Punk’d….again!

Fool us once, we should have guessed it. Fool us twice, we’re still idiots. Ahhh the tourist traps. Kitty and Santa tried their best to stay away from the them but within the first few weeks in Thailand found themselves buying into luxurious trips which ended in no such manner. Their first mistake was planning a lovely family outing in Phuket, an island hopping cruise!

“A private boat offers the flexibility to choose those perfect snorkeling places away from the crowds and, when the tides and water clarity are perfect. Boats are comfortable and fast, fitted with all safety equipment and have large covered areas. Wine & dine yourself while enjoying the beautiful surroundings that the islands of Thailand have to offer ” Kitty, and Santa scanned the cover of the trifold OooOOoo-ing and AhhhHhhh-ing. THIS is something they had to do.

Maya Beach, Koh Phi Phi Leh Island, Krabi, Thailand, AsiaWhat the pamphlet really should of said was… ” Welcome abroad you spotted cows, you. We are going to shove 500 people jammed onto a loud and slow barge with plastic chairs and terrible snacks. (Kitty and Santa can’t stand when the snacks are bad)….

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We will transport you at 4 miles an hour to an island where you won’t even be able to see the sand because so many people are standing shoulder to shoulder on the beach trying to get a photo. We then will push you all into the water to snorkel! As you grab your gear be sure to check out our photo exhibit of all the people who were injured in the water! We hope the bloody messes in all the photos will gear you into excitement to jump right in and explore (SAFETY IS ALWAYS NUMBER ONE FOR US, as you can tell we have no idea how to stop all the blood, we only have bandaids on board. We wont tell you how to stay safe but hey, this is an adventure. Figure it out or we will add you to the poster!).

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So enjoy your snorkeling, except you wont see any fish, you’ll only see legs of the person you were sitting next to on the boat. 500 people floating together with their heads dunked under the water, It’ll take you right back in time to your favorite Titanic moment, but with warm water!! After an hour of watching different color board shorts and bikini bottoms flounder around next to you we will let you back onto the boat to sit some more. If your thirsty, grab a warm beer for $5.00 or some saltine crackers for 3 small payments of $19.95. BUT don’t worry, you’ll make your money back on our all you can eat island buffet. We offer a fine selection of local mystery meats smothered in something weird and a chef’s special of hard, old white rice. When you finished eating say MOOOOOO and get back on line to board the ship. If you get there early enough you may even get to sit down in a chair! After just a short hour and no free time on the island we will head back to beautiful Phuket. I’m sure everyone will be exhausted and crabby from a 7 hour tour of nothingness. Our staff will be sure to hide from everyone during this time. Thank you and please, please YELP your exceptional experience aboard the WORST CRUISE IN THE WOLRD.”

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So Kitty and Santa made a mistake and their families had to suffer through a day of herding cattle. Live and learn right? Except they always seem to forget the learning part. Kitty and Santa arrived in Bangkok just to jump on a train a few days later and head to Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai! WOO!! They went to the train station and smiled politely to the attendant, 2 tickets to Chiang Mai please! “No Chiang Mai train, NEEEEXXXT!” Santa quickly stepped in, her normal panic state “I’m sorry, what?” “Chiang Mai train no working now. You take bus, upstaits. NEEEEEXXXTT!” They stepped away from the front desk and were quickly approached by an overly nice woman who was trying to help them out of the good of her heart (and a small commission fee if we booked with her, but mostly from her BIG ol heart). Kitty and Santa moved aside to discuss the issue, looks like they were going to have to take the bus either way. Flights were mostly booked and the train wasn’t working, what other options did they have?!

