Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Sweet Gutter Sundays....

As much as I love Victoria… I loooove visiting Vancouver. I never have a horrible time and it’s great to see everyone when I am there. I headed over to Vancouver Friday to get some “friend” time in with my peeps. I love that so many of my friends make time for me when I come over and I only wish that I had more time to fit in the other people I just couldn’t squeeze into the short time frame I had. So on Friday I was late (surprise, surprise) getting into Van so I met Chad and Eleanore at a pub to watch the hockey game. It was a great game but what was even better was that the drink specials were double Long Island Iced Tea’s – one of my favorites! I had a few of those and needless to say, I was tanked. Walking was difficult, speaking in complete sentences was not happening and I thought that it was the best time for me to blow some money in the casino next door. One would normally think that means trouble for most, but I know I am luckiest (in casinos) when I am in this state. And that night was no different. I hit the roulette table pretty heavy and was up 400%. Excellent!

A friend then came and met us (loving drunk’n texting!) and I thought that since he lived closer than Chad and Elaenore (and I wanted to make out with a cute boy), that I would go back to his place. Now, I am always up for making out with people, but there is a reason that I normally have a panties-on-policy with guy friends. The morning after was a prime example of why it never works out. There was a little awkwardness (I’ve never had this) and it wasn’t handled well. I would have rather kept my buddy. Note to self, DO NOT GO HOME WITH FRIENDS (or anyone you want to keep as a friend).

The rest of the weekend was rockstar. Eleanore, Chad and I did breakkie at Bon’s and then headed out to Deer Lake park and wandered though it and did a little mushroom hunting. It was a beautiful day to be outside and in nature. It definitely rejuvenated my spirit. Chad dropped us off and Eleanore and I did some shopping at the Army and Navy shoe sale. It really is a trip on it’s own to wander through East Van. There were so many crazies in that part of town and I saw the ugliest tranny I have ever seen shopping in the same section we were. Maybe I was just used to seeing so many hot ones in Bangkok that seeing East Van’s offering was disappointing. After a great sushi dinner Chad, Eleanore, Pamela and I went bowling. So much fun! I don’t care who complains about how lame it may be, the group I went with was a blast! Geoff and Jessica met up with us for some beers and then I left with them as Pam, Chad and Eleanore went home. The rest of my night quickly became a blur. Geoff and Jess were up for partying and we went pretty hard. We wanted to do some dancing so we went to Celebrities to shake our booties. I absolutely love these 2 and they made going out so much fun. I have known Geoff for years from Victoria and he always was that special guy that waited for the right girl to come along and I think he has found her. They were singing for me and I love that they both appreciate great music the same way I do. Geoff is a terrific musician and super intelligent guy. Jess compliments him so well and it’s wonderful to see someone really appreciate the amazing soul Geoff is. There was a little after party at Geoff’s and at some point I passed out on his couch. It’s been a long time since I have done anything like that. Ok, I lied, I meant… in Vancouver.

The next day was Sunday and a day I always anticipate. Not only does that mean that I get to sleep in and read but it always means …. Brunch! And when I mean brunch I also mean the segue way into gutter Sundays!!!

I met up with the Vancouver crew and started the day out right with Mimosas. We met at a cute cafĂ© on Davie Street and had a great. We alwas know what kind of day it’s going to be like when we start our brunch with double margaritas and Mimosas. After a few hours and photos, our bill finally (!!!) arrived. That was where a giggly Lindsey brilliantly suggested that on our way to her house to get our stuff for a day at the beach, we should stop in every bar on the way and do some tequila shooters. And did we! Ben, Kyle, Lindz and I went to some of the most colourful drinking places Davie had to offer with my personal fave being the “Pumpjack”. When we walked in, I was astounded by the leather bound men and absence of women. I immediately felt at home! On the way, we also stopped at a yard sale (my first one ever!) and all bought a Gutter Sunday souvenir. Mine were a pair or boots for $7 that I realize now as I am sober, that I will probably never wear. Then we headed to Lindz where we had ours of shot gunning beers, making up shooters with random alcohol in her cupboard, and endless photo shoots. I have some of the funniest, most entertaining friends and really, the afternoon went by very fast. And we never did make it to the beach....

