From Jamie's Philippines Pics

We have also had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places in China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bali. We have archived all of our travels and living experiences abroad; and if you wish, you can read about our adventures by finding the archives on the right of this page and by checking our Photo Album.

We appreciate all of our family and friends who have stayed in touch and emailed us with encouraging words throughout the year. We hope you will continue to keep us in your thoughts as we continue our adventure of living abroad teaching at an international school. For those who have stumbled upon our site, check out the "About Eric and Jamie" section on the right for more information.

Thanks for checking us out!

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness."
- Mark Twain

"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends."
- Maya Angelou






Skype: "ericandjamie"



Friday, January 30, 2009

Chinese New Year Week 2009 Day 7

From Day 7 - Great Wall and Ming Tombs

Today, we had an earlier start because we were going to a further section of the Great Wall. After breakfast though, we stopped at one of the 13 tombs of the Ming Dynasty emperors. We went to the largest and most visited tomb. It was pretty cool and we saw many of the Ming emperors' artifacts. 13 of the 16 Ming dynasty emperors are have tombs built in this area in the mountains.

We then stopped by a jade market where they showed us how to tell the difference between fake and real jade. Jamie and I bought a family piece. Let's hope they were telling us the truth. It is pretty anyway.

After a tasty lunch at a touristy trap area where we looked at hand painted Chinese vases, we headed toward the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. We took a cable car to the tower #14 and walked to tower #19. It was a hazy day, but it was simply breathtaking and wonderful. We discovered that the Great Wall was magnificent, but probably not really the great barrier that it was intended for. The large mountains around it seemed to be more of a deterrent to outside invaders than anything. After taking the cable car back down to the bottom, we had to walk the gauntlet of people selling us everything from table runners, to t-shirts, to chopsticks for 50 cents.

The van ride back was only about an hour and a half and we went straight to a Chinese acrobatic performance. We were tired, but the performance was entertaining. It was mostly performed by teenagers, so that made it all the more impressive. The show lasted about an hour and we were off to a tasty meal for dinner. They served us a whole fish which was delicious. We were told it was like a carp.

Great day overall as it was the day we walked on the Great Wall of China.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chinese New Year 2009 - Day 6


Thursday. After a somewhat tasty Asian breakfast, we walked to the North gate of the Forbidden City with our guide Alen. He led us through the the major parts of the old city and was detailed in his explanations and answers to our questions. It was cold throughout the morning, but it eventually warmed up a bit. Because of the holiday, the Chinese were there in droves and wanted to see their own piece of national history. It was most crowded around the throne of the Emporer where you literally had to push and shove your way in order to get a picture or even see it.

After the Forbidden City, we walked across the street to see the world's largest city square in Tiannamen Square. Most of the world remembers this square because of the 1989 student protests that had tanks running through the streets. It is surrounded by government buildings and the mausoleum of Chairman Mao. We then had a very tasty Sichuan province lunch before heading to see the Drum Tower.

The Drum Tower gained some fame this summer for the Olympic Games because an American was stabbed to death there. No stabbings today, but it was very cool as we saw the drummers do a small performance. Our new guide, Robert, did a great job of explaining the city and our next destination, the old city Hutongs. We hopped on some rickshaws and our driver peddled us through the streets of the Hutongs. We stopped at one where our guide explained the meaning of the doorways and thresholds. We then rode out to visit a family who lived in one of the Hutongs where we were treated to some snacks and were able to visit and ask questions. They were very nice and hospitable.

We decided to head back to the hotel for a quick rest before heading out again to see a Kung Fu Show. It was a play/performance and the music was very good. It is hard to describe it, but it was very Chinese and entertaining. Our next stop was the famous Peking Duck dinner with various other menu items.

After a long day, we have crashed back at the hotel. I've went ahead and added my photos to our web album. I'll add to it later with some of Jamie and Kathy's pictures as well as some captions to explain some things, but until then, enjoy and feel free to ask some questions.

