Friday, March 22, 2013

So Long and Thanks for all the Diving

Well, Khao Lak, it's been truly wonderful - but all good things must come to an end. I've now moved on from Khao Lak on to new adventures, and it still hasn't hit me that I'm leaving behind so many wonderful friends and memories.  I lived in Khao Lak for over 4 months and met people from around the world, learned how to be a divemaster, and got my Thailand tattoo (a burn on my leg from a motorbike exhaust pipe).  It's truly been an eye-opening, life-changing, and incredibly fun experience! Here are some photos from my last days in Khao Lak:

AMAZING $3.50 crepe with berries, ice cream, whipped cream, and almonds. Breakfast?
The beach on one of my last days here. Paradise!
Hanging out with Choc, one of my fellow divemasters. Such great friends here!
After leaving Khao Lak, I did my first "visa run" to Burma to extend my visa for 15 more days.  I spent an awesome 10 minutes at the immigration station in Burma, which looked very similar to Thailand despite being a full 15 minute boat ride away. 
The slowest line. Ever.

What is this exotic boat? Oh wait, the same longtails you see all over Thailand...

The Union of Myanmar! Woah!

After Burma, I took a 9 hour overnight bus to Bangkok with my friend Uly. He is a divemaster from Sweden and was working at Wicked with me, and came to Bangkok to hang out with me and some of his friends who live there. Ploy, the woman who works at the Wicked shop, is also coming to visit in a few days so we'll have a reunion. Bangkok is... ok? I went to the US Embassy and the Indian Embassy on my first day here (coming directly off the night bus) so my first impression was chaotic, and ran into some Indian visa issues. More on that in a future blog post, since I'm still resolving it (don't worry, I'm not going to be deported and it will all work out OK... just not as smoothly as I'd thought...)

My plans are currently to stay in Thailand until April 5-6, and then on to India to see my friend Neil. Due to several misunderstandings and logistical hiccups, I've had to stay a bit longer than I planned waiting for the Indian visa to process.  However, I've decided to use that extra time to see some of Northern Thailand, so it's all working out in the end! Now I'm in Bangkok until March 27th to hang out with some friends and enjoy big city life. 

Me and my new glasses getting Japanese food. YUM!
Uly caught smiling in a photo. Egads!

You may notice half a bite is gone from the dumpling... I keep eating half my food and THEN remembering to take a photo. Heh.

Muy Thai tournament (the world championships!) held outside the Skytrain station

My mind just exploded.
A SIDENOTE: Looking back on my time in Khao Lak, I found some photos I meant to post but never had the time...  Working on liveaboards was always fun, and here are some photos from the last few liveaboards I've been on. I can't take my camera when I'm working (which has been my only diving lately), so I've relied on other cameras for my photos of the trips. It's been great and full of wonderful people and fun diving!
Our favorite fish signals
The dream team: Steve, Pit, Dani, Me, Anna, and Choc

I've also worked as a snorkel guide in the Surin Islands (as I mentioned on some previous posts), so here are photos from my snorkeling trip! I took a camera on one or two snorkels to help guests with underwater photography. What a rough job.


The water is so clear and blue. Unbelievable.

In the Surin Islands, baby black-tipped reef sharks come into the mangroves to play and hunt. I saw about 20-25 the last time I was there and took a video, but the file is too large to upload without screwing up the internet.  Oh Thailand.  I will keep trying, but in the meantime here are some photos. This is one of my favorite water-related memories from my whole time in Khao Lak - so beautiful and inspiring and incredible!
Baby black tipped reef sharks play in the mangroves :)

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