A Travellerspoint blog

Where is "my" Leonardo DiCaprio? I'm at the BEACH location.

Koh Phi Phi Island, Thailand

sunny
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Let’s see if I am able to stick to my new rule of 3 nights maximum in a place. I arrived at Koh Phi Phi Islands with my backpack sticking to my shirt as sweat drips from my face. I miss the Hilton already. What feels like another life ago was just a measly 4 hrs at best. “Flash” packer Trish is no more and it is now sticky, sweaty backpacker Trish once again. I must admit, I love the change because it sure keeps things interesting and makes me appreciate everything.

As I made my way off the boat I began to wonder where I would stay for the evening and next few days. In traveling you make mistakes and learn as you go. Lesson learned here is DO NOT listen to the people offering you free transport to a cheap accommodation that is just 10 minutes walk. Why transport then? I did not come here to trek up a hill and stay far from everything, not to mention I would never find my way back at night. There we were, myself and 2 other girls that got suckered in as well, about to check in at this far away place called Snow Whit when I took it upon myself to say “No, we can not stay here so please bring us back down.” The girls agreed and after an hour round trip and much more sweat, we arrived back at the pier and were given a refund (surprising). We trekked around for a bit and found some bungalows near the beach. They took one room and I took the other. I settled in, took a shower and continued to sweat then got my bearings and headed out to arrange some diving.

Princess Divers was where I stopped first and I didn’t need to go any further. I instantly began a conversation with Justin who happened to be from the US. Sold! I will dive here tomorrow. He knew I didn’t know anyone and offer to have a beer with me, however, took it back realizing he had to play poker that evening. No worries. He said after the dive we would and he also told me of a great place to get some good feed. I signed up for 2 dives at 7am the next day and walked to Papaya Restaurant. I didn’t see anything and roamed a bit then found a girl Kate promoting what I thought was a tattoo parlor but also a bar. I had a drink and a free shot and chatted with her some more. What a small island because she knew Justin and he even walked by us as we chatted. Later, I got take away at Papaya, the papaya salad, and ate it with her as she worked. It was so good and the garlic stuck with me all night. Funny bit about the place is the cats in the fridge were a bit alarming but totally legit in that they don’t have food in that fridge but just some drinks. The cats are smart because it is darn hot on Koh Phi Phi Islands.

11pm came quickly and I called it a night as Kate was finishing work and about to head to the beach. My day would begin early with some diving off the Island. The bungalow was cute but HOT!!! Hard to sleep but I managed to get a few hours and headed to Princess Divers at 7am. There I met Tina, she was doing her Advanced but on the same boat as us. She was from England and we chatted about both going to Krabi next for some more fun and adventure.

The diving was great. I was buddies with Justin and we had 2 German girls with us as well. We hit 2 dive sights, Koh Bidah Nok and Malong, both off the Phi Phi Islands. Between dives we headed over to the cove where they filmed “The Beach” for lunch and some swimming. I can’t get enough of diving as I wanted to be a mermaid once again.

Later on, Tina and I met back up for some shopping, food and then decided to stay a few days to do a wreck dive on Wednesday. We agreed to depart on Thursday for Railay Beach off of Krabi. Guess my maximum 3 night stay would be broken to 4 nights but we had to wait to do the Wreck Dive. After our day of shopping and roaming the island we headed up to the island’s viewpoint for sunset. What a great view and a way to release body toxins through massive amounts of sweat. We made our ways back down before dark and showered up before heading out for the night. We stopped by to see Kate and got a drink and shot then off for some grub, free wifi then some bars and met some other English people.

As the night grew later, we wandered over for some drinks at the beach where all tend to go around midnight. Around 1am, they walked me back to my hot bungalow and I tried for some shut eye. My morning plan was to get up and find a new room because it is too hot in the Bungalow.