The overnight bus to Chiang Mai was….fancy. “A beautiful double decker bus fully equipped with restrooms, fully reclined chairs, luggage space below, 2 full meals and drinks all included for just $85 one way! The bus departs around 10 PM and gets in at 7 AM so you can enjoy a full nights rest aboard and wake up with a smile in sunny Chiang Mai.” “WOWWW!” Santa’s eyes grew big with excitement as the guy showed her pictures of a tour bus that looked VIP enough for Kanye & Kim to tour in. “Lets do this, lets definitely do this Kitty.” Kittys face was blank and unamused at what this guy just did to Santa. She looked at Santa and said “Lets go outside and talk about this” Santa immideatly thought she was playing hard to get with the guy and jumped up pretending to agree. “Oh, ya. Pssh. We’ve seen better deals” As the girls started to walk away the man at the desk shouted “FOR YOU $45.00! “OK! SOLD! Kitty that’s like half off” Santa jumped with excitment, Kitty still did not look convinced. “Santa, outside. NOW.” The girls walked outside and Kitty was hesitant. Santa agreed but what other options did they have. At least with this they get food, drinks and some sleep. They were saving 1 nights worth of money for lodging and so it would all even out in the end. The girls walked back in and agreed to the VIP bus arrangement. The next day they were off.

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They waited in line for what seemed like a very long time to board the bus, “What is taking so long?” As the line grew closer they noticed the bus was short staffed. It appeared a random man was in the luggage compartment, smoking a cig and sweating profusely while trying to load in the luggage. Kitty leaned over and started to whisper to Santa an important bit of information she forgot….”My friend told me that sometimes these night buses are highjacked by thieves and in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep they throw a smoke bomb on the bus that knocks everyone out for real. Then they steal everyones luggage and stuff, and then they leave the bus stranded in the middle of no where. Its happened before, its true.” She leaned away from Santa who was next in line to throw her luggage in the compartment. Santa looked at Kitty in fear and Kitty just nodded with a “I’m so serious right now” face. They boarded the bus, Santa still in a state of shock. “Its a little dirtier than what I hoped for but we still got the food to look forward to!” Kitty said to brighten the mood. She sat down on her rock hard chair and pulled the lever up to test out her seat in fully reclined mode. BOOM. Her seat was basically lying on the seat behind her.”Ooops! Good thing no one was sitting there when I did that” she laughed. As people were boarding Santa looked at Kitty struggling with her seat “Kitty! Put your seat up, these people need to sit down.” Kitty’s face was glowing red, “Its stuck!” “what?!” Santa began to laugh. “I’m serious, it wont move. I’m trying.” People filed in and sat down around Kitty and Santa as they noticed the 2 girls frantically panicking with Kitty’s seat. One guy made a comment about how he was happy he didn’t have the seat behind Kitty, she was a little too comfy for his enjoyment. “I’m not sitting like this on purpose, ITS STUCK!” Kitty squeaked. The man tried to help Kitty but there was no such luck. After 10 minutes of pushing, pulling and smacking her chair it finally sprang into a far too forward position. Kitty went from riding dirty to folded in half. In fear that it was going to get stuck again she let the chair be.

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The same man who was smoking cigs and loading luggage came and asked for their tickets and handed them an old child’s blanket for sleeping. Confused at who this man was and what the stain on the blanket was  they handed the tickets over. 10 minutes later the man was handing out snacks. Looked like a one man show. Kitty got super excited, I wonder what it is. They were given 2 hoho looking cake treats, one lime green and the other bright pink and a juice that looked to be made of antifreeze. “IS THIS OUR MEAL?” Santa asked. Kitty was absolutely positive it wasn’t. “It said 2 meals, not one. This is a snack for sure. Not a meal” Kitty then politely asked the strange man what was on the menu for the evening dinner. She didn’t eat anything since lunch because she was so excited about the free food. Thai food? Maybe Indian? Nooo it was probably some kind of noodle dish. She rubbed her hands together and tried not to drool. The man looked down at her “Meal one. Meal two” He pointed to each of the colorful weird looking cakes. Santa swears a tear almost fell from Kitty’s eyes in that moment. As she tried to focus on the cakes the last passenger boarded the bus, with a screaming baby and guess where the baby sat, YEP! Right behind Kitty and Santa. This bus ride was going to be a cake walk. Literally. Santa scrambled in her bag for a second, Xanax!! Kitty and Santa popped a stress relieving pill and hoped to fall deep into a coma for 9 hours. As the luggage loader, ticket puncher, waiter got into the drivers seat of the bus they prayed if the robbery was going to happen they would be out for it…Hopefully they would be waking up with a smile on their face in beautiful Chiang Mai in the morning…. (To be continued)

