Chinese are in a rush onto the subways just to get a seat. I mean, pushing people back onto the subway who are trying to get on and sometimes causing others to fall down. Quite rude. Maybe because there are so many people, if you don't stake your claim and get defensive, you won't get anywhere.
Also, Chinese spend their money on everything but clothes or cosmetics. The total opposite is true of Koreans and Japanese. And both are extremely cheap along the Nanjing Road. I gotta say, the Chinese I saw didn't care much about their appearance.
Milk tea is a Taiwanese treat stolen by the Chinese.
Food carts are plentiful and quite unique.
People are everywhere, even more so than in Japan.
They say 'lefta' on the subways instead of 'left'. It's humerous.
All the men must be blind because they all have the exact same glasses.
There is some fascination with Nike. The stores were impenetrable due to young kids buying kicks.
Girls wear skimpy clothes and dance in family friendly malls. Kinda different.
Knock-offs are the way to go!!!
Chinese women hardly ever travel alone.
It is common for men to be married but go out to get other girls. It is usually understood and accepted by the wives/girlfriends.
Chinese eat a lot of junk food + anything that moves.
Next, off to see the sights of Southeast Asia, starting with Bangkok, Thailand!
Just after arriving at Bangkok airport I coincidentally kept following a young man who was carrying a white box. From the airport? A little questionable. After about the third train transfer and us being on the same cart we started talking. Johnny, a swiss guy, just happened to be staying at the same hostel that I was trying to get to. We walked together to the joint, I got settled, then we headed off to breakfast. 40 baht = $1.33 for a plate of three traditional Thai dishes: pad Thai, steamed veggies, and chicken stir fry. Mmmm mmm. Good start! While in Bangkok I indulged in fattening food, bought Christmas presents, scoured outdoor markets, found the cord I needed for my tablet, bought a day pack, toured a few temples, and relaxed in luxury atop the Sky Bar from Hangover 2.
The bus that was booked at the train station was somewhat of a scam. They picked us up about an hour after the train arrived and shuttled us to a nearby town, but to a hole in the wall in the outskirts of town so that we were stuck. We waited there almost two hours for another, more run down bus to Krabi. Now I understand a little bit of this method after living in Fiji for two years, but really? Don't lie about direct transfer, plus a destination time, and not deliver on either. Needless to say, people were irate. I just found ways to enjoy the day and find humor in the situation. That's all you can do if you want a sound mind. But, they got us there. What I'm confused about is that that is what the large bus station counter sold me when I requested the 'local' route. Who knows!
Beautiful stretch of white sand, tall limetone cliff at the and of the beach, and a local troop of monkeys. I arrived on the beach alone, grabbed a passionfruit smoothie for a dollar and headed to a massage cabana for a $5 half-hour back massage. I am so blessed with the opportunities to enjoy life in this way. Although, after my massage I was given a slice of pineapple and a banana that I was excited about enjoying on the beach. As I walked towards the water a sneaky little monkey came charging at me and stole the banana right out of my hand. It scared me so bad that I immediately turned the other way. Bad idea. This only persuaded another monkey to run over, crawl up my legs and grab my pineapple out of my backpack.
Covered in rock climbing hippies, trash, and beautiful limestone cliffs, this beach studded peninsula was a sight to see. The view of long tail boats, crystal clear turquoise water and huge black and yellow striated cliffs makes for stunning pictures, if the sun is shining.
Oh, Krabi town. Great food vendors, a local scene, easy access to beaches by truck or long boat, and plenty of Georgians. Wait, what? Yes, I was on a random long boat to Railway Beach and all three guys sitting around me were from Atlanta, and Sandy Springs/Brookhaven no less. So weird! Kevin and I hit it off with similar interests in marine biology and travel. When I mentioned heading to Khao Lak for a backpacker-style live aboard he was in! We landed on the beach, called the dive company, and booked for two! Oh I can't wait! Nine dives near the Similan Islands plus Koh Bon island and sleeping under the stars! I'm wishing for a whale shark and manta rays too! Is that asking too much? ;)
Similan Islands, Thailand
Anyways, we made it to the bus terminal just in time for a terminal transfer, an amazing Pad Thai, and to catch the last bus of the day. Off to Khao Sok National Park.
Khao Sok National Park
Khao Sok National Park in Southern Thailand is a beautiful park situated between Surat Thani and Khao Lak. It is covered by the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, huge limestone mountains shooting straight up in the air, deep valleys, breathtaking lakes, exciting caves, and wild animals. Our stay there was absolutely delightful as there weren't too many tourists, the locals were extremely nice and good at English, and the area was just peaceful.
While hiking through the bamboo-laden forest we spotted two great hornbills frolicking in the trees above. After about 4.5 km in we stopped at the Bang Leiap Nam Waterfalls which were stunning little cascades, pools, and a natural slide.