OH MY GOD! I woke up around 9am not feeling the best, no it had nothing to do with the few drinks that I had as it was all stomach, no headache at all. I signed up the night before to do some rock climbing at 1pm and I just hope I can feel 100% by then. I almost splurged on and Air Con room but settled on another fan room that seemed cooler down the way a bit, right across from Tina’s place. This is where my day took a turn for the worse and the stomach pain grew almost unbearable to say the least. I managed to get myself out of bed and stopped by the climbing place to warn then I may have to change my plans. After that, the pharmacy for some pills to stop my frequent bathroom runs. I loaded up on some water and asked about the Wreck Dive at Princess for the next day. At this point, the pain was getting too bad and I headed back for a nap and hoped to feel better in 2 hrs to go climbing. Things were not looking good for me. I curled into a ball in bed for hours and in tears and prayed to feel better and not die before the next day. Getting sick is no good, getting sick on holiday is not good at all and getting sick on holiday in a 3rd world country really just sucks.

No climbing today. I have no energy or strength and they would not let me go after I told them my symptoms. There is no toilet around their anyway. She told me that all I can do is rest and give it time. I think it could be the salmon that I had the evening before, or the spicy papaya salad. My stomach does not like the spicy stuff so much. Lesson learned, stick to plain rice and no sauces. I never can feel like this again, not to mention feel like I lazy person wasting her holiday. I texted Tina and Kate on my situation and asked them to check on me later. Tina brought me crackers and water, the only thing that I ate for the day and I feel a bit at ease knowing someone was there and knew my situation.

Guess what? No climb refunds so I pray tomorrow I feel better to go and may have to pass on the Wreck Dive. After spending 22 hrs in bed and what felt like very near death, I woke feeling about 70% at 6am but knew diving was out. I couldn’t get on that boat and enjoy it at all. I rested more, hydrated and attempted my 1pm climb. I enjoyed it really but wished I felt better. I managed to make it up 3 of the 4 climbs and knew that I would climb again. I was with 3 others, one other American guy that was having a midlife crisis from what I gathered and took on a 18 year old Thai girlfriend. I am not judging because love has no age limits but what made it worse was neither one could speak the other’s language, rather just the language of LOVE. The other guy, Sebastian, was from Columbia but studying in Arizona and we just laughed and made jokes.

After the climbing, I met up with Tina to plan for our escape to Railay Beach in Krabi the following day. We were going to catch a boat to Krabi town then taxi to another and boat again but plans changed. Tina needed to wait for her Advanced diving card so we opted to chill in Phi Phi at some book café for hours of free wifi and took the 3pm boat straight to Railay. I was stoked on this because it was less hectic. Call it a coincidence but as we left it began to rain. I think the island was sad to see us go. Railay here we come! We met a fellow traveler, Hannah, and we all decided to search for accommodation together, maybe even splurging on an air con room. The rain is coming down and we hope our backpacks are okay outside and covered up. The arrival to Railay was very interesting as we had to move onto a longboat and then walk to shore in knee length water and rain. Just another interesting part of travel. Life is good, expect the unexpected!

Cheers!

Jk livin’

The Dish is out...

Posted by Dishtravel 18:36 Archived in Thailand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Life is good at the Phuket Hilton

"flash" packer near Karon Beach on Phuket, Thailand

sunny 95 °F
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What better way to start another adventure than heading to another country? I say time and time again that the best things in a holiday are the ones that just sort of happen and that is what came of my Thailand adventure. The thing with travel is you meet people along the way and it is very easy to want to stay away longer and travel and experience more. I remember back in September while in the Gili Islands in Lombok when I met Rianne and Robert and they spoke of Thailand. Well, it sort of just stuck. Now, roughly 8 months later it is happening and I am going on advice and word of the people to see where I travel as I visit this 3rd world country.

First stop, The Hilton Arcadia Spa and Resort. I can’t help it but sometimes I is just nice to be a “flash” packer with my backpack. To see the look on the faces of the bus as they dropped me off to this gated property with my backpack was….well priceless in a way. I planned for a day here to plan my travels but I had to stay 3 just because I knew after this it would be totally different. I will take 3 days to absorb the luxury of laying by the pool, breakfast and happy hour in the executive suite, air con, a large bed, a real toilet…basically all the luxuries and amenities one gets back home in the US. Funny thing about all this is that I would leave the property at night to get cheap massages, my laundry done and wander around Karon Beach. Then, go back to my luxury suite for a great night sleep. I was getting the best of both worlds. Life is good.

