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Ko Chang - May contain Elephants!

Did not sleep a wink last night. This place is like sleeping in a zoo.
Got my first bout of "Delhi Belly" today. Very unpleasant dioreah and stomach cramps. Jason is fine so it must be something I ate yesterday.

Every meal is like playing Russian roulette with your bowels over here. There is a very cavalier attitude towards food hygiene. Still I suppose eleven days without an episode is quite good considering the mountain of chillis in every dish.

Thankfully I'd packed some rehydration sachets and Imodium so I could keep it together for this afternoons excursion "Elephant trekking"

Was a bit unsure about this trip as I'm not keen on seeing any sort of wild animal in captivity, I don't like zoos or anything like that, they sadden me. But I'd read reviews of this particular elephant camp and it scored highly on animal welfare as it was run by a foundation so all the ticket fees went into the well being of the animals.

Eddies dad took us in the flatbed truck to base camp. We had some refreshing pineapple and went to meet the elephants. Ours was called Tom Kam - a female elephant aged 11. At first we were in a little carriage type thing on top of her but after about ten mins of trekking through the jungle on her back our guide asked if Jason wanted to freestyle and ride on her neck.

I shit myself at this point (not literally, thanks to the imodium) thinking "I'm sure we are not covered on the insurance for this" but he was well into it and hopped on.

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The guide walked alongside guiding Tom Kam with special noises and shouts but we felt like we were in control.

The route took us through jungle and along a river. She must have been thirsty or hot as she took some water from the river and sprayed us with it!

The trek was about an hour then we fed her bananas and we went for a swim in the lake with her.

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It was a really good afternoon (even though I was getting over dysentery!)

Up early tomorrow 4hours in a van back up to Dave's in Bang Sare to collect our things then off down towards the south to Hua Hin.

Posted by Gingertoad 08:10 Comments (1)

Hua Hin - "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

Left Ko Chang without any drama. Took the ferry then minivan back to Jontiem was only 480b on the way back so it pays to shop around it was 600b on the way down.

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Spookily an old friend had got in touch out of the blue saying that he was also I Thailand if we could meet up somewhere, he was near Pattaya.
When we rang him he was only staying in Jontiem!
So we had a cheeky Chang with him and his Mrs before Dave came to collect us and take us to his house to sleep over and collect our things.

Early night, and then an early drop off at the bus station for the jaunt down to Hua Hin.

Another 4 hour bus journey passed without drama even though it was raining and our driver seemed to have a death wish.
It is proving surprisingly easy to get around Thailand and cheap. Today's four hour drive cost 400b (10€) you can't get into town for that back home.

These air conditioned mini vans are really comfortable and fast but they all look the same. There is no company branding or logo so make sure you note the registration for the half way stop.

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You do have to have street sense here.
There are touts at every travel agent/ferry/hotel trying to bang on their commission and make a baht or two off the wealthy farrang

For instance we walked into an agents in Pattaya this morning at 7.30am to get the Hua Hin bus sorted, he quotes 1000b each, we just laughed and made to walk off then he comes back says "ok ok 500 each special price" so we say "400" and a deal is done.
I can imagine lots of tourists just agree to the first price quoted, especially the Russians.

Also I think looking like a backpacker helps set a different price too. (I am now a member of the Dirty & Unwashed brigade, see chapter one)

I don't mind agents and commissions, I work in tourism myself so I understand its the nature of the business, but just keep your wits about you, or you will get fleeced.

It pays to barter here. *this doesn't come easy to me, see footnote.

We have booked an apartment in the centre of Hua Hin to be near the famous night market. I almost wept when I saw we have the following luxury items:

  • Fridge
  • Tv
  • Hot shower
  • Air con

Wow! What a relief after 5 days of bugs, humidity, lizards cold showers and warm drinks.

Straight to McDonald's (I know it's criminal, but when your shit has been the color of liquified Coleman's English Mustard for 48hours you just NEED something non Thai)

Hua Hin is the coastal resort that rich Thai people from Bangkok flock to at weekends. It is the King of Thailand's preferred holiday destination. Thai people worship the King, there are massive billboards of him everywhere.

Jason tried out Dave's moped this morning before we left just on the dirt road in front of his house. He started the engine and revved and it just shot off with him half on, promptly skidded along the road and crashed into a field. (He was only going 2 miles an hour)

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He's ok, only grazed and a bit shook up he was more embarrassed in front if Dave than anything else. (Who was creased over pissing himself laughing)

Nurse Goodchild has administered "40 cc's of Chang, stat" he is in recovery.

That's the end of the "lets hire a moped to get around" phase, thank god.