Ben and I headed home at some point where we dies on his couch and watched South Park and Political commentary and got ourselves riled up about the American Politicians and their TV. It’s my favorite downtime thing to do with Benny.

Another sweet weekend with wicked friends. - can’t wait to see Sonya next weekend! I have been so busy visiting with everyone since I got back that I haven’t had a chance to be depressed about being back from traveling. Hooray for fantastic peeps and Gutter Sundays!

Monday, April 30, 2007

The end of my trip....


It’s been a while since I have written last and it hasn’t been because if lack of things to write about. Let’s see. I finally arrived in LA and I was excited about having Zee come meet me. We have been friends for about 10 years now (maybe longer) and I have been threatening for years to come out and visit him. It just so happened to be his birthday (Happy Birthday!) and unfortunately I was so pooped from the flight that all I did once I got there was nap. The evening was quiet though as Zee ad I just did dinner and a movie. We went and saw 300 and I loved it. Now for most of you that haven’t seen it yet, I strongly advise it. Finally there is a movie about a war that was actually beautiful to watch. What I also loved was that the entire movie showcased 300 extremely beautiful, buff guys. 300!!! Even if there was no plot at all, I was very happy watching the film, but surprise, surprise there is a plot and it is great! It is my favorite movie this year by a long shot. And guys, don’t be discouraged, even though there was no shortage of near naked men (hooray! a movie for us chicks!!!) in fine form, there was a sufficient amount of T&A to keep you watching. Although it is nowhere near the same amount for us ladies (finally!!!) I think there was enough to be considered an apology.

The next day was a great day as Zee and I did some shopping and then met up with Jac and her boyfriend Luke. They had flown in for just a few days on their way back to Australia. We met years and years ago in Ko Phangan and then met up the following year and traveled through Laos. It was great to see her and finally meet the guy I have been hearing so much about. It’s not very often that you meet couples that look and are so connected. I can say that I have only met a few but these two compliment each other so well. Zee took us for a fantastic Mexican meal. It was HIS birthday and he popped for the meal. I have to say that it is just how amazing that guy is and I am so grateful to have wonderful friends like that around.

Luke, Jac and I then went to Rodeo Drive and Hollywood Boulevard the next day and had a full afternoon just wandering around looking at all the things that tourists should. I was happy to see Robbie Williams walk past us while I was shopping in Barney’s. He didn’t look as hot as I though he would have, but he did just get out of rehab, so we should just give him a break. What I did find shocking was how the paparazzi were already waiting for him when he walked out and waited for his car. Amazing! It’s really as bad as it looks. It’s almost disgusting how people harass “famous” people.

The next was my favorite LA day… Disneyland!!! It was all our first times and it was a blast. Who couldn’t love being at the happiest place on earth? We were lucky, for some reason we didn’t have to wait in long lines. The rides were fun, the company was fantastic and it was a great day to wander around and look at this crazy made up world. I would love to go again, but maybe next time on Mushrooms. Something that Jac, Luke and I couldn’t help but continually point out was how disgustingly obese Americans are generally. It was a huge turnoff to see family after family waddle around and feed their children crap all day. It was crazy that finding something healthy to eat in Disneyland was nearly impossible. There was no shortage of candy, sugar drinks and McDonald’s fries, but salads, anything vegetarian or just regular portions of food (as opposed to super sized meals) was non-existent. I can’t believe that I didn’t see more kids have sugar tantrums around Disneyland. Actually, I would have to extend that to a lot of LA as well. Most places that we all went, there were loads of fast food places to eat, but we had to walk or drive a long way to find just a regular sit down restaurant. I’m surprised at this because I thought that with so many people in LA looking so plastic, I would have thought that it would have prompted some sort of healthier eateries to crop up.

On the way home from LA, I flew business class on Alaskan and I got to sit beside Kathleen Robertson. If you don’t know who she is, she was Claire from 90210. Not necessarily my idol, but she was amazingly nice and hotter in real life.

It was a great trip and it was fantastic to see some familiar faces and lovely friends welcome me back at the airport. I love going away, but it makes me all that much happier to come home to such a great place to live.

