Thursday, April 17, 2014

Day 89- Back To Koh Tao For The Ladyboy Cabaret. Oh, And To Do Some Diving Eventually.

Mercifully our overnight bus ride from hell came to an end around 3am as we were unceremoniously dropped off in some random parking lot in the town of Chumphon.  The one major problem was that we were a good 15 kilometers from where we were told we would be dropped off at the ferry terminal.  The American guy from the bus (the guy banging back Valiums) kept arguing with the bus driver and telling him that we were supposed to be get dropped off at the pier, but alas his argument fell on deaf ears.  Rather conveniently there were a couple of cabs waiting for us in the parking lot, which seemed just a tad bit suspicious seeing as how it was 3am in the morning.  I'm sure the bus driver had a little deal with the cabbies going, but hey who the hell am I to judge some scam artists trying to make a buck.  Eventually we bartered a group rate with one of the cabbies who drove us in the back of his pickup truck down to the pier for 50 baht (under $2 each). 

As if our travel day had not been long enough, we still had over three hours to kill before the ferry would be departing to Koh Tao.  While we did our best to sleep at the decrepit ferry terminal, it was really difficult as there were backpackers/travelers laying everywhere and cockroaches running around like they were thoroughbreds at the Kentucky Derby.  Alas, I passed the hours talking to Captain America about his time as a fisherman in Alaska.  With the amount of pills he had popped that night though there was a good chance he didn't remember a word he said to me and I wasn't even sure how the hell he was still conscious.

Boarding the ferry was a great feeling as it was the home stretch before we made it back to Koh Tao.  Our reason for returning was that Colleen really, really, really wanted to do some more diving before we left and she had a minor love affair with the island.  Better an island than another man I suppose.  Colleen had also gotten wind that one of her friends from Kamloops, Ashley, would probably be on the island at the same time as us.  Well low and behold, who did she run into on the ferry?  Hint: it wasn't Bilbo Baggins.  I was also happy to see that our heavily medicated bus mates' valium had finally caught up with him and he was now unconscious in front of the bathroom door.  While I found it entertaining, I am not too sure the people who had to use the shitter found it quite as enjoyable. 

Knowing what to expect this time around as we disembarked from our three hour boat ride, the sight of hundreds of cabbies trying to coddle you into their vehicles at the pier was not as overwhelming as before. Unlike on our last visit, this time we were able to find our resort's shuttle driver who dropped us off at our new home for the next few days, Simple Life Resort.  Since we couldn't check in yet, we headed out for some lunch before making our way over to Roctopus Dive to get Colleen registered for some scuba dives.  As mentioned, I could not dive due to my ear problem that I had encountered, although I'm sure everyone there just probably thought I was too chicken shit (see: a little bitch!). 

Colleen's lovin' the digs!

I got my own urinal.  Guess I can check that off my bucket list.

With the diving reservations all sorted, we headed back to the hotel to check out our new digs.  Unfortunately we didn't beat the pouring rain and by the time we made it to the hotel we were wetter than....(insert your own joke here).  On a positive note, we had paid a little more than we were used to in Thailand for a room, but boy was it worth it.  We had a huge room, an even bigger bathroom, and my favorite part, I had my own urinal!  That's when you know you have arrived in life: you have your own urinal.  Apparently the God of the Bathrooms felt it necessary for me to put the urinal to good use that afternoon after my multiple attempts at napping were rudely interrupted by my frequent urinations.  I could have sworn I had a bladder infection, but I'm told such things are extremely rare in men. 

To make up for spending our Valentine's Day in the back of a minivan the night before, Colleen and I went out to celebrate a day late.  We hit up a lovely little joint called Portobello, and it was definitely the cheapest Valentine's dinner I had ever had.  To eat at a "semi-fancy" restaurant with adult drinks included, our bill still only came to $25!  And that is why we love you Thailand.  After dinner we headed over to the slightly less romantic confines of Chopper's Bar and Grill.  There we met up with our old buddy Prat for a bit, before he buggered off (some people have to work in the morning) and left Colleen and I on our own.  Being the ever persuasive she-devil woman that she is, Colleen convinced me that we should head over to check out the ladyboy cabaret.  I figured it couldn't hurt (as long as I didn't get left alone) and the next thing I knew we were sitting on the front row of a cabaret show with a bunch of dudes dressed in women's clothes.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, some of the ladyboys in Thailand are actually not that bad looking (all things considered) and it is pretty easy to see how many a drunk tourists "accidentally" end up taking home someone with a surprise package in their pants.  Having said that, many of them are just straight up ugly, and have about as good chance of being identified as a woman as Chyna from WWE.  We stuck it out at the cabaret show for a while, and lasted right to the end of the show when they all popped their shirts off as part of the grand finale.  This was extra fascinating as some of them had actual breast augmentation while others just simply strutted around in padded bras and were as flat as a six-year old boy when the tops came off.  All of them appeared to "tape" their junk (use your imagination)...that is unless they  had some heavy duty surgery.  I wasn't about to ask.  

