Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas in Thailand!

I know I haven't posted in forever, but I have to write about Thailand!
We left Friday after work for the airport. It was so cold, I couldn't feel my toes. It was so weird to go from freezing, to hot weather. We were exhausted when we got to Bangkok. We took a cab to our hotel, arranged for a driver to take us to the floating market and tiger temple the next day, and then went to bed. We woke up early the next morning(Christmas Day!), had breakfast at the hotel, and drove a couple hours to get to the floating market. It was a very interesting experience, though everything was overpriced. All I bought was a coconut. haha You had to be careful because if you looked at something long enough, they would hook your boat and pull you in whether you wanted to go there or not.

When we finished there, we drove another couple hours to tiger temple. To go in, your shoulders and knees had to be covered, and you couldn't wear bright colors. We weren't dressed appropriately so we had to buy t-shirts and pants. Inside were water buffalo, reindeer, wart hogs, and of course TIGERS! We got to pet the baby tigers. Kristina walked one. They were soooo cute!

We went back to the hotel and got ready to go find a yummy Christmas dinner. We ended up having sandwiches and burgers and doing some shopping. Definitely a different Christmas, but a fun day:)
Our flight Sunday to Phuket was at 2:00, so we had the morning to sight-see. We wanted to go to the Grand Palace, but people kept telling us it wasn't open, or we couldn't go there. We ended up at a temple. It was pretty. A lot more elaborate than the Korean temples.

We tried to go to the Grand Palace again, but they told us we couldn't, so we gave up and went to see the big buddha and try on million dollar rings haha. Our tuk tuk driver got gas money for bringing us to certain shops, so we let him take us to a few until we were cutting it close to get to the airport in time. We made it though in plenty of time. We set up 3 days worth of activities at the airport including a tour of Phuket, Phi Phi Island, and James Bond Island.
Our flight to Phuket was only an hour. The drive from the airport to our hotel at Patong beach was about 40 minutes. We were slightly disappointed by the hotel. It was about a 15 minute walk from the beach. The "pool" was more like a moat around the hotel. We never saw anyone actually swimming in it. The website was a little misleading. The staff were not nice at all either. The jacuzzi on the balcony was nice (at least when the hot water was working).
We walked to the beach that night. They were having a memorial for the tsunami. It was cool to see all the paintings and sand sculptures.

We had our first thai dinner that night. Really yummy:)
The next day we spent at the beach. We played on all these inflatable things in the ocean and drank out of coconuts and pineapples.

We found mexican food for lunch:) We did a little shopping before going back to our hotel. We got in the jacuzzi for a while. I had put a little sunscreen on my face and shoulders. Abby and Kristina didn't put any on at all, so we were all in pain that night.
Tuesday we did our tour of Phuket. We drove by other beaches and stopped to take pictures. Then we went to a snake show (Kristina's idea) where we saw cobras and jumping snakes. I got kissed by a snake. Scary. We rode elephants after that. There was a seat on the back and then we took turns sitting on its neck. That was really cool.

We took pictures with a monkey, which bit Abby. haha That night we went out for steak. It was really good.
Wednesday we went to the Phi Phi Islands. It was kinda gloomy and rainy all day. The tour wasn't very good at all. There were so many people crammed in a little boat. We went snorkeling, but it was cold and people on the boat were throwing bread at us so the fish would attack. I didn't stay in the water long. I got out and threw bread at Abby with Kristina. We went to Monkey Beach after that. There were a lot of monkeys on the beach. One bit a little girl, and they were taking peoples stuff. We saw a monkey drinking coke, and one drinking gatorade. We went to the place where they filmed The Beach. The queen's niece was there. If we took pictures of her, we would get arrested though. It was really pretty there. The water was crystal clear. I wish it had been sunny!

That night we ventured to another beach and went to Dino Park for dinner...a dinosaur restaurant! The waiters and waitresses were dressed like the flinestones. It was cool. There was a baby elephant outside the restaurant to feed and take pictures with.

Thursday, we had another beach day. Massages on the beach while they delivered spring rolls to us. I think we had spring rolls every day. More Thai food for lunch/dinner.
Friday, we went to James Bond Island. First they took us through caves in kayak things. We saw more monkeys and rocks shaped like various animals. At James Bond Island, one of the guides took Kristina's camera and led us around making us do all these cheesy poses.

