Sunday, April 26, 2009

koh phi phi

hey hey! We're in koh phi phi right now. It's off the west coast of Thailand about a 2 hour boat ride from krabi. So amazing.
We got to krabi last week sometime, just drinking eating and living so cheaply and having a blast. Food, drink, good books, sun and warm waters... What else do ya need?have just been wondering why we don't live here. I've met a lot of teachers here, and after talking to them, I wonder how such an opportunity can exist, and why havn't I taken it. Ryan has also felt the calling, although his is to be a tuk tuk driver. Don't know if I've explained before but a tuk tuk is a scooter with a carriage attached for hauling people and stuff. A real perk to the job is you can hang a hammock up in it and sleep, if you feel like a nap. Seriously it's an untapped market to be an English speaking tuk tuk driver!
Well daydreaming aside we have a liitle under 2 weeks left.. Boo. Don't really know how I'm gonna be able to go grocery shopping and stuff without bartering! "2 dollars for a loaf of bread?! I give you 30cents, last price" and then when I walk away and they don't follow, I'll realize I'm home. So there's that, also speaking broken English with a mix of Thai and balinese, for the last two months, will be different too. Please feel free to correct my poor grammer when I get back.

We're on this island till Saturday, staying in a liitle straw lean-to, that has everything you need. From here we're going to Phuket. And then back to Bangkok to head home. I'll post a blog when I get to Bangkok to let y'all know the situation there. Sounds like it's melloed out. So do t worry(: love love!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


We are back in malaysia now.flew into kuala lumpor yesterday, stayed the night at a hostel, and were on a bus headed for Penang by morning. Woweee! ( sorry no other word for it) Malaysia has been beautiful. I was pretty sick the last time we passed thru, so this time my eyes are open(: so green, lush thick jungle everwhere, huge mountan ranges, rocky cliffs, it's breath taking. The food has also been really awesome. .. Nothing to crazy to write about except carry on about how pretty it is... There are monkeys on the sides of alot of highways here, just chillin'. Alcohol isn't prominent here, pretty expensive too. There are also so many different cultures here living side by side. Entering kuala lumpor you drive past catholic churches, mosques, Hindu temples, and buddhists temples. No synagouges. Apparently if you are from isreal you are not allowed into the country. I'll leave it at that for now.well till next time! Later!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

hibiscus in the hair, a snake smelling toes

After a while of being in Bali, we are ready to move on. It is pretty here, the people are very nice, but we both have concurred that thailand is our most favorite country so far. For being such a small island, Bali is really packed. The beaches are very westernized, and packed with hawkers. The Hawkers aren't as bad as in Cambodia, where the people selling anything from a massage to a banana, will sit down next to you, ask your name, and now according to them you are freinds, and you must buy...and if you're not going to buy, then hows about putting them through school?
No bali isn't as bad as cambodia in that sense, but even though it is cheap, everything costs. Just sitting in a chair on the beach, you can pay up to 10 dollars to use it. (we never have, but still). This month has been nice because we have a place to leave our bags, and stay in one place for awile, But we are ready for more adventure.
We leave next wednesday, to Kuala lumpur. We plan on spending a night there, and catch a bus or train to butterworth, and island hop over to Penang. Who know how long we'll stay, but after that its back to thailand, to explore the adaman (andaman?) coast. Where, apparently, limey cliffs riotously shoot from the sea, and where a traveller can find seclusion. We'll see.
We've been using this time to save money, as my card still has yet to arrive, my bank assures me its on its way, but if no card by tomorrow, I'm gonna have to think of western unioning us our own money...can you do that? Sounds plausible. So we've been occupying our time with chess, cards, reading(favorite book."stay alive my son" read it. Its awesome, a true account of this guy who survived the Khmer rouge) watching movies, and going to the beach.
Last night we we're on a quest to find a bar, within proximity to the beach, maybe with some music. we found one, but large Bintangs(local beer) were 2.50 a bottle! Not so expensive in the states, but just a walk down the strip to the circle K, we bought the same thing for 1.80. Thats just simple economics my friends. So we walked out to some abandoned lawn chairs, had some beers. the Moon was full, and it did in fact hit your eye like a big Pizza pie! Any hoo, at one point Ryan went up to go to the toilet, and he returned with two giant shots of Arack. Arack is the local hooch here, it varies in potency, and repulsivness. But it takes very little to catch a buzz, and there is virtually no hangover. So as we're sitting there sipping arack, Ryan leaps off his seat, screams not so much like a girls, but more like the panicked bleating of a Goat, knocks over his Arack, and I asked "what?"
He strung together some words, leading me to believe, that there was a snake under his chair, and it had licked his foot.
And in fact there was. and in its snake like fashion it returned to the sea. Because it was in fact a sea snake, as posinous, as they are good swimmers. Ryan was literally minutes away from being bitten. As we later found out, they only come up on the sand if they are really hungry, and can't find anything in the rocky pier.
Well thats about it for now, hope all is well with everyone!
Jill and Ryan

Friday, April 3, 2009

Hey Hey!