Tomorrow, we will be visiting the Ming Tombs and standing on the GREAT WALL OF CHINA. A personal dream will finally be a reality.
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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Chinese New Year Week 2009 Day 5

Wednesday. Jamie and I took Gary and Kathy to Wal-Mart this morning which can be quite a trip in and of itself. They were able to see the lived turtles, fish, and frogs for sale as well as frozen whole chicken feet and hog feet and fresh squid. The smell of Wal-Mart leaves little to be desired.

Once we returned from our Wal-Mart trip, we packed up and were ready to head to the airport for our flight to Beijing. We decided to take the bus to the airport because it is about 10 times cheaper than a cab. The bus takes about an hour but is very efficient if you have the time. We boarded and flew to Beijing with no problems although we didn't get to sit together on the flight. It was packed, but a very smooth flight of about 3 hours.

We were met immediately in Beijing by our guide, Alen, and taken to our hotel by our driver Mr. Wong. We are staying at the Shantan Hotel which is very close to the Forbidden City in downtown Beijing. Great place!

We went took a cab to the Hard Rock Hotel in Beijing and had a nice western meal. We'll be eating Chinese this entire trip, so we thought we'd spoil ourselves first. A quick cab back to the hotel and we crashed.

First impressions of Beijing. It was night, but the city looks amazingly clean. We figure that they did so much clean up for the Olympics and it has remained that way 6 months later. The airport was beautiful. We'll see some more parts of the city tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chinese New Year Week 2009 Day 4

Today was a day in Shekou. We slept in but eventually showed Gary and Kathy where we worked, ate, and hung out. We took a bus to a large mall called Coastal City where we enjoyed some sushi then headed back home where Jamie and Kathy went for a foot massage. Gary and I both relaxed and napped. When we awoke, it was time to eat again, so we met some co-workers and ate at Little Sheep. Jamie and I found Little Sheep last week and thought it would be a good experience for out of towners. We enjoyed the hot pot Mongolian style cuisine. Great relaxing day and it gave us a chance to catch our breath before the blitz of the next few days we'll have soon.

Chinese New Year Week 2009 Day 3

Tuesday. We woke up and Gary was ready to go and feeling much better. After breakfast and packing up, we headed toward Lantau Island to see the famous Big Buddha. Have of Hong Kong was there wanting to see it also and it was very cold because of the change in elevation. It took us about an hour and a half of standing in line before we even got on and rode the 25 minute cable car to the top of the mountain. The views were nice except it was very smoggy and misty. It was also very very cold and the higher we went, the colder it became.

At the top, we ate lunch at a little Euro place and then headed to the top of the steps to see the Big Buddha. Built in 3 years and finished in 1989, it is the largest sitting Buddha in the world. It is made of bronze and is actually a great trip to see. There is also an active monastery there, but we did not really see it.

We waited in line for another 45 minutes before taking the cable car back down the mountain. The picture above is from at the bottom and one of those touristy souvenirs you can buy when they take your picture. We thought is was funny and decided to make a crazy pose.

By the time we took the MTR back to Kowloon, it was just about time to find a decent spot to watch the world famous Hong Kong Chinese New Year parade. We actually ran into about 15 coworkers and found a spot with them and waited about 2 hours before the parade started. Our little crowd led the people in cheers in Chinese and English and we all tried to enjoy ourselves while waiting.

The Hong Kong parade was a bit of a disappointment. It had an international flair, but the floats, bands, and dancers were just too far and few between. It was not the high energy octane we thought it would be. We left about half way through so we could get a head start on the crowd. We took the Star Ferry back to Hong Kong Island and then a cab to the hotel. They had our luggage waiting for us and then helped us get a cab.

Our cab ride was 30 minutes and took us to the Shenzhen border. We got there just in time before they closed down for the evening and took another cab to our apartment quite exhausted. A long, cold, day of waiting for a hours for 2 events. It was a good experience and overall, we are glad we stayed for the parade, but we are somewhat disappointed in it.

