Thursday, February 4, 2010

Susan's Solo trip to Asia

Well, Susan couldn't get to her blog yet so I put her update here from her email.

Greetings from Singapore! I could spend the whole week here in this airport! The rainforest massage center is closed, as it is 12:30 am, but I could rent a bed and a shower for 3 hours till I head for the train station, and here I found free internet--no free wifi yet as far as I can tell. None in Narita airport eiher, but they DID have automatic-bottom-cleaning toilets--my first time. Wow, just like a baby!
The trans-pacific flight was lllooonnnnggggg--havean't done it alone in a long time and the leg room and seat width have shrunk (and I have grown wider as well... :( Full flight too. BUT from Japan, I don't know how you did it, honey, but somehow you got me a seat in business class AND the plane was 3/4 empty. So I got some good sleep.
The air is heavy here from the humidity.
I watched Michael Jackson's This Is It 5 times before I figured out how to use my personal entertainment center. I have a new appreciation for him.
Okay--nothing to report yet, except a super-clean butt, just wanted you to know I made it to this side of the world. Will find an internet cafe probably later this afternoon.

Hi all! Well, I've made it to Kuala Lumpur and found free WiFi at their Starbucks--so I had to buy a honey- orange frap for new year. I am TIRED! Couldn't sleep well in the airport after dozing on the plane. And my immune system is trying to force me to have a relaxing vacation instead of an adventurous one--got hit by a cold so my next stop is a pharmacy and I decided to head directly to Thailand where I will relax a bit before my shopping spree begins. (thank u Long! :-).
Malaysia seems like an interesting place--old outpost of the British and Dutch empires with colonial style gardens and houses, a good mix of Muslim Malays, Buddhist Chinese, Hindu Indians and a bunch of grungy backpack toting westerners. And everyone speaks English.
Next stop Thailand in about 24 hours.


  1. Hi! Well, my plans are in constant flux. Had a LOVELY night's sleep on the overnight express from Kuala Lumpur to Hat Yai, took a couple cold capsules, the rocking of the train and the distant clanging of the wheels on the track soothed my to sleep. And I woke up feeling refreshed, less sick, but very dirty and grimy. Now I'm dreaming of my first shower in Asia. (ick!!) Having my kafe susu (coffee with milk--well, NESCAFE with milk) on the balcony of the Border immigration station, I felt a real palpable sense of relief being in Thailand. Even with the southern Thais being Muslim, there's a different feeling in this country.
    So, I was chatting with Debbie, the Aussie lady who has moved full time to Koh Samui (gag)* and the nice British couple on their way there, and decided I'd just jet right through southern Thailand...still isolated violence throughout the region I'd thought about visiting, and I decided I'd be just as happyng on a houseboat on the River Kwai, 2 hours north of Bangkok....And, best of all, that puts me iBangkok just in time for the Chatuchak weekend market! How cool is THAT, Long Le?
    (* the gag wasa for the thought of living full time around partying, sun-worshipping, mushroon ingesting hedonistic hippies looking for a 24/7 good time... :( )
    Tonight I get an upper berth (cheaper but smaller than the lower ones, but I don't care.) I'm saving so much money sleeping on the trains, and what a deal train travel is in this of the world---about $10 to travel almost 10 hours, and with clean sheets and no extra charge for the rocking-to-sleep! More to spend shopping!
    I'll try to upload some pics once I get to Bkk and real internet cafes--now I'm in the hotel lobby of the local Hat Yai luxury hotel.
    Still can't figure out how to get on the blog site, so I will just rely on Long to post for me.
    xxxHaving my adventure, m ore to come!

  2. hahahah. sounds like a good trip so far. just waiting to hear about stepping in some elephant poop. :) miss ya lots. not a day has gone by since you left that your name hasn't been mentioned (not cause anh Long calls me everynight). :)

  3. It may not be a bad idea to call you. Talking about Sue's trip over a beer or two sounds good. I need something to relax me and alcohol always works :)

  4. you can get to the blog from our website as well.

