February 18, 2004
Koh Samui and Koh Tao
Koh means island in Thailand, but you knew that already. Mark and I had been staying on Koh Samui,which is one of his favorite islands. I went to see Women's Muay Thai boxing at one of the local clubs and it was much like mud wrestling with artificial mud. We went to see the famous rock called grandfather rock and another rock called grandmother rock: each remarkedly shaped like private parts. Lots of tourists go to see these rocks and have their pictures taken. There are European and Asia tourists. People from almost every country it seems but there are relatively few Americans staying here. There is also a big Budha statue on Koh Samu.
We left Koh Samui in a high speed ferry boat for the island of Koh Tao. We are staying in a place right on the beach. On this island are great beach restauants and lots of scuba diving. Mark and I rented a water taxi and went to several different snorkeling and dive sites. One outstandingly beautiful place is Koh Nangyuan which is like two ...no three small islands joined by stips of sand you can wade accross. Koh Nangyuan is just a short boatride from Koh Tao. The small islands are close enough together to go from one to the other. There is a hotel here on one island which is quite exclusive. People we met on the way over from Koh Samui on the ferry are staying here. Mark and I had lunch at this hotel and we spent the day snorkeling and climbing the hill on the other island. The colorful fish were abundant. I was snorkeling through schools of fish. I could hardly see for all the fish in front of my mask. As for the hill climb, it is a fairly long climb and the view is worth it. There are private properties on this second island.
Back to Koh Tao. There are fighting cocks in basket cages down the road from where we are staying. During the mornings the trainers teach them to fight. There has been a big bird flu scare and so we are keeping our distance from birds and chickens and having to make due eating bar-b-que shrimp that are each about 10 inches long and grilled fresh fish. At some of the restaurants outdoors on the beach the tables are like beds and you can lie down while waiting to be served your meal or after eating to listen to music and look at the stars.
February 11, 2004
Two days ago, Mark and I arrived in Cambodia and immediately did a short run to the ruins with our guide and driver and we did a climb up a mountain with numerous other people to see an amazing sun set. We have our own guide who comes with a car and driver to take us anywhere we want to go. Our hotel is beautiful and quite tranquil.
Yesterday was an all day tour of various temples beginning with a temple ruin referred to by some as the women's temple (Apsara Banteay Srei) since it was built by one of the kings who dedicated it to women. There were many beautiful stone carvings and elaborate writings on stone. We went to another site, which was really our favorite, the one where Tomb Raiders was filmed. It was spectacular with those huge old trees growing over the stones and into some of the stones and we climbed up into and all around this site and I wanted to swing across on a vine like Angelina Joli but the guide discouraged it.
We did get a one-hour rest back at the hotel after lunch and then we were back at it touring Angkor Wat I, which is the extremely large temple, complex. I thought the climb the first day was steep but we did some climbs up rock steps this day that seemed straight up with no hand rail and the step was about as wide as a woman's shoe. We loved it and it is so impressive and beautiful with walls 80 feet long carved with figures all over and telling the stories...some stories of mythology and others of everyday life in the 12th century.
At 7 pm we went to dinner and a performance by Cambodian dancers then a drink at the Foreign Correspondents Club and a tuk tuk ride a couple of long blocks to the hotel.
Today our guide and driver are taking Mark and I on a trip on the Mekong Delta and we will travel on a lake that is 100 miles long with floating villages including floating churches, police stations, and floating pens for animals and then back to Bangkok this evening
More adventures when we get back to Thailand and head for Koh Samui. As you probably know, Koh means island, and we love islands