After that, we went to one last beach where we could swim.
When we got back to the hotel, we relaxed in the jacuzzi for a while before getting ready to go out for new years eve. It wasn't easy finding a place to eat. Everything was full. We finally got a table at the place we had gone for steak before. It was crazy walking around. There were so many people. You couldn't walk down the street without getting sprayed with silly string. We almost missed the countdown. We walked out on the beach where the fireworks and all the people were. They didn't start from 10, they just said 3, 2, 1!

The next morning when we were packing to go home, it was weird to realize everybody back home was still in 2010.
Anyway, we left our hotel at noon, and we were about halfway to the airport when I looked at the itinerary. We thought our flight was at 2, and we assumed that someone had actually looked at the paper...turned out our flight wasn't til 6:45! So the cab dropped us off at a beach near the airport with all our luggage. The people were really nice. They let us leave our bags at a restaurant, and we enjoyed an extra day at the beach. It was a really nice beach. Not too many people and probably the best weather we had all week.

It was a nice ending to our trip, even if we were covered in sand and smelly on the plane ride home. We were so sad to see all the snow when the plane landed. From white sand to...kinda dirty snow:(

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I've posted! oops! I never posted about my birthday, so I'll start there. My birthday was on a tuesday (the 24th) so we decided to celebrate the saturday before. Abby and I went with Kristina to her family's house in Gangwando, which is like out in the country. Houses are rare where we live. Everybody lives in apartments, so it was different to be in an actual house. We barbecued outside by a little stream. It was really nice (minus all the bugs). The food was delicious. I love Kristina's family. Her aunts and uncles are really funny, and her little cousins are so cute. We got to give 2 of them English names...Tom and Jerry. Kristina's family sang happy birthday to me too many times to count. They sang when we cut the watermelon and her uncle makes this raspberry soju wine. Every time we drank, he would start singing for me. hahaha We were sad to say goodbye:( We went home to rest for a very short time before heading to hongdae. We went to On the Border for (finally) a real birthday. Abby and Kristina wanted had been trying to find Hello Kitty cupcakes for me, but as much Hello Kitty as there is in this country, they had no luck. Abby bought cupcakes, scraped off the icing, and re-did them with Hello Kitty. They turned out really cute!

We had a fun night in Hongdae, ending with wii at Jane's Groove. We've been trying to find a wii cafe in bucheon, but no luck yet:(
Of course we had to celebrate again on my actual birthday. We went to a little italian place for dinner. Abby and Kristina got me a baskin robins walrus ice cream cake. It was really yummy! We went to The Park after that, and then we did sticker pictures!

That next weekend was Steven's birthday, Kristina's Korea 2 year anniversary, and Tom's last weekend. We celebrated Steven's birthday Friday night. He came to Bucheon. Saturday, we went to Incheon for Tom's going away party. We'd never really seen much of Incheon. There's a big foreigner group there.
This past weekend was more of just a low key weekend. We did go to the Hamilton hotel in Itaewon on Sunday because it's one of the few outdoor pools in korea where you don't have to wear a swimcap. We were a little disappointed. It was $16 to get in and $12 more if you wanted a chair (which we didn't get because there weren't even 3 together). There wasn't even room to spread out our towels on the ground together. It was really crowded. When we first got there, it was sunny, but as soon as we finished our Quiznos, it clouded up. We were in the pool 10, maybe 20 minutes and it started raining. We eventually gave up and left and went to What the Book. We decided to go to Hooters for dinner. My first time going to Hooters. hahaha. The food was good, but pretty expensive.
Everything's going pretty good at school. My partner teacher is having heart surgery, so he's out for the month. I'm taking an extra class, but they are good so I don't really mind. We have chuseok (korean thanksgiving) in 2 weeks. We were just getting tues-thurs off, but they decided to give us friday. I wish we had somewhere cool we could go, but we waited too late to get tickets. Abby's mom is coming, and neither of them have friday off. Kristina and I might try to do Seoraksan, but its so hard to plan things with the weather now. It's been raining a lot. We want to go to Everland and Caribbean Bay (the water park) too. Summer's almost over! I'm so sad:( Fall is going to fly by, and then evil winter will be here :(

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I guess a couple of weeks have passed since the philippines. Seems like such a long time ago! I miss it. The weekend after we got back we had to blow up the pool (by we, I mean I) and go up to the roof to pretend we were back on the beach.

