Sam and I fly out tomorrow, so this will be my last update from Thailand! As sad as it is to be leaving, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing friends in South Africa again, spending some more time in our place in Cape Town, and planning for a Bloody Huge Party in March ;-).
Thailand really is an amazing country with a culture I've really come to respect. Almost all of the Thai people I've met have been extremely friendly and accommodating. There's always the few that will try to take advantage of tourists but they're definitely in the minority. And really, why not try and take advantage of tourists if you've got the chance ;-).
We arrived in Thailand safe and sound almost exactly three weeks ago. Amazing how time flies! We spent our first week in Bangkok shopping for clothes (since we brought almost nothing here) and seeing parts of the city that we hadn't explored last time we were here. Bangkok is really an amazing city, insanely busy, with delicious street food everywhere, and amazing (and quite clean) public transport.
As per usual here, we were running on Thai time. The train was scheduled to leave at 17:05, it was now 18:05. It didn't matter though as we had nowhere to be. Our train was to arrive in the town of Surat Thani in southern Thailand at 4:30am but the first bus to the port didn't leave until 6:00. From there we'd hop on a 90 minute speed boat and then try to catch a taxi to the opposite side of the island and find a place to stay for the night. We'd use almost all modes of transport to get us from Bangkok to Koh Samui with the exception of flight.
I've never been very skilled at learning languages (well, non-computer languages). I "studied" French for seven years in elementary and high school, the end of which I had memorized a few words for different types of clothes and body parts, how to conjugate verbs, and how to ask to go to the toilet, s'il vous plait. After seven years I don't think I could speak a complete sentence. In elementary school I was "diagnosed" with having some kind of auditory processing problems which means that it supposedly takes my brain longer to turn raw sounds into meaning. In grade 5 I even got a detention for not being able to respond to a phrase from my teacher that I really should have known (I actually did know the answer, I was just too afraid to speak). But it was about this time that I completely gave up all hope of ever being able to learn a new language.
We were in Paris standing on a platform on some hill, overlooking the city below. The orange rooftops, small winding streets, churches and cathedrals poking up above everything else and the Eiffel tower off in the distance. I took out my camera to snap some shots and... no batteries! Scott Mac and I had just arrived in Europe, and I'd forgotten the batteries for my camera! This was a disaster. I frantically ran back to find a store that might sell some, they were just double A's I needed after all. But no stores sold them. No one had even heard of this mystery "double A" sized battery. They had completely different kinds of batteries in Europe and I wasn't going to be able to take any photos for our whole five week trip!! My heart sank... "how could I forget my batteries!!??".