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Entries about beach

The three day thing

As this Chapter nears its end.

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It’s been six months since I left Mexico City. Two of those I've been in South East Asia.
As I approached Kuala Lumpur a fourth time, I felt as unready and lost as that first time, six months before. I still don’t know what lies ahead of me. My map is still covered in fog. I cannot see clearly anything past a few weeks, and anything beyond three months is so blurry as to be a waste of time even trying to fathom it.
If all had gone according to plan, I would still be sailing, marveling at the ocean’s vastness and the beauty of islands and sea. It would have been a great time, I know, just a completely different experience to what I've had.
During this two months in Asia I have journeyed here and there, catching barely a glimpse of what the region has to offer. Someday I’ll come back. And in the rainy season too! There is just too much that stayed beyond the horizon this time. Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, and the North of Thailand. And that’s without looking South. But I am now to enter the silence, to digest all that’s taken place in the last weeks and months. To let sink all the smiles, all the kisses, the hellos and goodbyes.

I've been doing the three day thing this past weeks. Days merged into one, and it felt like I spent more time in vehicles and walking to the next place than actually there. After leaving Angkor and Siem Reap, I passed through Kampot, Kep, Phnom Phen, Sihanoukville and Koh Rong. I kept going deeper into Cambodia, but didn't find the kind of effortless belonging of those early days in Siem Reap…

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I spent a grand total of two days in Koh Rong. It’s a nice yet difficult place to explain… The only reason I went to there in the first place was because I read online that the island was beautiful, yet cheap, and that I could find 1$ dorms. This is not so. The cheapest dorm, at least this season, is 7$, escalating all the way to 60$ thatch bungalows and treehouses. It is not a cheap island. Having said that, it is a gorgeous place, and the people are great. Hippies, locals and expats, most understood my situation as a confused and broke traveler and were very sympathetic. ‘If you want anything cheaper than 7$, you´re gonna have to work for it’ they said. It took less than an hour after setting foot on that pier to get a place to stay. I spent the next two nights on the furthermost point of 4K Beach, a 40 min walk away from town. All they needed was someone to be there, so the place would never be completely alone. So I had a tent, noodles, beer, soft drinks, and red bull in exchange for just being there and keeping an eye over everything; for hanging out on the beach and selling the occasional beer. Basically for doing nothing. Heck I cleaned the place up, even raked the sand and burnt some leaves just to feel productive. It was great. I could have stayed there for days, weeks even... So then I left in the morning. After having camped, danced, walked at night in the jungle and swum in the dreamlike, shiny, phosphorescent blue sea… It just could not get any better than that. Not there. So Bangkok, Padang Besar, Langkawi and Penang soon passed under my feet. And then I was back in KL, back at the beginning.

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Here are some things I've experienced in the last days/weeks:

Stay away from rocky outcroppings, or be ready to limp for a couple of days.

Even small coral can be very sharp, and cuts on the sole of the feet are very, very uncomfortable. Noted, learned.

Sometimes the $1 dorms are amazing and awesome. Other times they mean bedbugs. Flip a coin.

In Siem Reap I stayed at the Garden Village Guesthouse. It was awesome. I made friends and got great memories from there.
In Sihanoukville I stayed at the Utopia Hostel. Don’t stay there. Don’t go anywhere near that place. Just don’t.

Send messages to strangers. Couchsurf. Say yes.

When last I was in Bangkok I contacted on Facebook a girl who lives there. Turns out they have a spare room they are trying to set as a small B&B, so I stayed with Alexander and Abigail for 3 nights, with Petrina meeting me there. It was awesome![/b][/center]

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Wine is best after not having any for months. Even more if it’s free.

One of the nice things of meeting locals (as in people who live there) is that they tend to know what’s going on. And that might just be the anniversary party of a nice, hip bar. I hadn’t had any wine in six months.

Travel with someone. Separate. Meet them again.

We met in KL that first week, then again after our sailing adventures. Now we coincided in Bangkok a third time. We could exchange stories from the time apart, and had someone for a few days we didn't have to introduce each other to, rather build on the friendship. It’s a great relief!

When crossing borders, double check the local time zone.

When Petrina and I arrived in Padang Besar, Malaysia, neither of us bothered to check the local time. As such, we missed the last bus out and got stranded there. Nothing wrong with the place, it’s just not somewhere you want to stay in for longer than necessary.

Smile.

I smiled at a girl in Siam Reap. Our eyes and smiles met again in Kampot. Fancy to meet again, and sharing a cab with her and her brother, in Padang Besar, all the way to Langkawi. Then going out drinking with them in Penang. Who knows, maybe I’ll see her again in KL. Or in Germany someday!

Help someone.

I met a somewhat lost Australian waiting for the bus. I guided her to where she wanted to go, and stuck with her the rest of the day. A nervous little thing, she would have never eaten in the indian restaurant I took her to, nor ridden the bus all the way to the Kek Lok Sie temple. The thing is, I was ready to let the temple pass, but it is one of the best places Penang has to offer. It is beautiful, and its commanding view of the city, gorgeous. I would have missed out greatly and wouldn't even know it. I still don't know who helped out the other more.

This is not Kek Lok Sie Temple. I very smartly forgot the camera battery.