  5. i can't use the shift keys here because each number has 5 additional thai letters it can do and i don't know how to choose between them.
    it seems i can't even capitalize. Im using the computer at my hotel, the boworn b.b. right across the street from a big temple and chedi,
    a couple minutes away from the shopping madness of khao san road...the book claimed it was a place to go where you wouldnt even know
    there were other tourists around, but apparantly things have changed since the last printing of the book and there are foreigners everywhere.
    anyway, i was so happy to have a clean room with a shower, and it was one of the best showers i can ever remember taking.
    i spent a lovely afternoon yesterday in hat yai, which i found to be a totally charming little town. i guess there are many chinese there becaue they are famous
    for their new year celebration, and have already started cleaning the streets and putting up colorful decorations and lights.
    i had myself a massage at madame ancient massage and it was fantastic. 199 baht for an hour if you buy two hours. so i did.
    a very strong and sweet young lady gave me the best thai massage ever, and even let me take a quick shower first which i asked her for as
    i was pretty dirty after loooong train trip and no bathing. it seems she appreciated it and was surprised;
    i guess most clients dont care, but i also suppose that most clients arent arriving by train. the fancy hotels provide most of their business.
    today i had a little shopping spree at chatuchak market, and realized as i walked back into the outer area that it was dinnertime.
    i paced myself and wandered around for 4 hours. don't worry tho, i think im staying within my budget.
    the hotel is filled with an ecentric mix of canadians, brits, a couple old german guys but they've all headed off for more excitement and dinner.
    i think it's 4 am there, its 7 pm here on saturday. i will plan to find an internet phone tomorrow and call home.

  6. Sawadii kha from Bangkok....
    Today felt like old times here and I fell back into my old rythym of being in the city...
    shower, walk around the streets devoid of any farangs who are all sleeping off last nights drinks and roasted scorpions (yes, Bizarre Foods has made it to Bangkok, they even charge you 10 baht to take a picture of their bugs), coffee and museli fruit and yogurt with a fruit shake and a coffee at a pleasant farang restaurant, home for another shower and a couple chapters of my lovely book Three Cups of Tea, then off to find a motorcycle taxi stand and a pleasant trip across town to my favorite shopping mall, MBK......
    Three hours later another motorcycle taxi to my hotel, another fruit shake, another shower, another chapter of my book, and off for another walk and a search for my new friend Abba the Akha lady I met last night and promised to find today as I had run low on cash last night and she gave me more of a discount than she had intended...No luck finding her, too early. Back to hotel, another shower, another chapter, a good long nap, then off to find something to eat at the evening food stalls on the corner. Pictures to follow...And a final walk, this time i DID meet my friend and made one more, Ms Busau. Bought some cheap recuerdos from each, and now it's 11pm and Im ready to head off to bed.
    There is something so satisfying about getting anything accomplished on my own here, almost completely unable to understand ANY signs, most of the locals having inadequate English skill to understand my questions, I feel so satisfied with such small accomplishments. Ha, I found the moto taxi stand. Ha, I made it back to my hotel, even tho I forgot the name AND the street it was on and could only remember its near the big white chedi...ha again, theres a big white chedi on every other block throughout this city...Haha, I made it through all this traffic across town with all those suckers stopped in gridlock, even on a Sunday. AND I managed to call my friend in Suphanburi after the stupid Thai public phone took my money, teased me long enough for her to answer, then disconnected me and wouldnt let me add any more coins OR call back. Had to go to an internet cafe and pay the owner 15 bath to use his cell phone.Taking, if I can find the bus stop, a minivan to meet Jirapan and she has promised to take me around for two days. No sullen, ill tempered and unfriendly Eurohippies (You would think in the land of smiles it would uccur to them to be pleasant to their gracious and smiling hosts here...) I am happily invisible to all the travelers, easily striking up conversations when I feel inclined, with just about any Thai person I meet (well, conversation may be a little inaccurate, but a verbal interaction at any rate...)
    I believe Ive had my fill of shopping, if that can be believed, and don't worry honey, I haven't even gone over my budget. By much. :)
    And HA! I just figured out this Thai keyboard, with 3-4 icons per key, enought to make a smiley face, capitalize I and use quotation marks! I so smart!!!!! :)

  7. Lovely journal, Sue. I'm always impressed by your resourcefulness, courage, and intelligence. Sounds like you're having a ball. Hope so. Today the saints won the Super Bowl. I went to the Krygiers (David and Leora), along with Tom and Alexandra. Norris was going to go, but he's been having trouble with his leg--he says it's inflamed and he needs to apply heat and stay off it for a few days.

    Glad you're enjoying Three Cups. Amazing story. More soon.