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So I went to Thailand for my summer vacation, at the time I had better things to do than write little blog posts about how nice it was. But now I’m back in San Diego, which is also nice, but since I spend a lot of time here I will step away from the sun and beaches to tell the internets a little bit about my trip. Here goes.
I rode an elephant, she tried to take my shoe, but failed.
I went on two snorkeling trips. Both were great. One wasn’t really a snorkeling trip, the other one was, I saw a shark on that one, twice. I swim with sharks.
I listened to more techno than I care for. Pat was with me at the start of the trip, he likes techno. He tried to talk me into Ibisa instead, because he wanted to go listen to techno.
The Thai backpackers beverage of choice is mixed in a small bucket that would normally be used for making sandcastles. The ingrediants are ice, one can of coke, about a pint of cheap whiskey or rum, and I bottle of Thai Red Bull, which is very different than Red Bull in not-Thailand. While this beverage is often shared, it often is not. If you don’t share it’ll get you drunk. Drink two and you’ll be really drunk.
Fire dancing is big in Thailand, especially on beaches, they’re pretty good at it. I also saw fire jump roping, as far as I can tell this lead to plenty of burnt farangs. Probably a scheme to make money for local health care proffesionals.
Another scheme to help out the health care industry is to rent scooters to tourists who generally are very bad at riding scooters. Injuries take place.
At some point in the 80’s (I think), some backpackers threw a full moon party. This party has grown. It is now bonkers. And Thai’s now think that farangs (Westerners) want to celebrate every phase of the moon everywhere. From what I saw they might be right. If your skeptical, wait for the next quarter, half or full moon, get really drunk while dancing on a beach and see if you have a good time.
Street vendors in Thailand make better food than the majority of American restaurants. I tried to stay vegetarian to avoid food sickness unless something looked really good or I was dared. Try spicy squid or sticky rice and mango’s. Actually, just try lots of stuff. I never tried the deep fried fish because I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to eat it, wish I had.
I saw two Thai kickboxing matches, one had real Thai kickboxers, but it was staged WWE style, the other was between two tourists who fought dirty and almost lead to a big brawl afterwards. That one was much more entertaining.
I jumped off of a 20 meter cliff. This was part of the snorkeling trip that wasn’t a snorkeling trip. We were told we could jump off 8 or 12 meter cliffs, and the captain of the boat would decide if it was safe for us to jump off an 18 meter cliff. When we reached the cliff, the captain pointed at a rock and said ‘Jump’ (he didn’t speak a lot of English). We climbed up and debated the height, it was decided it was well over 8 meters. After the jump our captain told us it was 20 meters. Oh, and this all took place during a storm.
I got lost in the jungle on an island trying to find a beach. After stumbling on a huge water resevior (very strange experience when walking through the jungle) a Canadien climbed down 10 meters of rocks and announced “It’s totally a trial, well, it’s kind of a trail.” It was not a trail. We eventually found a beach, but not the one we were looking for.
I took a free diving course. Apparently I’m bad at free diving. On the plus side I almost swam into a large jelly fish.
I met a lot of British people. They really like Thailand. They don’t have much Thai food at home, so I think thats why they buy the ticket.
Thai food is pretty damn good.
I hiked to a mountain village were we slept on a bamboo floor and were entertained by Thai’s with an acoustic guitar and plastic bottles (for percussion).
I went white water rafting for the first time. It was pretty cool.
I met a retired English Premeir League Player at a buhdist temple.
I got to hang out in Bangkok with two of my best friends who I don’t get to see enough of these days.
I played jenga with bar girls in what turned out to be the seediest part of Bangkok. One told me that if she won her prize would be me going upstairs with her. She was a nice girl, but I’m really glad she didn’t win.
Multiple Thai bar girls noted that Pat had teeth like a rabbit, which I had never noticed before. They did not seem to think this was mean thing to bring up.
I smoked weed with some locals out of a bamboo bong.
I learned that I can’t paddle a kayak strait.
Beaches in Thailand are very pretty particularly on the West coast (the West coast is always better) but if you enjoy swimming at beaches (who doesn’t?) then they kind of suck.
Railay made me want to be a rock climber. I resisted this urge because I don’t like wearing harnesses.
The only question that you should answer honestly when talking to a Thai taxi driver is ‘Where do you want to go?’
I enjoyed bargaining for everything, but I think the Thai’s usually got the better of me.
Before movies, you get to stand up and watch this movie about the king, which was kind of fun but I’m glad I don’t have to do that everytime I watch a movie.
If you go to Thailand, you’ll probably fly into Bangkok. Immediately fly to either the farthest North or South you want to go. This way you can minimize long bus rides and such as you go from North to South (or vice versa). I talked to a bunch of people about Thailand before I went, and this advice is much better than anything they told me (they usually told me to go to Chang Mai, not bad advice but not incredibly insightful either). The trains are better than the buses.
I clicked on a linked ad in gmail, How I got Into the Stanford Psychology, I didn’t look through the whole site, I’m not sure why the site is paying Google for ads, but I thought this piece of advice was interesting:
In order to gain research experience, I Emailed a few professors in nearby universities (I was living in Manhattan at the time), explaining my situation and asking if I could work/volunteer at their labs. One of them agreed quite readily. I volunteered there, working with one of his post-docs, for over 6 months (8-15 hours every week). That professor ended up writing me a recommendation.
Having considered grad school in several subjects since getting my undergrad degree, this seems like a great idea if you want to do something drastically different than what you have experience in. I’m not sure my reader will find this useful, but maybe someone will stumble on the blog who does.
I can’t say that I’ve fully boughten into that concept, but I’m getting there. I wouldn’t say I’m the worst procrastinator in the world, but I’ve been known to put some things off. Lately I’ve been cleaning out some nooks and cranny’s in the old apartment. I inherited the place from a line of guys who moved out without properly moving out, and apparently at least one of these guys was a bit of a pack rat. The guy I originally moved in with even had a bill for the garbage the previous guy had left. $5 for a toaster with no lever to pull the toast down seems high to me, a good example of why not to negotiate under the influence.
Over the last few weeks I’ve emptied the cupboard full of plastic bags, thrown out the empty boxes and plastic jack-o-lantern’s from the closet. A couple cinder blocks is about all that’s left to go. Whole process took maybe an hour and it leaves me wondering why it took me a year. So my advice to you, my loyal reader, is to think of something that you’ve been putting off and go do it.