April 30, 2003

Of course, minutes after making my post last night, there was a massive thunderstorm that lasted for about an hour and took out all internet access. It was pretty impressive - sheet lightning lit up the entire beach and the rain was just this side of torrential.

I don't think I've discussed the dogs here yet - they are everywhere on the island, and our little beach had at least a dozen, including some incredibly cute puppies. They were cowering in the dining area with us, along with many geckos. We had a bottle of wine and bananas in coconut milk. I recommend it for anyone sitting through a tropical storm.

This morning, we survived the taxi ride to Thongsala and will be boarding our ferry to Surathani in about an hour. Next update: Korea once more.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 09:04 PM
Last Message from Thailand

We've just finished an amazing day snorkling (we saw a turtle!) and will be heading out tomorrow morning to make our way back to Korea for our return flight on Sunday. For the curious, this involves a 'taxi' (basically, a seat in the back of a pickup) over dirt roads for 30 minutes to Sansala Pier, a 4 hour ferry ride into Surathani, an hour flight to Bangkok, and a 5 hour flight to Incheon Internation Airport.

But let's not talk about that. How amazing is it that on the sleepy northeast corner of a relatively small Thai island there is not only internet access, but cheap and plentiful internet access? In another decade, I wonder just how remote you'll have to get to not have it be possible to check your email.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 05:01 AM
April 28, 2003
Greetings from Kho Phan Ghan

Well, we've finally reached the sit on a beach portion of the holiday. We are at a place called Star Hut on Pan Noi beach. It is amazing; we can see the beach as we're (briefly!) checking email. We have a hut with attached bathroom right on the beach.

The night train from Bangkok was cool as a hadn't-done-it-before experience, but I didn't sleep very well; upper bunks (all they had available) are definitely not the way to go if you have a choice.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 12:46 AM
April 26, 2003
One night in Bangkok

Ok, two nights, but who can resist using that as a post title. We are here, we are hot, we are having fun. Tomorrow night we take a night train to Surat Dhani, which should be incredibly cool. That'll have to do for now.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 07:10 AM
April 24, 2003
A Brief Korea Visit

We have 8 hours in Korea before leaving for Bangkok, so we're killing a small amount of time in a PC room. Here are lightning impressions of Okinawa:

  • It appears to be very important to the Japanese psyche that nobody be more than 100 steps from a vending machine that will sell them Boss Iced Coffee, Pocari Sweat, or cigarettes. They are literally in the middle of fields.
  • The Japanese also have the Korean tendency to loudspeaker guidance in the midst of natural beauty. What is up with that?
  • Taxi doors open automatically for you.
  • It's going to suck coming back to North America, where tipping is expected.
  • Okinawa is way more laid-back then what I'd expected in Japan; Okinawa appears to be heavily influenced by Pacific Islander culture (Hawaiian shirts everywhere!)

Well, there's the undigested view. More thoughts later.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 09:14 PM
April 23, 2003
First of many...

Thanks to a laborious process involving cans on strings, here is an image from our visit to a volcanic crater on Jeju Island, South Korea:

Jeju Island Picture

More to come!

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 08:37 PM
April 21, 2003
Live from Okinawa

The quick drive-by update:

  • Had one of the best steak dinners of our lives last night.
  • It would be really easy to spend a lot of money shopping in Japan.
  • Somehow, we've managed to not have sushi yet. Today.
  • Tickets booked for Thailand visit and return to Seoul for return to Canada in 12 days.

Thanks for all the comments and well wishes! I'll respond when I have a bit more time and we're not at a very nice but expensive Internet Cafe.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 08:59 PM
April 20, 2003
Status Report

A transit day today - we're flying out of Incheon airport to Okinawa in 90 minutes. I think I need a little while to unpack all that I've seen over the past week; I don't think I'll have a Grand Unified Theory of South Korea as a result, but hopefully it'll be more coherent than my current 'that was neat'.

One thing that I know will stick with me is the Korean penchant for heavily managing their nature experiences - we visited two very neat natural wonders on Jeju island, a cave complex and a volcanic crater. Both had loudspeakers playing twinkling music and/or voiceovers explaining just what it was we were seeing.

I still haven't found a computer that will let me upload pictures, but rest assured the photographs are numerous. Stay tuned!

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 01:36 AM
April 18, 2003

Another brief hello, this time from Jeju City, the main city on Jeju Island, which is at the southern tip of South Korea. Tomorrow we're off to Okinawa!

All is well, although the weather has been a bit damp. Koreans are super-friendly though - a umbrella was forced on us outside of a restaurant last night. I'm sure we confirmed some stereotypes about westerners too dumb to take an umbrella with them.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 06:37 PM
April 14, 2003
Hello from Incheon!

As promised, an entry from a smoky PC cafe in South Korea. I've now been up for 20 hours, but I'm still (relatively) coherent. The plane ride was uneventful, which is how I like all my plane rides. The plane was half-empty; this is a terrible time for Air Canada already, and market conditions can't be helping.

That's about as many thoughts as I can put together right now, except to observe that there are a lot of kids running around here. I guess this is what a growth birth rate nation looks like.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 04:06 AM
April 07, 2003
live HTTP headers

Yet another reason to love mozilla: live HTTP headers, a mozdev project.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 07:26 PM
Three Kings

Excellent appreciation of Three Kings by David Edelstein, my favorite critic to read after I've seen a film.

(via The minor fall.)

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 11:06 AM
April 06, 2003
floppy RAID

Floppy RAID. Brilliant. (via Mr. Barrett.)

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 10:30 PM
April 04, 2003
apathetic journal

So, I interrupt the silence to link to... The Apathetic Online Journal Entry Generator.

Here's the short form of what's been going on:

  1. Programming like a mad man. As some of my code has demonstrated.
  2. Getting ready to travel to Asia (non-SARS affected areas only)
  3. Trying not to let point 1 drive me crazy, hence little non-productive-time online

Expect many many pictures of Korea, Japan and Thailand in the nearish future, plus rushed Wish you were here! style entries from smoked-filled Korean pc cafes.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at 08:46 AM