Hey everyone, it's been a while since we posted anything and we've had a busy fall.
We had quite a few weekends in Bahrain with friends, a great weekend getaway to Dubai, and the highlight was our first trip to Thailand in November.
Many of our friends have visited Thailand several times and had raving reviews, so we thought we'd check it out to see what all the hype was about.
We were even more excited to hear that Anita, Dennis, and Nicole were joining us from Canada.
Read below to hear all about our fall season and see some pics and videos.
A couple of tips -it is easier to read on a computer than a cell phone. Scrolling the cursor over photos may show some captions. Click on photos to enlarge them.
We flew into Bangkok early on Monday, November 19th. We enjoyed that day, Tuesday, and Wednesday there until flying off to Phuket.
What can we say about Bangkok?
It is definitely busy - roads were very congested so it was easier to travel via tuk tuks. With so much exhaust from vehicles getting on us, the shower sure felt good later in the day.
They were just coming out of the rainy season so it was super humid! Jeff was loving it!
Food and drinks were so cheap! Often you could get authentic pad Thai for less than 50 baht (50 baht is $1.50 US). Our first night we saw a Tony Roma's and Lisa went crazy, wanting to go for her favourite pork ribs. Gotta admit, they were damn good. But we didn't come to Thailand for BBQ food.
We stayed at the JW Marriott which was in a great location with an easy walk to many bars, shops, and restaurants.
What to see in Bangkok?
Daytime - many amazing temples and buddha monuments! We took a Hop On Hop Off Tuk Tuk ride, which is like the Uber of Hop On, Hop Off buses - it was amazing...even included a portable wifi router and all the places you wanted to visit for $20! Highlights were the incredible Grand Palace, Wat Pho (with the massive Reclining Buddha), and the Golden Mount (a tower on top of a hill with incredible views of Bangkok). There are also many huge shopping malls, often 6-8 stories high with shops carrying everything you could imagine!
Nightime - Bangkok comes alive at night!
Night 1 - we went to the famous Soi Cowboy street which is nothing but bars, most of them strip bars (among other things). There are ladyboys all over so you have to be careful who you are talking to before touching. You also see many old guys picking up the young Thai women. Great people watching! We met a fun Welsh couple, Ian and Nikki, who coerced us into drinking many Jack & cokes and Gin & tonics. We hit a few strip clubs and then finished off the night at Nana Plaza (again, more bars) and then watching Nikki and Lisa try their best at bull riding at Hooters.
Night 2 - we met Ian and Nikki for round 2 at Soi Cowboy and decided to go to Khao San Road, which has a different vibe. It is a younger crowd, has more shops, restaurants, and many bars. This was our first chance to see a bug food truck where you could sample scorpions, tarantulas, worms, beetles, cockroaches, and who knows what else. Nikki was the only one brave enough (or drunk enough) to sample anything...she went for the worms. Jeff has trouble getting Lisa to try rice or stir fries, let alone a friggin' insect!
Wednesday the 21st - arrive in Phuket
We would say that Phuket (we stayed at Patong Beach) is like the "greatest hits" of a vacation. Amazing weather, great beach, nice pools, tasty & cheap food, tasty & cheap drinks, amazing people watching, shopping, as well as many excursions available on land and water!
We check into the amazing Burasari Hotel and quickly find that it has a great location - half a block from the beach, a block from Hard Rock Hotel and Hooters as well as shopping, and right next door to a great Irish bar called the Drunken Leprechaun....and yes, it has Drunken Leprechauns!
Our hotel has a nice swim up bar as well as a sit down bar, free pool table, and our room has a patio with a walk out into the pool. Awesome!
Night one kind of goes like this - we check in at 5pm and go to find Anita who has flown across the world from Edmonton to Vancouver to Hong Kong to Phuket. Yep, she's a bit tired but that won't stop a tough Saskatchewan girl from trying to stay awake to greet Nicole and Dennis (who went Calgary/Edmonton to Vancouver to Beijing to Phuket). Anita, Jeff, and Lisa hit the Drunken Leprechaun and quickly we can see why they call it that, as we all succumb to the invite of Captain Morgan (see photo below). It did allow us to stay awake to greet Nicole and Dennis around 1am. Beers in the lobby until we all pass out.
Welcome to Phuket!
Thursday the 22nd
This is kind of a 'chill out in the pool and go discover Patong Beach' kind of day.
Amazing pool combined with Chang beers got us hungry so we hit the beach and went for some Thai food (well, Lisa had a Whopper!)
We went down to the beach at night for a nice sunset and to celebrate the annual festival, Loy Krathong ("to float a basket"), where you could simply buy one of many types of flower baskets and set the candles on fire to float into the ocean. This sounds really nice and we had images of how beautiful it would be but the waves had different ideas as most of the baskets were extinguished before they could float too far. Pretty cool anyway!
We then settled into Bangla Road for drinks and people watching - you can see some of the goofy things you can buy in the pics below. There is also a pic of the "menu" of what you can see at the famous ping pong show. We didn't go this night but would go before the week was over. A sight to see, like a train wreck!
Friday the 23rd - Lisa's birthday
We did a boat excursion to celebrate Lisa's birthday. Dennis had a great idea that we should bring 48 cans of Chang beer for the trip....because, why wouldn't you?