It was a relaxing weekend. We went to see Toy Story 3...such a cute movie. My eyes got a little misty at the end.
This past weekend, we made plans to go to a Smashing Pumpkins concert. It started at 7, so after having a yummy lunch Kristina's mom cooked for us, we went to Myeong dong to go shopping. We were in no rush at all. We figured there would be an opening band so we didn't have to be there right at 7. Well, we kinda lost track of time...we got there around 8:20. Turns out there was no opening band. When we went to buy tickets, they told us there was only 10 minutes left. We weren't about to spend $100 on 10 minutes so we just went to listen by the door. Kristina was really upset and on the verge of tears. She begged them to let us in for the last few minutes, and they eventually gave in! They played for 20-30 more minutes.

After the concert we were supposed to meet some friends at a casino nearby. Hey, we just saved $100 on concert tickets! haha We played roulette pretty much the whole time. We wanted to play blackjack but the people at the $5 table weren't moving. I had a good system worked out and I was doing pretty well at one point, but in the end I ended up breaking even, plus making $50 that some random guy gave Abby, Kristina, and I each! We were really excited about the free food. We ordered ice cream, sandwiches, cereal, etc. Of course we were there until 7:00 in the morning. Kristina finally got a chair at the blackjack table and she didn't want to leave. hahaha Needless to say, I didn't do much of anything sunday with the exception of an emart run because hello was out of food.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Time for a blog about the Philippines before I forget everything! It was such a nice vacation. We spent pretty much the whole time in Boracay, which some people told us not to do since its just a small island, but we really enjoyed having a more relaxing vacation.
So we caught the bus to the airport after work Friday and made pretty go
od timing getting to the airport. We arrived in Manila after a 4 hour flight. We were exhausted and ready to just crash at our hostel. Our flight to Caticlan was the next morning. We got a taxi and drove around lost for probably an hour, stopping to ask for directions every few minutes. For anyone who decides to stay at the Happy Coconuts hostel in Manila, Happy Coconuts car insurance is also the hostel even though it doesn't say that on the sign. The cab ride still ended up being only a little over 3 dollars. He tried to charge us more than the meter price since he had to stop so many times for directions, but Abby wasn't about to let him. haha Nothing fancy about the hostel, but it was cheap and good enough for one night. Our flight the next morning was around noon. The cab driver tried to tell us his meter was broken and wanted to charge us about 5 times as much as the cab had cost the night before. We talked him down some, but we didn't really want to be kicked out of the cab in the sketchy streets of manila so we still ended up paying a little more, plus he took us to the wrong terminal, which driving are like 15 minutes apart. Anyway, after 2 taxis to the airport, a bus to our tiny plane, a plane to Caticlan, a motorized tricycle to the ferry, and another tricycle, we finally made it to our hotel in Boracay.

The hotel was really nice. We loved our pool! No swim caps required (unlike practically all pools in Korea).

We were a little surprised at how many Koreans were there on vacation. We dropped our stuff off in the room and headed for the beach. We walked around, got cocktails, and got Abby to try balut (fertilized egg). It was pretty disgusting.

Our hotel had a breakfast buffet until 10:00, and we made it every morning. I miss having someone make me omelets and serve me coffee every day:( Sunday after breakfast we decided to go jet skiing. People are lined up along the beach asking you, "Sail boating? Jet skiing? Parasailing? ATV??" so you don't have to go far to look for something to do. We were a little disappointed by the jet skiing prices, but nobody seemed to be coming down much on the price. They took us in a jeepney to the other side of the island where it was calmer. Abby and I shared a jet ski and took turns driving. I'm a way better driver. It was scary (when she was driving), but a lot of fun. Later, we had really yummy Greek food for lunch, had massages by the beach, and then enjoyed the day by the beach and at the pool. That night the rains came, as they did almost every night we were there. We were lucky enough to have sunshine every day though. We went to the Hobbit House for dinner. The staff there were all little people. We felt weird taking pictures, but our waiter was really nice and he asked us if we wanted to take a picture together.

The food there was really good too. I had the filet mignon, which came with really yummy mashed potatoes. We were so full after that, we were kind of miserable so we went home.
Monday we decided to do island hopping and snorkeling. They took us out on a boat to an island called Crystal Cove. There we got to go swimming in 2 caves, which was really cool.

The island was so beautiful. We went snorkeling by Crocodile Island (named for the shape of the island, not because there were crocodiles there).

While out on the boat, we bought coconuts from a guy on a surfboard.

We went to a Hawaiian BBQ place for lunch. Kristina was proud of me for ordering the Loco Moco, which was rice, a hamburger patty, egg, and gravy all mixed together. It was yummy. After lunch we went to the beach where we found a family of starfish. Three of them.