Footnote:

Bartering is not my forte.

In Morocco I perfected the "Reverse Barter Technique" which goes a bit like this...

Me to Stall holder:
"Excuse me, how much for that T-shirt/handbag/useless piece of tat?"

Stall holder: "500 dingbats" (or similar obscure currency)

Me: "I only want to pay 600"

Stall holder: "ok"

Jason: "For fucks sake, not again Ginge"

So, since then he is in charge of bartering.

Posted by Gingertoad 09:47 Comments (0)

Hua Hin - Thai boxing

Things to do in Hua Hin

If you are coming to Hua Hin make sure you check out the Thai boxing at "Muay Thai boxing garden"
It's only 500b to watch six fights and the beer is cheap enough too (80b)

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Really good atmosphere and mainly Thai people in the crowd.

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During this fight "Bruce Lee" versus "chinky looking fella" Bruce kicked chinky in the head when he was down and the crowed went mental they were chanting cheat really loud and the ref decided to disqualify Bruce and award chinky guy the fight.

Bruce lee flipped out, jumped over the ropes and into the crowd and started kicking the ones in the crowd who had told the referee. Then the whole ground floor kicked off and the gym owner and staff quickly opened the emergency exits and half the gym emptied out. They were all fighting in the street. Mental.

The organisers quickly bought on the "lady fighters" to keep the rest of the crowd inside. One of the girls was European so we cheered her on "come on Denmark" it was a really exciting evening. The Thai lady won the fight but the Danish girl put up a good fight.

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Walked home both pretending to be Bruce Lee.

Moving hotels tomorrow as we are staying a couple more days in Hua Hin to allow Jason's bike wounds to heal a bit more before hitting the islands.

Posted by Gingertoad 04:18 Comments (0)

Hua Hin - The Night Market

New guesthouse is cool. Closer to the city centre so it's easier to get around and very close famous Night Market.
I'm back on the Thai food now but being very careful!

There are mobile vendors for all types of food, any god type on the back of a moped I mean really ALL types of food, pancakes, coffee, fruit, deep fried bugs you name it - they deliver it.

This is a fruit one.

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Sea food is excellent here and SO big!!

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This is the famous railway station sign for Hua Hin

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The night market was good. Got a couple of cheap souvenirs (Jason did the bartering!)

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Posted by Gingertoad 06:50 Comments (0)

Hua hin - Bangkok hip hop

My back was killing this morning after lugging that rucksack across town yesterday so I decided to brave a Thai massage.

Havent had a body massage yet in Thailand because in Bangkok and Pattaya they only seem to have the type of massage parlor that provide a massage with "Happy Ending for man"

Well it's a tad more upmarket in hua hin so off I pop to the one next to 7-11 supermarket (there is a 7-11 on every street corner very handy)

Very nicely laid out mattered on the floor, she washes my feet then starts her regime.

(Ok I know I swear too much so i'll tone it down a bit here)

So she starts to BEAT me to within an inch of my life, in a sort of pleasurable painful way using Tiger Balm/deep heat stuff. Starting with my feet and calves which were incredibly tense and working her way up to my arms I'm lying there thinking "I bet I am the most tense person she's ever worked on, I'm going to have to tip her well"

After an hour of Prodding, poking, kicking, punching, slapping, and biting me (ok I'm joking about that last one) my ordeal was over.
(but honestly, really she Kicked fuck out of me)

It is a miracle! I'm cured! And it was only a fiver!

What is this sorcery? I'm hooked.

Went for a big mooch around town to try to book our next journey south. Headed for the port saw some Squid being sun dried.

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Stopped for a Chang at a nice looking gueshouse on the pier.
It was actually closed as A hip hop group from Bangkok were shooting a music video on the terrace but the guest house owner was happy to let us in when I told her I'm a big hip hop fan.

They had this really groovy helicopter video camera, lights, models etc it was all very Hollywood.

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I chatted to group members they were all really nice lads this is there first record release. The DJ is part of "Bangkok invaders" who do hip hop nights on the Sukhumvit rd in Bangkok.

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The Song is a love song with a hip hop break beat in the middle. The DJ came over to say hello and we talked about hip hop music in broken English he played me some of his mixing he's excellent at scratching. (Steph, I didn't tell them that I used to be in Public Enemy)

Meanwhile Jason was chatting to this nice couple aged 70 who were staying at the guest house from Switzerland. They had been cycling all around the world on a tandem bike. Yes you read that right, cycling!

We had a lovely and interesting afternoon.

Sad to be leaving Hua Hin in the morning we are Island bound.

Posted by Gingertoad 07:07 Comments (0)

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