I stayed at home for a couple of days and then flew to Seattle to see the Martin Sexton show. I don’t really need to say that his concert rocked as that is a give in, but I can tell you I was more than blown away by his performances. It was like he had tapped into some sort of religious movement on stage and the entire crowd was digging it. The amazing thing about this guy is that sure, his cd’s are fantastic, but his live performances are unforgettable. I have seen a lot of live acts that top my list of fantastic… Pink Floyd, Marilyn Manson, Beastie Boys, David Gray, Ben Harper, Lollapalooza’s (which included Nirvana one year)… just to name a few but, by far, when it comes to a humble musician just jamming for his fans without a massive production and light show, he wins, hands down. Here is a sample of his sheer energy on stage… Martin Sexton Rocks!

I also got a chance to wander around Seattle for an afternoon and check out Pike Place market and also Starbucks original flagship store. I loved Seattle and like San Francisco, it is one of the few American cities that I could live in (if I had to). I also had an opportunity to check out he Human Body exhibit at a gallery when I was there. I am speechless about how beautiful this exhibit is. What they have done (dr’s that is) is they took actual human cadavers and injected it with rubber or some sort of material so that they could then preserve and dissect keeping entire systems intact for viewing. All of them bone structure, circulatory, nerve system, digestion, reproduction etc…. And then they had bodies posed with others or on its own running (with art skin peeled back so you see what muscles are needed), or the male and female form embracing (so that you could see the differences in our bone structure. It was all done artistically and tactfully so that it was thought provoking and beautiful not grotesque. I spent hours wandering through that exhibit and I urge any people who hear of it go to their town - to go check it out.

I stopped off at the boat show in Victoria to visit Cathy at the boat show. It was great seeing her and a few people and once again be around an environment I love - boats!

So now I am home and enjoying things as they happen. My short term plans are… reno the kitchen, garden, work out, have as much fun as possible and look into getting a job. If any of you know of anything seasonal or part time, let me know. Love the fact you got to voyeur onto my journey.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Alright, alright... I'm coming!!!

Hey y'all,

It's been a whirlwind of a trip, but I promise you that I will be making a post shortly. I would like to say that I have had nothing going on, but that would be a big lie. I instead I will just say that I have been too busy. Gotta love you and leave you, but no worries, I will give you a courtesy post shortly and let you in on all the ....stuff!


Monday, April 9, 2007

You can check out.... but you will never leave!

Back to Thailand!
Wow, is this post ever over due.  Must have been all that ‘living in the moment’ I’ve been doing since I landed in Ko Phangan. 
The flight from New Zealand was uneventful, but I was surprised to hear the announcement when we landed at 1 am that the outside temperature was 29 degrees!  I am not kidding when I say that it is hot here.  Damn hot!  The average temperature hovers around 34-37 degrees and at night, it doesn’t cool off..  Thank goodness for air conditioning!!!
Lucia came up to meet me in Bangkok and we spent a few days being girls and shopping like rock stars.  We also found happy hour (oh bless! 2 4 1 drinks!) at a fancy hotel with a gorgeous pool and rode the motorcycle taxis through Bangkok like locals.   After that much needed girl time, we parted ways with me heading South and her North.
Arriving into Ko Phangan is like going home for Christmas break.  It is a familiar place for me that I hold so close to my heart.  I headed back to Haad Yao beach to be welcomed so warmly by the family I always rent from.  It is nice to see them after being away for a month. 
I have found a killer house that I am now renting in Haad Yao.  It is cut into the hill so the views I have are amazing.  I have a kitchen with fridge, huge room with a/c (man, it’s super hot here!), and even a bathroom with a beautiful soaker tub. All this, for a princely sum of …. $16 per night.  I am getting more spoiled every time I come here.  Next year I am going to be such a princess… where I am going to stay?
The other great thing about coming back to a familiar place is all the friends you have met from previous.  Ko Phangan just happens to be this weird vortex for people.   Once they get here, all the plans about checking out Northern Thailand, Laos or Cambodia end up getting scrapped.  There are so many people who come with great intentions to stay for just a few days and then they end up riding out their month long visa never leaving.  Not so bad, as I have done it more than a few times, but imagine losing days to all the parties all over this island.  Kodiak (a wicked Canadian that threw a party discussed in previous post) laughed about it over dinner tonight when he says that he’s been here for almost 3 months. It’s shocking to a lot of vacationers, who ask him constantly what he does while he’s here, but he just tells them that he has barely any time to hit the beach because of all the parties.  Colin returned today from traveling around Thailand while I was in New Zealand and he said that when he got off the ferry, he knew he was going to see all the same faces that he left here a month ago and the first person he saw was Kodiak who admitted he hadn’t even left the beach, let alone the island and then Kodiak told him where I was.  Colin couldn’t believe that nothing seems to have changed and that we are all still here.  It truly hasn’t, my friend.  As the full moon party nears, a few more familiar faces that I have mentioned in previous posts will be returning for this island’s biggest bash.   I am looking forward to seeing them as well.  This island does have that Hotel California feel to it.  You can check out… but you’ll never leave! 

