Thursday, August 25, 2005

S.E.Asia Travel log 10

Ten! Ten travel logs. This journey of ours is only is only nine weeks long, so you guys are getting an average of over a letter a week. Man, I wish I had a friend who was so good at corresponding as I am. I think everyone of you who know Chad should take a moment to reflect on how many letters he has sent out. If it is taking you a long time to count them up then you must all be from Mississippi, because it should only be about 2 at the most. I don't see how you guys can put up with him. If I knew anyone else who loved to travel as much as myself, PLUS looks so damn cute in speedos, I would dump Chad.
We have made it back to the great city of Bangkok. We survived the boat ride back from the Perhentian Islands. We were picked up by a REALLY small boat packed with about 15 people. I thought we were over crowded on the first boat, man they really know how to maximize transportation down in South East Asia. I guess when you only charge $4.00 US for a twelve hour bus ride you have the right to pack in the people with a giant shoe horn. Well, we left the islands and took a cab to the border and walked into Thailand, took a train to Hat Yai in Southern Thailand and then took a plane to Bangkok. If any of you have ever seen the movie "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles", if you add a boat then that is what Me and Chad did. The option is to take a train for about 19 hours up to Bangkok for about 10 dollars U.S., or take a 90 minute plane ride for about 35 dollars U.S. Most of the stinky, hippy backpackers that frequent the area probably opt to take the train in order to save money and to "keep it real". But Chad and myself are not hippy backpackers. We might stink, but we are very impatient. We have decided to stay in Bangkok for a good while longer since two of Chad's friends are here from Taiwan. I am slowly going broke, and am going to have to run to the nearest hospital straight from the plane, once back in Mississippi, to make some money.
I work with some nurse recruiters, whom are reading this, that will now be chomping at the bit to get me back to California. (Sitha)
I hope everyone is well.
PS. sorry about not sending anyone a postcard. I think they should make postcards for each place available on the internet, so I can just send you guys a link to see it. Buying the post card is no problem at all, they are sold everywhere. The tricky part is finding someplace that sells stamps, and then finding a place that has a mail box. PLUS, it also helps to have a person actually willing to look for these things.

Friday, August 19, 2005

S.E.Asia Travel Log 9

Hello again. We are back in Malaysia. We are up in the North Eastern Corner on an island called the Perehnthian Islands (that might not be the right spelling). It is great, but getting here was a challenge and I thought we would not make it. But, let me digress.
We left Singapore and went to the rain forest area known as Tamra Negara. It is a national park. We took all day getting there and then quite awhile walking in the blazing sun to find a room in a guest house. There were rooms, but we were holding out for Air conditioning. What kind of full blooded American from the proud and historic southern U.S. would not? We finally found one, but it was for four people with bunk beds. So, we talked down his price and took it. I mean, Chad is three people by himself. If you go back to the last email you can clearly see how fat he is by the picture. The only reason I look bigger is because I am actually closer to the camera. If any of you had paid attention in math during your formative high school years you would know these kinds of dilemmas. So don't always believe what you see. ANYWAY, I am getting on a rant. I did not sleep well last night, so my mind tends to wander.
We trekked into the rain forest area and did what is called the "Jungle canopy walk way". It is an elevated rope walk way that is about 100 yards up. It was about 700 yards long, but was from large tree to tree with little wooden platforms at each tree. It was quite rickety, wobbly, and I was worried for Chad's safety. He is not very graceful and he tends to fall down frequently. Plus, he was carrying all of our cash at the time, so if he fell I would have to climb all the way down and retrieve his wallet, and I am the epitomy of laziness, so that is really a daunting task. I have decided that I should carry the money from now on in case something like that should happen, sorry Chad. We left the jungle area of Malaysia and made our way up the Coast and took a ferry over to the Perehnthian Islands. The water was very rough with huge waves. Our boat was about five people over capacity (a twelve person boat with about 17 people on board) We were forced below deck in order to keep from being washed over board. I kept whistling the theme to gilligans island the entire ride. Many of our boat mates got extremely soaked because the windows on their side of the boat was leaking the entire trip. Chad and myself chose very wisely on the initial dash under the deck. Only my right foot got wet, but I am rather fond of that foot, so it was not a total success. We managed to make it to shore, only two hours later, it was supposed to be a thirty minute ride. Then the boat captain could not pull along side the dock. I was debating jumping over board and swimming to shore, but then some locals came along and pulled the boat to the dock by it's tow ropes. In the morning we noticed another boat of the same size that was wrecked on the shore. I think that was the boat drivers previous vessle. We made it and now we only have to take the same boat back in a few days. I am going to wear scuba gear on the entire ride just in case. Well, I have to go, Chad and myself are about to go Scuba Diving with some local dive group. I know it sounds horrible. I just wish I could be back there with you guys working.
Sarcasm is my middle name
Michael Sarcasm Williams

