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Climbing Railay, Thailand

Geotag Icon Show on map Thursday, August 13th, 2009 by Lisa

2009 August :: Railay, ThailandWe spent a wonderful week in Railay, Thailand with BJ’s brother, Brandon, and sister in law, Jen. Jen and Brandon had spent a week in Railay last year and were excited to return and to teach us how to climb. We spent the week climbing, eating delicious and spicy Thai food, getting a Thai massage, swimming in the ocean, hiking to a hidden lagoon, relaxing and taking lots of naps, watching spider monkeys swing through trees, celebrating Greg’s birthday, and enjoying time with Brandon and Jen. There is way too much to write, so we put together a slideshow for you. Make sure to expand to full screen and select “more info” so that you can read all of the captions, which will explain a lot. BJ and Brandon have another brother Greg, who is back in Boise, who happened to turn 30 at the beginning of our week in Railay. To celebrate his birthday Brandon and Jen had a small clay doll made in China, which we schlepped around Railay with us on various adventures. We got a lot of strange looks but had way too much fun. Happy Birthday Greg . . . wish we could have celebrated with the real you!

Go to the slideshow.


Scootin’ Phuket

Geotag Icon Show on map Saturday, August 1st, 2009 by Lisa

Scooters in Thailand After a three hour nap following our all night quarterly meeting for Vertical Media, we rented a scooter for $6/day and gave ourselves a self guided tour of Phuket. Scooters are definitely the main mode of transportation around here and although almost 90% of the people we saw on scooters were tourists as well, we couldn’t help but feel a little more connected to the cultural side of Thailand. It was such a fun day and such a great way to see the island. We ripped around the skinny roads, stopped at a few overlooks, followed the big red signs up to the Big Buddha, had lunch along the ocean front, and even got pulled over by the cops. Phuket's Big BuddhaApparently they are always on the look out for people driving without a license and luckily BJ just happened to bring his passport and license along for the ride.  There don’t seem to be too many other rules on the road. Only half of the people on scooters actually wear helmets . . . we had two really snazzy looking blue ones. You can ride three scooters to a lane if needed. And more than a couple times we were confronted with a scooter driving towards us in our shoulder lane. I’m pretty sure just about any other scooter key could have started ours up as well and although we didn’t put our theory to test, people seem pretty trustworthy. We especially enjoyed passing the scooters that had a side car which had been converted to a food stand on wheels. I’m bummed we missed a photo of one in particular that was actually cooking some satay chicken sticks over coals while driving.

Phuket's Big Buddha We headed back out on the scooter in the evening to have dinner in Kata, one beach south of Karon. We had a table overlooking the main downtown street which provided us with a great view for people watching. On the way back we took a “scenic route” and saw another side of Thailand in the area’s red light district. We barely needed a headlight on our scooter because the neon lights lit our way. Still exhausted from the all nighter and a fun day on the scooter, we came home early and went straight to bed.

Fill 'er UpBut apparently we didn’t get enough and we were back on the road for lunch again today. We spent the afternoon catching up on work while overlooking the ocean from our hotel balcony and we are looking forward to Brandon and Jen’s arrival this evening. They will join us at our hotel tonight and head out with us via boat first thing tomorrow to Phi Phi Island and on to the low key Railay Beach.


Karon Beach, Thailand

Geotag Icon Show on map Thursday, July 30th, 2009 by Lisa

shop Thailand” href=”http://riverecho.com/photos/photo/3769215065/phuket-thailand.html”>Phuket, <a href=search Thailand” width=”240″ height=”180″ /> It’s currently 1:30am and BJ and I are in the middle of a “lunch break” during an eight hour quarterly meeting with Vertical Media. I’m not so sure we would wake up if we took an hour nap, sickness so we are pushing through, going for a quick swim in the rooftop pool and then going to keep the coffee and coca colas flowing until 6am. So far the night has been much easier than we anticipated. When we arrived in Thailand two days ago, my eyes were bloodshot and half closed but because we were in a new place we couldn’t let ourselves crash when we reached our hotel. Instead we immediately walked five minutes into town and to the beach. We are staying in the town of Karon on the island of Phuket in southwest Thailand. People who have heard of Phuket would most likely recognize the name Patong, which is a beach just north of us. The island is known as a popular tourist destination and from what we have seen and found so far, it is tropical, hot and humid, surrounded by beautiful bright green ocean water, has fantastically spicy food, and just a tinge of sleaze. Within the first ten minutes of being in downtown Karon, we were almost talked into winning the “grand prize” if we went on a tour of a time share. Phuket, ThailandThe scam artist, who happened to be an Australian, was very good at his job and he picked his subjects well . . . sleep deprived, hungry, not quite used to the heat, delirious, and new to town. We were able to avoid the situation but it’s given us a few laughs since. The few Thai people that we have met in our hotel and at restaurants in town have been really nice.  We have been so quick to say “no” or just ignore people along the streets who are trying to get us to come into their store, or use their taxi service, or rent their motor scooter, but we’ve realized a few times after waving them off that some of the locals were just saying “hi” or “good afternoon.” Our protective and defensive instinct may not be so necessary towards the local Thai business owners. I guess it’s just the scamming Ausies that we need to watch out for.

Phuket, Thailand We’ve been thoroughly enjoying the food so far. We love that everything is spicy and that they don’t warn you about it with a little asterisk next to the menu item like at home. And you don’t have the option to order mild, medium or hot . . . it just comes hot. But the spiciness is somewhat of a blessing in disguise because it is soooo hot out already that the food just makes you sweat more and if the slightest breeze comes by . . . oh, it just feels so nice. Most of the menus down here display the name of the dish in Thai and in English. There is no hope in being able to understand the Thai version as it looks like a bunch of pretty drawings and figures and the English version ends up being the direct translation. So for a dish like pad thai, we can’t read the Thai alphabet and the English name for it is simply “Rice noodles with egg and chicken, tofu, or pork.” Back in the states, we recognize most names of Thai dishes by the Thai name spelled out phonetically in the Roman alphabet like pad thai, kee mow, larb gai, tom yung goong, etc. So instead of looking at the menu we’ve started to just ask for dishes that we already know that we like, which surprisingly impressed our server at lunch today. I could just keep on eating Thai food forever . . . or at least every day for the next two weeks.

Oh, and photos from the last few weeks are finally up if you want to take a look.