Thailand South

south east asia, Thailand, Travel, trip

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After Pai, I went down south to Phuket. However, I was really only there for an intermediate stay before heading to Koh Phi Phi, so didn’t gain too much insight into the area.  Did manage to see how seedy some parts of the city were.  After bumming around in Phuket for a day or two, I took the boat headed over to Phi Phi, my main target.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from Phi Phi, but it really was one of my favorite stops on my travels. I’m not sure if I could spend a very long time on the island, but I’m glad I went, and equally glad I met the people I did. Phi Phi was tiny, much smaller than I thought it would be.  Instead of roads, there was only a golden walkway winding its way through the small buildings. Apparently, the walkway is a new addition to the area. 

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I was there during the off tourist season so by all means the whole island was dead. If you just walked around for a couple minutes, you could see how many bars per inch there were and how geared up the town was to have a party every night during peak season.  It felt a little odd walking through an area that was just itching to have a ton of college aged tourists to come and drink themselves senseless.

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Either way, the weather was decent enough. It rained pretty much everyday, but only for about an hour and then it was sunny all day. So, it really just meant some extra hanging out at the hostel.

The hostel that I stayed at was really nice. The amenities and everything else were pretty standard, nothing really special about them. The blankets were super thin and the bathrooms were what you would expect. However, the owner and the people that I met there really set it apart. Out of all the hostels I have stayed in, it became one of my highest rated places. I can’t say enough about the owner and how great he was.  He really brought the people staying there together. I will never forget when I was feeling sick how he kept checking in on me to make sure that I was fine and wanted to give me anything to really make it better.

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So while it was warm, it was overcast pretty much the whole time and it was rainy, so the water was a bit muddled. Either way, the beaches were still looking fine.

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I stayed a few days in Phi Phi and did some sightseeing.  I went on a typical boat tour that takes you around to the islands and several other activities. This included Monkey Beach, which has monkeys, go figure. The tour also included snorkeling, random beaches, and swimming with plankton.  We had to pay to get off the boat to get to Maya beach, which was not worth it.  It was poorly explained and nobody knew what was next or what was going on.

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I spent most of the remaining time I had there snorkeling and trying to see sharks. Unfortunately, I only saw fish, and cut up my feet pretty bad. Still it was worth it, and I was just so glad I could go swimming. I thought it was cool just how close the fish would get to you.

I had a really good time on Koh Phi Phi. Eventually I needed to move on and so I left towards Koh Tao. 20171006_114801.jpg

I was headed towards death island with no way out.

I stopped for a night in Krabi then took the boat over to the small little island of Kho Tao. I spent a decent amount of time on the boat to get there. What really gave me the chills was what I read on the way over there. I didn’t really know much about where I was going ahead of time. So I googled “Koh Tao” and the first thing I read is about all the murders that happened there. So at this point I’m freaking out because I was headed towards death island with no way out.

Of course, everything was exaggerated and blown out of proportion, but it did make me approach the place with some caution. Luckily, my hostel was right next to the pier, and I only had a few minutes walk.

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I spent the better part of the first day snorkeling around and trying unsuccessfully, yet again, to find sharks. The next day I did some much needed shopping that I had meant to do the entire trip.

The main pull of the island is the diving.  There are an insane amount of dive centers located around the tiny island. It’s mildly ridiculous just how many there are. So with not much else to do, I decided to give it a go.

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I talked to my hostel and some random people, and they all said that Master Divers was a competent diving school. So that that is what I went with. I signed up for a dive the next day. The one thing that really changed with this decision was I had to wake up at a decent hour which I have been so used to not doing. I guess I have to make some sacrifices right?

Either way, the first day was pretty cool. It wasn’t as difficult or generally complex as I thought it would be. My instructor was an entertaining guy, and with him I felt pretty confident I wouldn’t be found floating in the water later that day.

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I decided to get certified at the end of the first day. I mean, why not? I had the time and who knows when I would be here again. The decision was even easier when I learned I’d have the same instructor and also be 1 on 1. Couldn’t pass that up!  I went back to school and spent my free time watching videos in my room.

For three days I was the only one in my hostel. So it did make studying and just being able to decompress very easy. Since there was nobody drinking, the bartender at the hostel just started driving me around to different places.

