen ping-pong show specialists sneaking past the sleeping guards and turning the Reclining Buddha into the world’s coolest stripper stage? Anyway, the airports remained closed for more than a week, stranding over 350,000 would-be passengers, and soon the city started filling up like the tampon you dropped in your buddy’s beer that time as a joke. Basically, a lot of people were coming to Bangkok but nobody was leaving. And a lot of these people were true shoestring backpackers, which by definition means they…

Back in Thailand, this time to actually stay for a while. This was already our third time in Bangkok this trip and we’d spent a total of four days in the country. Here we met up with Laynni’s parents who were once again joining us for a small portion of our journey (I say “once again” in a good way, not the “once again” I woke up with a cold sore way that you’re thinking). From earlier this year loyal readers may remember such riveting page-scrollers as “Lyle Sunburns Across the Mediterranean” and “Turkish Tea for Nadine”. If nothing else, having them here alleviates Laynni’s homesickness, rejuvenating her for the final stretch like a marathoner carbo-loading with a heaping plate of fettucini alfredo at the 20-mile mark. Plus, Tahnni now has a Blackberry, which is obstensibly to be used for Gordie’s job, but with 75% of her family overseas in…

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