Chaing Mai is very different then Bangkok – much more laid back- We’ve enjoyed seeing the mist on the mountains. On our first full day we rented a 400cc Honda Super Four motorcycle and drove 100km (200km round trip!) to the highest peak in Thailand (Doi Inthanon)
Beth and I are off to the “Land of Smiles” a week from today!! Beth is freaking out because while I’m coming back after three weeks she’s staying for two months. I plan on updating a lot more than our aussie trip. Stay tuned…
Well we have some more pictures on the flickr site of our time on board the Undersea Explorer. 6 days in the Great Barrier reef including 3 days at Osprey reef isolated out in the Coral Sea for those 3 days we were the only boat as far as the eye could see. We were lucky enough to catch a Manta Ray at a cleaning station twice! The graceful Manta with a 10ft wingspan cruised in for his daily cleaning and came within 3 feet of Chris! The Manta looked Chris directly in the eye and for those 4 minutes it was like we were all creatures of the sea.
In addition to the Manta Ray, on Osprey Reef we saw sharks on every dive. Most sharks just carried on with their business as usual, but every so often one would swoop by for a closer look. The reef also contained some of the most pristine reefs that we have ever seen (due mostly to it’s isolation).
During one of our surface intervals we spotted some dolphins off the ships bow. We excitedly alerted the skipper and he immediately started up the engines! Cruising along towards the dolphins we could see that it was a large pod of about 50 to 60 Spinner dolphins. The dolphins also began to approach the boat and began to ride our bow wave. As the dolphins gained speed they would jump up over our bow wave, even 3 at a time! They stayed with us even when we had to turn the boat! It was an awesome experience!
Yes. ..To as Chris mentioned, we are terrible bloggers! To our defense we were totally isolated out on Osprey Reef for 5 days (not even another boat in sight). We had a great time and just completed a gruling marathon of diving (6 days at 4 dives a day!). We are recovering nicely though and tonight we are going to attempt cooking our own dinner on the traditional Aussie BBQ….. the only thing missing is our friends to join in the fun!
OK so I’m a moderate success at a few of things – life, career, love, etc.. But Blogging is not one of them. We’ve been haiving so much fun that we are completely knackered at the end of a day and I (Chris) don’t have the inclination to light up the laptop or even pick up a pen to wirte down my thoughts. I keep telling myself there is a time coming up which will be slow and allow for some refelction to collect my thoughts on all that we done so far – but for now I have pictures. (click on the photos at the bottom right to see the flickr site) or go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/bubblemakers/
We took a hotel shuttle and dropped off our luggage at the hotel Mercure George Street Sydney. Our room wouldn’t be ready until 11:00AM and it was 8:45AM. We tooks a few items and my little point and shoot digital and struck off down the main drag George street towards The Rocks and the Opera house. It was a long walk as we stopped often to window shop. I must say it all seemed a little weird – walking around Sydney gives the impression of a mixture of downtown Toronto mixed with old montreal sprikled with a little Vancouver foleded into a big helping of driving on the wrong side of the road.
It took us an hour and half to stroll the length of George St all the while I don’t think it sunk in that we where actually here. It finally became real as we set eyes on the Opera house and sydney harbour bridge for the first time – for the record it’s more off white than the pictures I’ve seen – or atleast how I’d imagined it based on the photos I’d seen – but you’ll have to see it for yourself to know what I mean.
4:30 AM Air Canada Flight AC0033 somewhere along the coast of Australia
Something about sitting in a more or less upright posuition for 28 hours straight doesn’t do wonders for the lower half of the body specifically the lack of definition I have dividing my lower leg from my feet. I USED to have discernable ankles but due to swelling I now have cankles. Not to worry one night of lying horizontal should take care of it – unfortunately that’ll be awhile since we land in Sydney at 6:30 AM local time we won’t be able to check into our room until 11-ish. Besides the best way to cure jet lag is to get on local time as soon as possible -or so they say- I read in the in flight magazine that NASA recommends 1 Day per Time zone crossed to cure jet lag – that would mean we won’t be recovered until 9 days from now (at least that’s what my jet lagged brain tells me the caulation is).
You can’t buy the T-shirt if didn’t leave the airport
We had a 40 minute turn around in honalulu everyone had to deplane with all our belongings while the whole plane was inspected by US Customs. One of the only stores open was selling souvenirs of Hawaii. Including some nice items we wouldn’t mind getting but there is no point in having a souvenir if you’ve only been to a place for 40 minutes in the dead of night – maybe next time.
One thing we’ve learned is apparently no one in today’s modern airports or employed in our national airline is capable on giving the complete set of information. Perhaps it’s changes in recent security measures, or perhaps it’s that there are no more check-in agent (it’s electronic now). In Ottawa airport one person told us we would have to collect all our bags and clear US customs in Vancouver the second person didn’t seem to know for sure and finally told us no we didn’t that our bags were checked through. So when we arrived in Vancouver we lazily wandered around window shopping in the various concourse shop until we realized that we did in fact have to clear US immigration, due to our short stop in Honolulu. Then once we go through the customs agent we found a luggage carousel were our checked luggage had been doing laps for the last hour. We grabbed 2 carts and collected said luggage expecting to go through a customs inspection in the next room only to find we actually had to put it on a new conveyor some 40 feet away from the collection point. You’d think this was information someone would have given us somewhere along the way.
Oh well – we did find a spa that gave 20 minute chair massages on the other side of US check point. It figures it’d be in Vancouver but what a great idea! Beth and I were thoroughly relaxed for the next leg of our journey.
Location Ottawa airport 12:30 PM waiting to board flight AC189 to Vancouver… Over the past few months I’ve read a few blogs – specifically travel blogs and espicially me-go.com about a girl in the US who is taking her second whack at travelling around the world. Now that I’ve started my own blog I’ve found it hard to force myself to update it with any kind of frequency. I was planning on writing witty anicdotes about the planning and packing stages – but here it is the trip has started and I’m writing this in an airport. Well, basically I have no time – and this is from someone who sits in front of a computer all day (working very hard I might add -between power failures and wiring misshaps- Hi Mike K. and Dave H.!). Maybe it’s the nature of travel that gives travelling bloggers the time to collect thier thoughts or more that likely it’s thier desire to have a connection with friends and family at home that pushes them to update. I know when I went to Thailand in 2002 pre-Blog universe I put together a Yahoo group and had friends and family subscribe to it as a way of sending a news letter out to those interested to tell them how my trip was going. I will endeavour to wirte something at least once every two days on this trip and post those entries whenever an internet connection presents itself – Although the $10 a day wireless at the ottawa airport is alittle too pricey for me right now – I’ll save up this entry to post once we have arrived or perhaps during our layover in Vancouver.
So we’ve been feverishly planning our itinerary. The Plan(TM) so far is we are flying in to Sydney Sept. 12th and out Oct. 16th.
We will be driving from Sydney to Ballina (near Byron Bay). We will celebrate Beth’s birthday on the 20th with our friends Tanya and Csaba. We’ve booked a liveaboard (Like a kick ass cruise for divers) the undersea explorer from Sept 23rd to Sept 29th out of Port Douglas in north Queensland. We will celebrate our first wedding anniversary on Sept 30th after we get back staying at the Balinese inspired Hibiscus Resort http://www.hibiscusportdouglas.com.au/. Following That we will head back to Brisbane and Ballina to hang out and relax until we head to Sydney on our way out.