LOng timey no bloggy. So where did I leave off. We rented a car from ryans friend its a funny little car, almost like being in a stronger golf cart.
We spent the balinese new year with Oka's family, apparently its 1931 here now.(: We went with his sister and brother in law to their temple, they had made and given us our own traditional hindu ceremonial wear. It was really interesting. They played music, and danced for about 4 hours straight. This one lady was in a trance, and they boogied all around her. The eye movements in their dancing is really amazing. Side to side, and wide eyed. At the end they brought out all this ornate puppetry, and offerings, put them on their heads, and took it to the next temple. Really cool stuff, and despite the occasional child laughing at how out of place ryan and I were, everyone was so nice, and wanted to make us feel as comfertable as possible. At one point they made us sit on the offering table, because they saw how fidgety we were getting sitting on the concrete, crosslegged for four hours. Still felt kind of strange sitting on the offering table. The language barrier can sometime be a funny thing, a lot of nodding, wide eyes, thumbs up kind of thing. A totally different expierience. The next day was a day of silence, where no one on the island of Bali is aloud to leave their home, turn on a light, drive a car...that kind of thing. Really creepily quiet out, except the occasional rooster.
after that, we wanted to get out of Denpasar for a couple days, and drove up to northern Bali, to a beach called Lovina. Stayed at this amazing seaside bungalow for 6 buckaroos a night. Hot showers included. Pretty awesome. SOOOO as some of you know already, while Ryan and I were going for a midnight swim that night, he asked me to marry him, and slipped a ring on my finger. Apparently I had been carrying around said ring the entire time. Guess he knew my backpack was the last place I would expect to see it. SO we're engaged! Yay! Probably a summer or so from now, so I'll keep ya posted. the rest of the time we spent there was awesome, black sand beaches, really cool music (although I think I've heard enough eagles covers to last a life time)
Bummer though, the last night in Lovina, we lost my Debit card, the card all of our money was on. Sans our travellers checks, we were screwed for getting out of Lovina. no gas, no money, but wait! I found some remaining Thai BHat, 350 of it. However, no one would exchange it, it was too little. Until we found this western union. where that came from, I have no idea, they exchanged it for 75,000 rupiah. 7 US Dollars. That was enough to get us back to Denpasar. Hooray! But when we got back to Oka's house we found the house locked up entirely. His neighbor informed us that he had to rush back to seattle. She got him on the phone for us, and we confirmed it was true. But his cousin would be back soon to let us in. Once he got back, we tried to call my bank to cancel, No worky. So went down the street to make the long distance call, 5 minutes and 6 dollars later, they cancled my card, and said it was on its way...two days. Soo that was two days ago, not here yet, but these things take time I suppose.

The past couple days we spent at Ryans freinds house Ron. He blows glass here, so ryan worked for him one day, and Ron for him the next. I spent the days with rons new wife. We talked, and ate, the coolest part was the talking though. She is a Muslim woman, and I remember thinking before the trip how I really want to get the Muslim woman perspective on the religion, as to me there seems to be little reward in it. She is an amazing person, and opened up my eyes alot to the muslim religion, and religion in general.

well thats it for now. Thanks for reading this far, guess alot has happened since the last post.
Take care!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

We're alive!!

Hey everyone,
Don't worry we are alive and in a place called Lovina Bali. Just enjoying the surroundings. I was sick with a fever for about a week, so I wasn't up for much blogging, but Ryan took good care of me, and I'm better now. (Hows dengue fever for a souvineir?)
Anyhoo, we rented a car from one of ryans friends who lives here, and have been tooling around the island. Got into a crazy little fender bender. This guy on a motorbike, rear ended us, he was going so fast head on into our bumper, I thought he'd be dead. But the dude was alright, just a little dirty. He smiled and we went on our way.
Meeting lots of interesting people, and seeing some amazing sights. I'll post more pictures soon!
Love love!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


After a long unrelenting Journey, we're finally in Bali. Only been here two days now and have already seen so much. When we got off the plane in Bali, we were met by two smiling faces holding a sign reading JIll, and in little letters Oka. It was My Friend Oka's cousin and freind coming to pick us up. They had oranges for us, and took us back to Oka's house. It was so nice to meet them and see oka, and be in a nice house, where you could just relax. After hanging out for a bit, we all walked over to Oka's aunts house,where they had this big meal waiting for us. Steamed pork in Banana leaf, noodles, rice, fried pork,steamed fruit...Really good food. We just hung out after that, all of laying on the porch with his whole family drinking beer, smoking, shooting the shit.