After a few days of lounging and swimming by the pool and taking on the great fitness facilities (still not sure if it is normal for the gym attendant to sit behind you on the treadmill and just watch you run), I knew I had to make a departure plan. I wanted to make a new rule of a 3 night stay maximum so I wouldn’t get stuck anywhere for too long.

It’s now Sunday, May 9th and 3 days later and time for me to depart. I will miss you Hilton so much. Time for me to go back to my backpacking ways and have to find my own toilet paper. First form of transportation, bus ride to a boat to Phi Phi Islands, known to many from the movie THE BEACH. However, many may have heard of this island after the Indian Ocean Tsunami hit the island on December 26th, 2004. Since then, they have rebuilt the island but it is still sad to think of all those people that were injured and killed. It all happened in a matter of minutes and no one had any warning of what was about to happen. Today, they have since rebuilt the island and I was told the US helped fund a warning device of some sort but was also informed it did not work properly.

The boat ride was not too long and I didn’t get sick so that is good. I arrived in Phi Phi with many people trying to give me accommodation. Where is a girl to go? You soon will find out.

Cheers!

jk livin’

The Dish is out…

Posted by Dishtravel 23:39 Archived in Thailand Tagged luxury_travel Comments (0)

OZ City Living Experience

Acting like a local in the heart of Chinatown in Melbourne, Australia

overcast 64 °F
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I've arrived in a city, the best Australia city in my mind, MELBOURNE! It's nearly midnight on April 27th and I have a trek to the Exford Hotel (aka Hostel I randomly found while in Perth waiting for my connection). Public transportation here I come. I was informed the Sky Bus would take me closer to where I needed to go so I bought a ticket and off I went to the last stop. From there I had to trek UP 5 blocks then turn left to busy Chinatown and found my lovely abode above a bar. Seeing it was nearly 130am now, I had to check in at the bar and then up to my 3 bed room to find no one but myself. THANK YOU GOD! So didn’t want to share rooms and asked they don’t put anyone else there. I slept in a bit until about 10am when I awoke to 2 fellow travelers coming into the room smelling not so fresh. It was then that I decided I would pay $3 for an upgrade to a 2 bed room bettering my chances for no roommates. I was lucky. I spent the next week in room 301 (again with the number 3).

As much I as hate doing tours, I planned a few because the cost of car rental was just too much. I spent my first full day on the 28th taking in the city and getting myself used to seeing people dressed in normal clothes and not just their orange mining gear. I popped by a few shops and got tips on where the locals run, the Botanical Gardens (aka the TAN) and took in a lovely jog after 5pm where I saw many others running, biking and rowing around in the lake. I even got asked directions from someone which means my acting as a “local” was a success. First night, MOVIES! Something that I missed for the past 7 months so I took on two comedies and then back to my little room above the bar in busy Chinatown.

It’s April 29th and tour time, WINE TOUR! No need to worry about driving as we had a lovely tour bus driver by the name of Dave and some great wine tasters like myself on board. We spent the day in Yarra Valley visiting 4 wineries and ending at the Domaine Chandon for some afternoon bubbly. Nothing like the spirit of the grape to get people mingling. It was a great day.

I see another tour coming, the Great Ocean Road. This one was of the reasons that I went to Melbourne because I wanted to see the 12 Apostles. A long , drizzling day on the bus gave me a massive “bleacher butt” but was able to see some magnificent views of Bell’s Beach (spotted die hard surfers in the COLD water), Mait’s Rest- Otway Rainforest, 12 Apostles, Loch Arch Gorge, Razorback and London Bridge. I have one question, how can a girl be so exhausted from a day of pretty much sitting on my butt on a tour bus (13hrs in total)? Great photo ops and great views though. Well worth my butt pain in the end.

