Friday, December 5, 2008

Krabi Town

Having a rest day in Krabi town before my overnight train to Central Thailand tonight. Am making some progress on my blog - posting some photos and some passages from my journal from the trek in Nepal.

Here in Krabi, which I intended to use only as a transit link between Ko Lanta and Kanchanaburi, I took a rock climbing course at Laem Phra Nang (Railay), had a Thai massage on the beach, made some new friends, went kayaking through mangroves and sea caves, saw 3000 year old sea gypsy pictographs (including one of a man and a woman holding hands beneath the moon), swam in a fresh water pond, visited a local festival in Ao Nang where the MC sang karaoke to the crowd, and when we clapped for him he said "Thank You Thank You" mid-song in English. And, of course, ate dinner at the night market 3 nights in a row!

Today is the King of Thailand's 82nd birthday, and it is a national holiday of major importance.

In case you have not heard the news from here, the government has been forced to resign, so the protests at the Bangkok Airport and elsewhere have ended, and flights have resumed. I suppose I will have to leave. Three weeks is not nearly enough time here!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lazy Blogger on Ko Lanta

OK - so, in case anyone is still checking this blog, wondering what the heck happened to Kim, I am alive and well, Nepal trek is over, and I've found my way down to Ko Lanta in the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand, and have become incredibly lazy. I'm far from the political disturbances in Bangkok at the moment, and am lazing away my days doing yoga, riding a creaky bike with 2 speeds, sometimes 3 when it feels like it, eating my heart out, swimming and swinging in a hammock. It's a good thing my heart is bound for Hawai'i over the holidays, otherwise, I might never leave this place. The resort where I'm staying is called Relax Bay: I've extended my intended stay twice so far!! I'll try to update this blog again at some point, but in the meantime, I'll have a Large Chang beer and a mango lassi for you!
aloha, kim

Friday, November 7, 2008

Trek Day 5

Short day today. Drying my laundry on the fence in the sun across the road from our lunch stop. Girls singing again - we are so lucky.


Spending the night in freezing cold Pisang (3200 m) in a huge pink tea house. When seen from a distance amidst all the other natural colored buildings here, our hotel looks like Vegas atop an eternity of pink steps (I get altitude sickness just climbing the stairs from the road to my room, I swear). But I don't care, because we have OUR OWN EN SUITE TOILETS AND SHOWERS - WOOHOO!!!! AND HOT WATER!!! We have gorgeous views of the mountains from our rooms. We arrived here early this afternoon, and did a short training/acclimatization/sightseeing hike up to the largest gompa on the trek. From the gompa, we could see Heaven's Gate and almost 360 degrees of enormous snowy mountains. The combination of the view, and the serenity of the gompa and the prayer flags brought me to tears in gratitude for my presence in this incredible place that fills me with awe.

Photos Day 5 Pisang

1) Our guide, Aman, explaining how the colors of the prayer flags represent the elements of earth, water, fire, air, and sky or space
2) Rachel below the gompa
3) View of Pisang
4) Our amazing room w/ hot water shower and private, indoor toilet (standing/squatting, of course)
5) John, Kylee & Izzy in front of Heaven's Gate
6 & 7) Rocks beautifully inscribed with the Buddhist mantra of compassion OM MANI PADME HUM

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Trek Day 4

1) Found out from this guy (who had a radio and a phone) that Barack Obama had won the US Election.
2) Porters at lunch in Gandaki: Kalpana, Tara, Bhima, Anita, Chandra, Sarita & Moti
3) Waiting for lunch in the sun: Tara, Kalpana with a random stranger's baby, Moti, Durga, Bhima, Tash & Izzy
4) Izzy, John & Nirma at the tea house in Chame (2700 or 2800 m - we're not exactly sure)

We are in Chame for the night with views of Manaslu from our courtyard. We had a short hike after lunch, and arrived here around 3pm. Early showers (warm-ish!), laundry in buckets, bought some spare batteries and safe drinking water (hooray - no iodiney taste), had tea, yoga in the room with Rachel, dinner in a snuggly cozy common room with warm coals under the table - met new friends funny, sweet Joyce from Hong Kong and adorable Neil from Israel.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Trek Day 3

Woke up this morning in Jagat in a 3 story pink tea house to the whistling and "hwah"ing and clanging neck bells of mule trains being driven through the village around 5:00am.


As I tuck my toes in the footholds going up and down these mountain paths, I think often of all the of people, Nepali and trekker, whose feet have used these steps before....


In lovely Tal (1700 meters) for lunch (dal bhat of course). Climbed an exhausting, steep trail to get here, then edged along the river. I have never been so happy to arrive anywhere as I was to arrive at this lunch yard and my delicious hot ginger lemon drink. Have been waiting for lunch to be prepared for an hour. It's possible I will lose consciousness if I don't eat soon (haha).


Spending the night at Sarita's (my porter) family's tea house in Bagarchhap (2000 m). It is like a mountain retreat. There's nobody else here, but our joyous group. Smells like wood fire. Gorgeous, colorful common room. Warm water buckets for washing. Hike was long today, and I think I'm beginning to feel slight effects of altitude - a little dizzy and light-headed. Nothing else so far. Aman is cooking us fried vege egg noodles for dinner tonight. I am freezing.

Photos of Sarita's Family & Tea House

1) My porter Sarita far right (with the Brittany Spears tshirt), with her sisters, mother and aunt
2) Bhima, another Nepali porter friend (she carries Rachel's pack and speaks terrific English, and thinks my fear of the suspension bridges is hilarious, but waits protectively for me at the other end of each bridge to make sure I survive), standing with the packs outside of the tea house
3) Inside the mostly warm common room w/ gorgeous display of dishes
4) Stacy, Sheila & John at tea on the other side of the common room
It is a gift to be here. We feel blessed and fortunate. It is special and personal to be here amongst Sarita's family. Every villager we passed on the hike in knew her, and we are priveleged to be accompanying her here, to her home.