Ashton Kutcher −2        Kitty&Santa −BIG FAT NOTHIN.

Lost in Transportation

Kitty and Santa headed to Seoul to really celebrate the big birthday. Seoul is the biggest city in Korea and they decided it would be a perfect adventure for the weekend. They had plans for shopping, dinning, exploring, and indulging in a few well deserved cocktails. After about a 3 1/2 hour bus ride this is exactly what they did. They checked into their hostel and had lunch at Subway (upon kitty’s birthday request). No 5 dollar footlong, but it was worth every won. They Shopped until they literally almost dropped. Then had dinner at a delicious noodle house. Enjoyed a few glasses of wine and hit the streets to celebrate a long but successful day in Seoul.

New purchase: all the cool kids in Asia wear fake focals…just trying to blend.

Bunk beds, favorite part of sleeping at hostels.

Kitty and Santa found a jazz bar that featured Frank and the boys, sipped on some Jameson and talked about life and all the different kinds of money hanging above them. Ironically,  Santa went to buy the drinks and handed the bartender what was equivalent to $3.00 USD, he gave her the “What’s this” face and she knew she messed up. Good thing Kitty always has enough money to bail her out. Apparently she thought she grabbed $50.00 for the night out and only took $5.00. She will probably learn the currency just as they are leaving Korea, Kitty is worried she will have to relearn what a dollar is upon returning home.

Kitty and Santa will spare you the details on how the rest of the night went and fast forward to Sunday morning….

So there they were, sitting in the subway station at 11 AM while soju was seeking it’s revenge from the night before. SIDENOTE: When life gives you lemons and you act cool and add soju, nothing good comes of it.

Santa had her head down on the table at McDonalds praying that if it was going to spontaneously combust that it would happen soon. Kitty plopped down in her chair staring in confusion at the 2 meals that sat in front of her ” Either I’m seeing double or I think they misunderstood when I ordered a double cheeseburger”. They finished what they could and Kitty packed up what they couldn’t. “We gotta get home, lets do this.”

They thought they had mastered the subway system the previous day, but in their hazy stupor they would soon find out they were sadly mistaken. They purchased their train tickets, hopped on the train and after a few stops realized they were going the wrong way. They ran off, pushed their way on the packed car going the other direction, and finally made it to the blue line to transfer. This is when things really went wrong.

They followed the signs for their transfer train, but when they tried to enter with their purchased tickets the gates came down on them hard, real hard. Kitty and Santa looked at each other in confusion, backed up, and returned to the machine where they purchased another ticket. They crossed their fingers and tried a second time with success.  They got down to the train and realized they were about to get on the wrong one. At this point kitty and santa were exhausted. They wanted to click their heels and be back in Gwangju. They ran back up the stairs, but as they tried to exit the gates flew up and almost took them out AGAIN.

Now they were mad. They had paid twice and were not going back for round three. They busted through the gate and made a run for it. They were finally in route to the correct train, but in order to get there they had to bust through a few more gates. Now breaking the law is unlike Kitty and Santa, but when no one speaks English and they have no way of explaining themselves, sometimes there just isn’t any other way. They hopped on the right train, the doors shut but they weren’t moving.  After 5 minutes Santa broke into a sweat and almost had a panic attack. “Do you think they are looking for us? Should we turn ourselves in? I can’t believe we are going to go to jail in Korea.” Kitty started getting defensive ” Look, the thing is if we are on camera, we’ve paid twice and haven’t gone anywhere! I’ll tell them Santa. We’re not going to jail today!!” Just as they were about to make a scene in front of the Koreans swarming around them the train started to move. They both took a seat and kept quiet for the rest of the ride. But don’t you think for a second that Kitty and Santa didn’t pay for what they had done. Their legs bare the consequences of their actions. Regardless of the bruises and bumps they had made it to the express bus terminal and that’s all that mattered at that point.