The next day was a big Hindu celebration, where families get together, go to their families temple, and hang out. We Ended hanging out with Oka's cousin Dawan, he took us to a rice paddy, to a place in a river with 200 year old carvings...and to a Cock fight. yes, a Cock fight. There we're about 300people people there, all malemight I add. So not only was I the only white person, but the only girls, Guess the girls don't like it much around here. Anyhoo, It was pretty interesting,They tie super sharp blades to one talon on the rooster, get em all riled up, and one usually kills the other withing 3 minutes. The cool thing is that the one that dies is plucked and butchered immediately, and they all eat the rooster during the ceremony later that nothing goes to waste. Everyone is gambling, yelling, it was the craziest thing I had ever seen.

Kinda resting today. we're going to a Hindu ceremony tonite from 11pm to 5am, we're there are lots of local traditional performances. One of which, is actually a trance dance, where the men stab and pierce themselves with swords. Crazy, trippy, cool!?
Love you all!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Leaving on a bus/train..

This is our last night On koh Samui in Thailand. Tomorrow will be a day of travel. Catching a boat at 7:30am (2 hrs) to surat thani, then a bus (4hrs) to Hat yai. Then from there hopefully we can get on a train to Kuala lumpur, malaysia (10 hrs) But we may just stay in hat yai for the night. Who knows! just gottta get t o kuala lumpur by the 17th, where we catch our plane to Bali.
Hope all is well with everyone, gotta get back to my beer before it gets warm, and the mosquitos get there grubby little snouts in it.
Love Love!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Island life

Sooo, I love this island we're on right now. Met an american girl last night (which suprised me because haven't met any yet) it was her wedding night at this bar we we're at, they had an amazing firework show! Anyhoo, she teaches english on this island...soooo wouldn't that be cool! ?Perhaps I will try to do that in the future, if we can bring doobie of course. She would love it here...nothing but swimming.

Its funny one of the focal points on this island is this phallic (and I mean Phallic!) rocks jutting out of the sea. It makes my 12 year old self giggle. We also found this really cool place called the rock bar, its litterally 20 feet from the water, and its in a cave!! I want to live in it.
Lets see what else... We went to a water fall today, and swam in the pool at the bottom of it with all the locals. It was awesome. I am finally sunburned though, mainly my nose and my kisser..note to self , do not eat spicey curry with sunburned lips, ouchymamma! Could really use some of that bar chapstick now roger!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Here are some random pics from our trip. The beach in Sihnoukville, my first pina colada, Ry and I waiting for bus in cambodia. Skull with bullethole, from the Khmer rouge, pic of the tower of skulls, Ryan getting the Hot cup treatment, me with a delicious coconut and rum, our first motorbike, ryan going down the slide at the water park. That Oughta tie everyone over for a while. Love Love!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

southward bound

Right now we're in the bangkok bus station, with about 5 hours to kill before our overnight bus leaves to ko samui. An island off the southern coast of thailand.
Vietnam was fun. The first day we went to the war remants museum, and both ryan and I agree it was an insightful as it was riddled with communist propaganda. I understand its from the vietnamese perspective. However, it was very blame oriented...which is understandable, but there is nothing like being thousands of miles a way from home to give you a undeniable patriotism for your country. No matter what your opinion is, if the war was right or wrong, you cannot take away from the sacrifices that were made by our soldiers. And the shit that they saw...well, Thank you, for risking your lives for us. I have nothing but respect.
The next day, we went to Dam sen waterpark. CRazy fast water slides. This one slide in particular was like a giant toilet bowl, that pooped you out like a big human sized byprodruct. I have to say that one hurt a little bit. Other than that it was like 4 dollars each for food tickets and the bus ride there and back for the day. Awesome!
The third day we went to the Cu chi tunnels, the same feelings came about from the first day. But to crawl in those tunnels were crazy. Just barely big enough for me to crawl through.
The final day we flew out of ho chi minh to bangkok. and now we are here, waiting to head to the beaches again...Overall we really liked saigon. It was much more commercial than I had anticipated. WE met some really cool locals, and the city was just beutiful full of parks and cheap transportation. The Food was the best food I had had in a while. WE even tried this dehydrated squid that they flatted like a pancake for was salty and went really good with beer. Ryan Got shoot an M60, and was pretty excited about that. It just hurt my ears, no wonder so many vets are apretty much deaf, my ears are still ringing.
Oh and no I haven't burned yet, but I'm definatley tanner than I've ever been!
WE'll be staying like 5-8 days on the islands, then its off to Kuala lumpur where we fly to bali, for a good thirty days.
LOve you Guys