Chinese New Year Week 2009 Day 2

Sunday. We got up and ate the breakfast downstairs at the hotel. Gary was feeling sick but decided to try and make it out anyway. So, we got ready and hopped on the Hong Kong Island tram car that traverses the island east to west and back. Double decker tram where you can see the city. Very cool and very cheap way to get around. We took the Star Ferry across Victoria Harbor to see the skyline of Hong Kong and Kowloon. Gary by then was not feeling well at all, so he decided to go back to the hotel. Jamie, Kathy, and I walked around Times Square for a while and then headed back to the hotel to take a nap and see how Gary was feeling.

He was not well at all and had slept throughout the day. We took naps ourselves but woke and decided to go check out Victoria Peak at night. It was very nice but very chilly. Jamie and Kathy have been taking all of the pictures for this vacation so far, so I'll have to get them and post them at a later date.

You take a railway tram to the top of the peak. Night is by far the best time to go although it is still hazy. You can see the entire island and it is a breathtaking view. Imagine standing on top of a mountain overlooking Manhattan. After taking the tram back down the mountain, we walked to a party district of Hong Kong Island called Lan Kwai Fong which looks just like any other bar street in the world except pretty steep.

We skipped it and found our Tequila restaurant near the mid-level escalators and then took a cab back to Victoria Park and walked around the Lunar New Year festival they were having. Thousands of people were jammed into the park selling the traditional and lucky flower arrangements, orange trees, and stuff with oxen all over it. We finally headed across the street from our hotel and crashed after checking in on Gary, who was feeling somewhat better. Actually, now that I think of it, we went to the park first before Victoria Peak but I don't want to go back and change it. Lazy I guess.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chinese New Year 2009 Day 1

Jamie and I went Saturday morning into Hong Kong. We missed the ferry (again), so we took the land route. They changed our bus route after we went through the border, but we figured it out as it just dropped us off one stop too early. So our day was:

1) Taxi to border from apartment
2) Walk across China/Hong Kong border through Customs
3) Take a bus to the MTR Station
4) Stopped too early, so we had a to take a light rail one stop down to MTR
5) MTR to one station in Kowloon
6) Change in Kowloon and take another MTR route to Central
7) Eat lunch at a great Mexican restaurant we found "Tequila" riding up the mid-level escalators
8) MTR to Hotel
9) Check in to our sweet hotel overlooking the bay, Hong Kong skyline, Kowloon skyline, and Victoria Part, and take a nap
10) MTR to Central
11) Change and take MTR to Kowloon
12) Change again and take MTR to Kong Mok
13) Watched Bolt, the movie
Bolt was amazing. If you haven't seen this little movie, it is absolutely wonderful. It'll have you laughing throughout and has a great little meaning with great voice overs. We went to a new theater and really enjoyed it. We missed out on an opportunity to see it in 3D, but it would have been more expensive anyway. This one was great.
14) After movie, took MTR back to Kowloon
15) Change and take MTR to Central
16) Change and take Airport Express Train to airport
17) Picked up Gary and Kathy (Great to see them!) They had a good flight and was right on time. They seemed tired, but raring to go!
18) Airport Express back to Central
19) Change and took MTR back to our hotel
20) We were hungry, so we just ate at the hotel restaurant with our free drink and listened to some Chinese karaoke.
21) Crashed that night...

I just thought I'd show you a run down of how you have to get around Hong Kong. You can take taxis just about anywhere, but it can get expensive. We saved over $80 US by taking the Airport Express train instead of a taxi to/from the airport. You can also take buses just about anywhere, but we do not know the routes yet. There is also a neat little trolley that rides east and west on Hong Kong island that is convenient and cheap. We are happy we finally have figured out how to get around Hong Kong pretty efficiently.

Today is Sunday and we've had a great day today also. I'll write more about it later.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

2009 Presidential Inauguration

Jamie and I stayed up to watch the historic event for which we had been long waiting. I think the new stations over here were telecasting it, but we haven't watched the TV in our apartment for months, so we just watched it on Slingbox (CNN). Wolf Blitzer just cracks me up sometimes.

If we were not in China, we would have made the trip up to DC to partake in the events. I haven't heard the news, but the pundits on TV were saying that it would be/is the most watched event in the history of television (the final episode of M.A.S.H. is #1 with over 100 million viewers if you wanted to know).

