Sunday, February 28, 2016

Paradise #2: Thailand and Malaysia

I just remembered one more for winter as it decided to have one more last hoorah before it ends and dump snow on us today. 

This one is especially for you San Diego people where you are very lucky to not have a real winter. For those of you who do live in a place with a real winter, this will be boring.

137. Every time it snows here in Seoul and I got out to the streets, I noticed either sand or what people have told me is salt, on the ground that either melts the snow or helps make the streets not as slippery. When I noticed this, I didn't know where it was coming from; it just always suddenly appears.

Also, ever since I moved to Seoul, I started noticing these boxes along the streets (they're there all year round). Little did I know that these boxes contain the magic stuff for the snow! So when it snows, city workers go around the city shoveling the white stuff onto the streets. Not only that, I've also seen huge trucks spraying the streets. I have yet to find out what the chemistry is behind the salt, but I thought it was something interesting that we definitely don't have in San Diego.

Anyways, now to talk about PARADISE! Hooray! Here's The List for Thailand and Malaysia in no particular order; I just added things as I traveled along. 


1. Less pushy sellers. Thailand is the third country I go to in South East Asia, and I can definitely see the difference on how sellers push sales on people. In Cambodia and in Indonesia sometimes I felt pressured and hassled to buy stuff. It was just easier to completely ignore sellers unless I really wanted to buy something. But Thai sellers barely even paid attention when I went into their shops. They wouldn't immediately start throwing prices at me, which to be honest, felt kind of refreshing to not have to deal with the whole ordeal.

2. Lots of kitties too! Duh, of course I had to mention this; but it really seems like SEA is just filled with kitties no matter where you go. Needless to say, I loved it.

3. Drive on the wrong side! Haha, just kidding, but they do drive on the left side. One thing I learned about Thailand's history is that it is the only SEAsian country to not have been colonized by any Western country. So if they weren't colonized by the British, whyyyyyy are they driving on the left??? 

4. Thai boys want a free ride. Lol this is a funny one. When I wrote about Cambodia a couple years ago, I talked about how I saw white guys with Cambodian chicks who were just companions for the trip. In Thailand it was no different. In fact, I noticed it even more. What struck me the most was how in Cambodia it was mainly old/fugly men with Cambodian chicks, but in Thailand I saw plenty of attractive looking men with Thai chicks, why go all the way to Thailand to get a girlfriend? 

Fresh strawberry smoothie
Anyways, that's not the point. Since it seems to be pretty normal for Thai chicks to get a free ride-along-Thailand trip, Thai men are getting on it too. More than once at bars, bartenders (men) would make comments such as "you need a Thai man." No thanks, homeboy. BUUUUUT I did notice a handful of girls with young Thai men hehe, get it guuuurl!!

5. No mud butt ! Yay! TMI maybe but who cares! It may be that my stomach is getting used to being exposed to worldly germs, haha. In Cambodia, I was so sick that it even scared me to go to the bathroom. In Indonesia, I did get sick, but I had zero cramps. Now in Thailand, and Malaysia for that matter, nada de nada! Yay!

6. Chubby greeting statues. Cute little figurines that greet you at the front door. However, I don't seem to make a connection between the statues and real Thai people. All the statues I saw were chubby, but Thai people are generally skinny. Weird.

7. Street food is amaziiiiing! Oh man, I still can't get over this one. Thailand is THE country for street food ...mmm make that #2 'cuz Mexico is still #1 hehe. My favorite thing to do in the evening was to find a market and just try as many things as possible. Delicious things everywhere!!! 

Fresh fruit smoothies!

coconut cakes
My favorites were the fresh juice/smoothies stands and the crepe stands, nutella banana anyone? Yum!

One of my favorite snacks, fried food!
8. Mini gas stations. I saw this in Koh Lanta, cute little things. 


9. Cheap! If I thought Thailand was cheap, Malaysia beats it hands down. I felt like I barely spent any money there.

10. Drive on other side too. Well at least I know that Malaysia was a British colony, so there is a reasonable explanation. Thailand, I'll be waiting for yours.

11. Starbucks is cheap! Referring back to #1, even Starbucks was cheap! And by cheap I mean compared to Korea; the prices were pretty much the same as they are back in Murica. I ordered my usual mocha frappuccino with soy milk and a pastry, and it came out to be just under five bucks. 

12. Starbucks door greeters. Yup. What is this, Walmart?

13. No tall size at Starbucks. Weird. Maybe it's not just shown on the menu board?

14. Juxtaposition of religions in a small area. This was pretty cool. When I was in Georgetown, I immediately noticed all the different people, cultures, and religions packed into a small area. There are mosques next to Catholic churches, next to a Hindu temple. In front of a mosque, I found a sign that said the street even had a name, Street of Harmony. Cool!

