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Monthly Archives: June 2009
Just a quick update, decided to leave Koh Lanta and book and early flight back to Bangkok.. I am in Bangkok now until 24th June when I return to Bali, I must confess the last few days and nights here have been bizarre in terms of experience emotion for me. Bangkok is an extremely culturally diverse and hosts an highly concentrated mix of colours, flavours, sights, sounds, and vibrations, It has been very enriching yet also very challenging to my existing thought patterns. I am realising how different my processes, prejudices and general ideas I have been pre programmed in me from a life in the UK are from the traditions, methods, attitudes and actions from the people dwelling in Asia.
I am presently sat in an internet cafe on Koh San Road waiting for two good friends of mine from who arrived in Bangok last night on a journey starting in Bristol. Their names are Tim and Dan and we all share a long history of a love for skateboarding. Ill keep this short until I get some time to upload some good hopefully interesting content from my travels so far.
Bangkok Honesty / Karma note
Yesterday I went to purchase a new macbook magsafe laptop charger to replace the one that blew up in Koh Lanta.. Bottom line is I went to use my laptop this morning and I could not find it anywhere. After feeling my heart palpitate as it skipped a whole bunch of beats I remembered that I had left it under the pillow in the hotel that I checked out of the day before. Basically 36 hours had passed since I had checked out in the search of cheaper accommodation. My main reasoning for this was my previous room was 650baht aday 53baht to a GB pound, I managed to find a room for 280 baht in the same road and I thought this now financially allowed me (within the financial part of my conscience) a 2hr oil massage each day as a reward for the saving I had made. Very obviously there is something intrinsically very nurturing and healing when a beautiful Thai woman rubs her hands all over your body for two hours working out all the knots in your muscles from 6 months of constant surfing and paddling.. (I actually want to expand on this) however not all massage and health spas operate under the same principles and I thought maybe a trade off for a “happy ending” (to be explained) was losing my laptop in the universal Karma stakes.. I guess not so happy endings all round!
I seriously cannot begin to explain articulately the emotions relating to this. On par with finishing with a girlfriend! Damn electrical devices are becoming so valuable in my world, not due to their purchase price but the data and content that they store.. I literally leapt up and ran to the previous hotel, there was an unfamiliar face at the desk and basically between heartbeats I explained I had left my laptop in my room, she said nothing stood up and walked away. In was just think Oh fuck! I havent backed up any photos for a month and still need to sort out some VAT and Income Tax stuff and all the info was on my laptop, not to mention to replace it is about a grand (2-3 months living and surfing budget in Bali)
However to my delight upon her return she had my laptop in her hand,.. relief beyond belief, now I really have had to address my short term memory loss issues as a result of all the repeated head injuries over the years and from smoking too much weed as a young man. ( Evidence for case weed affects memory)
Technical Note 1.
I have been having techincal problems with my blog and server hosting recently and I have not been able to upload any photographs for quite some while now, so when this issue is repaired I have a whole bunch to go up which should give those of you who have not visited Indonesia or Bangkok a general insight into the culture and scenery here….I will be inserting all content into previous posts where appropriate as I want this blog to be as comprehensive and accurate as I am able under the circumstances I am preesented with whilst travelling.
In the accommodation where I am staying I was awoken approx 1.30 am by the sound of my bedroom door lock being tampered with, I walked to the door and quickly opened it to find a burglar and some kind of lock picking device trying to enter my room. I opened the door to find him crouched tampering with the lock in the dark with a torch. As soon as I saw the torch I instinctively shouted Oi!! in his face very shocked he leapt up turned and ran instantly. This is not a good situation as I am in a locked room in a locked house. I do not think he was going to be violent but just looking to steal whatever. There were three people in the house I was asleep but the other two had the tv on in their room so he went for my room
We then found out he had robbed a lot of valuables and money from the homestay next door first. It appears the locals do not budget for low season so well. During the high season they make a lot of money from the visiting tourists coming to the islands for sea and sun between Oct and Feb, however I have been informed many then spend it all at the same time. So unfortunately it appears that in the low season a few go around and steal from the local western and Hindu run businesses on the island to make up for this lack of income. I have been informed and experienced first hand last night that the island police do not do much about this as it is a muslim community and the locals are not stealing from the muslim businesses and homes.
The stealing takes place in the form of fuel from bikes and possessions from peoples homes and business whilst they are asleep. I am not happy with this situation because I do not want to get tangled up with burgulars or the law if I have to protect myself.
The vibe on the Island of Koh Lanta felt pretty shitty when I arrived and it has not improved, its great to see my family but Ive decided my time here is up so Im getting a bus somewhere else later, just not sure where.
Koh Lanta is pretty much shut down for the low season, however the water is still 30 degrees Celsius the sun shining and I managed to find a dive trip leaving today at 7.45am to one of the small uninhabited islands off of Koh Lanta. The island was called Koh Ha and had a very clear lagoon so I took my video camera in its housing and decided to get a few close up shots of the wonderful coral and sea life. At one point I came a bit to close to a black and white banded sea snake and managed to catch it on film. I do not like poisonous snakes, and for some reason recently I have been seeing lots of them flattened out as a result of them crossing the roads in the wrong places at the wrong times.
