Christmas, New Year’s and a bunch of other stuff.

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So it’s 2015. We had a splendid New Year’s Eve here at the Seaflower on Koh Phangnan, Thailand. (Highly recommended place run by some very nice folk – Lise and Chai and their great staff – Cee, Say, Za, No, Bo, So, Kira that other guy). We had a great pig roast on the beach, some margaritas, beer and what-not to go with a barrage of fireworks and Chinese lanterns set adrift at midnight. “Best New Years ever!”, Swanson was heard to exclaim.

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I suggested he let go before it ascended into the night.

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Our magical dinner.

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Hopes and dreams sailing into the night. Feel free to laugh at that if you like.

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Ringing in the new year.

We also had a lovely Christmas. Another nice feast featuring a couple of barracudas, BBQ chicken and lots of fabulous Thai salads finished off with a chocolate fondue. It was amazing but very odd being in 30 degree weather during Christmas. Swanson was on to us after he noticed the same wrapping paper that “Santa” used on his present as the paper used to wrap fake presents for the tree in the restaurant. I think that he doesn’t actually believe in a fat man in a red suit B&E ing everyone’e house once a year. Maybe he just doesn’t want to admit it or he’s doing it for us. Probably the last year for this ruse anyway.

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“Oooh, Baracudda” Dun-dela-dun dela-dun-dun…Try and get that out of your head now.

We’ve been here for a month just kicking back and chilling. It’s a nice change from the hectic previous three months – especially the two weeks leading up to the beach which saw us visiting Jordan, Cambodia with a few days in Bangkok sandwiched in between. Some R and R was definitely on the agenda. Our days consist mostly of swimming in the warm blue waters, snorkelling, going in the kayak, eating great Thai food, getting fat, happy hour on the beach at 5, laying in a hammock, reading and napping. It’s OK to hate me.

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This is what we do.

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And this (but in colour).

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Me teaching Swanson how to swim.

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Swim, boy!

 

So that’s about it for the last month or so of our lives. Not much to tell but I did start to put together some thoughts, points of interest, observations and recommendations that have risen during our travels. They might include…

My disdain for fellow travellers was re-affirmed this week waiting to board a ferry while a steady stream of tourists exited the boat. I don’t know what it is but I just wanted to punch a lot of these yahoos right in their smug greasy faces. You know the type – slack-jawed mouth-breathing, backwards baseball cap wearing, short-fingered troglodyte frat-boys shuffling along in their flip-flops, ugly neon shorts and ill-fitting dirty tank tops clutching a can of shitty beer like it’s some sort of trophy. Some were even strutting – strutting! Who struts?! It’s like they have no respect for where they are or the people that live here. Tami says not to judge, but sometimes I can’t help it. Judge, jury and executioner.

If you’re ordering “lamp” or “crap” off a menu, you’re probably going to get “lamb” or “crab”. Probably.

A tip for you fellow budget travellers – steal packets of salt, pepper, bars of soap and shampoo whenever you can. Be it from hotels, restaurants or McDonalds. They will come in handy.

If you hate shaving as much as I do and part of that reason is the insane cost of blades, make sure that you wipe the water off your razor as soon as you finish with it. It’s the water that dulls it. I’ve only gone through two blades so far in the four months we’ve been on the road. Thanks to Phil in Bangkok for this tip.

Bring a child with you. You get all kinds of perks ranging from getting through busy line-ups at the airport and customs to getting free things given to your child – extra pillow on the plane, candies, street meat (chicken döner kebab in Turkey) and pastries. Folks just generally treat you nicer most of the time if you have a sprog with you. I’m sure you can buy one cheap in some places if need be.

My body has taken a beating this trip. From diseased and infected fingers to (possibly) cracking a tooth or crown eating pizza in Romania (who puts whole peppercorns on a fucking pizza?!) to pulling a muscle in my leg in Petra to a constantly bleeding nose (why didn’t I get that cauterized? Maybe tonight on the beach!) to straining my neck sleeping in so many terrible beds. And I had to get a haircut in Bulgaria. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m also very old.