On a sad note, a car hit my cute little puppy, Jackass - the day before I returned.  My other dog that followed me everywhere, Mama, is back by my side and… is once again knocked up.  And even though she answers to Mama, I am starting to notice she is quickly recognizing ‘Knock-up’ as another name she will come to.  She is living with me in my new house and guarding it very well.  I love her company.
Ok, now onto a little rant…  I have received a few emails from some of you asking me about the trip and why there hasn’t been any mention of the boys here.  I am aware you are used to my stories and trash talk, but I assure you, I am still the same Merie.  I went on a temporary hiatus to insanity when I agreed to stay away from making out with boys while I was on this trip.  I can’t tell you why on earth I even agreed to such a thing (and of course it was a insecure guy who suggested it!), but maybe it was a bit of a challenge to see if it was at all possible for me to accomplish.  Apparently, it is not. I have tested my limitations and I can honestly share with you all - there is no guy out there I have met, that is worth the wait.  And seriously, it isn’t realistic.   I am surrounded by hot single people on this island, why would I not sample what traveling has to offer????  After this realization that all this was ridiculous (I have only wasted a few months), I am off the wagon.  And, there is no better way to kick off the fun times, than with a quick session in Bangkok.  After being chased by a cute naked English guy for a couple of days (are you looking at my ass?), I began to remember how much fun being single really was!
Anyways, I have rented a motorbike to get myself around the island I am having piles of fun.  I have altered my plans to stay in Thailand for longer and I have cut out going to Ontario before LA.  It is too cold to go there after all this heat.   There are a few parties and more pictures to follow, but I really need to get on with my day.  Hope you are all well!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Live the moment"

How do I sum up the remainder of my New Zealand adventure into one post???? This is going to be a long one, so grab a coffee, or a “flat white” get comfy and get reading…..

All right, at Rotorua I realized that I only had another week in New Zealand. It went unbelievably fast and I still had a few things on my list I wanted to do. My plan of attack initially was to only see the northern part of the North Island and I am so glad that I stayed with it. When I talk with people who spend one day in one town and then another whole day of travel to spend one more day in the next, I think… ‘what are you really taking in?’.

I took a bus from Rotorua to Whangarei (pronounced Fang-a-ree) so that I could do some diving. I ended up in this hostel late in the evening and as I walked into the commons area I spotted across the room one of the Irish girls from Auckland – Patricia! I can’t tell you how happy I was to see someone familiar and also so much fun. This girl is nothing but shits and giggles and all around just fan – friggin’ – tastic. Turns out she was going diving the next day and that was specifically what I was there to do as well. I hadn’t heard from the dive company that I had emailed, so the plan was that I was just going to go with her and plead my way into the dive trip. The next morning I did just that, but I didn’t have to plead very hard. They were more than happy to take another paying customer as they had plenty of room. Now for most people that don’t know this, the Poor Knights is considered to be one of the world’s top ten diving sites in the world by Jacques Cousteau. And it didn’t disappoint us. The fish were massive and the dive itself was amazing. I have to admit, I am not much of a cold-water diver. All the extra gear and weight is a bit of a pain in the ass and getting in the water at first is very shocking.