Interestingly, the Chinese government has censored the parts of his inaugural address that mentioned communism. Seeing what Jamie and I see every day concerning China should either scare the daylights out of the US or cause everyone in the US to breath a heavy sigh of relief because they would feel no threat.

A few of our international colleagues came up to us and congratulated us on our new President. It is amazing how much more support Obama has internationally than Bush did.

We can only hope that he makes the right decisions, learns from his mistakes, and continues the wonderful example he has provided to millions of Americans who view him as the hope of tomorrow of what could be.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Yummy and Interesting Meal

Jamie and I went with some co-workers tonight to a restaurant called Little Sheep. It was a Mongolian style hot pot. It is very similar to fondue except everything is dumped into this one large pot. We chose to have one side be spicy (very hot!) and the other side was regular.

Eight of us sat around the pot and dug in. The pot contained (I'll try my best to list all of the ingrediants):

Beef, Lamb, balls of shrimp (not shrimp balls), potatoes, turnips, mushrooms, bean sprouts, noodles, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, coriander, cumin, peppers, leeks, bamboo shoots, cilantro, and side dishes or some steamy buns with some delicious sugar glaze, steamed buns, and a variety of sauces.

That is all that we can think of that was in there. All was mixed in with some sort of broth. The meal just got better as the spices and various foods mixed together. the spicy side was very hot, but very good. Great place to take people from out of town. We might take our parents to this restaurant when they come in. Not sure they can handle the spices, but we'll see.

We had some pictures taken, so I'll have to get some co-workers to email them to me.

Weekly Update

Been a while since I posted, but there really isn't much to talk about. Here is a run down of some things going on...

1) Booked! Our flight and condo in Bali, Indonesia. We were able to exchange a week of our timeshare in Orlando for one in Bali. We also found a great cheap flight that will work out quite well.

2) We both have decided to stay in the middle school next year. Jamie had toyed with the idea of teaching Chemistry at the secondary school, but the scheduling wasn't quite what she was looking for. The 11 year old class coming up is a great group, so it should be fun. We will move back to the main campus building next year.

3) Jamie's parents are flying in next Friday and landing here on Saturday night. We have a trip planned for them that included Hong Kong, Shekou, and Beijing for 5 days. They will fly back out of Beijing the following Sunday. We are excited because we will finally get our Rosetta Stone, DVDs, and some other items that haven't been able to ship over here.

4) Griffey is still doing great. He is getting used to the city more. It has been quite warm here the last couple of days, so he has enjoyed sitting on the balcony in the sunshine.

5) Dissertations are coming along. Slowly, but both Jamie and I are about to begin some heavy writing of the first 3 chapters. After this next break for Chinese New Year, we really do not have another one until we leave for Bali at the end of April; so we'll have plenty of time to work on it then.

6) As of now, we'll be flying back home around Saturday, June 13th. Our last day of school is June 12, so it'll depend on the flight situation. We hope to make a small pitstop over in Seoul, South Korea and tour there four a few days before coming back. We'll see.

7) My parents and niece are still scheduled to come back over with us after our month back home. We will then travel around China to some pretty amazing places like Hong Kong, Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Guilin, and Yangshou. We are excited my niece will get to see all of this.

8) That's all. I've tried to add some captions to our pictures from Thailand slowly but surely. They are still there if you want to browse.

9) Shoot us an email sometime. We'd love to hear how things are from back home. Haven't heard from anyone in quite some time.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Back in the Groove

Jamie and I have had a relaxing weekend and fixed up our apartment a little bit. We went to Wal-Mart (which is an experience in and of itself in China) and bought a new sheet set and bedspread for our guest bedroom. Jamie's parents will be here in 2 weeks and will need a place to crash. We've scheduled a pretty cool trip for them for Chinese New Year with 2 nights in Hong Kong, 2 nights here in Shekou, and 4 nights in Beijing. It'll be a great experience for all of us.

