Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Phuket 2

Moved from the Westin to the Ban Karanburi Resort, The Westin catered to all nationalities, the BKR is a Thai resort with very few English speaking people.  This resort is located on Karon beach.  The predominate nationality visiting in and around Karon beach is Russians.   The AC doesn’t work that well in my room and it is effing hot and muggy. 
Dive 8 was at Anemone reef and we became familiar with a fish called a striped Remora.  These fish can be seen on sharks as they attached to the backs of sharks using their sucking mouth.  Disturbing to have these suckers trying to swim up my shorts while 20 meters under water. 
Dive 9(Shark point)  Large colorful fans, a giant Moray eel, lionfish and pilot jacks. 
Dive 10 (Koh Doc Mai) Leopard shark, huge sea turtles and a sea snake.  The sea snake is striped like a zebra, rather small but very deadly.  As Sergey, my divemaster, says one bite and 5 minutes later you are dead.  This increased my air consumption a little bit I assume.
Dive 11 (Koh Bida Nok) Lemon shark, the damned striped remora trying to suck on my junk again but the prettiest of all the dives I did and will do while in Phuket.
Dive 12 (Shark point 1 and 2) Another shark but it was swimming fast away from our group and I couldn’t tell what type it was. 
Skipped a day of diving to sightsee and allow my blisters on my toes, caused by my scuba fins to scab up.  I headed to a snake show, an elephant farm and Patong.  First, I hate snakes and felt very uncomfortable being so close to king cobras and many other snakes that could kill me very quickly.  What was I thinking going to this show, I will never know but I’ve been to one and no need to attend any of them EVERagain.  I wanted to get my picture on top of an elephant but after haggling over prices, they wouldn’t let me just get up on one, I had to purchase an hour trek through the jungle, that I had no desire to do, I decided to walk around the farm and that would have to be good enough.  This decision not to spend any money at the elephant farm changed the agreement and upset my tuk tuk driver for the day.  I agreed upon 500 bht to have the driver for the day take me to four or five different places.  At first, he was wonderfully accommodating, happy and friendly.  After refusing to pay for the elephant trek(which was a tourist rip off) he no longer talked to me and drove me to my next location and told me he would no longer be able to be my tour guide.  They get kick backs from the businesses based on where the drivers take you and I guess he was no longer making money off of me.  I paid him 200 bht and we parted ways. 
Patong:  Shops of fake DVD’s, clothing, hats, handbags, sunglasses, hell everything is a fake knock off.  Women soliciting their bodies for cheap, everywhere. 
Sunday July 29th was back to diving:
Dive 13 (Koh Doc May)
Dive 14 (Koh Bida Nok)
Dive 15 (Maya Bay)
Sea turtles, fast currents and lots of colorful fishies. 
Dive Asia was an awesome outfit to dive with.

Back in Bangkok for a week.   
Eat more chicken

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bangkok and Phuket one


My flight left Denver on time at 8:15am to Seattle for a four hour layover.   Boarded the plane in Seattle to Incheon Korea, In a middle row seat for 11 and ½ hours good god.  I slept for a few hours and the girl next to me who slept most of the trip, once curled up next to me, placed her head on my shoulder and wrapped her arm around my waste, all while she was sleeping.  In order to avoid embarrassment for her, I didn’t inform her of this cuddling while she was asleep.  I watched 7 movies and few episodes of Tv.  The transfer from Incheon Korea to Bangkok was seamless and easy even though I only had an hour to trek across a large airport.  After a 5 hour flight from Korea, I arrived in Bangkok.  That is a lot of plane riding and travel.  I would like to take this time to comment on how much better foreign airlines are in re: to service and amenities than the US.  Free glasses of wine, two full dinners, complete with warm bread, a warm towel to clean my face and freshen up and 8 flight attendants for our needs. 

The first night went to night market in a predominately Arab section of downtown.  The food was delicious as I dined on lamb Kofta and ordered apple sheesha for the hookah while surrounded by and chilling with the Saudis.  They were up late due to the start of Ramadan.   The food is extremely cheap. For lunch I got two coconut waters and pan fried thai noodles with prawns for the price of 70 thai bht, the equivalent to about 3 us dollars.
I stayed at the Conrad hotel in the downtown area.  Free breakfast; free happy hour complete with a large spread of food and drinks, everyday.  The executive level is sweet. 

