Ok everyone, I’m finally doing my trip to Asia. I’ve gotten into medical school, quit my job and saved up a decent amount of money. In addition, I wanted something to do other than to lounge around. So I decided to travel to Thailand for about a month to train Muay Thai. I flew out out May 3rd with a one way ticket and will be blogging about it here in Thailand.
I didn’t want to carry much. Bought a 40 Liter travel backpack, stuffed it with various clothes, a weeks worth of underwear and shirts. I brought with me, my laptop, the complete This American Life collection mp3s from 1995-2007 on my ipod and a decent pair of running shoes. As of right now, I believe I still packed too much. I plan to ship some of my crap back to the states.
I don’t own much. Everything that I own amounts to little more than a few boxes of books, an external monitor, and some clothes. I managed to stow my belongings in the San Francisco Apartment’s closet while I was abroad.
Pat said it best when describing my obsession with not owning crap: “Allen every once in a while goes through a bulimic phase of giving shit away.” I’m a bulimic minimalist. I do read their websites after all.
At San Francisco airport. Waiting for my flight to Hong Kong. It’s a 14 hour flight…. with a 14 hour lay over. (31 hours total travel).
Bored in the plane, I decided to indulge in a bit of the in flight entertainment. I watched about three movies and played around with their games. Watched the Fighter (which makes me want to do more boxing), Black Swan (which makes me not want to do ballet), and the live action adaptation of Star Ship Yamato (which makes me not want to watch anymore live action remakes of Japanese cartoons).
Cathay Stewardesses were all models (there was one named Toffee that I thought was cross-eyed, but she was servicing the rows ahead of mine). Normally, while flying Southwest or even Virgin, I’d be totally okay with busting out my bright Pink DS Lite and booting up my newly bought copy of Pokemon Black. However, flying with Cathay, the stewardesses were so gorgeous and I was so self-conscience of myself, that I couldn’t do it.
Night at the Museum \ 14 Hour Lay Over at Hong Kong International Airport
Sometimes, being too frugal is a bad thing. The cheapest ticket flying to Phuket required a 14 hour lay over in Hong Kong. I arrived at the airport around 9pm HKT. I have to say, Hong Kong International Airport is one giant shopping center with an airport added on. It was amazing. But it also closed down around 10pm. I withdrew around 200 HK Dollars and spent the next 14 hours walking around the closed airport, occasionally napping and buying stuff at their 24 hour 7-11. By this time, I had been awake for around 28 hours. It was definitely exhausting.
Found this inside the Dragon Air plane on my way to Phuket from Hong Kong. I couldn’t stop laughing.
This advertisement was everywhere in the airport. Who is he? And why does he appear to be such a wise bad ass?
Arriving at Phuket, Thailand
I finally arrived at Phuket Thailand 31 hours later. Immediately, shit got real. I felt the 70% humidity and heat instantly as soon as I stepped out of the airport. No more nicely air conditioned airports and airplanes. Just standing, waiting for the bus to arrive, my shirt was drenched with sweat. Shit also got real when I was mobbed by taxi drivers, all who kept asking where I was going (both in English and Mandarin). I really didn’t want to take the taxi and instead, opted to take the local Phuket Airport Bus that would take me to Phuket Town (the downtown part of Phuket).
Instead of paying 500 Baht for a taxi, I paid 85 Baht to ride the bus. It was air conditioned and a pleasant ride. (1 USD = ~30 Baht)
I finally arrived at Phuket Town, where I had planned to stay one night and perhaps explore the local area. However, this town was basically nothing but disorganized commercial development, full of various stores. Again, I was mobbed by taxi and scooter taxi drivers. My friend Brian had recommended that I try getting lost in a foreign country. While in principle that might sound fun, but not in the humid 90F heat. I wondered around for about an hour trying to find the hostel I was suppose to stay at. Finally, too exhausted and sleep deprived, I relented and got a scooter taxi.
My hostel was really nice. It was clean, air conditioned and cheap. I wondered around Phuket Town, but I didn’t see anything interesting. The streets were pretty small and unstructured. There were no real sidewalks and definitely no cross walks. It felt like a shittier and more Thai version of downtown LA.
After crashing at the Hostel for the night, I made my way to Chalong Circle via bus. The gym I had chosen to train at, Dragon Muay Thai, was near that area.
I finally arrived. I booked a week to train at Dragon and a week living at the Outback Bungalow. The owner of the Bungalow, Max, is related to the owner of the Dragon Muay Thai Gym (uncle’s nieces married son or whatever). It’s a nice little room. Fairly secure, with air conditioning, a clean bed and good bathroom. The bathrooms are basically one giant shower stall with a sink and toilet. Gets the job done.
I’ve been here for about 3-4 days. There’s the occasional thunderstorm and intense downpour of rain. All kinds of animals wonder around the area: stray downs, several chickens and roosters. Even morning, til around noon, I hear the roosters doing their Cockadoodledoo-ing. Inside my bungalow, mosquitoes fly around and there’s this weird species of geckos that keep wondering around my room.
I unpack and proceeded to buy myself equipment for the upcoming week’s worth of training. All in all, equipment here is dirt cheap. Hand wraps with gloves (pictured above) costs 1900 Baht (~50$) Meals here cost around 40-60 Baht (1.5-2$).
Anyways, that’s all I have for now. Going to keep training for the week and will fly out to Chiang Mai on Sunday.