10/01/01: Bangkok - Koh Samui: We spent the morning unsuccessfully attempting to purchase our tickets home from Australia to California. At 3:30pm a minibus picked us up to begin the long journey to the island of Koh Samui. We picked up other backpakers on the way to our big bus. Once on the bus we did not leave until 6:30pm and drove off into the night. For dinner they dropped us off at the "Middle of Nowhere Mystery Cafe" where we has to roll the dice and pick some food. Our mystery dinner turned out to be quite good and spicy. Back on the bus and off we went.
10/02/01: Koh Samui: Our night bus got to Suratthani at 6:30am and after some more waiting we left on a ferry to Koh Samui. We arrived in quite a daze from our long journey and after finally checking into a beachside hotel and depositing our bodies on the beautiful beach, realized our new ability. Over the past 9 months of traveling we have picked up the skill of disassociating ourselves from the tough travel days. It is as if we did not take that night bus. We know the 2 guys and heard the stories but it was not us. Maybe this is all a byproduct of the malaria medication. Someone told us that we would notice the side effects of the medication because one of us would think that the other was acting weird. That does not work if we are both taking the pills and both going crazy. Oh well. That night after walking around and noticing the town was dead we decided on the spur of the moment to take a speed boat to Koh Pha Ngan. This island is home to the famous Full Moon Party and as luck would have it it was a full one. We joined the dancing masses on the beach for a very surreal club experience. The disco lights shined and spun on the surrounding mountains and the music seemed to be coming from all parts of the jungle. At 5am we finally caught a speed boat home and with the seas a bit rough had to wade out to board it. Thouroughly drenched for our boat ride home and bus ride to our hotel, the night ended in hilarious fashion. Walking the dirt path through our hotel grounds we both simultaneously realized it was useless to avoid the puddles in our state and Scott reverted back to his youth jumping from puddle to puddle as Carlos almost ruptured a spleen in laughter.
10/03/01: Koh Samui: After a late late night we finally made it out and sat on the beach to witness the end of the day. For dinner we had some great Thai food and watched Braveheart. On our way home we both purchased new shirts which should be making an appearance in the photo gallery soon. We have to retire some of our dirty t-shirts as a show of compassion.
10/04/01: Koh Samui: The day started out on the beach again for some lounging and chatting with the other tourists. Dinner was once again at the tasty Thai restaurant curiously named Will Wait. The movie this time was Gladiator to our delight. The night ended with some dancing at the Green Mango and then the after hours party on the beach in front of our hotel.
10/05/01: Koh Samui: The day started out on the beach again for some lounging and chatting with the other tourists. Dinner was once again at the tasty Thai restaurant curiously named Will Wait. The movie this time was The Patriot to our delight. The night ended with some dancing at the Green Mango and then the after hours party on the beach in front of our hotel.
10/06/01: Koh Samui: The day started once again with breakfast at our hotel and lounging on the beach. Once we had had enough sun it was time for the dreaded s word. Shopping. We figured that Thailand was a good place to purchase Christmas gifts as upon our return to California we will be very broke. Don't anyone get too excited, we are not about to lug around gifts for everyone the last 2 months. For dinner we tried the sister restaurant of Will Wait and watched American Pie 2 and Shrek, a welcome surprise. The night ended with a trip to the Green Mango and then some geopolitical discussions on the beach.
10/07/01: Koh Samui - Railay Beach: What seemed like a straight forward journey to the west coast and Railay Beach turned into another adventure. A mini bus to a bus to a ferry to a bus to another bus to a pickup to a longtail boat and we were finally at our destination 10 hours later. To put the final touches on the day we had to wade the final few hundred feet to the shore since the tide was so low and our boat was stuck in the mud. We checked into our deluxe room, grabbed a quick dinner, and went to bed.
10/08/01: Railay Beach: Although we went to bed early, we still somehow managed to miss breakfast. All night and most of the day it rained. An overcast afternoon and cooler temperatures allowed us to explore the surroundings. West Railay Beach is a 2 minute walk from our hotel, but a 10 minute walk took us to beautiful Pranang Beach. This beach is neck and neck with Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica for the most beautiful beach of our trip. We are truly in paradise. For dinner we had a great meal of Thai noodles and curry and then a few drinks at the Sunset Bar.
10/09/01: Railay Beach: With the sun in the sky, we returned to Pranang to swim and enjoy the gorgeous scenery of the postcard like setting. Sunset was spent of course at the Sunset Bar and we feasted on some more Thai cuisine for dinner.
10/10/01: Railay Beach: After a hearty breakfast we made our way to Pranang. We spent the entire day in the water unable to stay out in the heat too long. On the beach we were entertained by a band of monkeys that descended on the tourists asking for food. We had a great sunset at the Sunset Bar, had dinner there and danced in the rain at the Gecko Bar on Railay East.
