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Sep 2 11

Best Friends for Life

by André

When you travel you meet a lot of people, but none of them seem so eager to be your friend than the Chinese. Walking down the street people come up to you, being a tall white guy, asking you if they can have a photo with you. Then they ask you for your phone number, your e-mail and your QQ address (Chinese MSN/AOL Messenger). Another thing, they want to be your friend and want it confirmed: “You be my friend?”.

It’s fun on the one side, since it’s a nice way to learn a bit about China. For instance; they do not have an age-limit for drinking or smoking, but you do have to be 19 before you can go to an internet cafe. Also, they buy you weird food like the local delicacy chicken feet (and stuff I just don’t know what it is).

On the other side, it’s kinda weird and it makes you feel like an alien. But whenever people ask me for a picture, I’ll get one too, so I’ll post them soon.

In the meantime, I’m in Dali, the town that makes you want to do nothing. It is so relaxed, but for some reason with more Israelis than I’ve met the whole year before. I’m almost thinking they want to get a settlement over here! (Can I say that…?) They have their peculiarities like travelling with a bunch of Israeli food (come on, you’re in China!) but then again, I had my personal Israeli cultural experience here and had some proper Israeli food (Sha Shika?). So that was a welcome change from dumplings and chicken feet.

Aug 30 11

Lost (and Found) in Translation

by André

One of that make travelling to China a bit tougher that through other countries is that most Chinese don’t speak a word of English. So when I crossed the border from Vietnam I was facing the challenge of trying to find a busstation and getting to YuanYang, but where to start?

Luckily at the border there were some friendly people working there who spoke a bit of English. So I asked them if they would write a note with YuanYang in Chinese. So with this piece of paper I went to a random Chinese which pointed me to the busstation, showed them my little piece of paper there and they showed me to the office, which showed me to the bus. So that went fairly easy and pretty much without saying a word.

Sitting in the bus, I realised that it would be convenient to have some Chinese People’s Money. Try to bring that across. So after a little pantomime acting and pointing at my Lonely Planet I thought the busdriver got my point. And yes, after a while the bus stopped in front of a bank. The hostess from the bus (asian long-distance busses always have a driver and a host) took me to the ATM but that one didn’t work and another one wanted a 6-digit security code. So I’m again back on the bus, which I didn’t want to leave, but still without any money. So showed them my wallet and made some gestures as in ‘i dont know what to do’.

Fortunate for me, the Chinese are a clever bunch and the busdriver called an English speaking friend, I told him my situation and he told the busdriver where he could find a working ATM. But because that was back from where we came from the bus driver stopped the bus, hailed a cab which took me to the ATM and brought me back to the bus which was still waiting for me, still with some passengers inside. Now that’s what I call service!

During the rest of my stay in China realise more and more that you don’t need too much English to get around. Everybody speaks the language of pointing at your Lonely Planet, show you where to go and scribble something down in Chinese. If that doesn’t work you can always rely on a few gestures and the occasional drawing. Although I must admit that some simple tasks can become quite the adventure; how do you ask where you can find a new toilet bag?

Today, when I was walking though the inner city of the picturesque town of Dali I saw a puzzle shop. I tried to ask if they had a Chinese Chess (Xiangqi) set with English rules – the Chinese play it everywhere so I thought it might be nice to know. So again, after drawing some pictures, one person understood what I meant and dragged me through the town and found a set (for the staggering price of $0,70). Glad as I was, I still didn’t know how to play the game.

The Chinese guy, Adam, luckily spoke a little bit of English and with a lot of trial and error I managed to play a game and even had my opponent thinking for a little bit. The fact that there is a lot of similarity with ‘western’ chess also made it a bit easier. The rest of the day Adam showed me around town asking me how to say stuff in English and he taught me a bit of Chinese.

So in the end everything always seems to work out. Ordering food even becomes a better experience; you point at something and you’ll see what you’ll get. Luckily, Chinese cuisine hasn’t let me down yet! That’s it for now, I’ll keep you updated!

ps. Although I found some ways around the Facebook censorship, it doesn’t work very well so don’t expect immediate reply.

Aug 27 11

First impressions

by André

And, as with so many other countries I started in I was alone and did not know what to expect. Liam, which I was travelling with before in Vietnam had to go back to Hanoi to get his Chinese visa and I went on to China alone.

Today is my third day and I must say I am a bit shocked. Not because I’m in the middle of nowhere and I have troubles getting around, quite the opposite. The first two nights I spent in the world’s largest rice paddy area, feeling like a true backpacker between all the locals who don’t speak a word of english and in a little town up in the mountains.

