The worst aspect of living here (so far)

Contrary to all the bitching I’ve done, it definitely isn’t the winter weather which I had to ‘endure’. Or is it the constant dampness that Hanoi seems to be engulfed in. The worst aspect (so far) of living here, is having good friends you’ve made and formed a social circle with – just up and leave. OK, maybe their departure isn’t that abrupt – but this scenario seems to be especially the case when you’re here for a somewhat longer period of time as I am, and your newly made friends – are not. Sunday saw me say goodbye to another friend I had made here, who despite having not spent oodles of time with her – I was still quite sad to see her go as she was pretty enjoyable company.

Before her departure however, I also had to farewell another really good friend I had made here who was moving back to the states. She has been a bit of a regular on the blog before, buuuut, never again, after her selfish decision to abandon me here. Well after this post anyway, where, as you’ll see – she features quite heavily.

So before she headed off home, I tagged along on a short vacation to Thailand with her, and managed to match – if not top – my previous best-southeast-Asian holiday experience, which as you may recall, also involved her and was featured on this blog a few entries back. Oh by the way, the friend I’m referring to is of course Linh.

So a fortnight or so ago saw Linh and I head down to the south of Thailand, and in particular, to Railay beach, just near Krabi. As the beach is only accessible by boat, we arrived at our resort at about 6.30pm after enduring a pretty stunning long tail boat trip from around the heads. This is a small example of the incredible visuals we were met with on said boat trip. Ah-mazing.

As the beach was a bit hard to access and quite small, all the accommodation was a bit pricey, meaning that there wasn’t a huuuge drunken backpacker scene going down. Which was great.  Although, there was a downside to this. That being that it wasn’t easy to come by alcohol on the beach. The resorts were Muslim run surprisingly, meaning of course – no alcohol sold at the restaurants etc. A bit of a downer needless to say, especially as the friendship that I had etched out with Linh was very much built on a strong foundation of alcohol. Not to worry though. There was a convenience store or two which did cater to our needs, albeit at quite a marked up rate for SE Asia. Think Australian prices basically. But what the hey. We were desperate and needed a way to enjoy each others company on this quiet, secluded beautiful beach. So we invested in vodka and mixers and procured ice from the super friendly restaurant staff who were more than happy to let us sit at their beach front tables and get our drink on. This idea of BYO alcohol kind of became a theme for the rest of our stay in Thailand as we got into a habit of knocking off a bottle a night or something silly. Needless to say. It was sensationally fun.

Apart from spending our nights drinking ourselves silly. There were also some other notable highlights.

Kayaking around to a totally secluded beach and just enjoying the stupidly warm and picturesque Andaman sea was up there.

But topping that, was definitely the night we went for a late night dip into the bay, which must’ve been still about 25 degrees, and on top of that, there was luminescent plankton about. Now, if you haven’t come across this before, just imagine being in the water, and every movement you made resulted in areas around your body being lit up by a radiant fluorescent blue glow. It was a scene straight out of The Beach or something. I didn’t manage to get any shots of this, however Google Images produced this as an example, and this shot doesn’t even nearly do it justice.

So after hamming it up down on the beach for a few more nights and enjoying spectacular sunsets and afternoon picturesque thunder storms over us, we jumped on a flight back up to one my favourite SE Asian cities – Bangkok.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love Vietnam and the street food culture we have there. There are some amazingly great eats to be had at stupid prices – especially in the South of the country in my opinion. But, Thailand, and Bangkok for me, is something else at times.

We are talking $US3 whole deep fried snapper served with an amazing spicy mango papaya salad.

$US2 for Bangkok’s best freshly cut mango with pandan flavoured sticky rice and coconut cream.

Andfreeeeee ice at street stalls so we could mix up our own little concoctions late into the warm Bangkok nights as picked away at freshly grilled chicken satay and oyster omlettes.

So as I said before. This trip was definitely up there in terms of my greatest holidays away. Even though I’ve done these areas of Thailand a few times previously, this experience was just that much more enjoyable. Similar to my experience with Linh down at the Mekong, traveling with her has just been truly amazing. I’ve been kind of lucky to meet someone so randomly over here that I got along with so well – and probably turned out to be the best travel companion that I’ve ever come across to boot. Oh well. Not to worry anymore. She’s left me to head home to the US, so let us never talk of her again. Well until she pops up in November when I’m in the US.

But let’s see if I can replicate these travel highs between now and the end of the year when I make my final stop in San Fran.

Next stop. Japan next Thursday night!

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