It’s May 1st already and I am still chilling in Melbourne and now decided to really act like a local and join a gym…or pretend to be interested for a bit to get a free pass. Nothing wrong with that, right? I refuse to pay $28 for a day pass when I can clearly go online and print out a 7 day pass to visit the Fitness First. Sure, that resulted in 4 random calls from 3 gyms on coming down to check out the facilities but no worries. I get to work out in a proper gym. Over the course of the next few days I hit 3 different locations to spice it up a bit and maybe find an Aussie hottie but I think the ones I found were more interested in the male trainers if you catch my drift. I also met up with one of my friend’s friends, Darryn, and had a great time in Phillip Island watching the Penguins come in on a brisk cold evening but was unable to take photos. Darryn and his boyfriend and I also hit up a chocolate factory for some free tasting, meaning tasting (1 single piece), in route to Phillip Island. Thank you Kelly for the introduction! The boys and I ended back into the city and went around Crown Casino (I felt like I was in Vegas) where we got a bit to eat, a few wines and people watched for hours. Still by far one of my favorite past times. Especially when they’ve had a bunch of alcohol and you make up stories.

Another day gone and another one about to begin in my Melbourne-style living. I met Darryn for some lunch, sushi as usual because it is on every corner, and then decided to roam around and take in the city again. Did a bit of shopping and met some locals, chatting about Australia vs. the US. Where to go next??? And when. I need an escape because it is getting cold. I hit the Victoria Street Markets for a bit of wine tasting and bought a bottle in which I sipped on as I did some internet searching and made a great salad in the community kitchen, the first time EVER and last time since someone decided to steal my hummus and rocket salad. Really? When they could take much better things they opted for that and my rice cakes.

How did it get to be May 4th already? Well, today is the day I grounded myself for 3 hrs in the hotel bar (no I wasn’t drinking) as I used the wifi to finally book. I bit the bullet, paying extra for a flight that I saw a few days prior and just booked the nonstop flight to Phuket, Thailand. However, I could not leave until Thursday. I got a free night accommodation because I was torn as to what to do and the bartender said if I show him my confirmation that he would waive my night fee. Sweet! Again, my somewhat plan of what I thought I would do was different. I went to Melbourne with the intention of going to Tasmania and south NZ before it got too cold. Well, seeing Melbourne is cold now and rainy and talking with tour companies on Tasmania being snowy, no thanks. I WILL be back in warm weather (possibly January 2011) for those places. One thing I had to do before leaving Australia was going to the Nike outlet to get a new shirt as I wore the same for 10 months. I also stumbled upon Lulu Lemon (girls active wear) and fell in love with the shorts. Also, chatted with 2 girls that loved Thailand and traveled alone as well. Getting excited.

My time in Melbourne is nearly over, I enjoyed it, loved the classes at the Fitness First ( I even did a dance class, crazy I know) and loved the wine, the city, the gardens, the sushi stands on every corner, the ease of public transportation and the artsy feeling of the city. As I headed to the airport for my 11am flight, it dawned on me, I may not come back to OZ before I go back to the states. I mean, I have to used my return ticket by June 9th from Sydney or it expires and if it costs heaps to get back here then I will stay longer and fly from somewhere else. I feel a tiny tear of sadness but it will all work out. One day at a time. I phoned my parents and told them of this as I waited in the airport. I also chatted with the airline rep for V Australia and she ensured me that I would LOVE Thailand and gave me a great seat. Thank you Michelle but I did have 3 kids around me and was in the middle of a family. The old Trish would have hated that but seeing I was just with 3 kids for 7 months and grew to love kids, well, I actually enjoyed it. I EVEN gave up my aisle seat for a window so they could sit together. The price was well worth it as I got free wine, watched 4 free movies, 2 TV shows and before you knew it, the 8 ½ hr flight was complete and I was in Phuket. Do I know anything of what I will do? Not really but I am confident that I will manage just fine and just to assure my safety and give me some time, I will head to the Hilton Spa Resort in Karon Beach for a night.