But today I arrived in Kunming, the capital of the Yunning provence. The Lonely Planet said it was a city, but being in Vientianne (the capital of Laos) and Hanoi this can still mean a lot of different things. So after those nights in a town full of people from hill tribes getting to Kunming was a shock because it is a city. It’s sterile, has shopping malls, lots and lots of stores, McDonalds, Starbucks, people who direct traffic, electric scooters, it’s clean and if it can get any worse the hostel I’m in is a YHA (Youth Hostel Australia) and it’s just as boring as it is in Australia: People behind laptops (Yes, I see the irony writing this one from one of the free ones…). Luckily the prices are the same, but then in Yuan.

All-in-all it’s just a little bit of ‘civilization’ to take in all of a sudden. My first realisation was for instance that crossing streets here is a bit different from south east asia: you cannot cross the street anywhere and traffic-controllers get mad if you do….

I’ll still have fun though. Found a nice bar and hopefully have a good night. And I also found some nice local foodstalls with cheap dumpling’s and stuff I don’t even know what it’s called.

Aug 24 11

11 Ways to tell you’re in Indochina

by André

My travels through Vietnam have ended, but a whole new adventure awaits me tomorrow: China! Again I have no idea what to expect or how it is to travel there, but that’s what travelling is all about: new experiences.

Leaving Vietnam also means I’m leaving Indochina (Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam). Of course the way of life here is totally different from that in Europe, but during my travels here I also noticed some ‘little differences’.

1. They have baguettes. One part of the legacy of French colonialism in Indochina is that they have baguettes.

2. They put ice in beers. They know better than to do it in touristy areas but when you drink a beer in a local place they put a big chunk of ice in your glass.

3. Businesses like to have the ISO9001-2001 standard. Travelling throughout the different countries I noticed on a lot of buildings and cars have a giant ISO-9001-2001 sign. I looked it up, and it is some kind of management standard and I guess they’re pretty proud to have it.

4. Puppies. I’m not exactly sure why, but every place you go to have puppies, and rarely you’ll see a full grown dog. They are walking on the tables or nibbling on your feet and most of ‘m are adorable. It does make you wonder what happened to the old ones, maybe it’s because they eat them?! (By the way, had some myself, not the best but still not to bad either.)

5. Almost all the houses are tall and narrow. Even when space is not an issue most of the houses have a very narrow facade. All the houses are one room wide and a couple of stories high. The front is mostly brightly colored and has a balcony while the sides have just grey cement. Most of the families who live there live in one big room where they cook, watch TV and stall their scooters.

6. The People Pee everywhere. I must agree, the toilets in SE asia aren’t the best. But does that mean that you should be able to pee everywhere? When travelling in the bus they pick up a bunch of locals in town and stop 5 minutes later so they all can pee next to the road. But along every road you will see people peeing, or shitting somewhere next to the road. The worst I’ve seen is in Cambodia’s Killing fields where a whole tourbus came and peed over the whole area (just a reminder: that is the area were hundereds were killed and some are still burried).

7. Men pull they’re shirt over their bellies. If you have a nice beer belly, why not show it off?! Men here pull their shirt up over their belly to cool their bodies of (at least, I think that’s the reason) and making it look like they’re wearing a female’s top.

8. Everywhere they’re building resorts. Indochina may be generally poor, but everywhere you come they are building big resorts or hotels. In Cambodia’s Kampot people even bought a national park and are making it a big casino resort town (but then again, even The Killing Fields are privatised…)

9. They have scooters. Pretty much the first thing you will notice, specially in Vietnam is their love for scooters. Traffic can become crazy but just walk slowly and look around; they’ll drive around you. Another good thing about this is that you can rent one almost everywhere and to me personally that is the best way to explore an area.

10. Prices rise instantly because you’re a westerner. Everything is cheap over here and the people here know it, so whenever you ask for the price of something you see them thinking for a bit and then ask for a ridiculous amount. So you always have to bargain, over and over again. When we found a good place to eat some cheap Pho Ga we came back there a couple of times. But when we wanted to pay the last time, they were putting stickers on the prices on the English menu doubling the price!

11. It’s all awesome. Being here was such a good experience. I saw manmade wonders, natural wonders, culture, beaches, waterfalls, caves, ricefields, mountains; there is so much diversity. I’m a bit sad to leave.