10/11/01: Railay Beach: Under gloomy skies we took a boat over to Ao Nang to use the ATM. Back at Railay we took a quick tour through the underrated Princess Caves and watched Tomb Raider after dinner. Not the greatest movie but we were excited to see the scenes filmed at the Ta Prohm of Angkor.
10/12/01: Railay Beach: It is definitely the rainy season here. Today it rained all day long. Since humans are waterproof, especially to warm water and warm rain, this did not deter us from a day at the beach. We swam around in the rain for a few hours. Finally the rain forced us indoors to the hotel restaurant where we enjoyed a game of Kings and some tunes with the Canadian 3 amigas. Late night the storm ended long enough for a very entertaining twirling fire show on the beach where we took a ton of pictures and video.
10/13/01: Railay Beach: The weather subsided enough for an afternoon on the beach and after yet another delicious meal at our hotel restaurant we went to a beach party on nearby Tonsai Beach. We danced a few hours in yet another spectacular setting and then faced the prospects of getting home. With no boat in sight we waded the shoreline through low tide with other partygoers. Thankfully, Carlos' foresight came in handy and his flashlight proved a most valuable resource.
10/14/01: Railay Beach: Another beach day for us, but there is trouble in paradise. There are some small jellyfish that we cannot see, but they seem intent on stinging us when we go in the water. Nevertheless, we venture in and deal with a little stinging. On the way home from the beach we watched as one monkey attempted to open a ketchup bottle he acquired and then attacked a tourist and stole her pineapple. For dinner we were joined by our Israeli friends from Vietnam and Koh Samui. At midnight we toasted Carlos' birthday with a beer under the stars on the beach.
10/15/01: Railay Beach: We started off Carlos' birthday with a hike up to the Viewpoint over East Railay. We attempted to make the descent into the secluded lagoon but turned back after the trail became too steep. Maybe Carlos has gotten wiser with age. The celebration lasted well into the night and culminated in a forward thinking pizza late night snack.
10/16/01: Railay Beach: We spent our last day in Railay at the beach. Shocker! Originally we were going to be here 3 nights and we stayed for 10. It is a great place. After a day of beach that evening we decided to try a new restaurant and were entertained by the movie Charlie's Angels. Other than Carlos spending some serious cash at the most expensive internet in Thailand, the evening was uneventful.
10/17/01: Railay Beach - Koh Phi Phi: With the strange feeling of our packs on our backs, we boarded the ferry for Koh Phi Phi. We quickly checked into a hotel and headed straight for the beach. After a little sun and some hackey to work up a sweat, we were shocked to discover that the ocean had left. The tides in this country are ridiculous, with the beach transforming from a small strip into a 300ft wasteland in a matter of a couple hours. After a little room service while we waited out a rainstorm, we headed out on the town. The Apache Bar seemed like the place to be and we finished off the night with some music on the beach.
10/18/01: Koh Phi Phi: After a late start, we rented a snorkel and fins from our hotel and jumped on a boat taxi to Long Beach. Not quite like Long Beach, CA we spent a few hours snorkeling around and then had some cheap Thai food for lunch. Upon returning to our beach we arranged a diving trip for the next morning and bought plane tickets to Singapore from Phucket. We decided it is best not to travel by land through Malaysia at this point and time. With all the anti-American sentiment there we would not properly enjoy our stay. For dinner we shared a pizza while watching Barcelona play at Carlito's Bar. We had an early night because we had to get up early to dive.
10/19/01: Koh Phi Phi: This was simply a great day. The weather was great, we did two awesome scuba dives with lots of leopard sharks and beautiful coral, snorkeled in a picturesque island cove, watched "The Beach", and danced the night away. The absolute highlight though was the 15ft whale shark we encountered on the second dive that had our dive master doing somersaults in the water. It was her second season diving here and it was her first whale shark sighting. We like to think that we are good luck.
10/20/01: Koh Phi Phi: We awoke for our breakfast buffet and then took a nap. We know it is a rough life. Then we spent most of the day on the beach as the ocean slowly but surely disappeared. For dinner we had some pizza and watched Hannibal at a local restaurant. All was great in paradise until Scott spotted a guy dressed in camoflauge and wearing an Ossama Bin Laden t-shirt a few feet from where we were sitting. This made us quite uncomfortable and as soon as the movie ended we called it a night.
10/21/01: Koh Phi Phi - Singapore: It was mainly a travel day. After a ferry to Phucket, we flew into Singapore and checked into a hotel on the river. Our nightlife options were limited since after we had entered the Quays Bar it proceeded to pour rain. Three hours later we finally were able to emerge and go home.