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The whole course went on for three days which was quicker than I expected. Everyday I came back super tired but it was always worth it.

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I got to see some creatures I never thought I would ever see. I was super pumped about seeing eels and some bluespotted rays, as well as barracuda and much more. I also got to go swimming everyday in water that was just awesome.  I’m very glad I got the opportunity to learn some new things in such a sweet environment.

That was pretty much my entire time in Koh Tao. I had an extra day to do some more snorkeling but for the most part I was packing my bags and getting ready to go back to Bangkok.

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Bangkok was meh.

Remember if you want quicker updates look at find penguins for them.

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September – Thailand Stop 1/Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, Thailand, Travel, trip

If you want some recent updates about where I have been inbetween blog posts, please check out my FindPenguins page! Links at the bottom of the post.^^

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I’m on my way to Thailand! I was a little unsure how my trip was going when I was on my way to Bangkok.

I didn’t spend very long there. After taking a day to relax, I then promptly go out of there and went up north to Chiang Mai.

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[Chiang Mai] the largest city in northern Thailand. It is the capital of Chiang Mai Province and was a former capital of the kingdom of Lan Na (1296–1768), which became the Kingdom of Chiang Mai, a tributary state of Thailand from 1774 to 1899, and finally the seat of a merely ceremonial prince until 1939. It is 700 km (435 mi) north of Bangkok and is situated amongst the highest mountains in the country. Source

I’ve been following the usual track for backpackers visiting Thailand. The only difference really is where on the route you start and the order you go in.

I started by going north to Chiang Mai headed upwards. Then I plan to head down south and visit the islands. I’ve met plenty of people who did the islands first then went up north. So, I’m doing the north to south route with Chiang Mai as my first stop. Yay!

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Every shirt is the exact same….actually, everything is the same

Chiang Mai as a place is fairly decent. I was pretty surprised the amount of infrastructure in the city. I haven’t explore everything but it has become one of my most traveled areas.

Chiang Mai has a tourist feel for the most part. Can you get away fromthat? sure, but it can be unavoidable in some areas. The city is a lot smaller then Bangkok, which is no surprise. Most of the buildings are only a couple stories tall. The tallest places by far are the hotels which tower above pretty much everything else. I’m not sure how to exactly explain how it looks and feels other than it’s like a small city with small buildings but it seems pretty chaotic just because I understand pretty much nothing.

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This map doesn’t show the whole city but it shows the main parts that I find relevant. I first stayed pretty close to the Warorot Market on the east side. What I find the most interesting is the square in the center of the city which is where the moat is and the city wall was. It’s cool to have such a distinct border in town. Surprisingly I don’t have any great pictures of the area.

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For the most part walking around is fine, and with time you can get pretty much anywhere. In some places it can get a bit hairy and you’ll have to share the street with cars or dart across traffic to get to the other side of the street {cross walks please}. If your not in the mood to walk you can also take a shared taxi. These are red closed top trucks where you can just jump in with other people for 30 baht and go where you want. So in a way it’s kind of like a small bus. I didn’t realize this for so long and always wondered how people got in those things. Uber does exist here though, and so does a taxi app like uber called Grabtaxi. However, unlike Uber there are promotions on Grabtaxi and you can get rides for literally free. If your in Thailand and want to use Uber I recommend giving Grabtaxi a spin first.

Chiang Mai also is home to a university named CMU. I’ll let you guess what it stands for.

has a strong emphasis on engineeringscienceagriculture, and medicine. Its instructional mission includes undergraduate, graduate, professional and continuing education offered through resident instruction. Its main campus lies between Chiang Mai downtown and Doi Suthep in Chiang MaiChiang Mai Province.

The university was the first institution of higher education in northern Thailand, and the first provincial university in Thailand. source

I was able to drive around the main campus in the west earlier, and the thought of going there did run through my mind.

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When actually getting to the city I didn’t really have any idea what to do so I signed up for a trip to see some elephants. Elephants were cool and really really weird. I’m very glad I went to see them because it was really interesting. The most exciting thing that happened with them was when I got trucked by Dumbo the little baby Elephant. He got a good swing in there with his head and sent me flying! Afterwards we ate a ton of watermelon and then went to mud up and wash the elephants down.