Aug 20 11

Andy’s adventures in Vietnam

by André

Ok, time to tell the story about a man who was travelling and passed through vietnam. This man, named Andy (easy for all the vietnamese to pronounce) entered Vietnam on an rainy saturday afternoon.

The first place Andy went to see was Hoo Chi Minh city, formerly named Saigon and renamed after Vietnam’s famous and much honored leader during the American war. After Laos and Cambodiait was weird for Andy to be in a big city like HCM again, but he enjoyed it very much: millions of scooters everywhere, bowls of Pho (Noodle soup), and some nice cheap Saigon beers!

The first day in Saigon Andy went to the War museum, where there were a lot of pictures of all the war atrocities from the mighty American’s were shown. Houses being burnt, kids faces after some agent orange. And although Andy knew the museum consisted of a lot of propaganda it still made Andy a bit mad. What the hell did those Yanks do in Vietnam (let alone the secret bombing of Laos and Cambodia) And even though the north-vietnamese won, the world doesn’t seem to bee a much worse place and Vietnam is still quite awesome. But enough about that.

Since Andy doesn’t have all the time in the world he had to move on, so he went to Dailat, an almost European looking town in the highlands of Vietnam. There he met some former travelmates, Zack and Liam. They were going on an motorcycle trip and since Andy didn’t have any better things to do he joined them.

On the back of the bike, driving though those hillsides Andy saw all kinds of stuff and learned the origins of a lot of food. Since he liked it so much on the back of a bike, Andy decided to rent a motorbike for a couple of days longer. Together with Liam he hired a guide and two bikes, so once in a while he could drive the thing himself. This was quite the experience with all the gears and a clutch and the engine shutting down in the middle of a roundabout and not being able to start it again. But in the end he had an amazing trip and tamed the metal beast.

So in the end, he ended up in Na’thrang. Again without knowing what to expect there. Was there anything to do there? Well, it turned out that Natrang was quite the touristplace. full of hotels and resorts and a long beach that stretched for a kilometer or two. So he felt like having a holiday within his travels and even did some diving.

From there he went further up north with some comfortable sleeping buses. That is, it was comfortable if Andy was a midget. But unfortunatly for Andy he wasn’t a midget and he had to sleep in a tiny bed with local karaoke music playing all night. But well, that’s travelling.

He went to a couple of other towns: Hue, with some great tombes and a trip to vietnamese tunnels they made during the war. Hoian, with it’s old city centre. Ninh Bin, with it’s amazing landscape of limestone rocks. A sailing trip on Halong Bay with the same kinds of rocks, but then in the sea. And then to Hanoi, Vietnams capital.

Andy loved Vietnam, it is beautiful and has so much variety. Unfortunately all good things come to an end and after visiting the stunning scenery in Sapa the next adventure is waiting for him: China!

- Luckily for us, Andy made some pictures of his journey which I stored on my Flickr account and can be found on http://www.flickr.com/photos/andre_downunder/ (more to come). And yes, Andy does have a striking resemblance to me but that is of course coincidence.

Aug 9 11

A little update from Vietnam about Cambodia

by André

At the moment I’m in Vietnam, already for a little over a week. After being in Cambodia for a couple of weeks it seems like Vietnam is a rich and developed country. But before I’m going into details about Vietnam I still have to let the (much appreciated) “followers” of this blog know about my experiences in Cambodia.

Cambodia is a country of contradiction. It has a rich history and beautiful temples of Ankor Wat, but on the other hand it also has a dark history of a genocide were millions were killed under a gruesome communist regime lead by Pol Pott. Most of the people are poor and live in wooden huts of just one room but there is also a rich (corrupt) few and there are a lot of foreign investors building some kind of resort. But although all this, I don’t feel the people in Cambodia are really unhappy. They just take every day as it comes and enjoy what they have.

In the History Cambodia always has been turbulent and it always was threatened to be swallowed by it’s big neighbors Thailand and Vietnam. But although it had it’s own Royalty, Cambodia was always quietly been lead by France and the United States. That is, until the Khmer Rouge took power and killed everybody who wasn’t a peasant or looked slightly intelligent (which happend from 1975-1979!). After that the Vietnamese freed Cambodia from it’s regime but it has always been a corrupt country. They even sold The Killing Fields to a private investor, so somebody is actually making money of all the deaths that occured there, quite weird.

But what did I do in Cambodia? Actually not much more than any tourist does over there: Ankor Wat, Phnom Penh (the capital) with it’s killing fields and Sihanoukville with it’s beaches and Kampot with some lovely crab.