Technical note 1., the white balance on the video camera is a nightmare to set correctly because the water on the correct setting is deep blue and so is the coral and so are the fish.. a few experiments and I managed to get a white balance setting the worked well underwater but not at all above, it turned the sky and clouds red.. I think the sea messes with the red light rays on the RGB spectrum. (note to self; set white balance reading on the water surface)
Technical note 2., I was on a trip with 4 people taking various stages in their PADI openwater training. I was tagging along with a mask and snorkel and they were diving to depths between 18 and 26 meters. Since watching the Big Blue about 15 years ago a film about free diving I have always been fascinated by this activity. I have found whilst surfing large waves that one needs to be able to relax and hold their breath for sometimes a lot longer than desired when being held down in the exploding white water. However it is not how long you can hold your breath, rather how long you can stay underwater once you have had the wind knocked out of you on the way over, in and down.
Presently I am feeling fitter after surfing for 6 months solid and was curious to see how deep I could go on one breathe with fins, mask and snorkel so I borrowed one of the divers depth gauge wrist watches and swam to the deepest part of the sea I could find not too far from the boat. I managed 15.5/ 16metres on one lung full approx 45-50ft. This was pretty fun and I definitely felt slightly addicted to the idea of trying to get deeper each time. However this was the deepest part of the sea without swimming a lot further away from the boats anchoring. Because I was excited about having a depth guage for the first time I felt as though I wasnt really relaxed enough to freedive deeper safely. !6 metres and I definitely felt at the finite edge of sensible safe practice as I felt my lungs go into small spasms on the way back up, I ve also had a headache all afternoon.
So with practice I would like to try again one day, 20 metres I think is an achievable goal..
Technical Note 3. New dive masks have plastic coating on the inner lens surface and this means they always fog up even with lots of saliva or anti fog. I have been informed white toothpaste left over night on the surface dissolves this. I didnt do this and it fogged up all the time, this was driving me nuts..
Technical Note 4. Ewa Marine Underwater camera housings, I have a soft case for my Sony vx2100e made by this company, it is such a pain in the arse to use and not at all user friendly regarding the controls and on and off rec button. The camera slides about inside the bag and it really feels low tech and irritating to use, I feel it was also way overpriced for the small low tech piece of vinyl and bag clamp it amounts to. However the alternative was a 10kg hard housing which is no good either for traveling and also more costly so I am in mixed mines about underwater filming and photography and whether I want to do it. A humbling experience seeing how poor my filming was today upon playback, a few usable clips but mainly pretty bad so I have decided to blame my tools, or at least 85%!
Family stuff, I have been hanging out with my brother, his wife Moon and his daughter Kaliana. Also my sister natalie and her boyfriend Ian. This is the first time we have seen each other as a group for over ten years so I know its a positive time for us as a family.
Michelle left yesterday to go on her path as a English teacher in a Muslim school in Ranong. Admin wise as a result of internet access I managed to book a flight back to Bangkok for 17th June (Airasia.com) super affordable lots of promo deals. I have heard from two of my friends from Bristol UK Tim and Dan that they will be in Bangkok on the 20th.. So I moved my flight to be there for this. If they get there way this could get very debauched and messy so I am preparing my self control and self discipline muscles for the 3 days I will meet up with them..should be fun I am looking forward to it.
Little thieves on the Island drained all the fuel out of my moped the other night, this never happened in Bali in 6 month a Hindu community with a foundation based on Karma. Koh Lanta is a muslim based island, the prices are doubled in the low season and I am over charged every day by the locals for most purchases, except in 7/11.
So I reluctantly admit a score point to Industrialisation for bar codes and price regulation for all consumers, Predjudice segregation and racism sucks and it feels especially bad being seen as a walking dollar sign which is how I have felt amongst the shop owners here. So 7/11 for the next few days, the air con in 7/11 makes you want to go their just to stand in the shop…..
Indo Visa for the next surfing expedition in Indo is now safely stamped in my passport,… yehaaa! all good. Made it to Koh Lanta in Thailand a small Island off Thailand south coast, no waves here so just spending time with my brother and sister and their partners and family. All relaxed here it is low season on the Island so nearly all the shop, restaurants and snorkeling boat trips to other islands are all closed. Not a lot to do except cruise about on a moped, watch palm tree lined sunsets and look for open coffee shops. Saw a few elephants today..
3 Annoying things about Thailand today…
1.Electrical supply is all over the place I just blew my charger for my laptop as a result, finding an applemac charger on a remote island is next to impossible
2.Internet cuts out every 10 15 minutes for at least 15 minutes at a time..
3.Because it is low season the local Thai businesses on Koh Lanta (mosty muslim owned) have put stickers over all the prices of the menus doubling the price of food and drinks. The mentality appears to be that as a result of there being less tourists on the island they need to charge twice as much to make up for it..
So far I have not decided how long I will be here but I will aim to get some pics up and editorial content on my blog from the last month in Sumatra and week in Bangkok, however I find sitting in front of a lap top boring as hell..
I am staying at Jai Dee Home Klong Nin Beach which is great, Two steps front the front lounge to the beach, Good seating with hammocks, tables chairs scattered with great sunset views, very affordable accomodation, good food, good vibe, Internet and easing the dissapointment that nearly everything I came to do is not possible due to low season closures…
However all that aside Koh Lanta is still very beautiful and I do not get to see my brother and sister much since they moved there, like once in the last 11 years below are some pics of my family and some of the sights things I have seen on Koh Lanta…
So much road kill on Koh Lanta, all looked like poisonous snakes and lizards..a bit different to hedgehogs and rabbits like the UK..
lots of stuff to put here just need to find a good connection and some motivation..