Saturday, January 31, 2009

[get thai'd! // you're talking to a tourist]

I'm back in Korea! It's strange, in a way, to be back in Korea, where everything is still different, but different in a familiar way. Anyway, there are many, many words and pictures to come about my trip (maybe, unless I get lazy), but meanwhile, here is my trip in Facebook status updates, or updates I meant to make, but didn't have access to a computer. (Hey Robin, maybe you're right about this whole Twitter thing.)

January 18th: Cait is in Cambodia. Say wat? If you get that joke, you know why I'm here. - When I told people I was going to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat, no one knew what that was, leaving me in spasms of shock, since I've wanted to see Angkor Wat for at least half my life.

January 19th: Cait climbed seven Khmer temples today - a new personal best for number of Khmer temples climbed in a day. - This combined two of my favorite things: climbing temples and crumbling ruins in third world countries.

January 20th: Cait got a new president for her birthday! - I couldn't have asked for more.

January 21st: Cait is stranded in Bangkok, ftw! - Continuing the theme of bad luck while traveling, my check card was stolen in Bangkok. All was well, I canceled the card before it was used and my Dad wired me money (long live Western Union), but it did mean that I was stuck in Bangkok for an extra day. At this point, I think I'm so jaded to travel catastrophes that they don't phase me anymore and my response to the whole thing was annoyance. People kept telling me not to worry and that things would work out, and I kept having to explain that no, this wasn't my upset face, it was my pissed off face. Seriously, man, can't I catch a break on my birthday.

January 24th: Cait rode a bike for the first time in like, ten years. - I rented a bike in Sukhothai and got lost in the Thai countryside looking for a Buddha statue, as one does. I have been lost in every country I've every been to, which is a source of bizarre pride.

January 27th: Cait is flying like a gibbon through the trees. - I did a zipline course called Flight of the Gibbons. I figured I could either see the jungle by hiking or by zipping around on wires like some sort of monkey. It was an easy choice.

January 28th: Cait is all wat'd out. - After two weeks in southeast Asia, I was quite tired of wats. There was one by my hotel in Chiang Mai and I didn't even notice until my last day.

January 29th: Cait finally got to ride an elephant! - I wanted to do two things in Thailand: laze about on a beach and ride an elephant. I never did make it to the beach, but I did get to ride an elephant. I also got into a splashing contest with the elephant. The elephant most definitely won.

January 30th: Cait is cold in her Seoul. :( - I showed up in Korea in a t-shirt and flip flops. The blast of cold air I received when I stepped off the plane was most unwelcome.

And one photo from the trip:

Sunrise over the Temples of Angkor. Taken @ 6:08 am on January 20th, my 24th birthday. One of the most spectacular sites I've ever seen and one I will remember for the rest of my life.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Say Wat?

Today I:
-- climbed seven Khmer temples, setting a new personal best for number of Khmer temples climbed in a day
-- saw a Cambodian funeral procession
-- saw monkeys, elephants, ponies and yaks
-- spent three hours wandering around the world's largest religious monument
-- spent an hour wandering around a temple that looked like something out of Indiana Jones - quite literally, since part of Indiana Jones was filmed at Ta Prohm

I'm hot, dirty, dusty, sweaty and I'm waking up before dawn to do it again tomorrow. Cambodia is awesome!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Nom nom nom

Today's post is brought to you by Indian food, exhaustion and my new camera, an Olympus FE-370 that I bought with Siobhain's help at the I-Park mall this weekend. (On New Year's Day, while spending three hours wandering around Lotte Mart & Home Plus [like Wal-Mart, ON STEROIDS] I realized that I've hated my camera since I bought it and I actually have the money to replace it now, so maybe I should do that.) It has a much better zoom, super macro mode (be glad I'm not making you look at the photos I took of my knitting where you can only see like, ten stitches) and most importantly, the colors aren't insanely washed out.

I went out for dinner tonight and ended up pulling out my camera and really, let's all be happy only one of these pictures is of food, even though my camera has a special setting for photographing food. Oh yes, it does.

My eating buddy
This is Tina. Isn't she adorable? I met her walking home from school about two months ago. She lives across the street from me and is an English teacher at a middle school near by. We eat dinner together a couple times a week, whenever one of us doesn't feel like cooking, which, tbh, is quite often. Today, we went to the Indian restaurant near the train station.

Indian food is delicious. I might be meh about Korean food (some of it - mandu, bulgogi, gimbap, most of the soups - is delicious, but the rest of it I could do without), but I have discovered that I love Indian food. Indian restaurants are all over Korea and they're some of my favorite places to eat. Phil's India Camp, the one near my house, isn't the best, but it's also a five minute walk instead of an hour long train ride, which earns it a lot of points.

Nom nom nom
Nom, nom, nom.

And here I am knitting after dinner. I'm working on the Lizard Ridge afghan, which I've dubbed The Monitor.

Tina & I at dinner
Dooooooooooooooorks! Shortly after Tina took this photo, the manger of the restaurant came over and asked us to be the models for the restaurant website, probably because Tina is adorable and I'm obviously foreign. He brought his camera over and took a few photos of us laughing at our table and pretending to eat. Of course, I can't find a website for the restaurant, so who knows what he was really up to.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

sleeping bags and battle flags

I just booked my plane tickets for Thailand! I leave Friday, January 16th and I get back Saturday January 31st!

I am kinda over the moon with excitement (and not just because Thailand is going to be blessedly warm) and also nerves, since I haven't done much solo traveling (traveling yes, but always with other people) and I've never planned a trip before. I'm coping with the stress by becomes INSANELY ORGANIZED, and even though I only started planning this trip YESTERDAY, I already have an ever-growing outline of places I want to go (organized by location and type) and a calendar of when I plan to be in various locations. Of course, I'm likely to ignore all of this once I actually get to Thailand (I am controlled by no itinerary, even one I made myself) but it makes me feel better now.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Celebrity Endorsement

Tiring of his role as servant of the Secret Fire and wielder of the flame of Anor, Gandalf the White retired and became the spokesman for Hite Beer. "Hite Beer has a cool crisp taste perfect for relaxing after a long day fighting Uruk-hai. Taste the Misty Mountains!" Shagrat, spokesman for Isengard, has filed a complaint, citing an anti-Orc bias at Hite Brewery Company.

Photo taken near Hyehwa Station in Seoul, South Korea.