I know, it’s a short update, but when you’re reliant on internet cafes it’s sometimes hard to keep up with all the experiences…. be back shortly.

Jul 23 11

(W)one-dollar-land

by André

Little girl: You need a raincoat?
Me: I’m already wearing one.
Little girl: You need a umbrella?
Me: No thanks, I’ve got a raincoat
Little girl: You want postcards?
Me: No thank you.
Little girl: What DO you want?!
Me: Nothing!
Little girl: That’ll be one dollar.

Cambodians like their dollars. Although the Riel is the official currency, the ATM’s give you US Dollars and whenever an amount is smaller than a dollar, they break it up to Riel (rule of thumb: 1 Dollar is 4000 Riel). And because Cambodia is corrupted to it’s core, a couple of dollars can do wonders in Cambodia.

As soon as you enter the Cambodian border you already have to pay more than you should. A Cambodian visa is $20, but first they need to check you medicals (and charge you a dollar), then there’s the next booth where they give you a visa ($20 + $3 fee) and then you have to enter the country where they also charge you another $2 dollars, which goes directly into their pockets. Complaining won’t really help against big guys in uniforms who have your passport and it makes your life a lot easier if you just go with it.

In the country itself you don’t really get affected by the corruption directly, although some police are sometimes eager to fine a tourist who is not wearing a helmet on a motorbike.

Talking to some people here in Cambodia (who are all eager to have a conversation in English) you learn a bit more about this corrupted culture. The corrupted system pretty much keeps the people with money in power, and to only way to get higher up in this country is to be corrupt yourself. If you want to work as a tour guide at Ankor Wat for instance you have to pay $3000,- for a license if you have done a guide course. But this course is not necessary, you just have to pay $4000 then.

If you want a basic governmental job you have to pay about $10.000, which does not really compare to the $200 a month you make with it. But when you have that job, you can have the police work for you and accept bribes from other people.

Another thing I was wondering about, is if the rumour is true that you can shoot a bazooka on a cow. When a moto-driver asked me if I would like to shoot a gun I asked him if it is possible in Cambodia to shoot a bazooka. He said it was, but ‘is expensive’. Then I asked him if it was possible to shoot a cow with a bazooka on which he replied: “Of course not… you can only shoot cow with AK-47! But expensive, you have to buy cow.”

At the moment I’m in Shinanoukville, at the coast. Leaving for the capitol Phnom Penn tomorrow and heading to Vietnam pretty soon.

Jul 21 11

New Pictures!

by André

If been away now for a little over a year, and it seems that this is exactly the expiry date of my electronics. My beloved phone, which I used to check my mail and facebook as well as getting directions on google map, died in is sleep. And my camera, although still making pictures, creates a lot of bloom (glow) in the pictures. So all the pictures i’ve got from the beautiful temples of Ankor Wat are a bit messed up… bit I’ve uploaded them all. Check ‘m out here!

Jul 14 11

Laos – The land of ricefields and telephone poles

by André

Since my Thai visa was about to run out I had to cross a border so I went to Laos. My original plan was to go from the ‘capitol’ Vientianne to the north and then back to Thailand (Chang Mai). Unfortunately the weather didn’t want to cooperate and when I got to Laos all the roads further to the north were flooded. So I decided to head south.

Laos is pretty much the least touristy place I’ve been so far. There are generally quite a few travelers but a lot less than the rest of South East Asia and because it’s low season now it’s pretty quiet. But this made the experience actually very nice and I felt like I saw how the ‘real’ Laos is.

Laos is a pretty laid-back country. People are pretty poor but I don’t feel they are unhappy. On the countryside people are self reliant. People are working on the ricefields and all the animals (cows, chickens, pigs and dogs) are walking freely around the village. The kids all wave at you when you walk by and say Sa wa die (hello). Their houses are wooden huts, build on poles so that they don’t really have a ground floor. This has probably to do with the occasional flooding of the area. Mostly the house consist of one or two big rooms with some mattresses on the floor.

Citylife is a bit different, although Laos doesn’t really have cities. The cities are so small that in any other country it really wouldn’t be considered a city. People don’t seem to work very hard (they use Vietnamese for that) but just do whatever they’re doing in their own pace. Going out to party is not really a possibility in Laos (Except for drunken-brits-town Vieng Vang) since everything closes at eleven and the hotel needs you to be back at about 23:30.

