Koh Samui, Paradise on Earth

大家好,

I think I won’t make any deadlines anymore because I never keep them! As of late, my internet has been so slow that each time I try to get on WordPress, it loads too slowly that I lose my patience. WordPress, like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc is blocked so to access it, I must use my VPN. Sometimes though it’s just so dang slow!

Today it’s not bad though so I will give you some more photos. Currently I’ve nothing out of the ordinary going on, but we might have a future Dalian trip with the school cancelled because of the China – S. Korea relations recently souring further.. the school worries it won’t be safe for the Korean students. In typical China fashion, they are on the TV and shit saying “If you’re real Chinese you don’t use Korean products” and a Russian student said he saw a T-Shirt for sale that shows a Chinese flag fist crushing a US and S. Korean flag.

Typical, unsurprising Chinese posturing. But whatever, soon I will go home anyway so yeah. In general I like Chinese people and history, but this kind of hyper-nationalistic BS annoys me in any country. Unfortunately, people here are, on average, more ignorant of things that don’t fit the party line so not much can be done.

Anyway, I’ll try to get some photos if I see anything like this.

Now to Koh Samui. To get there from Bangkok it’s actually quite easy, just long. Of course if money is no object you can fly there and that’s the fastest, easiest method. I’m a cheap-ass so of course we did the bus/catamaran method which is a slow 12 hour trip total, but only a sixth of the price or something like that. So it was well worth it.

Upon arrival it was a hair hectic but I mean, I’m so jaded with Asian travel so I guess I’m used it it. We were able to get a van taxi transfer and get to our hotel no problem. I think I forgot to take more photos of the hotel itself but it was super nice. The cheaper rooms are a bit worn but they were clean and cheap so I don’t really care about anything else. We stayed at the Kinnaree Resort. You can see the cheaper rooms and the more recently renovated ones on their website linked above. The red ones are the newer ones and the green themed room are the cheaper ones. I saw both and while the wood floor (as opposed to tile) and red decor is warmer and more inviting, I am a cheap-ass as I said so I didn’t care since the green ones were still clean.

I only realize now that the below is the only photo of the room I took, but you can check out the photos on their website so whatever haha.

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The presentation is so cute!

The room is like a little hut or house and they have little porches you can sit on. From our porch to the beach it was literally 10 steps, and it was great! More than a few days was just spent laying on the beach on a chair, reading the multitude of books on my Kindle. I loved it! Talk about relaxation. You could hear the breaking waves from our room as it was the second one from the beach end of the resort.

George was a salty Sally and didn’t want to sit on the beach because apparently putting on sun-block was too hard and he kept letting himself become Dr. Zoidberg.

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So friggin’ relaxing holy crap.. look at those muscley shoulders.. so manly lmao.

So yeah, the island time was mostly relaxing and not thinking too hard. One day we even played in the sand like kids. We made a sand fortress/castle? thing. Of course I asked for shells and rocks to decorate as I wasn’t sure how else to make it “pretty”.

See the rock on the top? I’ll let you guess who decided on that part. =.=
He was far too amused by that, but then again so was I. We are a lovely pair.

The whole 10-day trip in Koh Samui wasn’t only R&R but also food.. and more food. We are fatties and both of us LOVE Thai food. We found great pad thai noodles from a small little shack in a parking lot. It was delicious AND cheap. See for yourself!

In addition to eating good food, we actually took cooking classes with Smiley Cook which was pretty freaking awesome. The day started with our chef taking us to the market to buy ingredients after choosing what dishes to make.

We chose Green Curry, Steamed Fish, Papaya Salad, and Cashew Chicken. We met a nice Spanish couple in our group and it was a lot of fun watching George cook for the first time. He was definitely awkward but I was proud of him for giving it an honest attempt without getting frustrated or anything.

Other than cooking, we actually took a kayaking trip with Bluestars Kayaking to a geological park near the Thai islands. I loved this trip but George wasn’t so keen on the boat to the geological park. We discovered he gets seasick. Woopsie.