Patricia and I napped when we got back to the hostel (turns out we were sharing a room – what are the chances!). Being that it was a Saturday night and our last night in town before she went South and I, North, we planned this to be an official bar night. We ended up taking along with us a German guy and another stray Irish man - Blair, who turned out to be quite funny. How do I even begin to describe the club action in wee Whangarei? I think we spent most of the night walking through this town looking into all the bars before realizing there really was only one place that was ‘happening’ (for lack of a better word) and it was appropriately called ‘Danger, Danger”. Not because of the scantily clad women, or the bad music, but maybe because of the lack of …. Ambiance??? Not sure what was missing. Maybe people our own age? Maybe better music without the massive screen that played the video while playing the top 40 song. Maybe official go-go dancers in the suspended cage and not regulars lined up for their slot. It’s a tough call. I spent most of the night wondering what was up. It had a country feel in the bar that made me think that any minute now the locals were going to stop bumping and grinding to hip-hop and start 2 stepping to “my achy breaky heart”. No really, it felt just like that. The highlights of my night??? I would have to say that it was just hanging out with fun people (the Irish seriously are fun), discovering (a little too late into the evening) that the neon green drink special served in the glass beaker was amazing, and actually meeting a local who drove around with his back window shot out. In Canada we call this a ‘hick town’. I wonder what the New Zealanders call it?

With much good-bye fanfare, I left Patricia for Paihia with Blair in tow. How to describe this guy??? Well, I can tell you he is witty and very smart (except that his chosen major was American History – WTF???) and he would probably tell you he is very entertaining. I may have to agree, but I would never do that it front of him. I guess, for the short bus ride North, I would have to say that I was entertained with fantastic conversation but had to stay alert with how quick he could be – it can actually be tiring always having to be ‘on’. Once we got to Paihia and got settled in, we headed off to a Museum with grounds that was the birthplace of New Zealand. It was where the English and the Maoris signed a treaty and decided to live as one country in 1840. This is where maybe my inability to travel with others kicked in, as Blair was museum-ed out and didn’t want to look at old buildings and glassed in artifacts and I could seriously stare at wood all day long. We parted ways for a short while so he could “slow down and live the moment” and I went for a quick walk (only 1 KM) back to Paihia. Funny, we both met up in town… guess I just took a different route to “the moment”. I was thinking how bizarre it was that a semi-complete stranger was telling me that I needed to slow down and “enjoy the moment” when any one at home could have told him that I have a black belt in sucking back time to do nothing. I live 3 months of my winter away in Thailand, lying on a beach doing nothing – every year! I don’t even own a watch. There isn’t a person who knows me that can say that I have never had them wait while I lived a moment or two. Maybe I have started to lose myself on this trip? I need to find my way back!

I awoke the next morning in anticipation for 6 days of sailing. I arrived at Great Escapes only to be told that none of their boats could go out because the forecast was calling for heavy winds and a gale. Fair enough. I spent the day in Russell learning more about early New Zealand and I was able to find another museum to wander through. Now without boring you all with the details of the next 6 days, I will just try to tell you this. Sailing through the Bay of Islands was the highlight of this trip. I saw some amazing birds, dolphins, flying fish; amazing scenery… there is just so much. I will post some pics, but they don’t even do it justice. What also made it fantastic was that the owners of the company, Terry, his wife Cindy, Lucy and Dave made dealing with Great Escapes memorable. They were so happy to bend over backwards to make things work out and they even had me over for dinner a few times. Who else does that? Island Cruising, of course, but this post is about New Zealand.

I was only too unhappy to see my travels through New Zealand draw to a close once I got to Auckland. So, back to another long Emirates flight (that will, at least, be safe from bombings!), as I will leave you with my list of top 5 in no particular order….

5 things I wasn’t keen about in New Zealand…

1. Phone calls were freaking expensive! There is no competition so it was 70 cents to call a landline and if you called a cell phone, it would cost you (at a pay phone) $1.20 a minute. One person who owns a cell told me that his average cell bill was $700 a month and that was normal. With Vodaphone having the monopoly, New Zealanders just accepted it as another huge expense they have to pay. Very much like what Canadians would do. Just look at the rising cost of fuel we all pay with minor grumblings.

2. Meat Pies. This is the national snack. They have other things like pizza and kebabs like we do, but meat pies are in every shop and convenience store. All wrapped and warmed for quick consumption. They really are gross. And so bad for you!

3. No hot guys. The Irish girls and I had to agree, there is a drought in this country and we aren’t talking rain. Not sure where they have gone or if they even exist, but if I encountered someone hot in New Zealand, they had a foreign accent.