 

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Seriously though, they are some weird creatures. Cool but strange. What I thought was most impressive was how they used their trunks. I guess it’s really no surprise they can use them like hands, but still, I can’t use one hand with as much dexterity as them. What set it apart was the deliberate actions and obvious intent on their parts to strip all the stalks clean of leaves. So that was cool. Other than that, their mouths are very freaky and the tail was not at all what I was expecting feeling a lot more like nails than hair. How much extra sin they had was also quite different. It’s so saggy and baggy but at the same time so rough and funky.

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The best part though was the baby elephant Dumbo, who not only hit me but also chased one of the Thai guys up a tree. He also was rough housing with his brother in the water. We spent the whole afternoon listing for his bell and staying alert of where he was.

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Dumbo chasing the guys. He couldn’t go up the hill.

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The little devil^^

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I met some really nice people there too and we ended up going out later to see a rady boy cabaret show. That was entertaining for sure. Luckily we had good seats and didn’t get pressed into service of the show, or approached by anyone. So we could comfortably sit back and laugh at everyone else’s misfortune.

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The next day I again had nothing to do so I went to a cooking class which was meh, but hey better than doing nothing. Funny story I just met someone in Cambodia who did the same class I did. Coincidence? I made stir fry and a couple other things which was some of the most cooking I’ve ever done in one sitting.

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I made sure to drown it in oil

The people were nice enough but it was a different crowd than usual.

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20170915_151316Trying to figure out what to do next I went zip lining, never done it before so I wanted to check it out. It was fun. Meet a nice couple from Portugal and we did our thing. They were friendly and made it a good time. Especially since the two Chinese girls were not being super enjoyable. It was nice to do at least once. Would I do it again? probably not, but it was nice to do for at least once.

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wheeeeee

Since that time I have come back to Chiang Mai two more times actually. This makes it my most visited place! *clap* *clap* My internet is laughable right now and for the sake of being in order I’ll talk about them later. I’ll use the following picture as a teaser though. Oh and the main image, that’s totally from today.

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After I did all those few things I rode a bus out to….

PAI!

Where only good things awaited.

Also since I realize that these posts are pretty long and delayed I started writing on FindPenguins. So while you wait for these posts, if you want some up to date and quick posts about where I have been please check out my page! HERE

 

What did you think of Chiang Mai? Or what do you want to do there? I look forward to hearing some stories.

September – China Stop 1

china, Travel, trip

 

It feels like a long time but it has only been a month! On sept 4th I left Korea and started my trip. So far it has been pretty fun if not most importantly relaxing. It did feel a bit weird to leave Korea and no matter how much I knew it was coming leaving still felt a bit sudden. Especially when I landed in the airport in Beijing. Which I wasn’t totally prepared for. So it did take a while for me to get into everything again and not being a grouch that I left. Did find the groove eventually. I am going by myself on all of this so it has been a bit different than pretty much all my other trips where I have been with someone.

I started off my trip going to Beijing and have ended up now in Kho Phi Phi in Thailand. In between I haven’t done a whole bunch though. So far I have stayed in China and Thailand only. I’ve been in Thailand for almost the whole month doing what I assume is the usual circuit for people who come over here.

I can say Thailand for me has been a lot more fun than China was. I stayed four days in Beijing and then three in Shanghai. Beijing I wasn’t the biggest fan of for a few reasons. Some might just have been my attitude at the time but I found I just wasn’t enjoying myself as much as I would have liked. If i were to find excuses it would be the hostel that I stayed at was pretty abysmal. It was dirty, unfriendly, didn’t really offer anything and worse case didn’t have a chance to meet anyone there. The location was ok I guess, it was central so I was right next to Tienanmen square and the forbidden city. I  was able to see them everyday. However nothing I saw in the city really seemed that cool except for the summer palace. That place was pretty sweet and would recommend it. The square and forbidden city were pretty boring, the history sure is there but to look around it’s all kind of lame.

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The city was dirty and I developed a terrible cough that unsurprisngly went away after I left the city. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the aesthetic there either.  However it was interesting how hard they tried to reconstruct the traditional feeling of the buildings and keep it in line. For the capital city of one of the wealthiest countries on Earth I was expecting a lot more modernity and just better infrastructure. Instead it felt like I was in a bigger Vietnam all over again.

