Monday, July 31, 2006

I Guess That's How It Works, Huh?

Bangkok was pure fun, really. Thank goodness I was done with the temples on my last visit, and it was time to party. I haven't been to a danceclub in a very long time, so figures that hanging out in Bed Supperclub would be a nice idea. It was. No shopping, no Buddha-hopping, no elephant riding; just streetfood-swiping, late-night dancing, and cocktail-sipping. Whee.


Met a bunch of people in Siam Reap, staying at the same guesthouse as I was, and about 48 hours later, met them in Bangkok! I was snapping some pictures along Khao San Road, turn around then find 2 familiar faces. The feeling was strange, they're not your friends, you've chat with them for a couple of minutes, but the relief of finding familiar faces after traveling for more than a week alone was priceless. Strange. To quote Laura, I guess that's how it works.

Khao San afire in lights
Laura, me and Ann. Thanks for taking the pic, Yas!
Sunday, July 30, 2006

A 24-hour Journey, With Smelly Feet

19 July

For 1350 Baht, I managed to score taxi-boat-bus-minivan-bus transfer from Hat Rin to Kuala Lumpur - if calculated correctly, that would be some 1000km by land. The travel time was 24 hours that started at 6am.

While the boat was a real sleep-in, the bus to Surat Thani was not - my stomach acted up. Was it all the chicken sandwich at Hat Rin? Or was it an over dose of last night bucket of vodka-Red Bull-orange juice? Either way, my tummy was feeling a revolution that would put the Vietnam War to shame.

That aside, I felt like I (along with a dozen other travellers) felt like we were being hustled by the locals, as we were all transferred by bus, tuktuk, motorbike from one travel agent to another. Everyone had at least two travel-agent-interchange, while I said the whole hello-goodbye-where-the-fuck-are-you-taking-me-now thrice. There was no scam involved, but it was their own way of getting to know tourist and agitating them at the same time. Apparently, with so many tourists in Thailand, they've done this one to perfection.

So finally, minivan to Hat Yai arrived, only to stop 15 minutes in the roadtrip. Our driver spoke no word of English, but he managed to tell us that the van stank of smelly feet. Let's see, 11 persons travelling for 2 weeks, from the beach, 8 hours late in the day...that would lead to the conclusion that WE ALL FRIGGING STANK! The only solution was to douse the whole van with air freshener. At least we all felt Meadow Spring-fresh almost instantly.

We arrived in Hat Yai at 6pm, then transferred to another minivan that will drop us off at Butterworth. Arrived in Butterworth at 11pm to catch the bus to KL. Arrived in KL at 6am. After this bit, the 6-hour bus ride to Baguio should be easy as pie.

NB. The buses are very comfortable though - I personally think that the buses had seats that were wider and reclined more than PAL's Mabuhay class. In all honesty, my bus rides were more comfortable than my plane ride back home.
Saturday, July 29, 2006

Notes from Backpacking - Part One

I fully intend to create a long winding series of how my travel around SEA came to be, but readers might actually be knitting their eyebrows at the mere mention of the word trip. I promise this to be painless. Really.

First, congratulations are in order to me: For watching Coldplay (WOOHOO!), being on budget (after major shuffling, reallocation and passing on costs), finding CDs that has been on my must-buy list for more than 6 years already (Version 2.0, Walking Wounded) or 6 months (Garden State OST, No Name Face), and most of all, having a wonderful time.

Much thanks must be handed out to Jam for lending me her backpack - backpacking wouldn't have the same impact had I brought luggage. Thanks to Eu and Kat for ekeing out time from their busy schedules to show me the better side of KL. Thanks to Han for being my host in Singapore - man, that song by Plumb has really stuck to me.

There. End credits muna. I'll try to recall more when I get back. Work karma is definitely a bitch. But I'll leave some pics to share for the meantime.

Coldplay is now my favorite band - see article below!

Catching the morning rays on a boat to Ko Phangan

Sunrise at Angkor Wat
Sunday, July 23, 2006

Things I Never Got Used To On My Trip

1. Right-hand drive roads. I've already lost count the number of times I've been almost hit because I was looking on the other side of the road for vehicles. I mean, which way do they come from, really?

2. Squat toilets. My dear fellow Filipinos, we are lucky not to have prevalent squat toilets - instead, we have been blessed with porcelain thrones. Even the swanky KLCC in Malaysia has a 1 to 1 allocation of squat toilets. This is a disadvatange for me, since my aim is not that good. And my legs/thighs hurt. Thank goodness I'm home, it's always the best seat in the house, all the time. Whew!