4. Eating out was expensive and getting to a grocery store was a mission in it self. It was almost cheaper to eat out, as the grocery stores weren’t all that cheap. I was shocked to notice that local made goods such as cheese, milk or bread - was expensive.

5. The car rental companies “hire” you a complete lemon for $45 a day unless you get it for a month or more. When I say lemon, we almost rented a car and it was 10 yrs old and literally falling apart, I mean LEMON. Good thing there was a flat in the tire that we discovered as we drove off the lot. We had to quickly turn around to switch up cars only to have to wait in line with other people wanting to do the same. We bussed from Auckland.

And now… The 5 things I LOVED about New Zealand.

1. The dual flush toilets. For number 1, and for number 2. Saves tons of water per day and I don’t recall seeing a toilet that wasn’t one. Sometimes North America can be soooo behind. Oh and clean, clean, clean.

2. Loved that the Maori culture is celebrated in New Zealand and also recognized. Makes me think how different Canada could have been if the early settlers had signed a treaty early on with our Natives instead of trying to snuff out their culture, driving them into residential schools or reserves or just killing them.

3. Loved all their adrenaline sports. There wasn’t a shortage of things to do at all in New Zealand. I wish I had more time… and money.

4. Loved their transportation system. Not only in the city of Auckland, where there is a free bus for tourists, but also it was cheap and easy to bus through New Zealand.

5. Loved how laid back it felt. Just like home. And it's so green! Man, it made me miss the Island.

Just another note before I take off and post this sucker… but I had a lot more than 5 things to love about New Zealand, but for balance sake (it was hard for me to come up with 5 things I wasn’t keen on..) I had to limit the list to the magical 5.

Back to the Thailand grind… SIGH…. Miss you all and keep the emails coming!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Flying, Action and Culture

I’ve been in New Zealand for a little more than a week now and I have done quite a bit.

First off, I just wanted to mention that I traveled on the Emirates Airline for the first time in my life and now I am an Emirates lover. I heard that they got a lot of service awards and I wasn’t the least bit disappointed. Tons of legroom, bag storage, and the meal service was divine. Normally I am accustomed to a 4-course meal in business class, but in economy I was actually full! Not normal for most airlines, but I would have to rate it even higher than Cathay Pacific and maybe… almost… Singapore airlines. Not only that, but the stewardesses, had to wear these hats that had veils that came across just like what Barbara Eden had to wear in ‘I dream of Genie’.

I landed in Auckland a little jetlagged, but excited and went to a hostel within the city. It wasn’t as bad as I would have thought. I was immediately put in a dorm room with 3 other guys (gotta like those odds!). That’s where I met David - another guy from England. I spent a lot of my time just hanging out and getting my bearings and checking out what this ‘City of Sails’ has to offer. To be really honest, I’d been here before and it’s just like most major cities and I was looking forward to getting out of here. I did et a chance to check out the Maritime Museum, Sky Tower and a few bars, but really I just reveled in the little bit of culture shock I was having after spending some time in a crazy city like Bangkok. The hostel realized after a night that they had put me in a boy dorm and they ended up moving me to a room with 3 other Irish girls. They were a lot of fun to listen to and they were really funny. They put me straight on the situation with the Irish guys and now I know how lucky we have it in Canada with the way our guys are. I was trying to convince them that they need to come to our fair country and try out the guys we have to offer and it sounds like they may actually take me up on the challenge. You Canadian boys will be in a lot of trouble… these ladies are wicked.

David and I headed to Rotorua after a couple of days to head to the ‘cultural capital’ of New Zealand. It is apparently so touristy that it is affectionately called RotoVegas. I didn’t notice too much, maybe because I live in ‘VicVegas”. For the few people that may not be aware of this, New Zealand is known for their thrill seeking activities. The Bungy Jump, Sledge and various other adrenaline sports are all here. David and I headed to the Agrodome where we bought the 4gasm pass that gave us entry to the Swoop (a 10 metre free fall where you then swing for a while), the Free Fall (think skydiving without jumping out of a plane), the Agrojet (this is like being in a race car, only it’s a speed boat going about 100/mph) and our favorite by a landslide… the Zorb! Now, the Zorb is a inflated round, plastic ball where you jump in and either get strapped in or they dump water into it. Then…you roll down a hill. You have to push it around like a hamster ball, but once it gets going, it is like a waterslide. So much fun!