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Jesus Christ

One of the strangest things I experienced was just the checkpoints in the subway. While I guess it makes things safer and it never really took extra time just the thought of it felt way too imposing. It felt like I was in a really dangerous area and was super uncertain how safe the place actually was. Going through the metal detectors and having to put your bags through screening just to use the subway seems a bit much. Instead of feeling safe it made it seem a lot more dangerous.

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However the food was pretty good and the people were all fairly nice. I don’t think my few days in Beijing were totally representative of the city though. I didn’t push myself to do to much and I’m sure that maybe I missed the good areas or fun things. So I’m willing to accept it if someone want’s to change my mind. That being said I found the sites that I saw to be pretty boring and wouldn’t go out of my way to ever see again.

 

 

A huge fan of those dumprings, and finally got have duck which I’ve wanted for years after seeing it in London. So it’s been a long wait.

I spent the first day going to the summer palace which was really cool. The palace parts are as same and undistinguished as any other palace or temple you can see so that wasn’t that great. Also a lot of these places have giant walls which make the place seem very grand in scale, but rather boring to look at since it’s just a giant blank red wall. SO pretty bland. The whole compound of the summer palace though is what made it cool. There is a giant lake that it surrounds and the scale of everything is really impressive. It is also very relaxing and nice place to just sit down. That is until some parent lets there kid take a piss in the middle of the walkway. Still there was a lot to see and just enjoy for the most part. The only upsetting part was realizing I had to go back to the center of town again.

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Which reminds me, the subway stations never seem to be in the right place ever. Always a block away from where they need to be.

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On a good note I did do a tour and did a hike of the Great wall. That was worth it and was actually really cool. We walked for a few hours along the un-restored portion of the wall. It was really great to see and there were views everywhere so it was a good time. The guide was a pretty entertaining guy too. He was very adamant the he buy us Snickers for some reason. He also was very distraught when we didn’t really want to eat the 7/11 sausages that had been cooking in our bags for like 4 hours. The wall is unsurprisingly massive like you can see in pictures, but it was a bit more epic seeing it in person and actually grasping the scale of it all. Unlike everything I had seen in China so far it was large and impressive. Don’t know if I would go back to see it, but if your in the area it’s a must. 20170907_103315.jpg

 

 

Plus i got take love shots with the tour guide with what was probably just gasoline. Whats not to love!

With my time in Beijing up I ended up going to Shanghai for the weekend which was a sweet change and really made China great again.

SHANGHAI

After being delayed for half a year in Beijing airport I flew into Shanghai. Finally the trip was taking off! I met up with a friend in the airport, after that the number one priority at the time was to take a shower and finally get clean again. It was a smashing success and my hair had never felt better, thanks to some Korean shampoo goodness.

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The next day we went to an old town which was really cool. Finally had all the food I wanted and gorged myself on lamb and everything else on a stick. Tried some stinky tofu and might have had too much than what I could have handled. I got pretty stuffed after everything. Except for maybe one thing I don’t think I had something that was just tasted bad in China and it stayed strong here too. The whole area was really nice and had a good atmosphere. It rained a tiny bit but never really got annoying.

 

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We then went to another area which I have no idea where or what it is called so I know it’s a great help. Either way it got even cooler there. There were really Chinese looking buildings and narrow walkways going through them. There were tons of touristy shops there which wasn’t too crazy but the way the buildings just loomed over the alleys was awesome it made everything feel so cozy and like the last place the atmosphere was just there.  For whatever reason it reminded me a lot of Spirited Away.

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Shanghai was definitely more active than any of my time in Beijing. After this we just walked around to the river and saw the well known skyline. I’m not the biggest fan of the giant round 80’s looking space ship but I think I can live with it. I really enjoyed the mixed in European architecture and feel of the whole area too. We walked around a bit trying to find a place to eat. I’m pretty happy where we ended up too.

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So the place we ended up was like nothing like the commercial, but I still felt like it had a similar vibe. Everything that I saw in the streets and in the restaurant was exactly what I thought china would be like.