Although Laos is the poorest country in the region, their telephone network is top notch. Pretty much everywhere you’ve got reception and also mobile internet even in the most remote little places. The landscape of Laos consists of ricefields and telephone poles. But different from what you would read in the Lonely Planet laos is not the cheapest country. Their local currency is the Kip and 1 euro is about 10.000 kip. But when you pay with a 50.000 bill people will have trouble getting change. Accommodation is about 2/3 euro a night if you share the room and a meal is about the same. But this is actually a bit more than in Thailand but they don’t reach the quality and diversity of Thai Cuisine.

In my two weeks of Laos I went to see some caves, but they were flooded so I didn’t actually see them. When we decided to leave the ‘town’ we discovered that the road we drove on two days before was totally flooded and we needed an half hour boat ride for the same road. After that went to Pakse, rented a scooter and drove around the baleaveau plateau (or something like that) were the main coffee plantations are.

This area is also home of some amazing waterfalls and pretty much everyone of them beats any of the waterfalls in Australia and New Zealand (but this may be because of the rainfall as well). Look at my pictures if I finally am able to upload them, the waterfalls are great! Also at the plateau we did coffee tour with mr. Koffie, a dutch guy who settled there with his Laos’ wife and trades coffee and the occasional tour. We saw all the phases of coffee production and roasted and brewed our own coffee which was a pleasant change after drinking instant nescafe crap all the time.

After that I spent some time on the 4000 islands. There’s nothing to do there but lie in you hammock and read your book, so thats what I did (The fourth hand by John Irving).

One regret I have is that I haven’t seen much of the ‘war’ history of Laos. Laos, although never really been at war, is the most bombed country in the world. Even though there was a convention that said that Laos should not be mixed in the Vietnam war America bombed the shit out of the county. But since nobody actually knew about this it is called ‘the secret war’. And because not all the clusterbombs exploded people of laos still have causalities daily.

“Laos was hit by an average of one B-52 bomb-load every eight minutes, 24 hours a day, between 1964 and 1973. US bombers dropped more ordnance on Laos in this period than was dropped during the whole of the second world war.” Guardian

America – Fuck Yeah!

Anyway, in Cambodia now at Ankor Wat; the eight wonder of the world.

Jun 29 11

Thailand

by André

Management summary: Thailand was great, sometimes a bit touristy and you should not be too naive because there will be someone taking advantage of you. Loved Bangkok and all it’s crazyness. Went to the Islands with a German guy: Ko Samui was full of Australians and prostitutes, Ko Pagnan was great because of the full moon party and Ko Tau was my favorite Island because it is a bit quiter and you can SCUBA dive. Also did a River Kwai tour with three English girls; a bit touristy but we had a lot of fun. Today I arrived in Vientiane, Laos. May go back to Thailand since I still have to see Chang Mai.

Some new pics (still not all of ‘m) on http://www.flickr.com/photos/andre_downunder/


Whenever I don’t post any new stories on my weblog that’s either because i’m not experiencing something worth writing about or I’m too busy doing all kinds of crazy stuff that I don’t have (or want to make) time to be writing on this blog. Luckily this time it’s the latter.

The last couple of weeks in Thailand have been amazing. Again it started out not knowing what to expect. From the stories I had heard, and from watching Hangover 2, Bangkok was supposed to be crazytown. So I expected the worst.

When I arrived the first thing I noticed that my luggage hasn’t come with me. Annoying, but in the end only the stuff I really needed was in my hand luggage and the bag arrived two days later, without a lock and totally rearranged. So I took the taxi to Khao San Road, supposedly the place to be for backpackers in Thailand. Although the place was full of backpackers, little foodcarts and tuktuk’s it wasn’t as crazy as I expected and I kinda liked it.

Scams
So the first day you go out and see what the city is all about. Packed with a lonely planet you go out exploring and the first thing I noticed is how friendly the people are. On the streetcorners there are always very polite and friendly looking men who see that you are not sure which way to go and ask you “Where you going?”, followed by “where you from?” and “how long have you been here?”. In the small conversation that follows he will always mention what he does; either a school teacher, police officer, government official or working for the tourism office. They will inform you that the destination you want to go to is closed because of a Buddhist holiday, but luckily there are some other spots which open and just for today they are free to go. (their favorite being ‘Big Buddha’). And on top of it all, the tuktuk will only cost 20 Bath to take you to all these destinations. Lucky You! Only you will need an ‘official’ tuktuk with a yellow sign, and what do you know, there happens to be one just there!

For those who haven’t smelled the scent of sarcasm here, the above mentioned trick is a scam to get a tourist into a tuktuk which will take you to all those tourist shops. The driver will get fuel tickets which are worth more to him than the actual ride. Luckily I read about this in the lonely planet so I wasn’t fooled, but the first time this friendly stranger came along it took me a while to figure out he was actually trying to scam me.