10/22/01: Singapore: Having relaxed on the Thai beaches for so long, we did some serious touristing and walked all over the place. Our first stop was STA Travel near Orchard Road to pick up our tickets straight to Sydney bypassing Indonesia. Even more than Malaysia, the anti-American sentiment in Indonesia has forced us to skip that country all together. Bali will have to wait. Next we visited the Raffles Hotel Landmark where we had our first ever Singapore Sling. The drink set us back a whole day of traveling in Thailand. Then off to Bujis Junction, an airconditioned outdoor shopping street. From there we walked all around this clean and orderly city stopping to see the Merlion and walking along the Singapore River. After a jump in the pool, where we acted our age, we headed out to the Night Safari where you can see exotic night animals in their natural habitat. We decided that the free flying fruit bat enclosure was a safe place to hide from our moms. For dinner, courtesy of Carlos' Uncle, we went big and dined at Lotus on the River on a barge moored on the Singapore River. We then had a few drinks at the Elephant Bar and ended the evening at the Boat Quay.
10/23/01: Singapore - Sydney: We slept in pretty late since we were both up most of the early morning hoping we would survive the violent thunder storm. The constant lightning and explosion like thunder didn't allow much sleep. We finally made our way to the airport and boarded our flight to Kuala Lumpur and connected there for our flight to Australia. The country that has always seemed so far away was soon going to begin our home stretch.
10/24/01: Sydney: Having arrived in the Australian Continent, the airplane cabin was promptly fumigated with us in it. With no guide book to aid us we went to the tourism desk and were sent to a hotel in the Kings Cross neighborhood. Later that afternoon, when we awoke, we discovered we were in the exotic dancer, chemically dependant, weird, yet interesting, part of Sydney. We held off on sight seeing until both Jon and Shawn are with us at the end of November and updated the website, had dinner and walked up and down our street a few too many times.
10/25/01: Sydney: We awoke to the arrival to our first visitor in quite sometime, fellow career challenged Jon Deane. He will be joining us for the remainder of the trip so the days of the dynamic duo are over. After catching up for a while we walked to a nearby park for some hackey and soon discovered the persistent nature of the Aussie flies. Courtesy of Carlos' Grandma Libby we all enjoyed a fantastic dinner down at the harbour with views of the opera house and tasty dishes of crocodile and kangaroo. Alot of walking around The Rocks finished off the night.
10/26/01: Sydney - Port Macquarie: We made our way over to the bus station and caught an 8 hour bus ride to Port Macquarie. En route Deane learned the joy of eating raw chicken nuggets at the Road House Restaurant, part of a gas station. Once at Port, we walked around aimlessly for over an hour looking for accomodations. Finally checking into the River Motel our only dinner option was a tasty Kebab and then we went to listen to some music at the local bar scene.
10/27/01: Port Macquarie: Awoke around 10 and had some "savoury" crepes at a local breakfast place. We made our way to the bus station to get tickets for the following day. Then we headed off for our big sight seeing event of the day -the Koala Convalescent Hospital. We were not quite sure why we thought this would be exciting, but we did. The first sign that it might be a let down were the t-shirts on sale, depicting Koala's on crutches covered in bandages. The hospital consisted of a few fenced areas with invalid Koalas, not doing anything. After the hospital we walked to Flyn's Beach and then to Town Beach. The water was colder than we expected, but very nice. In the evening we cheffed up and grilled some steak, chicken and corn. Spent the evening at the same places as the night before (not that we had any other options).
10/28/01: Port Macquarie - Byron Bay: We caught a few innings of the World Series and then celebrated the Stanford football win over UCLA at an internet cafe. After a 7 hour bus ride we arrived in Byron Bay and once again walked all over the place looking for a place to stay. We finally settled at the Cape Byron Backpacker Hostel, grabbed a noodle dinner and hit the sack.
10/29/01: Byron Bay: We watched game 2 of the world Series at the Beach Hotel and then headed out to the beach. Inspired by our pleasant surroundings we went for a run and then a swim. For dinner we cooked up some great fajitas and checked out Byron Bay nightlife.
10/30/01: Byron Bay: We went on a great hike/walk around Cape Byron which included a stop at the most eastern point of Australia. After the hike we went back to the hostel pool for a bit, before the big event of the day .... yoga class. We went to an Ashtanga class and proved to ourselves that yes, we are as inflexible as we thought we were. After the class we returned home to the hostel's barbeque dinner, which included some high quality box wine. We spent the rest of the evening exploring Byron's nightlife.
10/31/01: Byron Bay: Halloween! We went to the Beach Hotel (formerly owned by Paul Hogan) to watch game 3. Spent the afternoon at the beach and by the pool. After a curry dinner, we got inspired to make our own Halloween party at the hostel, complete with jack-o-lantern and Halloween candy. Dressed in togas made out of our bed sheets, we went to a local bar for a fun Halloween Party.