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Things in the restaurant were bustling and what I thought was cool was everything was it’s own stall/booth. Ambiance through the roof! We ordered quite a lot and none of it was bad. Although the best thing I had my entire time in China was from here and it was only beans we ordered as an afterthought. Like seriously they were great beans I still miss them.

 

 

Just look at that goodness

After that we just went out to meet some people, and then Shanghai was pretty much done! Actually before leaving I finally got to ride a proper fast train.I wanted to ride a bullet train in Japan but I missed my chance. So when we took the Maglev train to the airport I was more than happy.  I was happy with all of Shanghai actually.

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After Shanghai the next stop was off to Bangkok and Thailand!

I’m still in Thailand now and will do another write up for it probably in a couple of parts.

Also feel free to comment if you have any ideas for what you want me to do next. ^^

Vacation times and the end of times

Hong Kong, Japan, korea, Travel, weekends

20170819_151659As of writing this I have only have a few days left. I’m in the final stretch! It’s pretty weird really. I will probably do a big run down of my time here but that time isn’t now. That being said I definitely have some very mixed feelings about leaving. It’s been a ton of fun and quite a time that’s for sure. I didn’t expect any of this before I came. So it’s a bit upsetting all in all, but all good things must come to end right?

That out of the way lets talk about the past few trips I have been on. There have been a few of them too! After taking almost  0 vacations all year I loaded them all up near the end. So I went on three all within a couple weeks of each other. I have been pretty occupied because of that! I’m going to write about them in reverse order for no particular reason. First up is Tokyo!

TOKYO:

Tokyo was a city that was everything and at the same time nothing that I thought it would be it was weird. I think the biggest misconception I had going in was going to be the size and cramped space of the buildings. Sure the first picture won’t refute my claims but i’m serious. I expected towering apartments and jammed up cramped spaces. Actually pretty similar to what Hong Kong was. I was expecting something kind of like below. Not exactly that but I was imagining there to be a alot of vertical space to be taken up. Seeing how big it is I think I was looking for something like a hive.Image result for smoggy anime city

Maybe it was just the area that I visited but I didn’t get that vibe at all. Sure things were a bit small and there was definitely some packed aspects to it. There were also your fair share of sky scrapers. What I didn’t see however was the mega apartments that take up the skyline in both Seoul and Hong Kong. Instead there were a lot of 5-6 floor buildings crammed together. Even down some pretty narrow alleys. Though everything seemed to breath better and there felt like more room then there really was just because the scale of all the buildings was quite small.  Nothing ever got oppressive “city” it all seemed kind of spread out.

I’m not the biggest fan of anime and I’m not sure if i’m doing a disservice to Tokyo by saying it but I definitely got some anime vibes. Not sure what it was, but from the art, the buildings, streets, and just pretty much everything it just seemed like there was something I could relate to after watching something. It just felt right I didn’t even watch a single thing there or have I watched an anime in years but after coming back I’ve had a strong hankering to watch something.

Tokyo was awesome, it was definitely one of the best trips I have been on and it blows the last time I was in Japan out of the water. I’m glad I went back and gave it another shot. Something I won’t forget for at least 6 more months.

Lets talk about the trip for a bit though!

I had a flight at around 7AM. So I slept in the very comfortable chairs in one of the many lobbies. When I woke up I shaved away half of my hip from grinding it into those wooden chairs all night.

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I stayed in Shibuya which is on the west coast of the city. It also has a lot to do there. After having a bit of an incident on the train I finally found my way there and exited the station. I had a ton of time to kill before I could even check in. So I got to the station and all I could really do was walk around. I wasn’t looking for it but right there was the scramble. The scramble is the big famous cross walk in Tokyo. When ever you see pictures or a time lapse of people crossing a big busy street that is probably the place. It’s famous for possibly being the busiest cross walk in the world. It is also just kind of cool to begin with. I did a ton of walking and after 3 hours meandered my way to the hostel where I dropped off my bag.