It’s weird that so many people still get scammed. That’s why I try to avoid TukTuk drivers and only go with a meter-taxi, unless it is a really short drive. Also, a lot of people go to a TAT travel agencies to book their whole holiday so they can get a discount. To find out later that they still paid too much and that the booked accommodation is pretty crappy. First of all, the ‘real’ TAT doesn’t book tours and second, it is so easy to travel around in Thailand that it’s more fun to just go with the flow.

Sights
So what did I do in Bangkok. First of all a lot of temple spotting. Bangkok has a lot of beautiful temples and in a town 1,5hr north of bangkok there are a lot of amazing temple ruins you can visit with a nice scooter. Second I saw some people again I haven’t seen for a while: Anne, the french girl I traveled the Australian westcoast with and Sandy, a dutch girl I traveled with in New Zealand. With her I went to the skybar, a bar on top of a skyscraper with some nice jazz music and of course a great view. I also went on an old fashioned Dutch bicycle trip with her which was a lot of fun. There I also met Alex, a german guy with whom I was going to travel to the Island.

Alex was an interesting guy. 32 years old, lives as a journalist and a PR manager at Shell and lived in New Dehli for two years and loved to play chess. But, maybe because he was german ;-), he also had some peculiarities: For instance; he wore crocks and a nice hipbag and his dislike for tomatoes ended up in some funny conversations in restaurants: “Does it have tomatoes? No. You want? No I don’t want tomatoes. If tomatoes, no tomatoes… yes… no… no tomatoes. Ok, extra tomatoes then… Aargh!” Anyway, it was really nice to travel with him and I definitely will see him again in Germany.

Together we went to Ko Samui. This Island was full of drunk Australians and prostitutes. Our hotel actually had a sign “Guests are allowed”, which pretty much means: feel free to bring your prostitutes with you. The street was not very long but had 2 McDonalds, 1 Burger King, 1 Starbucks & 1 Subway: So you know you’re travelling! Still had a great time on the beach and found some nice bars. Also met up with a girl I met in Melbourne. She was a writer and lives on Ko Samui. Was a great night, also ‘interesting’ was her ladyboy-friend who joined us. You see ‘m everywhere on the streets but it is funny to talk with ‘m and discover that they are also weird in real life. And also: Who do they think they are fooling???

Next up: Ko pangan, the Island (in)famous for the Full Moon party. I did not really know what to expect but reading the lonely planet and hearing some stories it was supposed to be a bit dodgy and dangerous. Drinks get spiked with MDMA and people are getting mugged. But at the point I got there, got my ‘war’-paint and saw all the people dancing on the beach all the anxieties were over and I just had an amazing time till the sun came up (and after).

After a day of recuperation it was time for Ko Tau, the quietest Island of the three and the one with the Diving! My first dive was on a shipwreck that was only sunk by the Thai marine the day before! So we were the second boat to have dived this wreck, which is pretty awesome and even the divemasters did not know what to expect. Unfortunately, since the wreck was just a day old, the visibility was about a meter and the fish didnt find this new mansion for them yet. But luckely the second dive the visibility was better and there were plenty of fish.

Food
Another aspect of Thailand not to be forgotten is the food. You can pretty much go to any random street corner and pick something random from the menu and it will be great! My favorites so far are the Basil-Chili Fried Chicken, The Green Curry Soup with rice and a nice fresh fruit shake in the morning! There are also so many little stands which sell a million kind of things, and I always go for some good old Spring Rolls (loempias)

And wherever you go in Thailand, you will find a seven-eleven: a 24hour convenient store. Great if you want a bottle of water, ice-cream, sigarettes or top-up your phone credit at any place in Bangkok. When you are in a taxi, try to spot the 7elevens there are thousands.

To make a long story not even longer
There is so much to say, but It is impossible to say it all and I feel it’s already too long and most people will not even get it to this point. After the Islands I joined three english girls i’ve met in bangkok on a river quai tour. Then I left for Laos on my own again. But it’s never for long. I met a group of Irish lads who invited me to come to Vien Vang, so I’m going to meet them later on. Now in Vientiane, where I’m meeting Anne (the french girl I travelled with on the westcoast, saw in Melbourne and in Bangkok) and she’s going to the caves somewhere around here. Not sure what they are but said I will join so tommorrow i’m already booked: It’s fun to travel.