Thursday, June 30, 2011

Welcome to Cambodia


We have spent the last 3 nights in thailand on an island called koh samet (which means samet island). It was absolutely beautiful and empty due to the fact that its the off season. we ate pad thai every day for 1.75 and lounged on the beach with our new friend lydia and sophie, who are from london. we stayed in bungalows with aircon for $20 a night which is expensive but ok since itll probably be the most expensive place we stay. the people everywhere are super friendly and the scam artists make up only a tiny part of the population.

yesterday we made our full day journey from koh samet (southern coast) to cambodia. we started at 6am with a taxi ride to the island port. we than took a ferry back to ban phe where we caught a 4 hr bus to bangkok. in bangkok we found a taxi to take us on the 3 hr ride to the border. we realized somewhere in the middle that the visa office closes at 5pm and tried to rush as much as possible. our taxi driver took us to the visa office where we got a visa, walked a few blocks to the border and crossed in. we later found out that we got ripped off $20 a piece by going to the first 'visa office'' and that we could have saved the money by going straight to the border,... either way we were able to dodge their offer for a $66 taxi ride to siem riep and instead scored on past the border for $26. the man tried to make us feel bad for not taking his taxi once we realized he was a scam artist... people these days.

the border is a really dirty place with lots of chaos and corruption. apparently we were told that the police follow the taxi drivers who have americans with them and demand a cut of the fare they pay the drivers. either way we didnt have much trouble once we were in the taxi and the 3 hr ride went by quick. did i mention we travelled all day with our new british friends? because we had 4 people we were able to cut deals easier.

i have to run because we are about to each breakfast ($1.50 each for eggs toast and coffee) and we are headed for a temple tour today. more stories from the last few days to come but i just wanted to update you all to keep my parents sane.

this adventure is proving to be crazy, unpredictable, and more fun than i could have imagined.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pad Thai for how much??!?

Sawatdeeka (hello) , family and friends!!

We have been in Thailand now for approximately 10 hours but it still hasn't hit us that this journey has begun. It may be the ridiculous jetlag (there is an 11 hour time difference), the strange eating schedule (we have eaten about 7 meals today) or the heat (seems to be about 100 degrees and 3000 percent humidity), but it has yet to sink in. Let me start at the beginning...

We got to the airport in New York in plenty of time for our flight. We boarded on time and got ready for what was supposed to be a 7 pm departure. Unfortunately, Aerosvit Airlines, the most quality airline in the world, decided to just sit on the tarmac for approximately 2 and a half hours. Which could be a problem, seeing that we had a connection to catch in Kiev and we only had a 2 hour layover scheduled. Finally, we take off. The flight attendants assured us in pretty broken english that the plane would be waiting for us when we got there. They then giggled and started talking to each other in Ukrainian. Very reassuring. After a ten hour flight, we land in what is loosely called an airport. There were about five gates and absolutely no one spoke English. Jason and I LITERALLY ran across the airport to find our gate. Lucky for us, Aerosvit was again lacking in punctuality, and we made it in plenty of time. At this point, we are exhausted and happy to be on the last leg of our trip.
P.s. I know my family is from the Ukraine, but it was rainy, cold and filled with angry people. Also, Jason and I discovered where Caroline truly gets her Borat accent. It is definitely a Ukrainian accent. As we listened to the captain mutter something about Bangkok, headsets and turbulence, all we could think of was little Carolushki.

The second flight was pretty uneventful. We slept, we ate, we got yelled at by a stewardess with braces, a three year old got in a fistfight with Jason, you know, the usual. 2 hours before the flight ended we decided to stick it out and stay up for the rest of it so we could watch the lights of Bangkok from our window. We landed at 3:30 am Thai time, picked up our bags, exchanged money and headed on our way.

We took a cab to our hostel, just a short ride from the airport. He charged us 200 Baht, which we found out later was a HUGE ripoff. By the way, did I mention 200 Baht is equal to about 7 dollars? We got to our hostel around five, grabbed a hearty breakfast of pad thai and singha beer ($4.50) and dropped off our bags. We took a cab and a public bus to a place recommended to us by our hostel owner called Chatchucha Market. On the way, we stopped at what we thought was a mall and ate in their food court, but we figured out that it was probably a school and we trespassed into their cafeteria. Oops.

To take a public bus, you must be willing to stop traffic and jump onto a slow moving bus. When we first went on the bus, it was free, and we cannot figure out if we stole or they just pitied the poor Americans who were clearly butchering their language. We somehow ended up on the right bus in the right place at exactly the right time.

The Chatchucha Market is possibly one of the craziest things we have ever seen. It is a giant market with over 14,000 stalls where you can buy ANYTHING. Imagine an asian imports store at the quarter of the price. Nuts.

We walked around there for a while and decided to, you guessed it, eat. We found a delicious air conditioned restaurant where we got green curry, stirfried noodles with tofu, steamed rice, and 2 bottles of water ($9). By the way, this food is the best Thai food we have ever eaten in our entire lives. It is so fresh and delicious and everywhere you go, there are smells wafting around that make your mouth water, no matter how full you may be. Sitting in the restaurant, I kept saying how stuffed I was and then proceeded to shovel more food into my mouth.

After that, we headed back to the hostel to (finally!) shower and do some laundry. I cannot believe how sweaty we got just walking around for a few hours, but it made the shower that much more amazing. The hostel itself is wonderful. The owner, Da, is the sweetest man ever. He gives us advice and helps us with anything we need. There is a beautiful rooftop patio where they serve dinner and computers to contact all of you! Da is wonderful, but he is no exception. Everyone we have met is so kind and helpful even though we only communicate with five Thai phrases and an excessive amount of hand gestures. Tonight, we look forward to some more delicious food and passing out in our airconditioned room to get rid of this jetlag once and for all. As for tomorrow, you know as much as we do. We are going to stay in Thailand, but that is the extent of our planning. We are trying to meet some people and get some advice on where to go.

We miss and love you all and we hope you are doing well!

And yes, parents, we are alive so you can stop worrying. ;)

Sawatdeeka (yep, it's goodbye too),
Lila and Jason

Leaving For Thailand Part Deux

So this was the first post that we wrote on our first blog. Jason misspelled caucasians (he spelled it cauacasians) but here is our new and improved blog!


Welcome to the most exciting blog in the world! We leave for Thailand today at 7pm from JFK in NYC. We stayed with our friends Marc and Juli 2 nights ago and with Jason's cousin Arielle last night. Last night Jason's uncle David and aunt Janine took us out to dinner with the cousins to a restaurant called Pulinos. It was some of the most mouthwatering Italian food we have ever had. We than went out for some drinks on the town only to have Bretts fake i.d. rejected like an awkward girl at prom.
Lila just finished a trip to Utah with her family and I just finished a roadtrip to Colorado's Rocky Mountains with my friend Jeremy. The adventures continue so check back for updates!!!

Jason and Lila