3. How do the floors go anyway? One thing I'm on the ground floor, then on the first floor. Do you start from floor zero? And what is a concourse floor anyway?
I'm almost home, and passing time around my last stop in Singapore. Ironically, I'm spending the last few minutes of my budget-backpacking trip in a swish airport lounge.

Just a run-down of the things that happened in the last two weeks:

1. Singapore is bloody expensive.
2. Coldplay is the best band on earth/universe.
3. Angkor Wat (and all its sister temple ruins) is truly a world heritage, and much much larger than you think they would be.
4. Bangkok definitely is the ground zero for the backpackers of the world.
5. Believe it or not, I spent less on the Thai beaches than I did in Puerto Galera.
6. IKEA has got to put a store in the Philippines.
7. Over budget? Definitely, but I think I can shuffle some costs and reallocate them for CAPEX/OPEX uses.


Pictures must wait, work backlog of 2 weeks has been waiting, plus a bunch more waiting for pasalubong.
Thursday, July 13, 2006

Greetings From Angkor Wat

Hello everyone! I'm logging in Siam Reap right now, so can't blog much long, but this backpacking bit is truly fun. Cheap hostel, great sights, and different cultures.

The Angkor Wat is just absolutely massive, and will take me about 2 days tro explore the whole temple complex. Am actually half-expecting to see Lara Croft here. Haha.

Will definitely post pictures once I get back. Until then!
They used to be one of my favorite bands, but only for a certain era. Wala pang concert yan. :p

Speed of Sound, Talk and Swallowed In The Sea are my picks for best tracks in their best album yet, X and Y.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Estop and Go

Coming from a personal Code Red last Friday, I fumbled out of my car at 1 am, while it rolled out of the garage with the door open. The door hit the garage post, and effectively ripped the door from the car. My poor Carbert. it was as painful as watching your car slam to a wall at slow motion.

I failed to complete an estop (Ha! Look at a dictionary, it's a legal term) and my car failed to stop. Tsk, when it rains, it pours.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Wimbledon 2006 - Quarterfinals

Amelie Vs Anastasia
Inasmuch as I'd like to see Anastasia win this one, Amelie's trademark power game, aided by a capacity to serve-and-volley no the lawns, there's no way I can bet against the World Number 1. Amelie in straight sets.

Elena vs Maria
I don't know if I've become picky or what, but Maria's game is all power and no brains. Bagay kayo ni Andy. Pennetta showed a dazzling display of ball-retrieving last night, and it was on sheer power that Maria won. Elena, now is more unpredictable than London Rain. I'll take a gamble here and hope that Elena see through Maria's weaknesses. The lower-seeded Russian will cause an upset, by varying the pace of the game. 3 long sets.

Justine vs Severine
Ooh, a new comer - but don't expect Justine to take this lightly. Straight sets.

Kim vs Na
Hooray, and a Chinese player has finally reached the quarters of a Slam. Honestly, I haven't seen Kim play, but I do hope she squeaks out of this one in straight sets.

Semifinals and Final
A replay of Melbourne will be on the way, but this time, Justine will be in full force. Hey, that's a career slam, just in case we're forgetting.

Career Slam! Not bad for 2006


Federer vs Ancic
Marquee match of the round, considering the history. One would think that this would be Federer's big test on his way to his 4th Wimbledon crown, but after Ancic flip-flopped last night, this should be a comprehensive win for the defending champion. Having tough opponents in the early round tested Federer's dedication to the game, and passed in flying colours. Straight sets.

Stepanek vs Bjorkman
Ah, a wildcard section of the draw. I'm favoring doubles specialist, and grass lover Bjorkman in 4, to make up for Johanssons's semifinal appearance last year.

Hewitt vs Baghdatis
Fightin' Lleyton needs to follow up a rather lackluster year, but with another win on grass. We're going to see how he stacks up against Oz Open finalist Marcos. Expect long rallies reaching deep in the 5th, and perhaps an upset. Still, rooting for the Aussie in 4.

Niemenen vs Nadal
Nadal has probably shown us that he can compete on grass, and made the transition look so effortless. That win over Agassi further strengthened his belief on grass, and should not stop him in a semifinal run. Straight sets.

Semifinals and Final
Grand Slam number 8 for Roger Federer, to be contested by Lleyton Hewitt. While Roger's road to the final was easy, Hewitt will recover his olden days of glory by ekeing out a win over Rafael Nadal.

Slam Number 8 keeps me at par with Andre! What must I do to defeat Roger? I've tried flying!