Friday, November 23, 2007

Thailand x 3

This is part one in a three part series (at least on the part of Thomas, Leslie may add more) about our travels from Seoul, Korea to Cherryville, NC. Stop number one is Thailand.
I swore right after this happened that I would never tell anyone because I am amazingly embarrassed but oh well here goes anyway.

Leslie and I had said our good-byes to our students and friends, we were packed and ready to go. We showed up at the Air Singapore desk and the lady behind the counter asks to see our visa for India... I knew it was bad right away but I wasn't quite sure how bad, I've never been quite this stupid (in this particular area, at least) before. Because I didn't get us visas for India we couldn't get on the plane! Unless you have been in this type of situation there is really no way for me to tell you how uncomfortable it feels. After some research we found out it was going to take around a week to get a visa for India so we decided to scrap it altogether.

I went into an English speaking travel agency in Seoul and with desperation in my eyes looked across the desk and asked the woman to get us out of Korea. She said she could put us on a flight to Bangkok the next day for a really great price so, (even though we have already been there twice in the last year) we took it. She then got us a flight from Bangkok to Athens for the following week. The lady then proceeded to call the Korean travel agency we had bought our India tickets through and demanded our money back for us. I don't know how she did it but we are getting a full refund for those tickets with only a few minimal fees. I was so grateful I could have jumped over the desk and kissed her; that's not quite acceptable behavior in Korea though so I just bowed and thanked her in every language I know. The next day we were on our way to Thailand, again.

I am sure there is plenty more to do and see in Bangkok but on our previous visits we have really seen as much of it as we care to. So we bought two round trip tickets from Bangkok to an island called Koh Samui. If you have read the book or seen the movie The Beach, it is mentioned there. Unfortunately for us, we happened to be sitting on one of the world's greatest beaches during rainy season. From the Indian visa into the rainy season, our luck had not been so hot thus far. Anyway. We did our best to make the most of the situation. Koh Samui is used to having tourists so there is no shortage of tailors, street vendors, pharmacists, massauses, etc. selling any and everything you can possibly imagine. Leslie had a wool, winter coat custom made and yours truly, the t-shirt, sandal, jean wearing, future seminary student got two custom made suits. Those JCPenny wearing professors aren't going to know what to think. I can just hear them now "He looks like a vagabond bum in class one day and he rolls in like Armani the next" ha ha.

One of the fun things about all the rain is that the streets flooded. So I rented a scooter and went driving through it. As long as you keep the exhaust pipe out of the water it's all fun so thats what I did. There were even some off-roading muddy experiences that put a pretty decent size smile on my face. All in all out of about six days we had two nice ones, otherwise there isn't a lot to tell about Thailand on this trip. If you're reading this blog for the first time and want to know about our previous trips to this brilliant country there should be a link on the right hand side of the page were you can scroll through old posts and read about it there.

This concludes part one. To see pictures click on the link on the right called "Flickr Photos" and look at the album titled "Trip Home: Thailand." Stay tuned for post 2 of 3 concerning Athens, Greece.

PS. Thai food is still the best food in the world...well...Ethiopian is really good too...let me backtrack a little. Thai food is one of my favorite foods. Go to your local Thai restaurant and order chicken pad thai and a curry called Gang gari Gai (sp?). You'll thank me. Their stir fry dishes are really good too.

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