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Dog

I walked along this river waiting for my friend to land in the airport. I ended up taking it way to far and not really knowing where I was. Out of all the possible pictures of the canal this is the one I took. Way to go me. There were way cooler areas trust me. It’s a one way road and most of the way up and around were windy roads with small restaurants, stores and cafes. I’d give it a 9/10 in atmosphere. Then out of all that this is what I take. With none of that in sight! 20170818_15102620170818_154154

Unlike Seoul they kind of added side walks in the back roads like this. Sure it’s still walking on the street but if you look to the left the railing sets a definite walking area. I wouldn’t say this is better or worse than the freedom system here in Seoul but it was nice to see since I haven’t before. However what really made this trip was Saturday and hanging out with friends all day and eating some amazing food. After waking up at a fashionable 11 we got underway and met a friend at the station where we went further in the city to get something to eat.

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We went to a sushi place that was just awesome. I have never heard of a bonito fish before and I never realized it was my favorite thing ever. If your wondering it’s the most normal looking meet on the plate above. What I wasn’t really expecting was how much was going to come.  My previous sushi experiences have all just been a plate or two all which was pretty good but never really anything to write about. This time though there was an entire thing. The plates kept coming and I was surprised every time. I didn’t take pictures of all of them but I think total there were 5 or 6?  All of it great.

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It also was probably one of the most expensive dining experiences that I have been apart of. I give it an easy 12/11 mainly because my zero key is broken.  I would do it again in a heart beat. It was really close to the Imperial palace so we decided to walk on over and take a look. It was as cool as you could get without actually going in the place. Apparently it’s only open like twice a year.  The only thing that really came of it was just highlighting the more European influence. 20170819_15160520170819_153240

Went to Asakusa where it rained a lot. There was a temple or something that I looked at from a far. There were also a bunch of shops. It would have been nicer if I had an umbrella and was trying to dodge the rain the whole time.

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Better yet though we played this drum arcade game that I just love. First played in Taipei and I play it every time I can. 20170819_17491620170819_181733.jpg

Walked around in the rain some more, saw the SkyTree and got something else to eat. The cool thing about the Sky Tree was how the top of it was in the clouds. The two things that I ate to this day had to be the best thing I have had in a while. 20170819_184738

There were 2-3 more plates after this guy. All were great.

Last day we went to a ramen place that was just cool. It was the normal Japanese setup with the U shaped counter and the staff in the middle.

This time though there were private stall the whole way around. So you really didn’t have to see anyone ever. In fact you didn’t have to talk to anyone. You order at a machine then give your slip to whoever is on the side. Hopefully the pictures above give you an idea. Then after you order they put down a flap down over your one “window” so you are even more secluded. The picture below shows it with the flap down. I was pretty excited over having water on tap though.

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The ramen as expected was great. I swear it wasn’t as gelatinous as looks in the picture. You could choose how much of whatever you wanted in it, and how soft or hard you wanted the nooders too. After this we quickly made our way to the Tokyo Dome because we had a date with a baseball game.  20170820_154820

The Tokyo dome is huge. It’s the first time I have been to a closed stadium too. The actual game itself was at a higher caliber than whats on display in Korea. Just the players were better. The Giants which was the home team quickly got out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and sat on it for pretty much the whole game. The atmosphere there was comparable to Korean games but I want to say it was even more rowdy than here.  The chants were non stop and the crowd was just living it up. There were trumpets there were flags there were crazy people. Asia knows how to watch baseball. Well atleast Korea and Japan do.

A few things stuck out to me in the game. One was concessions inside the stadium. This is the norm at home, but it isn’t at all in Seoul. It definitely ads to the atmosphere if nothing else. I didn’t do a whole bunch of snooping but it didn’t seem like anything crazy was really being sold there. Another thing I wish I took a picture of was the beer girls, and how many there were. They were everywhere at every second. Looking down in the lower bowls they looked like bees buzzing around or ants warming around a colony. There were so many of them and they were so busy. That would be a tough job for sure.

Lastly how busy the area around the arena was a bit surprising. Not because it was pack and going crazy but really the lack of anything going on. Arriving at Jamsil stadium you are smacked in the face that a game is happening. There are people and cars everywhere its very obvious and speaking of atmosphere pretty cool. While in Tokyo there was no body around. I easily could have been in the area and have zero idea that something was going down inside.

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Yay baseball!

With the game done we hustled our way to the airport where nothing eventful happened. Besides that we flew!

