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Southeast Asia, here we come!

Southern Thailand

Saturday - 12 Jan 2002
Phuket - Thailand

Adventures at the Beach

Ah, yes, Phuket...home of beautiful beaches, tons of European tourists, and the center of the sex trade. We flew into Phuket (on the southern coast of Thailand) on Saturday, and got a hotel in Patong, a major tourist town on the west coast. We walked the town ("special deal for you--just for you--buy here! buy here!!"), and strolled the nice to get our toes into the Andaman Sea (soooo warm!!) The first thing I noticed was that there were a lot of old men with young Thai women. Apparently these are "sex tourists"--people who come here for the express purpose of finding a Thai woman. The really funny thing is that they hire these women for the whole time they are in town, and treat them as their girlfriends--taking them to dinner, for nights on the town, etc. Truly bizarre. The other strange thing is that the bars are full of young Thai women, apparently waiting for their sugar daddy of the week to pick them up. They are quite brazen, calling to men as they pass by. Needless to say, we didn't spend that much time loitering in the bars!! We're off on our dive trip in the morning!!

Diving the Similans

We boarded our dive boat with 14 other divers for our four day adventure to the Similan Islands (about 90 km west of southern Thailand--Gary of course can give you the exact coordinates with his new GPS!) The boat had 9 cabins on the lower deck, along with the dive dock, and the upstairs had an-open air dining/hang out area, as well as a sunbathing area up front. Our cabin was great--in the bow, double bed, private bath--and below the galley, so quiet at night. We signed on to the Advanced Open Water course, and were paired with a couple from Denmark who were doing the same. Our divemaster, Ben, is from Belgium, and a lot of fun. We dove four dives a day (first one at 6:30 or 7:00 AM!), both reef diver and rock dives. We saw some amazing sights!! Leopard sharks, white-tipped reef sharks, all sorts of rays, and fish galore--the colors were mind-boggling. The highlight was the 3 meter manta ray that spent a lot of time swimming near us on one of our dives--it was truly amazing!

The meals were great, and the crew very friendly. We were truly spoiled--they filled our tanks and helped us on with our gear!! Our dive partners, Susi and Thomas, were a lot of fun, as was Ben and the rest of the crew. Everything was perfect, except for the unwelcome guests...

Gary awoke late on the second night, and turned on the light to get something out of his bag. Sarah awoke, looked at Gary, looked ABOVE Gary, and let out a small scream---there was a cockroach, larger than life (about 3 inches!!) above his head on the wall!! Gary gallantly crushed it with a shoe, but apparently the roachs' friends all scuttled to the scene of the crime--there were two more, right over the bed!! Sarah is now in the middle of the room hyperventilating, and Gary is busy a, killing cockroaches, and b, stuffing toilet paper in the cracks of the walls to keep the little buggers out. He almost convinced me that we could go back to sleep...until one ran across the bed.

We scrambled up to the top deck, since I declared I would NEVER go back into our room, and we settled onto the benches for the night. Sleep didn't come easily--the sea breeze was nice, but did nothing to wipe out the visions of cockroaches dancing through our heads!!

Well, the good news is that we had great weather for the whole trip, so our "new" cabin (on deck) was quite comfortable!!

We are headed to Cambodia tomorrow, and will update from there when we can get a connection!! Stay safe, all, and see you soon!!

PHOTO ALERT! Pics of Bangkok & Southern Thailand
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  The Preparation
  Southern Thailand
  PHOTO ALERT! Pics of Bangkok & Southern Thailand
  Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  Siem Reap/Temples of Angkor
  PHOTO ALERT 2! Pics of Cambodia
  Nha Trang
  Coastal Crusade: Hanoi-bound!
  Hanoi, oh Hanoi
  On the Loose in Northern Vietnam
  PHOTO ALERT 3! Vietnam
  Trekking in Northern Thailand
  Koh Chang: Paradise Found!
  PHOTO ALERT 4! Trekking and beaching...
  Last night in Bangkok: Bartering rules!
  Hong Kong
  PHOTO ALERT 5! Hong Kong

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