We went to 5 islands (not sure of the names):
Island 1. went to enjoy the beach and nice water
Island 2. went kayaking through caves
Island 3. James Bond Island
Island 4. Koh Panyee - a fishing village built on stilts (pretty cool)
Island 5. an island with a cave that looked like ice cream
The islands were beautiful and we had a great time on the boat...except for Jeff's swimming trunks. We noticed minutes into the trip that there was a big rip right in the crotch area so he had to seat strategically so there was no free peep shows for the rest of the people on the boat. Luckily, by the time we hit the 3rd island, he found a market shop that sold trunks, even though they looked terrible.
We got back to the hotel and had a nice evening out, listening to live music at the Hard Rock Cafe and then having cocktails in the shopping market.
A great day on the water with great friends!
Happy Birthday Lisa!
Saturday the 24th
We decided to sleep in a bit and hit the beach for some sun and Changs.
The evening took us back to Bangla Road for more drinks and people watching.
The ping pong show was something else! Got to see everything the menu in the pic listed. The shocker was the hamster coming out of her kitty kat. Unreal! Something to see!
Dennis and Jeff hit the famous Suzy Wong's strip bar while Nicole and Lisa played "Jackpot", which is a very fun game played with dice. They are at all the bars and available to buy as well.
The night ended listening to some live music and watching Nicole get accused for stealing a $1 bracelet. Haha. Didn't know Lisa had it in her to say "I'm gonna cut that bitch!". Long story...just ask.
The night ended with a drunken tuk tuk ride rockin' out to Bon Jovi taking us to the Drunken Leprechaun for some tasty Guinness and Beef pie.
Hey, where is Anita?
Sunday the 25th
We woke up and went to Tiger Kingdom, which was a nice tiger sanctuary where you can get photos with baby, mid-size, and full-size tigers. Many places like this actually drug their tigers for people to pet them but we were able to get in there with them and be safe because they have been raised by the tiger handlers and they felt safe with them. They're also nocturnal so are pretty dopey and tired during the day, just like house cats. Very cool experience!
The day ended with pool cocktails and more shenanigans on Bangla Road.
Monday the 26th
We went to the Green Elephant Sanctuary Park to hang out with some elephants. It was a pretty cool experience - you feed them, then put mud on them, and then bathe them and wash the mud off. They really seemed to enjoy being cleaned and hanging out in the water pools, as they were going under water and rolling around. They had a newborn baby who was very cute!
The day finished off with some dinner, shopping, and playing some games - Connect 4, Jackpot, and another interesting game where you hammer nails into a log.
The week went by quickly and it was our last night with our Canadian friends. We said our sad goodbyes and flew off to Bangkok for one last night.
Oktoberfest in Bahrain
We went over to Bahrain for the October 12th weekend with Luc & Tracey and unexpectedly ended up at an Oktoberfest party at our hotel. Massive German beers, a huge buffet, an oompah band, and also ran into friends Wayne & Hayley from our compound. Fun night! Rested up the next day in the pool.
Bahrain Tribfest - October 19
The fall edition of Bahrain's Tribfest was another great day. This was the first Tribfest we've been to where it hasn't been blazing hot sun so it was quite enjoyable. We also planned a new strategy...hang at the pool hotel and get there for 3-4pm instead of going for 11am. This proved to be an effective game plan, as we were finally able to stay awake until the last band. Guns n' Roses was AWESOME!
Jeff's Birthday weekend in Bahrain
Decided at the last minute to head over to Bahrain to celebrate Jeff's birthday. We will let the pics do the talking on how this ended up...
Yacht Day to Jarada Island
We planned another weekend in Bahrain November 1st & 2nd with Luc & Tracey, Jeff & Sara, Dave & Nicky, Hayden & Christy.
It coincided with Luc's birthday so another great reason to celebrate. Thursday night was some food and live music at Texas BBQ and Friday was a full day on our friend Robin's yacht. The marine is on Amwaj Island so you can see "Floating City" in the pics - almost like Venice. We spend a full day (and much of the night) on the yacht with lots of singing, drinking, and laughs. We went out to Jarada Island, which is a sandbar between Bahrain and Qatar. What an amazing weekend!!!
Funny story about the video of Lisa singing Shoop...to post videos onto this blog, we have to upload to Youtube. We didn't realize that anyone can see the videos there. Some random dude leaves a comment "I'd kill myself if I had to spend 30 minutes with her!". Haha, if only he was that lucky!
A few random shots for you before we go. We had a ton of rain in November. Yes, rain in the desert! Check out the video of the joker in Bahrain.
We wish all of our friends and family a safe and Merry Christmas...wish we were there to celebrate with you! Hope Santa is good to you!
We will celebrate Christmas here, as Jeff is working that day. Our compound puts on a great buffet that night so it will kind of feel festive.
We are off to Frankfurt, Germany for a long weekend December 28-January1 so will get to feel the Christmas spirit and celebrate New Years! Will post a shorter blog sometime in January.
Then it's back to Saudi to prep for our annual T&A escapades in February.
Safe holidays everyone!
All posts are updated by Jeff & Lisa