A Travellerspoint blog

Live turtles, snakes and fish

Things you see at the Mae Sot market!

sunny 30 °C
View Our trip through SEA on jented's travel map.

The Internet access at our hotel is a bit out of our league ($3/hour)...way too much! so we've waited until we can find a cheaper one to update everyone on our trip!

We are in Mae Sot and everytime we get farther away from touristy spots we see more live animals in the markets!! It really is amazing...i have even gotten used to seeing dead chickens and pig heads everywhere!

We are volunteering with Dave and his Global Neighours crew in Mae Sot - a border town between Thailand and Burma. This town is interesting because it really is a hub for Burmese, Karen and other ethnic people from Burma. They leave Burma as illegal migrants and as refugees. Dave is a great leader...he has been coming to Mae Sot to help build schools and bring supplies for the last several years. He brings volunteers to help build schools, desks, teach and deliver supplies. Ted and I joined up with 11 other people in Chiang Mai and we travelled to Mae Sot on Sunday Jan. 27th. It has been an eye-opening experience that has really been hard and fun all at the same time. We have been working in many different places - Hsa Thoo Lei Orphanage and other schools around Mae Sot. The children are very impoverished and many times are not with their families because of the situation when they had to leave. Burmese and Karen people are very positive and have been very welcoming to us. When we arrived on Sunday we got to work building a puppet show stand for our teaching lessons. We have split into 3 groups (teaching, building desks and building a new school at Thoo mwe khee - a school very close to the border - where there has been recent fighting). I have been teaching (i escaped from Crafts and helped to run Games! - "What Time is it Mr. Wolf?" is hilarious in Karen!). Ted has been mostly building desks in Mae Sot. We both got to help out in the other areas for a bit which was fun - Ted was really tired of sanding! The teaching and work was cut short on Tuesday as it was World Children's Day... over 2000 children came on bikes, trucks and any way possible to Hsa Thoo Lei for an amazing day of partys and games. We helped out where possible giving out fruit and playing with the kids.

My favourite day so far was playing games with the little kids (3-11) at Good Morning School....they were so sweet and they have an Aussie English teacher there right now so they are really picking up English!

We have also delivered food, clothes and medical supplies. Unfortunately we just didn't have enough so many times we had to turn people away. The places we have been have been very sad, yet the people have been so kind and welcoming.

We have several amazing translators working with us (they can speak 4-7 languages). They are really fun and all have very interesting stories of leaving Burma...many of them are not easily able to return.

We visited Mae La Refugee Camp yesterday - it was like watching a National Geographic special. Many people have lived there for years waitng to get out. Ted and I arrived last night (after he got to drive the truck - a huge thrill!) and picked up some bikes! We are excited to be able to be a bit independent and get around Mae Sot on our own. We hope to hook up with Hong Sar (the Administrar of Hsa Thoo Lei) for a beer later.

Ted and I are trying desperately to learn more Thai, Burmese and Karen but it is really hard as we don't know who speaks what...we have learned "sit down, stand up" and "lign up" in Karen - important as teachers! We are building up our cheat sheet of more words everyday!

We will try and send pictures tomorrow...and Ted will tell his side of the story! we would love to send some video of "What Time is it Mr. Wolf?" as i forgot to tell the kids that when the Wolf chases them they don't need to run home!! They were so cute....20 kids running away from me!

We are really sorry that it is so cold there....we are blowing some heat there as we speak!

Posted by jented 20:25 Archived in Thailand Tagged volunteer Comments (0)

Technological Triumph

sunny 35 °C
View Our trip through SEA on jented's travel map.

We did it again, even after 14$ US on beer last night (it actually translates into a lot) we managed to get more photos to the blog. They are a bit late but offer some cool views of the resort at Koh Nangyuan. We had a short pub crawl late last night on the way home from the night bazaar. Lots of neat, and not so neat things to buy there. Sadly, none of the items we liked, would fit in our backpacks really well for the next few months.

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Posted by jented 21:36 Archived in Thailand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

lots of expats and pizza

semi-overcast 26 °C
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I won't be as "wordy" as my husband was yesterday! We are back to our cheap internet place and finished mapping out our trip to Burma (very important as the Goverment requires that info for our visas). We are excited to spend 28 days in Burma - seeing Rangoon and many places around Inle Lake).

We are really enjoying the laid back vibe of this city. We have a nice little place that serves amazing yogurt and fruit each morning. We also found a great cheap restaurant to get our northern Thai food (Khao sawy) - a dish similar to that in Burma. That being said we decided on pizza (over the expensive falafels!) last night...this is truely a cosmopolitan city as we had great pizza!

There are a tonne of "whities" here...many appear to be expats. We still aren't that social- i guess we really are newlyweds! We are both engrossed in our books and so the desire to explore has been a bit hampered! However, we are planning on a big walk later to see the Night Market and check out a few other sights.