We were determined to eat out on the beach for dinner despite the rain. We went to a place with a tarp covering. We got leaked on a little and a lot of people had their umbrellas out, but the food was good! Kristina had the brilliant idea to order dessert first, then we split a pizza.
Our Tuesday adventure: helmet diving and parasailing. We went out on a boat to a platform in the ocean where we were instructed about equalizing and hand signals. We were then dropped in the ocean with a 50 pound astronaut helmet. A diver brought us to the bottom of the ocean where we got to walk around and feed the fish. Definitely a unique experience. Abby got bitten by a fish (for the second time since we'd been there). I had some helmet was stuck to my forehead the whole time, but other than that, it was a lot of fun!

Right after that, we got on another boat, a superman boat, to go parasailing. It was a lot different than parasailing in Bali. Abby went first, then Kristina and I went together. They wanted us to do 2 together because it looked like it might storm and they wanted us to finish faster.

Anyway, we went straight off the boat instead of off the beach this time. We went up in the air a lot slower than in Bali. Once you're up, you're kind of sitting instead of just hanging there. It was a lot more comfortable. Kristina was brave enough to bring her camera up with us so we got some cool pictures. After we were safely back on land, we had yummy Mexican food for lunch and spent the rest of the day on the beach and at the pool. For dinner, we went for Indian food, which made Kristina really sick the next day. We think it was the food anyway. She spent the whole day in the room, so Abby and I decided on just a relaxing day at the beach and pool. It was a really nice day, but really hot. You could hardly stand to be out of the water. Kristina was still sick when it was time for dinner, and it just happened to be the first night it didn't rain. The sunset was GORGEOUS.

Abby and I ate dinner out on the beach. The food wasn't amazing, but it was really nice eating on the beach.
Kristina was feeling better Thursday, so we decided on a trip to Ariel's Point. There you could go cliff diving, plus they provided a buffet bbq lunch. We went with a group of people who were also English teachers in Korea.

They were really nice. We had a lot of fun. We met a temperamental alcoholic biting monkey on a leash named michelle. She stole and destroyed one guys shoe. Honestly, before I even saw the cliff we were supposed to jump from, I had no real intentions of actually doing it. Once I did see it, there was no way I was doing it. Abby and Kristina said it hurt really bad. Abby has bruises. I'm the smart one. See the little tiny ledge at the ladder in the picture? That's where I jumped from. hahaha

Friday, our last day, we wanted to go out on a sailboat, but Kristina was feeling sick again, the water was pretty rough, and it looked like it might rain. We hung out at the beach for a while, did a little shopping, went to the pool, and went to get ready for dinner. We actually ran into a friend of ours from Bucheon, Shawn, so we met him for dinner out on the beach.

We had a wonderful rainless last night. I decided to have filipino food, chicken adobo. It was really good. We had ice cream, did a little more shopping, bought 40 cent chocolate cake in a bag, and called it a night.
Saturday morning, we woke up to rain. I guess boracay was sad we were leaving:( We packed and had our last breakfast before making our journey home. Our flight from caticlan was delayed so we got stuck in that tiny airport for a while. We were hoping to get an earlier flight from manila to korea, because none of us had any desire to spend 10 hours in manila. The airport in manila was an adventure. Of course we had to go to another terminal once we got there. They sent us to the wrong terminal...again. When we finally got to the right terminal, they informed us there was only one flight to korea, and it was our flight at 1am. We had been so sure we would be able to get an earlier flight, we really had no idea what to do. We walked around the airport for a while trying to find food, following signs about restaurants that led to nowhere. We eventually asked the security people, who took Kristina's license in exchange for a security badge and then took us to their basement cafeteria that wasn't really in the basement. It seriously felt like a basement even though there were huge windows all along the wall that made it quite clear we were on the first floor. I think we all felt more like we didn't belong there than we had felt in a long time. Not really what we had had in mind for lunch, but it wasn't bad. After eating and returning our badge, we tried to get the airport to help us find a hotel. They told us the price, but when we got to the hotel, they wanted to charge us extra for a 3rd person even though we were only staying a few hours. We were going to pay it anyway since we didn't really know where else to go, but when we walked into the room, we couldn't breathe. It smelled like something had died and they had tried to cover it up with orange spray. We decided to go back to our hostel. We got in a cab after being attacked by children who wanted our chocolate. We got kicked out of the cab after realizing the driver wanted us to pay a lot more than we had paid both times before. Not wanting to stand on the street in a pretty sketchy area of manila with our suitcases, we agreed to a still overpriced, but slightly cheaper cab to get us to the safety of our hostel. We were only there for like 5 hours before it was time to go back to the airport. We finally got on our plane, the coldest airplane I've ever been on in my life. We had to ask for extra blankets, but we were still freezing. Even though it was 1:00 in the morning, they were serving meals and selling duty free stuff. They didn't turn off the lights til like the end of the flight. I was so cold I couldn't sleep anyway. Worst flight ever! All I could think was I couldn't imagine being on that airplane flying home from korea. We were soooo glad to be back in Korea when our plane landed. We had a really great vacation, but Manila made us feel very thankful for our lives in Korea.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mud Fest