We finally were able to put up some shelves in the guest bedroom so my clothes do not have to be stacked on the bed anymore. It is really nice now, but my clothes are scattered from our bedroom to the guest bedroom. It is ok though.

Our AYI starts work on Tuesday. Our AYI will help with some cleaning for an hour per day, 4 days per week; and when we are gone on vacation, 2 hours every day in order to take care of Griffey. She will do basic cleaning and laundry and will be big help. When else are we going to be able to afford a maid to come and clean up after us? In the states... Never!

We just discovered (not sure why it has taken us this long) that we can download movies from ITunes and rent them. It only costs $3.99 for one movie which is basically what you'd pay at Blockbuster. I had tried Netflix downloads, but you can't do it out of the country.

I have added some captions to our pictures from Thailand. I am not finished with them completely, but it does help explain a few of the things. I think I might have failed to mention the snake, scorpion, and gecko whiskey we saw. I took pictures of it and even tried the snake whiskey. What is snake whiskey? Not sure but there was an entire snake in the bottle. Check out the photos of the Golden Triangle for more photos of it.

All for now and I just wanted to update everyone on the weekend. Blog has slowed down considerable, but that is expected. There will be plenty to discuss once we get to Beijing and finally see that city and of course the Great Wall.

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Too Much Brake

From Thailand - Day 7 - Chiang Mai

Here is a photo that was emailed to us by the friends we made in Chiang Mai on our Flight of the Gibbons adventure.

We were given these little wooden "V's" and when we slid down the zipline, sometimes we'd have to place them on the line behind us in order to slow down and brake. Jamie found broke too early one time and was suspended about 3 meters from the platform. Our guide had to go and get her. Our new friend Beth was able to take this great picture as well as email us some others.

Jamie and I are back into the swing of things at school. We've booked our flight, Hong Kong Hotel, and Beijing Trip and are ready to go when Jamie's parents get here on the night of January 24th.

The city is decorating for Chinese New Year and I'm sure it will be a buzz as the time approaches. We'll take some pictures and keep you posted on the events.

We hope everyone's New Year has had a great start. Take care! Drop us an email every now and then.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

First Day Back

Jamie and I are back at school today for the 2nd semester. We keep the same kids all year since we teach 12 year olds. Jamie has never experienced this, but thank goodness the vast majority of these students are well behaved and work hard. My Reading class came in immediately and started their Silent Reading time without me telling them. Have any of you teachers had that experience in America? First day back from break and the students just sit and do what they are supposed to?

Griffey is settled in now. He's a bit skiddish going outside because of all of the people and crazy noises he hears. A car alarm went off next to him the other night and he broke loose from his collar and leash and ran all the way back to the apartment building door. The funny thing about it was that as soon as our doorman saw Griffey running up to the door, he buzzed him in as if he were going through the door. I'm enjoying our walks though and we even take the 11 stories of steps up to get back to our apartment sometimes. It'll be good for both of us.

We are ready for Jamie's parents to get here and go to Beijing for Chinese New Years at the end of the month. I'm excited to finally stand on the Great Wall of China. It is supposed to be quite cold up there, but we'll manage.

Hope everyone made it through the holidays and haven't broken their New Year's resolutions yet.

No action on the Message Board. It might be a bust, but if you want to jump on there, it'll be a nice way to discuss some topics. There are already posts about the economy, resolutions, travel, etc. Signing up is free and takes just a minute.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Thursday, January 1, 2009



I've updated the blog considerably. Please check back about 10 posts and catch yourself up on our trip to Thailand, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in Hong Kong, and Griffey's Trip to China!

Pictures of EVERYTHING can be found in our album by clicking HERE

Enjoy! Email me or leave comments!
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FINALLY! He's Here!

From Griffey's First Day

After months of preparation and waiting, my dad dropped Griffey off in Atlanta, Georgia and he was on a flight on Cathay Pacific for Hong Kong. Jamie and I had some time to kill before we went to pick him up with our pet moving company help, so we spent the morning watching some football games and walking around Hong Kong. We went to the famous Intercontinental Hotel and walked along Victoria Harbor enjoying the Hong Kong skyline.