I’ve landed in Phuket, I am exchanging Australian Dollars for Thai Baht and arranging a 2 hr bus ride to the Hilton. Life is rough.

Cheers!

jk livin’

The Dish is out…

Posted by Dishtravel 22:11 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

My Port Hedland departure is REALLY happening.

Goodbye Port Hedland, my life of 7 months...Hello Melbourne

semi-overcast 104 °F
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Wow! I never thought I would actually leave this town that I have grown to love so much. It has been my home for the past 7 months and very unexpected in my travel plans to have found such a great Aussie Family and 2 jobs to help me with my travels. After 7 months of non stop work from watching the 3 Cashman kids to working at the pub at night, I am officially unemployed and a solo traveler once again. I have nothing but my backpack to call home and its scary and exciting to see where the next journey will take me. It is crazy how one gets so attached to what they carry on their backs. My official address is where ever I roam in this world at this very moment. Some may view it as insane while others as adventurous. Either way, it is how I am living at this very moment and taking it one day at a time.

The date is April 27th and as of Sunday I have decided to go to Melbourne before it gets too cold then up to Thailand. Let's just say this girl is traveling without a map or a plan and just living in the moment. Sure, you win and lose some and if I planned better maybe I wouldn't keep paying more for flights but then again, if I planned at all I would never have found myself where I am today. Lesson learned, don't plan and don't look back on the "shoulda coulda woulda!" The best things in travel are the things that just sort of “happen.“ I really hope that I can take that with me the day that I set foot back on to US soil. I pray I can because it makes life much easier and more enjoyable.

Keeping on track, Monday the 26th was the last day of the Last Chance Tavern. I enjoyed my last day working with Amanda and saying bye to all the locals that I think grew to love me and even picked up on my crazy saying of “This shit is CRAZY!“ They knew my name but I often responded to the yells of “hey YANK.“ Finally after my shift was complete, I turned in my locker key, my Tshirts and it was official.

Another chapter ends and a new one is about to begin. I do not know what that will be yet but I think it will be amazing, different, yet another growing experience. I don't think they believed me after I said I was leaving in November, then bought a ticket for December 2nd, then said I will stay until the end of January, wait February, then figured I'd come back until daycare really opened and then before I knew it the end of March had arrived and what do you know, April is come and gone. As hard as it was to leave the town that I learned to love (no shops but a kmart for ages), I knew I had to move on. I had a bit of a push at the end because the family I was working for sold their business, including the car I was driving and I had to move out of the house I was staying in because it was part of the business. Was I getting pushed out on purpose? I think not. I just think it all happened as it should. I spent the last few days in their spare room in Port Hedland and organizing my things to either ship back to the states or give away. Towards the end I would get rides to and from the pub at night and felt a bit of a teenager again getting lifts. The end was here and I am so appreciative and grateful for the past 7 months and the unexpected journey to this far away land in a small mining town in Western Australia. Truly unexplainable and something one can only “try” to describe to an outsider.

Although my time here is complete, never say never. I had a great ride and know I will always cherish my Last Chance Tavern days as well as the days with the Cashman kids; Connor, Sarifa and my God Daughter Anissa. I set out on this journey with no intention of falling in love with such a great family and gaining a God Daughter. Life is good.

Tuesday, April 27th came too soon as I did celebrate with some pub staff members after work. I woke up to the kids getting up for school and said my good byes, for now at least. I borrowed Marcena’s car and did some last minute things before Danny gave me a lift to the Port Hedland Airport to catch an afternoon flight to Melbourne via Perth first. That is where I told him that I would find a place to stay and inform his as I would get to Melbourne quite late in the evening. All was good, I found some place called Exmond Hotel in Chinatown. Sounds good. I would stay there and figure out what to do next. Melbourne here I come and bring on something fun and exciting for this crazy American girl.

Cheers!
jk livin'

The Dish is out…

Posted by Dishtravel 01:46 Archived in Australia Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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