May 07, 2003
My Asian Vacation

I've been trying to decide how to write about my recent travels, and I've had several ideas.

There's the bare itinerary:

  • April 13th - 11:15am Vancouver to Inchon Intl, arrived 3:10pm April 14th
  • April 17th - 8:45am Gimpo Airport to Jeju Island
  • April 20th - 1:15pm Jeju Island to Inchon Intl
  • April 20th - 7:25pm Inchon Intl to Naha Airport, Okinawa Japan
  • April 25th - 9:15am Naha Airport to Inchon Intl
  • April 25th - 8:30pm Inchon Intl to Bangkok (5.5 hour flight, arrive at 11:55pm)
  • April 27th - 7:15pm Night train from Bangkok to Surat Thani, arrived 7:20 am, then bus and ferry to Thong Sala on Ko Pha Ngan, taxi to Ao Thang Nai Pan Noi (arrived about 3:30 pm)
  • May 1st - 10:00am taxi/noon ferry/5pm bus to Surat Thani airport for 7:15pm flight to Bangkok
  • May 1st - 10:30pm Bangkok to Inchon Intl (5.5 hour flight, arrive at 5:55am local time)
  • May 4th - 4:30pm Inchon to Vancouver, arrive 10:30am May 4th

There's the David Foster Wallace "A supposedly fun thing I'll never do again"-type impressionistic summary of what I've witnessed and learned:

I have seen Thai families of four riding on a single scooter, all without helmets; I have seen a military member exclaim "I'm an American!" as a reason to allow him to let his bullet/bottle opener on a flight from Japan to Korea; I have tasted Pocari Sweat (nastier than Mountain Dew); I have listened to Korean and Japanese commentary blasted from loudspeakers hidden in trees and in the depths of caves; I have seen buddhas of gold, emerald, marble and wood; I have eaten a Seoul subway junkfood called Man Joo; I have had pizza with corn on it; I have been to markets with live eels and entire pig's heads for sale; I have proved myself a true Canadian by immediately learning how to order beer in every country I visited; I have peered briefly into Thai families huddles around TVs in shacks meters from a rail line; I have seen cockroaches bigger than any cockroach has the right to be; I have learned that Japanese schoolgirls really do dress like that; I have learned to roughly tabulate the Canadian dollar equivalent for three separate currencies; I have been served kim chee with breakfast; I know what 35 degrees Celsius feels like; I have had my toes nibbled by fish in the Gulf of Thailand; I have learned that I want to do this again.

Bangkok Temple And, of course, there are the photos (including a rare shot of yours truly.)

And that only really touches the surface. Hopefully something more coherent once the jet lag wears off.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at May 07, 2003 11:30 PM

Yay-woo happy home! Just the whirl of impressions was exciting and stirring --gonna go look at the peektures now. Yay!

Posted by: (s)Iliana on May 8, 2003 12:44 PM

Wow....amazing photos. I think "little monks" may be my favourite. Can't wait to read or hear more about your experience!

Posted by: Colleen on May 8, 2003 9:09 PM
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