This is not Kek Lok Sie Temple. I very smartly forgot the camera battery.


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And now I ready to enter the silence. It’s the last adventure in SE Asia for now, and one that’s been long overdue. I've wanted to take part on a Vipassana meditation course for months now, but somehow it didn't work out before now. Most of the centers open for applications several months prior to the course, and it’s been a while since I've known where I’ll be so long in advance… But this time all is set, and I’ll be there for ten days, away from everything, in a new experience. I've never done extended sitting meditation, so I’m not quite sure what to expect. But I feel it will be great.
So, world, see you after the retreat!

Posted by Zaspirucho 22:38 Archived in Malaysia Tagged kuala_lumpur food ocean nature beach travel cambodia meditation malaysia city island beautiful paradise camping asia koh nomad learning Comments (0)

Paradise in the wake

Back on the mainland!

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View Liberty Goes East on Zaspirucho's travel map.

I realized a while ago that I've never spent more than a week’s time on a place with a beach. Like, ever. Ko Phangan was not the exception. People and friends kept telling me to stay for the full moon party; what was the point of leaving just before the main event? But as the week came to an end, I really wasn't enjoying the place anymore. So it’s now in my wake, party or no. I took a ferry and left the islands. In a matter of hours I was back on the mainland, paradise gone. It wasn't really paradise for me though.

Just a bit

Just a bit


It must be said, there’s more to Ko Phangan than the party. It is a beautiful place, with clear water to snorkel or dive, and plenty of jungly hiking trails crisscrossing the island. I met some great people there, found my own gaze reflected on stranger’s eyes more than once. It’s a great feeling, to look into someone’s eyes briefly, and knowing you’re the same as him. No words spoken. None needed.

The Haadrin Beach, home to the world famous Full Moon Party

The Haadrin Beach, home to the world famous Full Moon Party


I guess my experience would have been a bit different if I’d arrived somewhere else on the island. But I got to Haad Rin, party center. Just a two hour hike north lies another, hippier (the wealthy kind of hippie) place, Haad Tien. Or there's the more relaxed Ban Kai, slightly west up the beach. They seem nice enough! But Haad Rin wasn't my kind of paradise. Don’t go there if broke!
And it’s not the easiest place to meet people either, and it's not just my impression. Being a big party place, lots come in tight groups, or in couples, and are not really open to chatting. Still people talk about how much sex you can have in this party land. Yet I’m not very into drunken chicks, and sober girls are being constantly harassed by drunken vultures, so we honest folk get offed away with the rest... I did make friends with people in my hostel though! Two Chilean students who slept right next to me (no such a thing as privacy in the Hostel), and there was a couple that I got along with. He is a traveler too, of similar spirits, and was celebrating his 28th birthday there. I get the feeling we'll meet again somewhere.
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I took to long walks along the beach, or over gorgeous wooden bridges that round some rocky outcroppings, so you walk with the waves crashing under you. Every time I walked back on a road someone stopped to offer me a ride. A Canadian traveler, a French diving student, a German tourist and a Korean partygoer, they all brought me to or from Haad Rin on their scooter, nothing else than a smile in return. Not to mention the trucker that brought me from the small pier to the main ferry station in Koh Samui! I was wondering what to do, chatting at a juice stand, when he spurted "I’ll take you! No charge!" I’m not going to wait for someone to say this twice! He almost got me to the mainland for free, and was sad that he couldn't get me any further. And that wasn't the only one! Once in the train station, a woman waved a couple pieces of papaya at me, so I made my way over. I made sure she wasn't trying to sell anything to me, then sat down on my rucksack. She didn't speak English, but kept on talking anyway. From time to time she would use some english word and I'd get a glimpse of understanding. But mainly it was just nodding, smiling sheepishly, eating papaya and refusing her rice and curry. We waited until my train arrived, and then I left for Bangkok. In the end she pushed a 20 baat bill and a handkerchief into my satchel, and I offered her one of mine in return. I will never know even her name or story, yet I carry her handkerchief.

Onwards!

Onwards!


Not all is cheer and joy in Thailand though. Only most of it. As of yet, the only item I've lost is my water bottle, snatched from my bag when inside the luggage compartment in a bus. Not a great loss, especially considering I got it from a trash can in Oregon. But it was a good water bottle, I hope it serves its new master well. So there’s that, and the fact that that I caught a cold on that last night train to Bangkok. I can’t remember the last time I was sick, so I guess I was overdue. So no news from Bangkok! Even though I’m in this bright new city, all I want to do is crawl under a blanket and sleep.

And I’d rather sacrifice two days resting up in Bangkok, for I intend to catch the 05:55 train tomorrow to Cambodia. I’ll visit finally one of the few places in the world that give me a physical reaction upon thought: the Angkor complex.

Meanwhile, the introspective journey continues. I think I found a path to follow, on one of those beach walks. I bought a plane ticket back to Turkey, for April. And it seems I may meet my sister there. After months away both of us, that would be awesome. And it's back to Europe after that. But April's far away! A whole month!

So see you after the ruins!

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Posted by Zaspirucho 10:45 Archived in Thailand Tagged diving hiking beach thailand island beautiful party paradise full_moon snorkeling backpacking koh scooter phangan hitchhiking Comments (0)

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