Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Paul's Journey

The last time I traveled with Ammon, and Maggie, it was three years ago, in India. I was with them for five weeks, and considering it was the first time I really tried to be a backpacker, I got the crash course on traveling on a budget. Back then when we parted I said, “When you guys reach SE Asia, let me know and I’ll be there.” Sure enough I kept that promise I made in '06.

I can certainly say that this trip was a lot easier then my first. Coming from Vancouver, Canada to Singapore, I got over my jet lag and adapted to the humidity in only three days. Even though I haven’t lived on this side of the world since I was 6, I had an easier time adapting to the changes. I guess I sort of also had an advantage of kind of looking like I belonged here. But it didn’t take the locals very long to realize that I was a foreigner. My stubborn insistence on wearing shoes and socks was one sign. The tone of my English was another giveaway. I also didn’t know what the people were speaking on a street level. Although many signposts in Singapore and Malaysia are written in English, I could not begin to guess what language people were speaking to me on the streets. There really is quite a variety of cultures and languages spoken here. Even though I was born here, I did feel a bit out of place.

So we wandered upward through Malaysia and planned to make our way to Bangkok, Thailand but considering I only had 3 weeks with them, looking at the map it made more sense for me to leave from Phuket. Before leaving on this trip, I told myself what I really need is a quiet beach where I can just sit in the sun and just do nothing. After we were delayed in Penang, I was painfully aware from how close we were to Thailand. The Watkins needed to stick around for 3 more days but I couldn’t wait that long so it was an easy decision for me to venture off on my own.

There’s a certain sense of freedom when traveling solo. One can go at one’s own pace and it’s much easier meeting new people. Healthy people can not be alone for long periods of time. The need for human contact and interaction becomes a high priority. So following my own advice I went over to Trang, for a night, found nothing for me to do there so I headed off to Krabi. I didn’t have a Lonely Planet book with me so I was kind of winging it. I had already booked a flight from Phuket, so I was just heading in the direction I need to go. At Krabi, there were no shortages of minibuses that would take me out of town to one of the many island or beach resorts. Because of improper planning I ended up in Lanta beach without a place to stay. Being adventurous I ended up hitchhiking up and down the island, trying to find a cheap resort. Considering it was the low season there, many guesthouses were closed until October. I ended up being saved by a Finnish fella who brought me to a very cheap bungalow and I got my beach fix. But there’s a reason this is the low season. Ever since I left Malaysia, I was trying to stay one step ahead of the rain. I think it read my mind and dogged my every step northward. So I left only after two nights and went back to Krabi, town. I also knew that the Watkins were going to arrive from Hat Yai, that day, and we needed to regroup. I found out that they were only staying a few doors away in a different guesthouse. We ended staying in Krabi for the remainder of my trip.

I can say that this time around was much easier then my experience in India. The people are much nicer and I’ve developed a much thicker skin when dealing with anyone that was pushy. Even though it’s been said that Malaysia, and Thailand are dirty and developing, I didn’t have a problem with any of the amenities. Learning to accept how things are done differently than home is part of the experience of traveling. For myself, I don’t need to go to monuments, temples, or shines. I like to walk the streets for hours, just observing the daily life of the people around me. For me I absorb more information then any book or television show could offer.

Paul

4 Comments:

At 9:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Paul,
I would have thouht someone from Vancouver would have developed the waterproof skin to live there. VBG

THe Bear

 
At 1:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Paul, Good one on traveling with the crew again, too bad I wasn't there this time to join in on your adventure. Happy Birthday mom!! You are officially an old 50 fart now. That sucks..dont cry, I still love you! Heehee!! Amo, I was just looking at the videos we made in Egypt and our mission impossible part two is missing? What the H? You gotta find it! What happened? Anyways, miss you guy lots and see you soon at home again. I know I know... I need to write a blog.. Maybe I will after the big Bear said he misses them and how they brought colour to the posts!! OK, GTG Love you all!!
Muah!
Bre Butt!!

 
At 9:07 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Maggie:

HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY!!!!!!

you being so much older than I, should be shown respect, but naaaaww not happening this time.

Love you,
Big Bear Hugs the Bear.


ps. Bre, I really do miss the blogging from you, and Savannah too.

 
At 7:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay Paul what did you do with them? Since you jacked their blog they are mysteriously missing.... hhhmmmmm sounds suspicious....

 

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