Off to the Philippines tonight! I'm soooo excited to spend the week at the beach! I guess I should blog about mud fest before I leave.
We went with a group from Rhythm and Booze again this year. They got a bus and we stayed at the same minbak as last year. We were a little disappointed to see rain was in the forecast for the whole weekend. Our trip had been cut short last year because of rain, so we didn't want that to happen again. Anyway, we left Bucheon a little before midnight Friday night. It was about a 2 hour bus ride (much better than last year). It was kinda rainy Friday night, but not too bad. I heard it raining really hard while we were sleeping. When we woke up it was still raining, which isn't a big deal when you're playing in the mud, but it was kinda cold. We started off the day with a delicious ramen breakfast, which i dumped in my lap:( At that point I was happy to have the rain to wash off. hahaha After food, we headed out in search of the mud. We walked toward the beach noticing that we weren't seeing any muddy people... When we got there, someone told us they were bringing in the mud the next day. We found the mud wrestling pit, which was filled with more dirty water than mud. There were people carrying buckets of mud back and forth to the slide. There seemed to be a very limited supply of mud. We were of course very disappointed, but we weren't ready to give up. Mud fest has colored mud painting, which we missed out on last year, but we saw a few colorful people walking around, so we asked them where it was. They told us it was about a 15 minute walk away. We started walking, and we stumbled upon the good mud. The really thick and oozy kind. We joined the huge group of people and covered ourselves in it. So much fun! When we couldn't possibly get any muddier, we walked farther down, eventually finding the colored mud painting. The line was really long, and someone told us it was about an hour wait. The slide lines were really long too. The Noise, a band that came with our group was about to play so we went over to watch that. They were really good. After the concert, we went to the ocean to wash off our mud, then headed back to our minbak. We got clean then went out for samgyupsal for dinner. We were all tired after a long, muddy day, so we went back and took a nap. We woke up later and sat outside for a while. The mosquitos were REALLY bad, and somebody broke my tennis racket bug zapper, so we decided to go to the beach. Some of our group decided to go swimming, but it was a little cold for that. After a while we headed back to the minbak where the mosquitos chased us inside.
We woke up sunday to SUNSHINE! yay! We started off the day with corndogs for breakfast, then headed off to play in the mud. We painted each other at the mud painting booth. We put hand prints on each other, which were sunburned into our skin. Then we went to wait for colored mud. It was worth the wait I think. We had a lot of fun sunday. We went on the slides, hung out in jail, and washed off again in the ocean.
Our bus left at 7:00, so we had a good full day to get plenty of sunburn with mudlines. haha At least no mud rash this year!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Hello Kitty

I got a kitten! It wasn't really a planned thing. I was out shopping with Kristina, and a friend of hers called and asked if she wanted a kitten. She asked me and I was like, "um...i dunno..." and she took that as a yes. We stopped by e-mart on the way home and picked up some food and a litter box, and that night I had a kitten! We decided on the name Hello. Get it?? Like Hello Kitty! haha Hello is sooooo tiny and cute. He meows alllll the time, even when he's eating. Not so fun when I'm trying to sleep, but I still love him.

Anyway, mud fest this weekend! It's supposed to rain:( We leave tonight at 11:00 and dont get back until sunday night. I hope Hello does ok being alone for the weekend.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

So Abby came over to make ghetto s'mores last night. Korea doesn't have graham crackers, so we had to use these wafer things... kinda like waffle cones. They were pretty good. Anyway, I left a chocolate bar on the table, and when I woke up the next morning, it was in liquid form. Not just soft, it was completely drinkable. Just thought you guys should know how hot my house is right now. Thanks to Abby, I have a fan now. The AC doesn't do much. Oh well, I'll take this over the evilness of winter any day...