Friday, February 27, 2009

Last day in Cambodia

We've been here in sihanoukville for about aweek, and although its beautiful its time to move on. It seems as though with every awesome moment, there are equally terrible moments.

Like for instance, the other day we rented a scooter and zipped down to this distant beach, away from all the beggars and pushers. And in the middle of this pristine beach, there was a beach bar called the Ska bar! So of course I was excited and we went in. For my freinds who like ska as much as I do, I tell you this place was paradise. Thatched hut beach bar, seriously 20 feet away from the ocean. Coconut coladas, and some awesome first and second wave ska blaring from the speakers. So we went up to the bar, and no one was there, but we saw people milling around the side with their hands on their we thought, well maybe we should go. A few minutes later two ói ska punker looking dudes from brittian came out, one with near tears in his eyes. The one who wasn't yet teary, asked us what we would like. We ordered two beers, and he filled us in..
"sorry bout the wait chaps, our last dog up and died a few moments ago..'
turns out that some theives in the area are going to such lengths as poisining peoples dogs, and once your gaurd is down they come to rob you...
These guys had five dogs to start and this last one was holding on, so they thought she would make it, but she didn't.
we couldn't believe it, they could belive it but were exasperated all the same. Apparently this happens quite often.

Things like that have been revealing cambodia to us throughout the week. The beauty, the warmth, the poverty, the lies...its quite a paradox.
At any rate I'm glad we've come to see this place, and now its on to Ho chi minh. Hopefully internet is a little faster there, and I'll post more pictures.
Chhers for the ears!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


WE got to Sihonakville today. Absolutley Stoked. And yeah Robb after a tower of skulls, it was awesome. And I have to say That in the states I would never order a Pina colada, but I had to have one here. it was awsome.
The gulf of thailand water is like bath water, and there are white sandy beaches that go on for miles.
we'll be here for a few days before heading to Ho Chi Minh city in vietnam. So I love you all, and will post more pics soon.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Okay camera cooled down, and I have to pay 4,000 riel no matter what any way so here are a couple more.
Ryan trying grasshopper in bangkok

And ryan trying tarantula in cambodia. I had a couple legs...actual not to bad...tasted like hairy jerky.

a picture

Hey also I finally figured out how to upload some photos. However, for some reason this computer that my camera is plugged into is making it really hot, and it kind of hurts my fingers. So here is one for now, of my at angkor wat...more to come! When I get to a decent computer.
Love love

Capitol city

Hello! we are in phnom penh right now. The capitol of bangkok. We got in yesterday, and spent today going to the killing fields, and tuol sleng. The killing fields we're heavy, as you approach the main part of the field they have a tower about 8-10 stories tall, just filled with skulls. Most of which (if they didn't die from malnutrition or exaustion) Have bullet holes in them.

But other than that the capitol city has been cool. We met up our friend Molly's Brother who lives here, and took a moto ride with him around the city and then out to dinner. I have to say, I was impressed with his driving here. The way people drive here is absolutly lawless. We went to a spanish restaraunt with him, and I had my first dose of cheese(or really anything dairy) since we got here....the funny thing is, that was the first time I got sick here. I think the lack of cheese for ten days, and then ordering the cheesiest plate there was, probably wa'sn't the greatest idea. Oh well back to rice and noodles.

We'll be off on another bus tomorrow to sihanoukville tomorrow. Yeah, I don't know if I mentioned how crazy hot it is here....well it is. So tomorrow the beaches in south cambodia will be a nice repreave.
Till next time!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Its a holiday in Cambodia

Cambodia, is sobering. The ethnic cleansing that took place here only thirty years ago remains heavy on the hearts of the people here, as it should, and you can feel it. Apparently I learned last night from an expat, that finally the trials of the government in charge began yesterday. 30 years later... another sobering fact is that the temples of Angkor is owned by an italian corporation, and none of the income made from the temples go to the cambodian people. $20 dollars a month is the average income here, think about if even just a percentage of that went to the cambodians? the rightful owners of the temples.

