Where to start??? Really it hasn't been that bad but it has been a bit of an adventure, a VERY frustrating adventure at times. First I would like to say to all of you who said this place was "SOOOO cheap" you are all liars. There has been very little that's cheap about this place never mind the fact that the dollar is losing strength here every day, so that's not helping at all.
So Bangkok, while cool and all, was not very honeymoon-esque, so we bailed to the sounth in search of more romance and a better deal. We found some romance but not the better deal. Krabi was a pretty cool place. The place we stayed was also pretty cool (except for the shuttle driver that neglected to pick us up from downtown Krabi, leaving us stranded at 8:30pm in a place you don't really want to be. The upside, we got to ride motorbikes back to the hotel, which hwas pretty freaking cool and i now understand teh facination with motorcycles.... could be a new hobby come next spring!) All in all Krabi was a bit more like the Thailand I was hoping to see. People weren't jumping on you trying to get your money and we discovered that a VAT refund is probably not worth the time.
We took a bus to Ao Nang on the 15th to catch a long boat out to Tonsai/ Railay area which also was pretty cool. Long boats are a trip to ride on and really this is incredible country (we'll post some pics soon!!). We decided to stay on Tonsai as we've head it's cheaper but it seems a lot has changed in a year from what we've heard. The places aren't really cheap and if you do pay for cheap you get super cheap - like bamboo huts and mosquitos that feast on you all night. The bamboo hut thing is cool but the mosquitos - not so much. So we ended up in this wooden bungalow with a fan that only works 8 hours out of the day (oh yeah and it's like 90 degrees with 2000% humidity) and there was this great opening between the door and the floor so the mosquitos feasted on me all night. Not so much fun.... So we went in search of a better bargin today and discovered there really isn't anything "cheap" here anymore. It seems this whole area is undergoing a huge change and there's a move to bring in more money which means families, and couples with lots of $$$ to spend. The climbers are slowly losing their hold and there aren't that many "climbers" here - but there are a helluva lot of people who walk around slacklining, hanging out at the bottom of the crag talking shit about how great they are, and generally pretending to be way cooler than they are. It's not the welcome you with open arms climbing area that I had envisioned and that's a bit sad. BUT - yes there it ALWAYS a but - we have met some cool people who don't totally have thir heads up thier asses. There's a really nice lady called Pirnella, who we met on the boat and also a crazy group of Canadiens that turned out to pretty cool as well. Oh and we're right up the road from Wee's Climbing School and there are some really nice folks who work there.
So we did manage to haggle and score a pretty nice room (the bed we are not sure if it is the boxspring or the matteress.....) with air condiditoning so we can sleep and a hot shower so we can be clean (you just can't get clean in cold water) so that's goign to be home for at least the next two weeks and who really knows from there.
Tomorrow we are goign deep water soloing (YES we are FIANLLY climbing) and the really cool thing is we're goign to be able to use the climbing school's shoes, chalkbags and chalk so we don't have to ruin our own (as nothign ever really dries out here, especially leather climbing shoes!). So yes, we are really going to climb up a wall with no ropes and only the ocean below us to catch our fall. So Paul may be witness to some spectacular moves by me tomorrow as you all know how much I LOVE to fall!! :) I'm goign to be clinging on for dear life but, this is one way to get me over my falling issues in a hurry.
So now for Paul who would like a chance for a rebuttal (please hold your applause to the end - thank you)......
Paul's Rebuttal- SO what Shawana really meant to say is that she is having a wonderful and would not change anything that her new husband planned/didn't even look into one bit. She loves getting her ankles knawed on by possible malaria carrying mosquito's and haggling over a boat ride that really only costs 1.25. She REALLY loves when her husband feels like they are getting ripped off and decides that FOR THE PRINCIPLE they will take the 'walking trail' from Ton Sai to Rai Lai... This walking trail turns out to be the Batan death march of Thailand and we only made it half way. Then to turn around and go back to the beach and pay 10 baht(30 cents) less per person... If that's not a deal I don't know what is.
But on the bright side we are going climbing with no ropes tommorow and then Sunday we are going on a 'Sunset Snorkeling' Trip which means we go out on a speed boat, go snorkeling into the night, and then eat dinner by tiki-torch on the beach and then head back. This concludes Paul's rebuttal(I get to write the next post). :)
Shawana's Closing Remarks-
I'm trying to type through tears of laughter.... It's not that bad (traveling with all of our stuff and Paul's newly acquired art, whcih for some reason I always get the prvilage of carrying really sucks...). It's been a journey and that's what we wanted. We really ahd no idea at all what we were getting oursevleves into and it's making for great stories for you guys and for us to tell when we get back. The best part about it all is even though we'ev dealt with some crap since we've been here we've not fought nor killed each other so I think we're doing pretty darn well! :) Seriously though, this is a crazy trip and we never know what to expect from day to day. It's hopefully goign to mellow out now that we have a "home" and I'm stoked to get to climb and the sunset snorkeling is goign to be way cool. If you've never had the chance to experince phophorescence it's something you should definatley see in your lifetime. My first experince with it was a night paddle in Alaska, so being able to experience it here with Paul is going to be great. I need to get back on my soapbox for a minute - my big issue with a lot of this is seeing the degredation of the land and really the people as they fight for more money. This is a really incredible place but you can see the consequences of slash and burn development and the pollution in the ocean and surrounding areas. I'm really bummed (and Paul feels the same - it's been the topic of many a conversation sinc ewe've been here) that I didn't get to experince this are before it became so popular and to see what it was like pre-tsunami. It's the enviromentalist in me and I can't help it but it's one of thise things that really does affect your expereince somewhere. But we are doing what we can to not add to the problem and to try to be a solution instead.
So WOW - that was lot of info for you all to take in!! I hope you all had a laugh or two (I know we've had a few!!) at our experiences and well definately try to get some more pics up soon!
Miss you all (and give the puppies lots of love for us!!) and we'll post more soon!!