Warning the next photo is pretty gross. Feel free to skip down to the next area if you like…

 

 

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Yep, it’s a gross as it looks.

 

 

There’s something vaguely weird and almost creepy about the curtain that s separates coach from first or business class on planes. Like the the folks that can afford the expensive seats don’t even want to see the rabble in the back. Have they never seen Snowpiercer?

One thing that I love about visiting different countries is just the way things are done. For example I love that I have take off my shoes (sandals really) and entering barefoot in stores here on Koh Phangnan. Could you imagine doing that at home? And it’s a bit odd seeing the proprietor’s family laying on the floor watching TV or eating dinner behind the counter.

Another thing I love is weird packaging and signs for various products in said stores. Here’s a few photos (plus some other random shit) from our local down the street (70 Baht large Singhas!)

 

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Whatever you do, don’t smoke Thai cigarettes. Especially with your feet.

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The snails! Not the SNAILS!!

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I guess it takes a professional chef with a whisk to make salmon flavoured chips.

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Me thinks that they may need to do a little more than just change one letter on their toothpaste packaging.

We move on to Malaysia next week with a stop in Kuala Lumpur and Legoland! Swanson is terribly excited (about Legoland, that is). I only hope we can keep him entertained once we leave there. It will only be for only 5 1/2 more months!

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Til then, I’ll be at the bar.

8 thoughts on “Christmas, New Year’s and a bunch of other stuff.

  1. Loving the posts. Keep ’em coming! Especially impressed that you’re doing the backpacking, roughing it thing “at your (our) age.” Some of these adventures I would have loved and done in my 20s (I spent six months backpacking Latin America in one stretch). Today, some adventures–like the smelly, uncomfortable overnight train ride–sound unappealing.

    Re:travelling with kids. Yes, we’ve found it helps too. Although with two kids in tow, sometimes the scrapping overwhelms any feeling of “advantage”.

    • Thanks Wendy! Yes I’ve being eyeing up everyone’s bags with wheels on them at the airports. My bag is on it’s last tour for sure. Too old for this shit! 🙂
      And we have a couple of more over-night train rides in our future (cost efficient!).
      Hope you’re having a swell time in Costa Rica!

  2. For Christmas next year, make sure you tell Swanson the simple truth…

    “If you don’t believe, you don’t receive!”

    Still works in my house. 😉

  3. So happy to hear that even though you have “suffered” through some physical trials, you are living the dream (your dream anyways). Aren’t you glad you did this now while you can still heal from infections, strains etc. Interesting how it was your middle finger that got infected??? Hope that cleared up and hope it doesn’t happen again. I like the comment about the “tourists”, I had the same thoughts on my last trip. I couldn’t help but judge – they were just annoying. Do you guys have a definite plan to where you will be going in the next 5 months? I may be interested in meeting you folks somewhere down the line. Take care & if possible can I borrow (rent) Swanson on my next trip?

    • Thanks Deb! Yes we’re (I’m) all healed up. I think that all it took was sunshine and seawater. Such a weird thing to have happen and couldn’t have happened to a better finger! We’re in Malaysia for a couple of weeks then back to Thailand – we’re hooking up with friends and their kids for 3 weeks of good Thai times. After that not too sure- we might stay on the beach or go to Nam/laos/Burma. We have another month booked on the beach mid MArch to April. After that? Who knows. It also depends on if we can rent out our house or not. Be very cool to meet up with you along the way at some point. If we do, Swanson is all yours!

      take care…

  4. Loving your blog! What an incredible adventure!

    Regarding razors — drying the blades totally works and so does “sharpening” them on denim. Just “shave” the denim but in the opposite direction you would normally shave (pushing the blades away from you) about 10-20 times. I have been using the same disposable blade for 6 months!

    Keep on keeping on!

    • Excellent tip! The only problem is I didn’t bring any denim with me. I suppose I could shave a stranger with my razor or maybe a mannequin…

      Cheers!

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