Anyhoo, on a lighter note...Getting here was a scary adventure. wait thats not was however, exciting. Getting our visas and passport stamped by the unblinking, snail speed moving officials was racking my blood vessles, as was everyone elses on our bus. At least we were all in the same boat.

Okay but seriously, once that was over, I was relieved to find that cambodia people have been some of the warmest, and most smiling people I have ever seen. Despite the social unjustices that opress them to this day.

Regardless of the political situation here, the temples were amazing! Did you know tomb raider was filmed on location at The temple of Ta Phrom? Interesting little tidbit.
I will post pictures soon. I promise. Kind of..I'll try at least.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cambodia Bound

Wow another blog. Two days in a row. Not too shabby eh. Pretty stoked on this travel agency I found with free internet. Rare since most places charge 10 baht a min. thats roughly 35 cents a minute. What can I say I'm pinching my pennies, and I'm awesome!

Yesterday we made our way to north Bangkok to a giant street market called Chaccchichoooognee....or something like that. Anyway it was huge, the view from the sky train looked like it coverd about...50 to 1,000,0000 acres...I don't know I'm bad with numbers. Kind of like how have known shannon for 50 years or so.(: Anyhoo...saw some awesome things there. points of interest: the guy talking to his grapes as if they were a cell phone, two thai girls interviewed us for their school project, and we ate fried Grasshoppers. I should say ryan ate grasshoppers. I bit into the head of one, and got all shakey and spit it out. I truely thought that I would be able to do it, but as I reached for the fried fellow, I grabbed it like it was still alive. Ya know like that fast jerky grab...then as I was holding it the decision to bite into the head (face as I saw it) Or the butt (pooper) I opted for the head,closed my eyes, chomped down... It tasted like sun ripened shrimp, with a fingernail crust. Just couldn't do it, my body wouldn't allow it. Ryan on the other hand ate them like they were cheetos.
So after the market we took antother Tuk-Tuk( three wheeled 2 stroke moto taxi... dude. First you should know that the traffic in Bangkok is obscene. There are no rules. There are lanes that mean nothing, roundabouts, and although the roads are two way, the Tuk-tuk drivers have no regard for this, and will drive head on into opposing traffic, dodging a collision by seconds. Nobody cares, its normal here. It was was awesome. I wouldn't drive here, but so far the Tuk Tuks are my favorite mode of transportaion. However, we are going to take a river boat to china town today, So that should be cool. Apparently they are cheaper than the Tuk tuks. Tuk tuks, are about 80cents-to 2 bucks to get across downtown. So cheaper than that? I'm in.
Well Thats about it for now. As I said we'll be making a 13 hour bus ride to cambodia tomorrow, couple of days there, then its on to vietnam. Will keep you posted, as I heard Phnom phen (capitol of cambodia) is'nt a place you want to stay too long, so until next time!

Friday, February 13, 2009

We're Here!

Well after a 20 hour travel day, we are finally in bangkok Thailand. We met some pretty interesting people already. This guy from new york that warned us of the boys with "pretty faces", I think he had been fooled into paying for a male prostitute before. and was abit hung up on it. Seriously though the sex trade here is pretty unreal. People every where offering a bargain.
We are staying on Khao san road, in central Bangkok. in a hostel called Sweety, or sweaty, not to sure..but it has a fan, and a mattress, a hole to go to the bathroom in, and beer. So thats awesome.
Jet lag hasn't quite caught up to me yet. We got in last night at midnight, and after we had found a place toi stay, we were up till four or five, 85F at four in the morning, I do not miss the snow! Today going to head up to the this weekend market in northern bangkok, we're prices are supposed to be very cheap. Cheaper than here is hard to believe. Although we did pay the same price for a round of beers as we did for our room...I know what you're thinking "that beer must have been awesome!" Well, it was. I love you guys. I'll try to get on here once a week or so...
Oh by the way, Jay, my book is awesome!

Toodle loo

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

All packed

Well we're all packed, said our goodbyes, and just waiting for thursday! Its snowing in seattle right now, so hopefully it won't stick, and we'll be able to get to the snow! Later!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

hey all!
This is where I will keep you all posted on our travels. We leave in a little over a week to Bangkok. So excited! love you all, and I will do my best to keep y'all informed!
Love love,
Jilly mc"almostthere"stein