Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"You have a serious ear canal infection"

Did you hear about my ear? It got infected on May 9th and I am still having problems. As frustrating as it is, it's interesting to go to clinics and hospitals in Thailand. Yes, hospitals.

As you may recall, Nok at the Ban Chalok clinic on Koh Tao gave me drops to put in my ear for 5 days. Well by day 2 my ear was stuffed again, my hearing poor. In no way was it like the excruciating pain I experienced on the boat in Ang Thong National Marine Park, but it was still bad. Sometimes I wonder if someone has a voodoo doll of me and keeps pricking my ear and jaw.

Poor hearing in one ear really ruins listening to musical artists like Jack White and The Beatles, by the way. Cryin' shame.

Anyway, Eda and I took a 12.5 hour train during the day to Chiang Mai and in the morning we went to McCormick Hospital - founded in 1889 by Jesus Christ as far as I can tell...and the hospital looks like a fancy resort. I was told it would be better to go to a private hospital than the government one so that I wouldn't have to wait from say 3am to 3pm the following day....

The hospital is really nice and the staff even nicer. I was in good hands and taken care of quite quickly.
Waiting to see the ENT.
The ENT stuck some kind of suction device into my ear and pulled out all sorts of gunk and then declared, "You have a serious ear canal infection." He cleaned out 90% of what was inside but then it started to hurt. And then I got dizzy and needed to sit and drink ginger ale so as not to keel over. What an adventure!
McCormick Hospital prescribes medicine, but good ol' JC is the healer! I was prescribed Sofradex drops - 5 drops 3 times a day and given some Tylenol. The whole experience cost me just over 700 baht = $23 - so my running total now is about $125 on this silly little left ear!
And so this is the middle of the story as I have been taking the drops now for 5 days and in 2 days I have to go get my ear checked again...at that point I should be on Koh Phi Phi where there are only clinics. My ear was good for the first 3 days, but yesterday I started to experience that same voodoo doll shooting pains in my ear and jaw and I have muffled hearing again.

You can't win 'em all. On the flipside - I am so lucky to have Eda to remind me to put the drops in and to let me complain about my pains. Thanks, girl, I owe you big. ALSO, I love Chiang Mai and can see myself living here.

Over and out!

Ancient City of Ayutthaya, photos for my mom

When my mom came through to Thailand for 8 days in December 2010, we had to feed our love and obsession with temples by visiting as many sites as possible. I'm not complaining because I love seeing the Buddha everywhere. We visited Ayutthaya. With Eda, I chose Ayutthaya as the more convenient option between it and Sukhotthai. A lot of these photos are dedicated to my mom because she's the best mom anyone can ask for...so mama eto tebe <3
It's 15 baht to take the train for 2 hours from Bangkok to Ayutthaya. That's 50 cents, ya'll.

Bangkok x3, too much

Bangkok was naturally the first city I discovered in Thailand back in November 2010. I really did love it, everything was new, exciting, and absolutely wonderful. In December 2010 my mom came and we spent a few days revisiting the old haunts. That second time around I felt disoriented in Bangkok - I really liked the small town I lived in (Krabi Town) and Bangkok was the opposite of it all. Also going to the same places (Grand Palace, Wat Po, Wat Arun) was a bit excessive no matter how wonderful those places were. I decided to fly out of Kuala Lumpur when it came time to buy my ticket home - I had no desire to return to Bangkok. See, I come from a big city. To me, New York City is the best big city I have been to. It's got everything. I love it. That being said, when I travel, I don't want to be in big cities unless they've got history in every inch of their architecture (I'm lookin' at you Paris).

I would have bypassed Bangkok this trip, but I was lucky enough to be joined in my travels by one of my closest friends from home: Eda! Welcome, welcome =) She landed in Bangkok, so naturally I booked us a room at Shanti Lodge (where I've stayed in 3 times) and we spent one day exploring the Grand Palace and Wat Po, and one day going out to Ayutthaya and meeting up with my Spaniards back in Bangkok. Sure I had been having ear problems and once again I had muffled hearing in my left ear - but it was just the air and vibe in Bangkok that put me off this time. It's so big and I have no idea where to go there!! And this time I finally discovered the debauchery that is is Khao San Road - the worst place in the world, I'd say. Don't go there. Do you want a middle age Thai guy offering you to see "ping pong" shows while he holds his crying baby in his arms? No, I didn't think so. Khao San Road is for those tourists and travelers who I do not want anything to do with anyway.

Regardless, Wat Po is still my favorite place in Bangkok and I'm glad I got to see the beauty of the Grand Palace again. I did not take too many photos, but here's a peek.

Goodbye Koh Tao! 'Til we meet again.

The Grand Palace is all about details.

Grand Palace

Grand Palace
Grand Palace murals
Grand Palace murals
Wat Po

Hi Eda!
Wat Po memories...

I met Nicki and her mom Phen, dad John on the ferry from Koh Tao. John is from Oregon, Phen is from Thailand, so they're an American Thai family. Nicki is hilarious. We all went out to dinner one of the 2 nights Eda and I were in Bangkok!
Nicki, Phen, John, me, and Eda

Khao San Road. Gross.

Eda, me, Raquel and Luismi!

We have a special love for each other. See how we share our pancake with ice cream.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mai pen rai, the song

When Eda and I spent the day wıth Pele Thai goıng to the highest point in Thailand, we were taught a Thai song called 'Mai Pen Rai'. Mai pen rai translates to 'nevermind' or 'no worries' and the phrase is a part of Thai culture. Thai people use it when you spill something, when you say 'thank you', and all situations ın between. I am a big fan of the phrase (check my early blog post) and am grateful to know this silly song.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ang Thong National Marine Park, in photos

Thanks to Tom and Julien of Unseen Tours in Ban Chalok on Koh Tao, Astrid and I (along with said Tom & Julien, the captain, and 3 other young travelers) set sail for 3 days and 2 nights to the 42 islands that make up Ang Thong National Marine Park. We were off the beaten path or course, as the case may be. We slept on the boat. We dove into a storm. We kayaked. We hiked to one heck of a view. I played with the glow in the dark algae at night. Some snorkeled and swam - I had to stay out of the water for the most part due to my ear. I'm grateful to all the people on the boat for being so helpful and caring while I was in so much pain.

Could not resist
Maya had a panda (3 to be exact). Julien liked to torture them.

Spectacle Monkey - a highly endangered species. Thanks to Lindsey for the consistent answers to my primate questions!

Tom taught me to play chess!

Sunrise...but I went back to sleep before it came up.

I know what you're thinking....

Our pop group name is Ang Thong Hikers.

It was all a dream...

Nothin' like a good rock scramble (in flip flops, no less - Usual rules do not apply in Thailand).

Before the storm

In the storm

Panda, Maya, and I hiding from the storm. Note the wind guard on my head.


Sunrise 2


The gang's all here: Astrid, Maya, Ikue, Captain, Tom, Julien, Frank, me.

Hey there, Koh Tao.