After their subway switchup they couldn’t have been happier to see their bedazzled bus. Kitty and Santa were finally out of the woods….or were they? Immediately upon entering the bus they reclined in their seats, pulled their eye masks down and it was lights out.  They felt like it had been minutes when the bus came to a screeching halt. They sat up and realized they were at the half way point. They stumbled off the bus partially still asleep to use the bathroom and  grab a drink for their extremely dry pallets. As they scurried out to the parking lot they stopped dead in their tracks at what lay before them. There were a million different buses that all looked the same. Which one was theirs??

Kitty and Santa immediately broke into a sweat and their hearts started to race. They were going to be left behind. These bus drivers didn’t do a head count like in kindergarten. They walked down the line of buses but none of them looked familiar, or they all did. Thankfully Santa remembered their bus was blue. That narrowed it down, but there were still a dozen blue buses in the lot. They split up and started running onto each bus checking their seat numbers for their belongings. After running on and off what seemed like hundreds of buses Santa had found their ride seconds before the bus driver slammed the door and punched the gas.

Kitty and Santa were speechless. They slumped back into their seats and let out a huge sigh of relief. Better luck next time…

Public transportation: 2

Kitty and Santa: 0

jetLEG

Before the trip we talked a lot about avoiding issues with time differences. During this awesome conversation Kitty brought up the fact that she doesn’t ever get JETLEG. Well that just stopped everything right there, “Jetleg?” Santa replied. “ya, I don’t ever get that.” So this began another conversation about what exactly JETLEG was. Kitty was casual as she replied that jetleg was simply when your leg felt like jello from sitting so long on the plane. Santa took it in for a second, ya that sounds like it could be right. Well turns out kitty was dead on. We both had jetLEG and jetLAG, determining which was worse has become more and more apparent as the days goes on….

Our adorable apartment!

A few things that come with a 14 hour time change:

Stupidity: We took a long walk to this walmart meets ikea meets a 5 story shopping mall kind of store called the Lotte Mart. We went in there for just a few items, but became extremely delusional as we walked around like bugs going to the light. Kitty was getting really excited about cleaning supplies while Santa was tearing up at the pictures on the detergent box. We had past the state of exhaustion. We ended our shopping trip with a cart full of crap. As we strolled our cart to the parking lot it slowly dawned on us that we didn’t have a car. Ok, we thought, we can take a Taxi.  We approached the taxi and saw the driver speaking Korean. We realized our game of charades was probably not going to work for this one. OH and we had no idea what our address was, or how to say where we were going. So we walked, 25 minutes home with bags and bags and bags hanging off every body part, praying the entire time that they wouldn’t rip.

“What? I’m sorry sir I don’t speak English”-Santa

“Hmm, South Africa. Where is South Africa?” – Kitty

When its 4 AM and we can’t sleep because its 6 PM in Chicago we thought we could rely on some good old American sitcoms to numb the brain. WRONG AGAIN. Please feel free to write your senator about this large global issue. Watching 3 hours of TV in a language you know nothing about is both scary and addicting. Its like watching the ShamWOW infomercial at 3:30 AM and then realizing the $19.99 monthly payment sale ends in 2 minutes, sheer panic.

Long story short – Kitty purchased these stickers at home for her class here in Korea. I guess we weren’t sure what language they were going to ask us to teach. haa!

Nighty, night to all you jetlegging travelers!