Ladies...or men...lookin' good!

Hubba hubba.

Sweet dance moves.

Not sure who is photobombing who here.

Colleen and I with one of the surgically enhanced "ladies".

Colleen making new friends.

On our way back to the hotel from the show, we encountered a group of young drunk males, and low and behold one of them was trying to pick up a ladyboy.  At first the guy didn't realize what he was doing, and then all of a sudden he yelled, "those are dudes!!!".  Classic.   By this point I myself was pretty intoxicated and felt a visit to the Youtube sensation known as the "Pancake Man" was in order.  Yes, even Thailand now has their own online stars.  My drunkenness also led to me failing in the bushes outside our room as I attempted to go all stealth on some creature that was presumably hiding there and waiting to kill us.  Whatever it was, it survived, and provided Colleen with a good laugh at my expense.
The "Pancake Man" in action.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 88- All I Got For Valentine's Day Was Sexual Harassment In A Bus Station Bathroom.

Our final day of our week long sojourn through Malaysia was upon us.  We were supposed to be getting picked up around 4pm at our hotel by the minibus that would take us to Hat Yai,Thailand.  From there we would transfer to a bus and then on to a ferry the following morning which would take us back to Colleen's favorite spot, Koh Tao.  Since we had a few hours to kill, Colleen and I headed over to the local shopping mall, which in Malaysia consists of a huge 10-storey complex.  I must say, those Malaysians sure know how to build their retail centers.  There we had one last meal, complete with the terrible and unfriendly service we had come to know and love from the lovely wait staff in Malaysia. 
Seeing as how we still had a few hours to kill, we decided to partake in one of my favorite pastimes, bowling.  I'm not sure if I like it because I can consistently beat my girlfriend or because of it is classified as a sport and requires very little exertion, but either way  I DO LOVE BOWLING!  We ended up logging a solid four games, with my best stretch being four frames where I bowled two strikes followed by two spares.  I know, I'm a big fuckin' deal!

Why would Colleen let me leave our hotel dressed like this?

Born to bowl baby!

Once I felt I had adequately crushed Colleen's soul on the hardwood we went back to our hotel to catch our ride to Thailand.  There was only one problem: our ride was nowhere to be seen.  Once our ride hit the "half-an-hour late" mark we started to get a little worried that we either a) got ripped off, b) they forgot about us, or c) they were just running late (we were hoping it was the ladder).  After attempting to contact the travel agency by phone to no avail, I ran down the street in a panic to visit the he-she travel agent who had sold us the tickets the day before.  She (we'll assume that's what this person wants to be called) was able to get a hold of the driver who informed her that he was just running late as some of the passengers were having trouble getting their travel visas in order.  An hour-and-a-half after we were originally supposed to be picked up, our minibus eventually showed up.  While the driver hastily loaded our luggage I attempted to track down Colleen who was charging her IPhone somewhere in the hotel lobby.  The driver actually started to drive away without Colleen and I, but thankfully due to traffic I was able to track him down and tell him to wait 20 fucking seconds for me to gather my girlfriend.  It would have been a long walk to Thailand is all I can say.   

The majority of our minibus ride consisted of us having to listen to the guy beside us on his cell phone blab on-and-on to his buddy who had obviously been in a severe moped crash and was now having to fly back to Europe for medical care.  Sucks to be him.  So I guess I could officially stop bitching about my moped accident now.  Our official welcome back to Thailand consisted of the most chaotic border crossing I have ever seen.  All of the passengers in our vehicle had to get out and cross the border by foot.  Somehow despite the mass confusion and thousands of people everywhere all of the passengers made it back to the vehicle and we motored on the rest of the way to Hat Yai.

Hat Yai is a city in southern Thailand that acts as a major transportation hub for the region.  Once here, we were dropped off at the bus terminal and the passengers all went their respective ways.  Colleen and I loaded up on snacks for our impending all night bus ride and shortly before we were scheduled to leave I decided to visit the men's room for a quick urination.  Since it was late at night the sprawling bathroom was empty, and there was probably space for 70 or 80 dudes to piss at the same time if they wanted to.  As I was standing at the trough-style urinal relieving myself in the empty bathroom, a young Thai dude in his early twenties entered and proceeded to come and stand right next to me (like shoulder to shoulder!).  He came up right beside me, peered over my shoulder, and locked his eyes on my package.  I wasn't sure whether to be flattered or frightened, but from the now joyous look on the young man's face he was clearly enjoying himself.  I quickly tried to finish my piss, although I am pretty sure I got a large amount of urine on my clothes.  I bolted out of the bathroom and ran the hundred or so yards to where Colleen was waiting and explained to her how Brent Junior had just been violated by the prying eyes of a bus stop pervert.  It was safe to say it was the most bizarre "romantic" gesture anyone had ever bestowed upon me on a Valentine's Day.