I also checked out the Rotorua museum which used to be a health spa in the early turn of the century and now it’s a museum that houses their history display as well as art. It was fantastic and very interesting. Crazy what rich people used to do back in the day… get into a bath tub full of water and get subjected to electro-shock therapy all for the sake of wellness.

I also checked out a few of their other sites, but my favorite touristy thing I did was go to the Mitai cultural performance. That is where we are picked up by shuttle at 6 and then taken to this place where they serve a traditional hangi and then the Maori’s give us a performance and we get to learn about their culture. It really was the best $75 I have spent so far. A hangi is a dinner that is cooked in the earth on top of coals. We were served the most amazing food I have had since being on my travels. The dinner alone was worth my money. And I had for my first time – lamb. I loved it!!!

Anyways, I am off to the North part of the Island to do some diving and sailing. I will post pics here when I get a chance, unfortunately, internet in NZ is really expensive and loading pics up would take forever.


Sunday, March 4, 2007

Week of celebrations

Hey All!

I am in the airport in Bangkok waiting for my flight to New Zealand. I have had a whirlwind few days and I am just now, catching up on my postings. This past week I celebrated Lucia and Geoff’s birthday right after one another. Lucia was a doll and put on a seafood night and invited a whole bunch of us to dine and drink on her. The guest house owner went to the market and got all the fresh goods and cooked it up. Afterwards, we retreated to our balconies, our bungalows are side by side, to have a porch monkey party - Canadian style. That is, basically, where we buy all the goods to make out own buckets instead of paying the high prices in the bars. That way we get to drink more. The English don’t really do this much at home as they are used to going to pubs to socialize, where us Canadians, feel more at home in the kitchen drinking our booze at a cheaper (and also much faster) rate.

The next night was Geoff’s birthday and the guys put on a surprise dinner at the Eagle Pub where the owner cooked us up an amazing feast for free. Turns out, when you drink as much as Geoff at one of your favored pubs (once again a English thing), you get preferential treatment. It’s all good. Geoff is such a stellar guy that he deserves it. Besides, it was his big 4-0. It was also the night before the Eagle Bar party that the same guys were throwing, so there were some birthday fireworks for Geoff that we all enjoyed on a full stomach. Not too much of a crazy night that night as we were all gearing up for the big bash the next night.

During the day, I was kept busy by diving in the amazing Marine park near Ko Tao. It was awesome and I saw some fantastic fish. I ended up talking to someone on the boat ride back about his dive trips in New Zealand and now I am thinking about adding that on my list of to do’s while I am there.

Sunday rolls around with huge anticipation for the Eagle Bar party. Sebastion, Michael, Jamie and Geoff started the planning process with just wanting to light off fireworks and then it morphed into a thousand dollars worth of the goods, as well as DJ’s from London, speakers bigger than Jamie and scented flyers to advertise the event. Haad Yao had never seen a party like this on it’s beach and it went so well I am certain I heard the boys planning next years already. It was a fun night of dancing on the beach and listening to great house music while being fueled by whiskey buckets.
I actually had to pack up and head back to Bangkok via another ferry and train trip the next morning so I partied hard and went to bed early at 5:30 am so I could get up and check out before 10 am. Surprise, surprise, I ended up sleeping in and started packing my month of living in less than one hour. It was a sad ending to a fun month. Everyone came by to say good-bye and all I wanted to do was just say, “Screw New Zealand, I’m staying for another bucket!” But I didn’t. I had no time at all to get to the ferry and I literally ran on. The train ride again was excellent. I shared some time with a Thai lawyer who spent the evening teaching me new thai words and phrases and I only had to use the grotty bathroom once!

Bangkok is even hotter than Hades at this point and now I remember why I normally head back around this time. Sebastion made it up to Bangkok where we hung out and went out for Indian for a change. I also ran into someone from home I know – Bo. Turns out his twin and he are traveling all trough Asia as well. It’s great running into someone you know when you are so far away. We had a nice evening of conversation as well.

So that’s it. Just another plane ride and then new adventure begins.

Miss you all!