We made it to the airport at 2:30 and finally found a driver to take us to the Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal where Louise, the pet moving company manager, was getting Griffey off of the plane and handling the paperwork. Griffey came around pushed on a little cart around 3:45 and we waited a while for them to check him in and do some paperwork. He was lively and really wanting out of his crate. He hadn't been let out for probably over 30 hours at that point. The bottom of his crate was soaked with urine and water. He was whimpering some, but excited nonetheless. I was just happy he was alive and OK.

We made it out of the Cargo Terminal and loaded up into a van and headed toward the Hong Kong/Shenzhen border. This is where it gets interesting...

Leaving Hong Kong was pretty easy, just paperwork issues. Getting into China is a WHOLE other story. The border from Hong Kong to China you drive through is only about 25 yards apart, but the manner in which they do things is as though they are on different planets.

We drove through the border customs and parked and went into this little shack where 5 Chinese Customs officials started examining Griffey's paperwork. At the time change, 5 other Chinese workers came and did the same thing. Each took each of the 5 or 6 pieces of paper that was involved and carefully examined it. I asked Louise why it took 5 people, and she told me that 1 worker doesn't want to be responsible, so it takes 5 or 6 or 9 of them to make sure the paperwork is OK so they aren't held responsible for anything bad happening.

If you will, imagine the world leaders sitting down at a table on the brink of World War Three. A stressful situation and the earth's survival depends on whether they can come to an agreement. The workers in that room couldn't have been more serious as they examined the paperwork. They asked to see Griffey 3 or 4 times out of his crate, so each time, I took him out and then put him back in. Griffey took it in stride.

Very interesting experience and after about 1.5 hours, we finally left the Chinese Customs with all of our paperwork and dog. The pet moving company dropped us off at our apartment and Griffey was introduced to his new home. You can't imagine how happy I am to have him here and how relieved I am that his trip was a success. I have been having terrible thoughts for months concerning this, but everyone was very professional and nice and I felt it went as well as it possibly could.

New Year's Eve - Hong Kong

From New Year's Eve 2008

Jamie and I traveled over to Hong Kong on December 31, 2008. After finding a place to eat for lunch on the mid level escalators, we went to see Madagascar 2 at the movies. We then took a cab to our hotel for the evening, The Charterhouse Hotel. They placed us on the 20th floor with a great view of the city. The room was small but very nice with all sorts of furnishings.

We ate at Outback Steakhouse. I know what you are thinking... You are in Hong Kong and you eat at Outback. Simply, yes. We've missed our western food and this hit the spot. We paid probably 50% more than what we would have in the states, but it was well worth it as we feasted on a Bloomin Onion, 10 oz filet, sweet potatoes, garlic mashed potatoes, and a great salad. I listed all of our food items because they were yummy and we miss them.

We found the opening of this new club/bar in Wan Chai district and decided to go there. There were only 7 people in there when we arrived, and we felt sorry for the owners. We sat there for a while, but at 11:20, we slid out with our New Year's Eve masks, blow thingys, and glow sticks and headed toward the harbor to watch the fireworks as the clock struck 12.

Hong Kong isn't the craziest place for New Year's Eve because of the Chinese New Year just 3 weeks from now. There were quite a few people though. The thing to do is to take the Star Ferry over to the Kowloon side and watch the Hong Kong skyline and fireworks from there. Jamie and I didn't want to mess with that and we had a fine view from the Hong Kong Convention Center. Decent little fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the skyline was lit up as fireworks were shot from the tops of the skyscrapers and even out the sides of some of them. Pretty neat.

We went back to that little club to see how it was doing and was excited to see that it had a nice crowd. The owner was glad that we came back and we felt good about ourselves for helping a fledgling business get on its feet. No telling what their rent is at that place, so perhaps we shouldn't feel too sorry for them.

Overall, a pretty cool New Year's Eve and we had a lot of fun. Not sure where we'll be next year, but we are hoping to go to another major world city next year.

