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)….

IMG_1141

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!).

0d51a2b8

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.”

worst-tourist-attractions-to-avoid-ko-phi-phi1.jpg?b28d64

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.

double-decker-public-bus_photo

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.

inside-a-thai-VIP-bus

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.

Advertisements

Bangkoking It.

IMG_3233

Welcome to Bangkok! Dirty, loud, crowded Bangkok. Kitty and Santa stayed in a lovely hostel with an open air rooftop cafe overlooking the muddy Chao Phraya River. It was beautiful in the most polluted way possible. They were just passing through Bangkok for 2 nights on their way to Chiang Mai but made the most of the trip. They took the water taxis up and down the river, enjoyed some street food & saw some sights (well attempted to see some site). By this point the Southeast Asian City had no real shock value to it. They were pros now at the tuk tuk, motorbike, street food lifestyle. Kitty & Santa still enjoyed every moment of the adventure. They took it all in, even the fumes and pollution.

The only downside to their trip to Bangkok was when they attempted to see the palace. They were escorted out of line in the 90 degree weather and pushed into a separate line. Had they won the lotto? Was this their lucky day? They waited patiently with the other tourists to see where they were going. They stepped inside of a small building and saw that there were rental clothing options. “Why would we rent clothes?” asked Kitty. “I would never wear that thing” said Santa. They looked around and noticed a pattern. Kitty and Santa were dressed for the summer day along with the other 30 people standing around them. When they looked to the separate line they noticed everyone was clothed from head to toe. “OHHHH” They both realized that this Grand Palace was a place of worship with temples and Kitty and Santa looked a bit disrespectful. They quickly got out of line realizing that rental clothes were not in the budget. As they looked at the temple from afar Kitty and Santa decided to sneak a peak past the guards. There wasn’t any disrespect in just getting a closer look from the outside, was there? When a guard turned his back at the exit Kitty and Santa slowly meandered their way in the exit. Some might say Kitty and Santa are rule breakers but in a city that dirty ya gotta expect a little crime 😉

IMG_3243

IMG_0615

IMG_3220

IMG_3212

IMG_3254

IMG_3205

Reunited in Phuket, Thailand

IMG_2747

Kitty and Santa got to their gate at the Seoul International airport an anxiously devised a plan of attack. They’re family’s connecting flight to Phuket was Kitty and Santa’s departing flight from Korea. All of their sadness about leaving Korea was quickly washed away when they sprung up on their parents walking through the terminal. Hugs, tears and more hugs were given as they were finally reunited after a long year apart.

IMG_2723
 
IMG_2717
 
photo 1-1
 
They arrived in Phuket and were greeted the next day by Katie’s sisters Liz and Emily. They felt the love as they listened to the girls talk about their 12 hour layover in Hong Kong with no good selection of snacks. They bought a large bottle of expensive wine (the cheapest they could find in the duty free section) passed the bottle back and forth and chased it down with some NyQuil and a large French fry ….point taken, you don’t sit around the Hong Kong airport like that for just anyone. Kitty and Santa felt truly blessed to be reunited with some of their families on the beautiful beaches of Karon. They all were able to bask in the sun, island hop, eat some amazing Thai, Indian and American food & tour the local sights that Phuket had to offer.
 
IMG_0123
 
 
Some short stories to highlight the trip::
 
You want my dirty Baht?
“Give me dirty Baht Santa”…”You want my dirty Baht?” Santa exclaimed in fear. “Nooo, I need your thirty baht.” With Santa’s hearing problem and miscalculations of currency there was never a dull moment wheeling and dealing their Baht (Thai money) on the streets of Thailand. Santa welcomed Kitty’s parents as her mom Cindy never seems to hear things correctly the first time and her dad was caught bragging to people at the pool bar about how his room cost him 80 Baht (thats equivalent to $2.50 USD)! They got many chuckles out of swindling people down on prices when they found out later they only knocked off 5 cents. Kitty and Santa had long conversations about what type of hostel they wanted to book in northern Thailand. An hour into it they realized this large debate was weather they should sleep with 8 people in a bunk bed dorm room that had 1 window and 1 fan OR for $3.00 more they could have a private room with air conditioning. Ummmm? “DIRTY BAHT” (said of course, in a Justin Timberlake Dirty Pop rendition).

IMG_3157-001

Bartering with the tuk tuk mafia. 
Apparently the mafia runs the entire transportation system on the beaches of Phuket. Bartering was not easy but when the 4 girls approach the locals in their bikinis lowering the price of BAHTS happened to get a little easier. The entire time Liz was telling Emily to watch her mouth, as she can get a little scrappy with her bartering techniques, in fear the mafia might restrain her. Kitty was relieved after the week was over that we never had to meet with the “queen bee”…”queen bee?” Santa asked. “Ya, you know the ring leader of the mafia pack. He’s the queen bee right?” Santa would have thought a mafia leader would roll with a tougher name than that but was happy to be learning Thai mafia facts from Kitty.

