10 Dezember 2007

Exploring South-East-Asia: Life at its best

Actually, I should start a new blog now, for the exploration of Australia seems to be over for the time being. But to make following my foot-steps more user-friendly, I won't – and I won't start writing in Thai, either. Nice, ey? ;-)

Singapore airport wasn't as spectacular as I expected it to be. Tim and Laura had told me about free foot-massage and free usage of the internet – but we arrived and left through the budget terminal, which only features 6 internet computers, which are usually occupied. So we caught some hours of sleep, instead.

We reached Phuket without any problems, Thailand, here we go! The airport is right next to the ocean, and a lot of palm trees welcome you as soon as you leave the plane. This might become a great holiday, I reckon.

The taxi driver pretended not to know our hostel, but Lonely Planet had already told us so – they only know the hotels which pay commisions. Therefore we had written down the exact address and some sort of route how to get there, and in the end, we really landed where we wanted to get. All good.

The rest of the day was pretty lazy, but full of new experiences: We went to some cornerstore, bought loads of water and I had never imagined how cheap this will be! 5L of water for 1 Au$, and a can of coke for 50 cents. Cheap enough to not take any water bottles with you, when you go to town...

Our lovely hostel lady advised us to visit the market, where we had a yummi dinner and bought some extraordinary delicious fruit, like guavas, mangos and bananas. I think, I could live on fruit here!

Next day began with a breakfast next door.

Everyone goes out for eating here, for food is so cheap – and well, our kitchen is not equipped that good... *g*

After visiting Chalong temple, we stopped a bus to bring us to Phuket town, wanted to do some shopping there.
As soon as we arrived, some thai guy talked us into a citytour – for free! The deal: We'd visit the places he drove us to, and in exchange we wouldn't pay a Baht. Why? Well – he brings tourists to diamond, food, suit and carpet outlets and collects stamps for that. Stamps are money. If we had bought something, he'd have got another stamp, but we didn't, so we had to visit a couple of more stores.

We got to see the places for rich tourists in Phuket, and, to our favour, also a huge shopping center and, later on, the weekend market.

We enjoyed the relaxed Thai culture, the good food and the bargaining on the market. Isabel bought nothing except for food and drinks, whilst I shopped a card reader, a new shirt and a desperately needed pair of sunnys. Isabel forbid me to buy this stylish Gangsta-Jamaica-Hat...

It was hot and humid most of the day, but the places, we were brought to, were all airconditioned, as was the taxi. I seriously thought about buying two sets of suits, shirts, ties and belts, for they were cheaper than I had ever thought a suit could be, but I resisted the temptation – would be too much weight, and, honestly, how often do I wear a suit?

It rained for maybe one hour, and it rained heavily. The massive drops would have soaked us to the skin within half a minute, no joking! We preferred to spend that time in a dry store...

Thailand is pretty different to other countries I have been to yet, since I can remember. All along the street are shops, food stalls, barbers... everything you need. As long as you walk, there will always be a motorcyclist sounding his horn to offer you a lift, for cash, of course. Street rules don't seem to be defined clearly, as everyone trys to fill every single gap. Red lights aren't there, as long as no one is crossing the road, and loads of motorcyclists circle the cars in pretty dangerous manoeuvres, the main reason why Isabel would never hop on one of these bikes.

Not everyone wants to sell you something, as I had expected it, not even on the market. Communication is sometimes pretty hard, the level of English is mostly basic, if spoken at all. Some dudes try to impress you with their German, and some are succesful with that – in my opinion, they know more about Germany than the Ozzies do, but unfortunately they only know it because of all the tourists.

Isabel and I are still looking for the perfect, little island to escape the crowds, to do at least one week of nothing and to enjoy life at its best.

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