Seeing the previews for the upcoming bachelor episode make me slightly depressed, in the happiest way possible. Not only because I dream of Sean Lowe at night and call him my “other boyfriend”… But because the next two episodes are filmed in Thailand. The short clips I have seen are footage of the exact same hills I was climbing and the exact same sand I squished my feet in just 3 months ago.
So, despite being mildly depressed to see my reality tv boyfriend in Thailand without me, the episode promo inspired me to write about my personal favourite Thailand moments with my REAL LIFE boyfriend.
1: Getting Inked in Koh Chang, Thailand.
What an experience.I got tattooed in Koh Chang with the Thai Bamboo technique, rather than with a gun. Not only did I lay in excruciating pain, I allowed a foreigner who could only speak minimal amounts of English to prick me repeatedly with a clean-ish metal stick. Literally foot long metal poles dipped in ink, meant to stab me and scar me for life. It sounds like a horror film, but it wasn’t really that bad. I chose to get the bamboo tat on my left ribs, the Roman Numerals of the day my grandfather died. I was in Australia at the time of his death and wasn’t physically able to make it home for his funeral. The tattoo was my memorial and my closure with both my grandfathers death and my year spent abroad. The symbolism of my tattoo encompasses so much more than ink on my body and was a very personal experience.
That being said, there was a HUGE difference getting tattooed by the bamboo technique in comparison to the gun. The bamboo is much less invasive. There was no bleeding, and I was able to jump in the ocean the very next day. Anyone who has been tattooed by the gun knows that with the tattoo comes days and weeks of treatment, lotion, Vaseline, etc etc etc. The greatest news of all, I’ve been home for 3 months now and am HIV negative! So turns out the bamboo was sterilized after all.
2: Getting my Scuba Divers License in Koh Tao, Thailand.
My boyfriend Kenny, his brother Chris, myself and a few traveling mates decided it’s
a MUST to get our scuba diving license in Thailand. First of all, it is the cheapest place in the world to get it (about $300 CAD). Secondly, the reef in Thailand is unlike any other in the world. With in-class training, four days of ocean diving, and a few 5am wake-ups, we did it! If anyone is going to Koh Tao to get certified, you NEED to go through Will North, a great Canadian instructor with Ocean Sound Dive. We only had a group of four, and he catered to our needs individually and was excellent overall. We also got free accommodation included with our diving license! Just watch out for those Bull Sharks. They may get cha.
3: Catching Dengue Fever Two weeks into My Trip.
This isn’t my favourite moment per say, but absolutely memorable. I was in Thailand, finishing the last day of my diving license. I decided to take a nap, after waking up at 5am a few days in a row to do our early dives. Upon waking up from my nap, I was shaking, out of breathe and had a fever so high I couldn’t think straight. Kenny and I immediately went to the doctor and several different pharmacies to get as much medication as I could. At this point, I didn’t know what was wrong, I just was sure something was definitely not right. I had my first fully licensed dive on my own the next morning and was determined to get better. The doc gave me 3 different medications and said “water and rest”… shocking. Little did I know, Dengue fever has no cure. Upon contraction your only advice is “Hope for the best”. The next thing I know I am in full blown Dengue-mode and can barely move. Dengue fever disables your body from functioning fully and makes it very uncomfortable to move even an inch. I remember that it was so painful just to stretch my arm out to reach for the water. Kenny covered my shivering but HOT HOT HOT body with cold towels all night, while I passed out on some Thai meds. The next day we were traveling 14 hours to Bangkok by ferry and bus. My Dengue fever had to go, and I had to just get on with it. It didn’t go away immediately, but I willed it to DIE… and die it did. Not the best memory of my life, but surely a good story!
4. The journey from Chiang Mai to Pai.
Once again, this isn’t the most pleasant of my memories but one worth mentioning. Chiang Mai is in Northern Thailand, almost to the country of Laos. 3 hours North of Chiang Mai is this beautiful little hippie town called Pai. If you are told anything about Northern Thailand you are told you MUST got to Pai. You are not told, however, about the journey to get there. The trip is 3 hours and the highway, or “road” I should say, has 721 turns from Chiang Mai to Pai. Yes, SEVEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY ONE TURNS! That’s unimaginable in itself, but it gets better. There are 9 of us + our baggage shoved into a small van dry heaving and dizzy because of the roads. About an hour into the journey our van pulls over to the side of the road, where we see another white van approaching. The Thai men proceed to tell us we need to get out in the middle of this windy highway and switch vans with the other 9 people. As we get out to switch, cars are whipping past us. Passengers from the other van are throwing up on the side of the road – and we had 30 seconds before we were continuing our journey. We all piled back into this puke smelling van, now with a new driver and completed the last 376 turns until we made it to Pai. I stuck my head out the entire drive, and when we arrived in Pai I made it clear we were not making that trip again for at least 5 days.
5. Crossing the Border from Thailand to Cambodia.
Growing up as a border baby, I am very familiar with crossing borders. Crossing the US border is like entering a communist hell-house, and we all know I have my share of border nightmares. Lord help you if you so much as smile at a US customs officer, or speak louder than a whisper to anyone around. I thought that was as bad as it gets. Oh, Tara. How naïve you are. Our plan was always to venture to Cambodia. We did so through Thailand at the Poipet border. We had to take 3 different means of transportation, were ripped off by probably 18 people on the way, I had just had $300 dollars stolen from under my seat on a bus, and was threatened to be taken to the tourist police by our tour guide. It’s safe the say that before we even got to the border I was shit outta luck. Finally, when we got there, in order to get to Cambodia you take your bags (which you must hold closely on your front side so you aren’t a victim of identity and monetary theft) and WALK from Thailand to Cambodia. Yep, you walk, in a line, with all of your belongings right up to the border. It felt like I was waiting in line for an amusement park, except a man with a gun greeted me instead of Winnie The Pooh. In the end of things, the experience was shocking – culturally and them some. It got worse as we entered what was a third world country full of dust and funny creatures, with people who were put on earth to con tourists and steal their money. Sad that this is my representation, I know. But I’m not speaking that all of Cambodia is like this, JUST the poipet border. Beware travelers, beware.
Those are just a few of the thousands of stories I can share with the world. They are some of the most entertaining, too. Maybe sometime soon I will expose the stories about the Man who pulled a Machete on me, or some of my cliff diving adventures. Perhaps the time I held a balboa snake in my arms, or when I rode a train for 17 hours having to hold my pee. They all make a good read, and I promise to keep them coming!
Till Next Time …