This was the first time I ever got to kayak and I definitely have a new hobby. It’s a good workout, but still enjoyable. I think if I ever live near water, I might want to look into some kind of group or club for rowing.. I might like that, too!

But yeah so in effort to keep this not so long, here are some random photos before I go to sleep.

So yeah, I’ll work on the final Summer trip location, the Philippines when I have time and decent internet. Also I’ll try to pay attention to things going on here to share. I think I’ve become jaded and I take things for granted here now that I don’t think to blog about it, haha.

Anyway,

再见,
Laowai Shye

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To Manila!

The Greatest of Walls

大家好!

So yeah, so much for a week! I actually wrote a post about my return from home and such and then realized I didn’t post my Great Wall photos, so I will do this first before finishing the other one up which will have some of the deets I’m leaving out here.

I went to Beijing on my way home in January to see my friend Monica, but took one day to go to the Great Wall as it’s been eluding me all last year.

I stayed at the Heyuan Garden Hostel in Beijing as it’s closer to my friend’s house. It’s super clean and quiet so I think it’s my new favorite Beijing hostel and I highly recommend it! I stayed in the dorm room and it’s one of the best I’ve been to in China. The rooms have 4 beds (two bunks) and one clean bathroom for each room. This means no nasty ass floor restrooms. I find that people are more respectful of others and tidy when the bathroom to person ratio is lower. There is more accountability this way. Foreigners and Chinese alike have potential so no one is safe!

I also find these smaller hostels tend to have less “party animals” and it helps that this one is far from Sanlitun. Sanlitun is a big club and bar area so those who are going to drink and party are likely going to stay closer to the clubs so they can walk back or have cheaper taxi fares. So, needless to say, I loved this nice peaceful hostel on the other side of the city center from the bulk of clubs. The food, drink, and laundry prices were also pretty reasonable compared to many other hostels I’ve stayed at.

Anyway, so to my Great Wall trip: Like most Chinese hostel tours, I was picked up from my hostel which means it was quite convenient and easy compared to having to prepare everything myself. It’s also likely cheaper to be in a group than to go privately.

I chose the Mutianyu (慕田峪) section of the Great Wall because it’s the middle ground in price, distance, restoration, and number of average visitors at any given moment. There are more than 3 choices for wall sections, I’m sure, but usually at hostels there are 3 options.

Badaling (八达岭) is the cheapest, closests, adn the most restored. Because of the factors, I hear that it tends to be the most crowded. Of course I would expect it to be less crowded in winter anyway, but whatevs.

The most expensive, furthest, and least restored section is Jinshanling (金山岭). If you want to see the least “artificial” section, this is a good choice. Because it’s further and a bit more expensive, it tends to have less visitors so it’s pretty nice if you want more wall to yourself. I have heard and read that of the three, this one is also the most challenging hike, so it’s best for the more physically able sadists who decide that legs are overrated.

So yeah, the day was pretty chilly, but the walk was still pretty hard even if it wasn’t the worst. I met a pretty cool Chinese dude so I had someone to chat with and practice my Mandarin. His English was better than my Chinese, but I still tried.

At Mutianyu, you can walk up the mountain but then you’d have virtually no time on the wall itself, so obviously I took the cable car up and down. Interestingly enough, I was in the same cable car as Bill Clinton is 1998. There were a few marked ones showing notable people who’ve ridden in specific cars including the one ridden by Barack Obama.

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For the wall itself, obviously the winter foliage isn’t the most breathtaking and that’s the only big drawback to going in winter, but I didn’t go for pretty photos, I went because I must. While the landscape was very brown, it still was quite breathtaking in itself. I just cannot fathom how ancient people built this. I just CAN’T.

In my photos you can see a big ass set of stairs. They were the worst. They look tall in the photo, but TRUST YOU ME, in reality they were far taller and harder. I died a little, but the view from the top if where the best photos were taken, including my shameless selfie.

Anywho, dinner was included with the total tour price so I got a well-deserved meal at the end of it before returning.. and my god I scarfed it down like a hungry wolverine.

I am going to work on the post I had already written and adjust it. It should be done tonight as well!

再见,

Laowai Shye