Saturday, August 13, 2005

S.E.Asia Travel Log 8

Hello from Singapore. We finally made it to Singapore. It is an amazing city. It is the most westernized, you could drop it anywhere in America and it would fit right in, but with a lot more chinese food restaurants, and they will cane you if you do bad things. We spent the first day visiting the zoo area, it was great. I finally had a day without being able to notice how bad Chad smells. They also have a night time zoo, this is like a normal zoo only you walk around in near total darkness and try to spot the animals that are nocturnal, which apparently are the same ones from the day time, except they get up and pace around their respected confines. Chad and I had to fight the urge to strip down to our underwear and hide in the bushes and jump out at the other zoo patrons. The main draw back is that they would not understand why a large furry bear is hanging around with a pale hairless chimpanzee. So, we fought the urge to terrorize the locals, but it would have been so easy.
Last night we managed to find a local brewery! The beer was great and there was a huge crowd there to watch the New Zealand vs. Australia Rugby match. So we sided with the New Zealanders and had a lovely evening bashing the Aussies. The New Zealanders really enjoy Rugby. They were very into it and loved to yell, I think I want to move to New Zealand.
We have tentative plans to head back up into Malaysia tomorrow. We now have to start our long and lazy trek back up towards Bangkok. We only have 20 days left of our vacation, we are starting to feel the squeeze of real life trying to track us down and drag us back.
I have attached a photo of Me and Chad aboard the Junk, our boat we were on for four nights to scuba dive. I hope the photo is not to large for you to open. I don't have my apple computer, and I don't know how to adjust the image size with these damn Microsoft machines. You will notice my bad facial hair (no mustache), I had to cut it off to lessen the leaking of sea water into my face mask. If you can not open it, I will be sending out more photos once I get stateside and can get back to my much missed apple computer.
The minister of Apple propoganda

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

S.E.Asia Travel Log 7

Hello all. We are in Malaysia still, in Melaka. It is a small town on the Western Coast. There is ocean here, but we have not been anywhere near it. I think we are all oceaned out for the time being. We are heading to Singapore tomorrow and then we will spend an undetermined amount of time there. We spent a few days up in the high lands. It was good to be back n the mountains again, but you could really not see them very well. They are building lots of new buildings everywhere blocking up the scenery. It is also apparent that maybe only one group of guys are building all the buildings since they are all only about half built and they only seem to be working on one at a time. There is even a building that looks very similar to Jerry's Fish House in Mississippi. I don't know if they are branching out and opening a franchise in Malaysia, but I am suspicious. We did a hike up to see a water fall, it was not very impressive and we walked about a mile past it thinking there must be a bigger one somewhere further down. We were wrong, so we had to turn around and hike all the way back. I then did the sensible thing and went back to the guest house to rest while Chad decided to hike up the side of a mountain at about a 90 degree angle. I think he is crazy, but he thinks I am lazy so it all works out. Today we took a tour of an old Portuguese war ship. We thought it was just going to be an old ship that has been rebuilt, but we were very wrong. It turns out it is a lovely piece of Melaka/Malaysian propaganda. They basically told the story about how their booming and thriving civilization went from number one in the world to nothing thanks in equal parts to the Portuguese, Dutch and the British. So, if you see any peoples from these countries tell them thanks from Melakans, right after you kick them square in the testes.
I love Melaka
hi, it's chad--just wanted to say hi to those of you who know me and to let you know that i'm managing to survive the toxic fumes that mysteriously appear in our rooms and somehow always originate from killer's side. bye.
lies, all lies

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

S.E.Asia Travel log 6

Hello again. We are now officially in Malaysia. It is a normal country compared to Thailand. We went out for dinner and then out on the town last night and not a single girl in the bars accosted us our wanted us to play any board games with them. I don't know if maybe Chad is becoming more unattractive in his old age, or maybe those girls in Thailand have an ulterior motive. We are in a little town called Georgetown, on the Western coast of Malaysia. It is on an Island, Panang. This area used to be an English settlement, hence the very English name. We are going to stay here for a few days and then head over to the more mountainous region. Finally a place where I can feel at home. I have never been much of beach lover. SO, I am officially hanging up my speedo for awhile and putting on my hiking boots. Not that I can't wear hiking boots with my speedos. Speedos are not just for the beach anymore, I feel that they can pretty much fit comfortably into any social situation.
We have decided to be more fiscally responsible the last few days and forgo the flights into new areas, and instead go to our backpacker roots and use the ground transportation. We took a "mini-bus" (which is in actuality more of a mini-van) for about 5 hours towards the Malaysian border, then hopped a train for roughly 5 hours into Malaysia. I am glad to be able to report that we did not die in a fiery car crash while in the mini-bus. It was touch and go for awhile and I was not sure if that statement was going to be made. Our driver was obviously not paid by the hour since he was determined to make the trip in record time. And since no in S.E. Asia drives well, I think long distance travel via the highway is an extreme sport in this region.
Well, I am going to have to go now. We are going to explore the city and see what trouble we can dig up.
Happy to be alive