Happy New Year Everyone! Good luck in 2009

Impressions of Thailand - Unimpressed

From Koh Chang Island

Our 19 day stay in Thailand was much anticipated. We had been told how nice the people were and how we'd love it. Here is a list of things we enjoyed and didn't enjoy

Enjoyed (in no particular order)
1) Chiang Mai - great little town with a ton to do. Our guesthouse, Green Tulip, was awesome
2) Bangkok Temples - temples themselves are great and very beautiful, the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho was especially cool
3) Ferry Rides up and down river in Bangkok - cheap and a great way to see the city, also took us to Wat Arun, which our favorite temple.
4) Flight of the Gibbons - our little treetop zipline adventure, very fun!
5) Koh Chang Island - very relaxing and lazy little island with a lot of character, beautiful beaches, and great food
6) Food - overall, excellent

Didn't Enjoy
1) Bangkok - just a large city with rather unfriendly people. Never knew who you could trust, so you didn't trust anyone, mentally tiring
2) Magic Resort - on Koh Chang Island, perhaps the most unhelpful workers of any place I've ever stayed. Accommodations left little to be desired
3) Train Timetables - if that is what you want to call them, but don't ever assume the trains will be remotely on time
4) Tuk Tuks and Taxi's - had to force them to use the meter or most just refused to. We got tired of walking away trying to find an honest taxi/tuk tuk driver
5) Temple fatigue - they were nice, but after a while, once you have seen one, you've seen them all it seems. Much like visiting European cathedrals from what I've been told.

That is all I can think of for now without consulting Jamie. I might go back and edit this post.

Check out all of our pictures. I'll be working in the coming days to actually get some captions on them. Picasa makes it really easy to place captions on them, so there is really no excuse other than the time it takes to go through what I guess is 1000s of pictures. If I was smart, I'd do it when I uploaded them, but I guess I'll learn one day.

Let me know what you think!

Thailand - Day 18 - Koh Chang to China

From Koh Chang Island

Instead of breaking this down into paragraphs, you can get a gist of our day from this little itinerary

6:00 am - woke up, finished packing, on the road trying to find a songthaew taxi to ferry
7:40 am - couldn't find a taxi so early, but this little lady at a resort drove us to White Sand Beach in her private car, we found a taxi from there and made the ferry
8:05 - took the ferry from Koh Chang Island to the mainland Trat
8:40 - another songthaew taxi packed with 12 people took a 30 minute journey from the ferry to Trat Bus Station
9:15 - arrived at Trat Bus Station (not really the bus station)
9:30 - loaded up in a van which took us to the actual bus station - go figure)
9:45 - finally left from real Trat Bus Station and was assured that it would take us the the Bangkok airport
2:30 pm - arrived at the northern terminal bus station in Bangkok (not the airport), had to take a taxi to the airport (Bangkok sucks!)
6:30 pm - finally took an Air Asia flight from Bangkok, Thailand to Shenzhen, China
9:30 pm - arrived in Shenzhen, China and took a taxi to Shekou
11:10 pm - finally arrived home in Shekou

Thailand - Day 15 - 17 - Koh Chang

From Koh Chang Island

Our last 3 days in Koh Chang were spent relaxing on the beach by the ocean. I made a nice little pyramid the first day and a great ziggurat the next in the sand. No tools! I took pictures of the pyramid but didn't get a chance to because some Thai kids kicked my ziggurat down. We both continued our book reading and we were able to just chill and relax on our final two days.

We found an "international" pharmacy and bought some cream for our feet. This helped tremedously. Apparently, sand flies ate us alive the night we stayed up and talked to our family and waiting for the computer to charge. I stopped counting after I reached 50 bites on my right foot and 40 on my left. The anti-inflammatory steriod cream worked wonders although they charged us $15 for it.

Our meals consisted of more Thai food for the most part. Breakfast was provided by our resort although it wasn't really that good except for the toast and fruit. Jamie and I have become quite the fans of hot tea though and drink it with almost every meal now.

By the last day, we were actually ready to get back to China. Griffey is being shipped on January 1st, so we have to prepare for that. We'll be spending New Year's Eve in Hong Kong and we are really excited about that.

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