HONG KONG

Hong Kong in general was what the doctor ordered. It was just a great time and well timed too. Well for the most part. I wen there on a Sunday but everyone I went was going with was already there. So I had to meet them later. My only problem with HK was where we stayed and the lack of signs for the place. I spent a good 40 minutes or even more trying to find it. The only reason I found it was because I followed another white person.

To get it out of the way the weather here was terrible. It didn’t rain but it was humid like no other. Within minutes of being outside my shirt was drenched I can’t explain how sweaty and gross everything I owned got within a few minutes. You could tie your shoes outside and immediately have to go back in for a shower.

I got in pretty late on Sunday so nothing much happened then. The next day we went to the beach which was permanently overcast but nothing happened. Which was really surprising. Either way the beach was great and the water was just as great. We also went Kayaking for a bit too.

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At this point I’m actually a little fuzzy on the order of events so I’ll just talk about things as I see them.

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I had maybe only one bad thing to eat in Hong Kong. It wasn’t even terrible though. Everything else was just awesome. The service tended to be hilarious and the food added even more to the experience. There was nothing lacking in this department. The picture is at a dimsum place we went to on the last day.

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We went to the place of 10,000 Buddhas. We just walked up and up a path with a ton of gold painted statues like in the picture above. There were some pretty weird ones. Also there were a few missing so it wasn’t exactly 10k Buddhas, but we can let it slide. 20170801_13122920170801_131148

This is what to see at the top of the thing.

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Definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip was the all you can eat sashimi place we went too.

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Jesus

 

Hong Kong reminded a lot of home in some ways. It had a classic city feel to it. Also what it is worth noting is how varied the people were. Everyone looked different, there were people from other countries everywhere.  The city was also very crowded the building and apartment situation I thought was the most interesting.

There were so many different kinds of apartments. In Korea there are swaths of identical apartment complexes everywhere. Here there were many apartments but not a single one was the same and it didn’t seem to matter where you were. There were dozens of ramshackle sardine can apartments. Then right next to it would be a super modern 1000 story building. This was happening everywhere. Someone I was with said it the best, the situation was ruthless. It was apartment chaos. Also the AC dripped all over the side walk which I was not a fan of.

 

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With the trip being done, I have some serious reservations about HK express.

JEJU

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My sister came to visit for a few weeks so we went down to Jeju. Compared to the rest of the trips this was surprisingly the most difficult one. We stayed in the middle of nowhere in the south western part of the island which did us no favors. The one upside was that it was right next to Sanbangsan. So we could walk there in around 10 minutes. 20170725_10460020170725_122618.jpg

We spent the majority of the time at Jungmun resort which was not a day wasted. We saw waterfalls, banana milk cafe, and at the time I finally got to go to the beach.20170725_130752

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You have to be careful

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Hi Caroline!

The highlight was probably seeing my friend which was kind of a blast from the past. He was probably one of the first people I have ever met in Korea. I met him when I went to the Fire Festival in the first few weeks I was here. The last time we saw each other was last year when he was in Seoul and we went to a baseball game.

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I look creepy

 

 

He doesn’t even live close but he and his his parents came down and picked my sister and I up and took us to eat around a much cooler area whose name I can’t remember. They then took us to the guest houses they have been working on. My mind filled with regret realizing that we should have stayed here. To be fair I did ask if we could before we even came to Jeju. They eventually drove us back, but it was an awesome time and I’m really grateful for them going out of their way.

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Much nicer

Here are some pictures of what Caroline and I did while she was here!

The last one is worth talking about because, who really wants cheese with mango ice. I mean what? Either way I hope she had a fun time when she was here.


Well that has basically been the last month in a nutshell. It has been a very exciting and fascinating last month or two. Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Jeju were all great. Though if I had to rank the trips Tokyo was my #1. I can’t say enough how much it restored in my faith in Japan being a fun place.

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The sun is setting on my time in Seoul

When all is said in done it is Friday here and I have only one work week left here. I’ll be doing my last runs of places and saying my goodbyes for the week to come. So my time is winding down. I’m sad it’s all ending but really it’s a good thing I even had the opportunity in the first. place. Why stop here though? Lets keep this train running!