DSCN1260

IMG_3166-001

 
Our Wolf Pack
After the parents left it was just the 4 girls. Liz, Em, Kitty & Santa. The girls set out for a beach up north in Phuket called Nai Yang. They strolled down the quiet tiki beaches when they noticed they had made a new friend. A medium sized dog who looked just as lost and beached as they did. Their wolf pack quickly became 5 as they welcomed their 4 legged friend, they even named her Dolly. Kitty and Santa will spare the details but she definitely had some boob issues going on. As they walked they heard a loud a ferocious bark from the village street at the top of the beach. This dog sounded an alarm which hailed at least 8 vicious looking dogs storming the beach in their direction. “What the fuck?” The girls all huddled together and tried to keep calm as they walked along. Then they noticed Dolly was in trouble. The dogs ganged up on her nipping, growling and showing fangs. The 4 girls had no choice but to leave Dolly and walk as calm and collectively as possible away from the scene of attack. They didn’t want to get in the middle of a dog fight. The dogs pushed Dolly around until she left their territory but then another pack of dogs came howling. The girls kept their distance but felt bad for their new friend who was being bullied around the beach. The real question was “who let the dogs out and why did they hate poor Dolly so much?” Later they found out from a beach front bar owner that Dolly was new to town and these dogs ran Nai Yang beach. It appeared the dog beach mafia was also a tight run clique. Poor, poor Dolly.
 
DSCN1256
IMG_3028
 
IMG_3047
 IMG_2828
 
IMG_3024
 
 
Patong and Ping Pongs
The Wolfpack had planned to attend the full moon party in Koh Phangan, but when they found out it was a 5 hour bus ride to a 2 hour boat, they decided stick around the area. They traded in an island fiesta for a night out in Patong. They had heard about the infamous Ping Pong shows and lady boys, but wanted to see it first hand. After Liz gave the group a talk about sticking together and what they were to do if attacked by a mafia member, they got decked out in their flare and hit the streets. They found a party tuk tuk that dropped them right at the action, and for only 400 baht! They were immediately bombarded with people, ping pong show offers, iguanas and monkeys. They had decided they would probably skip the ping pong shows, grab some beers, and scout out the area.  Without travel insurance they didn’t want to risk catching a ping pong to the eye. Patong or Bangla Road to be exact, was a bit crazier than Karon beach. Lots of people, music, and bartering going on. The Wolfpack posted up at a country bar, had some drinks and watched the swarming streets with wide eyes. After a few rounds they found there way back to Karon beach where they hit The Terrace Bar for some live music. They were the only patrons that night and after a few rounds Emily stole the show. The band didn’t know the words to all the songs requested, so the Wolfpack offered to fill in for the lead singer. They danced, sang and drank until closing time. They finally stumbled home around 3am and spent the following day lounging at the pool, receiving massages and taking naps. Wolfpack -1 Mafia-0
1273203_10100739718380607_1873481999_o
 
Kitty & Santa loved every moment of their adventure with their families. It was the perfect way to reunite after a year apart. After lots of hugs and see you soons the girls packed up their bags and headed to Northern Thailand, next stop…Bangkok & Chiang Mai 
 
IMG_0106
 

Aside

And they’re off!!

DSCN1212

Santa sprinted down the brightly lit kindergarden hallway with her hands covered over her mouth. Her Korean kitten slippers slid around on the hardwood floors as she, dodged, jumped and gently knocked kids off their feet in her panic. Green in the face she made it in time for the flu to abort her body in the correct place, unlike the day before when poor Mark splattered in the hallway10 steps too soon. It appears germs travel extremely fast when one works with kids and although this isn’t how Santa thought her last Friday teaching would end up, it still doesn’t take away from the best year of her life. Kitty kindly strolled through the door at 6:00 PM with some amazing soup that one of their co-workers bought them as a get-well and have a great last weekend in Korea gift. As they sipped their soup they took a good look around their Korean shoebox where they spent the last 365 days “What a year”….

Korea to them is one of those countries, that honestly, no matter how much they talk about it is completely indescribable. There is a large sense of love for the beauty of the land, the children, the culture and the food and yet at the same time they want to flip it the bird and bid it fair well with a giant F*YOU! (after time has passed they will explain Korea in a new light & truth they we’re not able to express over the past year because of their job). Thats not to say that Kitty and Santa will leave Korea with an ounce of hate because it’s so far from that. They have nothing but love for this experience but it was exactly that, an experience. One to love, to learn from and most importantly one that opened their eyes and mind to a whole new world and way of life.
and now…they are off!! Work is done. Hugs, tears and goodbyes are finished. Bank accounts closed. Korea has been an amazing chapter, a wonderful year that will always be cherished for everything it was. They are sad to go but so excited for the journey that awaits them. 90 days, 3 months, 2,160 hours of chaos and life changing travel. 20 friends and family along the way, it truly is a dream come true.
Kitty and Santa plan on updating the blog every few days with hilarious stories on their gypsy life. Thank you to everyone who has followed this journey, you are all a blessing in Kitty and Santa’s life and they wouldn’t be able to do this without your love and support!
In  6 short hours  they get to meet their families at their departing gate in Seoul. Kitty and Santa’s families connecting flight is their departure flight from Korea. It’s going to be an emotional reunion that will make leaving Korea so much easier. Korea will always have a piece of their heart and those kids will never be forgotten. Ever.
As for now… THAILAND.
30ba1dca01ee4555724063cc563ffa65