15. Convents. I've never seen so many in a single area (this was in Georgetown). Not sure if they were using the word convent to mean girls' school or something like that.

16. Mini coopers, lots! ...everywhere! ....the British influence again, maybe?

17. Durian ban. Have you ever smelled durian? If you haven't, it smells like vomit, pungent vomit. But people like to eat it, so I was surprised to find out that durian is banned inside public transportation and even inside shared hostel rooms. Thank goodness! 

Sign on a public bus
My Chinese roommate in Georgetown had it in our room, but thankfully when the host showed me to the room when I checked in, he was shocked and immediately asked her to get it out of the room. 

17. Women only coaches on trains. Not sure why they have this. It is a Muslim country, so maybe they want/need to be separate sometimes?

So that's it for my trip. Of course there are many more things that I would like to say, but I don't want to bore you; my pictures and whatever you Google are enough to tell you how breathtaking these countries are, and they should be a must in everyone's travel list.

If you would like to know more about the best beaches/places I went to, let me know, and I will gladly tell you. 

Sunset in Koh PhiPhi
OOOOOOHHHH I almost forgot, I was able to cross off one item off my Bucket List. I completed my scuba certification!! I am soooo excited for this; I can't wait to start using it in other countries #fearconquered.
With my scuba instructor, Lorenzo

Monday, February 15, 2016

One little monkey ...

Happy Year of the Monkey! 

I'm back to this winter dump from paradise, and it's definitely no bueno. My ass is freezing. My apartment is so cold. My face hates it!

But! Thailand was amazing! The beaches were breathtaking. The food was delish. And it was awesome to be able to drink fresh fruit smoothies and juices every day!! And so cheap! It was everything I was expecting and much more. I highly highly recommend all of it. As usual I made a list hehe, but that'll be for the next post.

I wanted to blog as soon as I got back, but I've actually been busy in my office working on the new semester. This will be my 4th year working at DWU, and I felt it was time to revamp my lessons. Not that they sucked, but I just wanted to finally make all the changes (small and big) I've been thinking about since I started teaching there, it also keeps me on my toes, so that I don't get bored with the same material.

I'm excited to announce that I've enrolled in a more serious Korean course at the Yeoksam Global Village. I am starting from the lowest level, twice a week, and we will be using the same textbook I used back in Pohang. I'm ok with that since I know that reviewing is better than to feel overwhelmed with new material. The only sucky part about it is that I have to commute 40mins, and on Tuesdays pretty much have to hurry my ass off because I only have 50 mins to get there, yikes! Wish me luck!

So let's get down to business and get on with The List! ....and in keeping with my try-to-be-optimistic-about-winter tradition, here is another winter edition ㅋㅋㅋ.

132. Umbrellas for when it's snowing. I thought it was weird because I would've never thought of such a thing (again, the spoiled sunny weather SD girl in me got me). The first time I saw it I though it was raining and that my imagination was playing tricks on me. I was then told that one of the reasons why people use them is not just to not get wet, but that just like there is acid rain, there is acid snow, ew!

It was only snowing lightly that day.
133. This is more of a me thing: layers! I love them, why? Because sometimes I am in my apartment in my pjs, I suddenly get hungry, so I just put on "nice" sweats, a hat, and a jacket over my pjs, and I can run to the store without anybody noticing that underneath I look like shit ...nor that I'm not wearing a bra, muahaha!

134. Another me thing: no shaving legs. Why bother during the winter?

135. My all time favorite: kitty cuddles, it's pawtastic! Seriously, these two furry guys have made winter much more bearable. Hobak looooooves to cuddle all day long. Gomi will cuddle much less during the day, but at night he always comes to find me. And I know it's a winter thing because during the summer they both seem to forget I exist. Jerks.


**UPDATE (2/16/16')** 136. I just thought of one more! And I rather include it on this post because winter will soon be over and will look super random in a future post. First, something you gotta know about me: when it comes to my senses of smell and hearing, I pick up weird/random things that will make me oddly happy. It's snowing today. As I walked to work, I felt such a joy from hearing that little crackling noise when I stepped on fresh snow. In a way it's comforting; something I badly need now.

By the way, I don't know if you've heard, but Conan is here in Korea, like, right now! Someone invited him to visit and he came! I've been following him on Instagram, but I would looooove to see him. Unfortunately I don't know how to know where he'll be next. Today he was at Noryangjin Fish Market; I sooo could've gone!!