 

Bueno Weekends

korea

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Finally done with the super loaded month of classes called intensives. Where the parents aren’t sure what to do with kids during summer so we add more classes to the schedule. So the kids can spend the entire summer in school.So waking up early and doing a fair bit more classes is finally done! Including this past weekend I had some good weekends during and after intensives.

So last weekend I went to a boxing match. It was way better than the first one I went to. I went because one of the trainers I made the logo for his gym. That’s who is in the first picture. It was pretty cool to see it on shirts and see a bunch of people wearing them. Unfortunately our boxer lost but it was a great fight to watch! There were like 3 others that were also really entertaining.

After the boxing match we left and went to go watch the Bears stomp Nexen. Something like 8-1. I watched it with my friend from Jeju who I met like the 2nd week I was here when I went to the fire festival. It was a pretty active day.

This past weekend though was the most fun! i went to Jeju and stayed at a guest house my friend was staying at. Not the one from the baseball game though he couldn’t make it :(. Either way stayed at a guest house and met some very friendly and cool Koreans. They were super nice and there was a very funny couple there. Everyone but me actually lived in Jeju.

In the first couple hours I was there we went snorkeling with the gang. Couldn’t get off to a better start. It seemed like a proper vacation. Almost movie like with the characters that were with us.  I only had Saturday night there but it was super cool being able to drive around with them and explore the island. Ended up having a super fun night with everyone. I think authenticity is a thing that’s a goal but is still hard to experience. When it happens it’s great and I think this whole weekend checked all the boxes.

As for What I did Saturday I got picked up at the airport and went to a fish restaurant and embarrassed my self because I don’t know how to separate the meat and bones. All was good because I got plenty of help. The one I struggles with was the 1st on the left, the rectangle one. The best part of it though was the fish on the far right. It was a lot easier to eat but it also tasted better in general.

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After that went to the guest house and laid down for a bit. Changed clothes and went snorkeling at a place only a few minutes walk away. With the people who were at the house. Which was 6 of us. it was pretty cool, I have only done it once before I think. Only saw a few fish but in general it was great to finally swim.

Eventually we went out to eat and had some Japanese food as appetizers because they didn’t actually have what we were looking for. When we were travelling around it didn’t feel like I was a tour or just a 3rd party along for the ride. I felt a lot more in tune with what was going on. We went through a bunch of country roads and to some secluded places. It reminded me of being back In Elkins. Although a lot more tropical. We ended up going to a BBQ place who the couple I was driving with liked because they were friends with the owner I guess. There we just ended up doing the normal bbq routine. Fortunately for everyone I broke out my “Korean” as the day went along.

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The olleh(?) path marker that goes around the coast

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final destination ^

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Bad timing.

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At ze top.

On Sunday we did a lot of driving around in the morning. We were trying to find places to swim but high tide is a thing so we couldn’t. We dropped a girl from Busan off at the bus stop then kept out search. My friend and I came to the conclusion that hey maybe we should do something else. So they decided to take me to the place in the pictures whose name I forget. Since no one told me that we were going to be walking up something I only had embarrassingly small sandals to wear. Look at those tiny things in the 3rd picture. Regardless we got to the top. 20160821_131435_PanoI’m not sure the picture does it justice but it was incredibly pretty at the top. The sky is noticeably cleaner and you could see for miles. And tiny Mountains littered the Horizon. Very cool stuff. We wen’t to eat some raw fish in a fruit sauce that was sooooo sweet.

Since the ocean calmed down a bit it was back to swimming! So we wen’t to a beach we wanted to go to earlier and played around like morons in the waves. Fun stuff. The highlight was 2 guys from the house came with their surf board. So they taught me how to surf! I didn’t think that would happen before I came to Jeju but it did! Go figure I was bad. But I almost stood up twice which I’ll mark as a victory. It was a pretty sweet experience and one that’d I’d like to repeat.

for the most part that was the end of my trip. I just took a shower then we rushed off to eat some black pig which is a Jeju specialty thing. It was good, but maybe we rushed it a bit to much! The air port was packed so I was worried I might miss the flight! Like really worried, but I got to the gate with 12 or so minutes to spare(whew).

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I’m working on this for Caroline. There are a number of thing’s I want to improve but this is what I have so far. Should be done soon.

 

And that’s that!