Attempting to put my traumatic life experience behind me, we boarded the bus and prayed that the Male Body Inspector was not on our bus.  Check.  What we ended up with instead were a Swiss and American guy right behind us.  The Swiss guy was determined to get drunk and the American was popping generic Valiums like they were going to expire any minute.  Rather nonchalantly  he offered Colleen and I some of his magic pills, but alas we decided that we didn't need to develop any new habits.  The bus itself was quite old and the seats were terribly uncomfortable.  Factor in that Colleen had some inconsiderate broad in front of her who decided to put her seat ALL THE WAY BACK and you have a recipe for a long, sleepless night.  The bus' overhead air conditioning system also happened to be leaking in a bunch of random spots and at one point the Swiss dude woke up from his drunken slumber to discover that he was covered in water!  The bathroom on the bus was also a nightmare as it was so small  that I couldn't figure out how to crouch inside and take a piss at the same time.  Factor in that the bus was shaking quite a bit and you can guess where the majority of my fluids ended up.  I'll give you a hint: my clothes.

All of these glorious factors piled on top of one another eventually led Colleen and I to start getting a little snappy with one another and it is safe to say, while it wasn't the most romantic Valentine's Day, it was one we were never going to forget!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Day 87- Have No Fear People: The Lost Art Of Scrotum Taping Is Alive And Well In Malaysia.

Never ones to unnecessarily wake up early, Colleen and I slept in yet again before heading down to the hotel restaurant for lunch.  Not surprisingly the restaurant clientele consisted of the two of us and 500 Chinese tourists.  How the two of us were not yet fluent in Mandarin I do not know.

Having visited most of the city's main tourist spots the day before, the one feather in our cap we were missing was a tour at the "Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion".  I know, sounds exciting.  Colleen and I showed up at said mansion for the lunchtime tour expecting there to be a handful of people.  Instead, we were greeted by a group of over 100 people.  It just goes to show the power that Lonely Planet travel guides have and how if they decide you are one of the "top ten mansions in the world" the masses will follow.  The tour itself was pretty unspectacular, as we had one tour guide for the entire group trying to yell over everyone with no microphone or voice amplification system.  Colleen and I both lost interest pretty quickly and before we knew it we were wandering off from the tour group and taking silly pictures in an attempt to entertain ourselves.  Eventually even this got too tedious and we decided to just walk out on the tour.  Problem solved.

All it takes is a Lonely Planet recommendation and BOOM! your boring attraction is a hit.

Let's just take selfies instead.

Clearly I was loving the tour. My eyes say it all.
Free from the mansion, we headed back to our hotel to attempt to map out the next day's travel plans (but not before we stopped off at...Subway of course).  Our plan was to head back to Koh Tao (the diving island) in Thailand as Colleen really wanted to get in some more diving before heading to Canada the following week.  Due to the Chinese New Year, all of the flights and more desirable travel arrangements were sold out or out of our price range so we headed down the street to the local travel agency.  While the shop had some very attractive prices in their windows, inside I was greeted by possibly the ugliest he-she (see: transsexual, ladyboy, etc) I had ever seen.  In the last couple of months I had seen my fair share of men who now "identified" themselves as women, and to be honest some of them weren't that bad looking.  I mean shit, you pump enough drinks in to someone and it's not surprising that you are constantly hearing stories of foreign men who pick up "women" at the bar and take them home only to discover that they are packing some taped up heat in their thongs.  Anyways, no amount of drinks was going to make this boy pretty, but at least he, or should I say she, found us a good deal for the next day.  For $55 each we would have to take a 4 hour ride in a minibus (large van), followed by an 8 hour overnight bus ride, and then finally a 2.5 hour ferry ride before arriving in Koh Tao.  Not exactly ideal, but hey it would get us there.

A final addition to our collection of pictures of Penang's spectacular street art.

In preparation for our big journey the next day, we spent our last and third consecutive night at the Red Garden Food Paradise.  It was pouring rain all night so we took refuge there and just enjoyed the good, cheap food and beer.  To top it off, we got the best service we had had in Malaysia at the only place that wasn't charging an automatic service charge.  Hell, the guy sweeping the floors even stopped to fill my beer glass for me!  Now that's service. 

I spent my last night in Malaysia watching "Armageddon" back in the hotel room, a sure sign of what the  next day was going to feel like with all of the less-than-first-class-travelling that awaited us.