We are looking forward to meeting with the Global Neighbours Volunteers! The trip with them will be really fun! Ted will get to build stuff and i will be the team leader for "Arts and Crafts" (I hear many of you snickering!).

With that I will sign off from here!

Posted by jented 21:52 Archived in Thailand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

The Honeymoon is definitely over...

171 steps to getting high

sunny 35 °C
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Well, it's official the honeymoon in paradise with the girl of my dreams is over. We have come away from our island escape, tired, hot, sunburnt, overspent and spend most of our time not speaking to each other. Ah, who am I kidding, it was AMAZING!!! I highly recommend Koh Nangyuan for a holiday. If you are interested in treating yourself to a beautiful, quiet (away from the multitude of 18-22 year old all night beach partiers), delicious, and overall great place. The website is www.nangyuanisland.com

Our first few days down south were spent at Koh Tao. A beautiful, and somewhat busy dive resort mecca. It has long stretches of sandy beaches and bars, restaurants and hotels of all ranges. We stayed in Sairee Beach on the West side of the island and it gets great shelter from the wind and waves. The downside (for normally landlocked prairie folk like us) is that the heat can be quite stifling with the humidity and shade is the only respite. Koh Nangyuan is only about a 10-15 min slow boat towards the northern tip of Koh Tao. It is 3 islands connected by broken coral (much more comfortable and cleaner than sand) sandbars. It gets lots of sun, shade on various parts of the island, and almost always has at least a light breeze to keep things cool. The other advantage is that there are three bays you can snorkel in at the resort and there is always at least one that is teeming with fish feeding on the dying coral that washes into the various bays. They also have an on-site scuba dive shop and if you dive, they give you a discount on the room. The divemasters are top notch and take you in small groups (most of the time, it was just Jen and I with the divemaster) to the great dives sites around Koh Tao, only about 5 mins from Koh Nangyuan.

The snorkelling just off the beach was amzaing, thousands of fish come up to thinking that you will feed them and some even bite your back fat (in my case anyway) if they are hungry enough. We also saw, a small octupus, that disguised himself like a rock so I called him a rocktapus, 2 squids, a blus spotted ray, several triggerfish, and lots of colorful corals, anemones, clown fish, and so on and so on. In addition, we recommend stepping up to the higher rooms at the place.

We splurged and got a room that had a 171 steps to get up to it, a beautiful balcony overlooking the resort and beaches. It was great to get away from the sun, crowds (at times when day trippers come snorkelling and swarm the beach), and drink a an overpriced mini-bar (again who am i kidding, 3$) beer on the deck while the sun goes down before dinner. They have free DVD's to borrow to watch in the evenings as the island has a licenced restaurant but no bar. It is also good so you don't carried away before diving the next day. The movies were really funny as they were all common titles, but most had the english soundtrack removed as they were dubbed over and subtitled. We enjoyed reading our favorite films nonehtheless. The food was excellent with lots of fresh seafood, fruit and tofu. We did not eat many lunches at the restaurant as we went to 7-11 (I know it seems lame but even the 7-11 has a great selection of food here) and bought some excellent yogurt, granola and fresh fruit to smuggle into our mini-bar.

The time there was great and it is common to have only a token canadian couple staying at the resort while the rest are form SE Asia, Europe and Australia. More smoking than we are used to but Canadian rules are hard to let go of someitmes.

I have probably gone on long enough and I hope to fill in more (read shorter) entries in the future.

Posted by jented 21:09 Archived in Thailand Tagged events Comments (0)

OHMIGOD ITS HOT!

sunny 35 °C

Goodday all, we arrived on an airconditioned bus from Bangkok to the ferry to Koh Tao. The ferry ride was great as the breeze kept us cool. Upon arrival we pushed our way through the mass of taxi drivers, dive resort guys, and hoteliers, jamming flyers into our hands getting off the ferry. It was pretty hectic. The walk in the hot, muggy weather, up the hill was even hotter. We found a cool bungalow with an attached toilet. There is a concrete add-on to the side of the cabin which houses an open air shower, sink, toilet seat(add your own water to flush) and working bidet. It is awesome. Yesterday was spent lounging on the beach and doing some snorkelling about 50 feet from shore and there was a ton of fish. This was great because we were so tired by 6pm that again, Jen and I passed out in our hut till about 11pm when we awoke to take out our contacts. At this time, I was getting my first bout of diarrhea and needed something to eat. I was up most of the night and got back to sleep about 6 am. It was at this time that my back was letting me know, in no uncertain terms, that 6 hours on a beach is wayyy to long for me. It was a rough go this morning, but once I drank some water, all was back to normal. Disaster averted. whew! Now we are headed to our "honeymoon" resort at Nangyuan Island tomorrow for about a week of diving, snorkelling and the hot shower we are paying dearly for. Ahhh, creature comforts. Even Jen admits that this is harder adjusting than the last times she has travelled. Good news is, all is well and still married!

Posted by jented 03:47 Archived in Thailand Tagged events Comments (1)

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