Flew into Phuket on Saturday early morning, booked 10 scuba dives and settled into the Westin.  This place has everything I could want.  They have three pools, four restaurants etc. and all for the equivalent of about 35 us dollars per day.  Life is good. 

Staying here for four days before transferring to Karon beach on a different part of the island.  The first three scuba dives are off of phi phi island on Sunday July 22.  Dive five was in Koh Doc May at a depth of 22 meters for 37 minutes.  This was my first real dive outside of getting my certification.  Visibility was 8-12 meters and I saw a bamboo shark(sweet)
Dive number six was in Koh Bida Nok, depth of 18.5 meters for 45 minutes, Visibility was 10-15 meters and saw a black tip reef shark and numerous large schools of colorful fish.  This was the best dive of the three.
Dive number seven was in Bilek Bay, depth of 16 meters for 41 minutes, Visibility was 8-12 meters and saw moray eels, porcupine fish and a few giant puffer fish. 

 My awesome dive master 
some pics of my dive sites

More to come as my trip continues.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

playing silly mountain games

Big walls, grand views, rain and wetness all cooped up in the back of my car, waiting for reprieve, Reading and thinking.  Weather always wins, listening to mountain streams and birds chirping, eating Maggies burgers.
Hiked to Imogene pass, patiently waiting for the weather to break and wading in cold/freezing mountain streams. It’s the dream that wakes me up, always. 

Red Mountain Pass:
Perched atop our campsite, new friends, old friends, Rock slides and maybe tomorrow the storm will blow over.  Praying for some better weather.  I’ve been at this campsite before, hope to be here again the San Juans.   Beautification.  Cars go by, trucks go forth.  My fingers are cold but my core is warm.  This time next week, I’ll be knee deep into a hard hundred miler. There are things in my life that I can’t accept.  Failure at this run twice before and one year ago, same place, I was here, Thinking different, feeling the same way I feel now. I didn’t forget. I go.   That is why I love it here.  Cool breezes and a light mist.  Gray clouds and silhouettes of big trees and big mountains.   
I’m going to live; I’m going to die.  I’m ok.  Life seems so simple, so trivial, so small, sometimes so sad, and so happy all at the same time. 

Spent the night on Red mountain.  So high, so wonderful, so peaceful. I sat, I thought.

Spent Friday and Monday doing trail work on the twin peaks trail. 

Helped Roger Wrublik with the finish line flags and preparing the tables for the breakfast and award ceremony on Wednesday

Got to run with a ton of different people throughout the run.  Took it easy and steady on all the climbs, pushed some of the downs and flats.  Tried to maintain a continuous flow of calories during the run (got much harder later on in the run) First part went well.  The nighttime, I struggled and hit a bad patch for a few hours from Ouray to about Engineer and Bob Combs paced me through it, getting me back in the positive realm of my thought process.  Threw up three times and got drenched and very cold during an intense rain, lightning and thunderstorm.  Hallucinations were abundant and very real.  This consisted of a storm trooper, a freaky looking bearded man 6 inches from my face, only to disappear when I turned my headlight back on, which gave me the chills and numerous photograph portraits encased in beautiful framework inside rocks on the trail.  I felt like I was constantly looking through a yearbook of people I didn’t know but thought I did and was trying to figure out why these pictures were scattered about and who were they and why did they all look like they belonged in the late 60’s or early 70’s.   I had trouble concentrating and my mind felt very dumb and numb in the later stages of the run.   Got lost a few miles from the finish. This error made this journey a few hours longer and with Doug Sullivan, we pushed hard to make it under the cut off.  Standing on a dirt road at 4:30 am, my mind was desperate, racing, agitated and lost, thinking that I had run, walked and hiked for 45 plus hours, now off trail, not knowing were to go but trying to focus my mind to make the best decisions possible was a real challenge.  Up the road or back down,  twice, I guessed correctly and it eventually all worked out as it always does. 
My last two previous Hardrock attempts ended in failure so I am glad to get that monkey off my back. 
Hardrock 100 miler finish number two.  Check