Save an Elephant, Ride a Motorbike

Part 1: Monday, December 21, 2015

Today we saved some elephants. Okay not really. But we did spend the day at the Elephant Nature Park outside of Chiang Mai, which rescues injured and abused elephants and provides them with a safe and loving home to live out the rest of their days. No more working 9-5 carrying fat ass tourists through a jungle on their backs for these elephants. And thank god, because they have definitely suffered enough, as I will attempt to illustrate here.

We were picked up at 8:30am for our ride out to ENP. Bee, our adorable guide for the day, was in the car to greet us. She gave us some background and showed us a video about what they do at ENP. Basically, the place funds itself by allowing tourists to pay and come stay for a week at a time, or longer, and work as volunteers. They make the elephant food, shovel giant piles of elephant shit, etc. But they also do day tours for fly-by tourists such as myself.  And all the money goes to keep the lights on and rescue and feed more elephants. Oh, and did I mentioned they rescue dogs as well? Can you imagine anything better than dogs and elephants frolicking through the Thai countryside together? And the anticipation builds…

We arrived just in time to feed “Grandma”, the 90 year-old elephant. She is fed alone because she is on a special diet that only allows her to eat soft foods. Elephants get six sets of teeth throughout their life, and after that last set falls out they are basically fucked and walk into the jungle alone to die. But not Grandma. That bitch is still alive and kickin’ because she has tourists to peel watermelons and make rice balls for her. Then we went for a walk around the park to meet some of the various elephants and hear their stories. Many of the elephants have foot injuries from stepping on land mines. People use them for logging in illegal areas that are protected by land mines, because making an elephant drag logs through a jungle is much more stealth than using loud machines. Ass holes. A few of them just have stumps where one of their feet used to be. Some of the elephants are blind, in one eye or both. One elephant we met was blind in both eyes after her owner got mad at her and stabbed her in the eyes. Fucking prick. The elephants were very sweet and good natured, some even lean into you to nuzzle as you give them a scratch. We also saw a few babies, protected fiercely by their mother, or their adopted mother.

I have ridden an elephant before. In Bali, at a zoo. Because my guide took us to the wrong place. And it sucked. It wasn’t fun at all. I don’t even like riding horses because I feel bad for them. But looking back, I can only wonder how those elephants were being treated once visiting hours were over. How many hours of back-breaking work they are subjected to on a daily basis all so that some fat ass tourists with money, such as myself, could get a selfie on their backs? And so, I have come up with a list of some reasons that you should consider avoiding this and instead researching a more responsible form of elephant tourism such as ENP, should you ever find yourself in a part of the world where elephant-riding is big business:
1. You are fat. Should the elephants really have to suffer for your poor life choices? or,
2. You are skinny. In which case your life already rocks, so maybe just take a selfie in a bathing suit and post it on Instagram so I can dislike you more. And then eat a fucking cheeseburger.
3. You can’t even see their cute faces when you ride them! Where is the fun in that? When you pet a dog, do you just want to see the back of his head? No, you want to rub that adorable little schnoz.
4. Feeding them is way more fun than riding them. And far more enjoyable for the elephant. Because those fuckers can eat.
5. Elephants are typically poked by their mahouts with what is essentially a spear to get them to submissively trot around with you on their backs. Do you want to ride something that has to literally be abused to hang out with you? Have some self respect.

A few more interesting facts about these lovable giants. (1) The babies are raised by their mothers until they are 4-6 year-old, at which point the boys leave their mothers and bounce to do their own thing. So we can safely assume these elephants are not Jewish. (2) The girls tend to stay together in little packs. And those packs do not like to socialize with the other packs. It’s kind of like the cafeteria in high school, where everyone sits with the same group of people. And no, you can’t sit with us. (3) Each elephant at ENP has a dedicated “mahout”, who takes care of that particular elephant all day, everyday, except on his days off of course. The elephants at ENP are not assigned a Mahout, but they instead they choose who they want. You do not chose the force, the force chooses you.

After visiting with a bunch of the elephants, it was time for lunch. Lunch was absolutely amazing. There was a separate buffet for the volunteers, as they eat earlier. Our buffet was about 10 minutes away from being ready, but the guides let us know that if we were starving, we could eat from the volunteers’ food. Obviously this was given as an option just to be polite, as what kind of self-important ass hole would take them up on that? Once again, you have underestimated the egotistical and idiotic nature of about 90% of the humans in this world. Because you know there were a few douche bags who ate the volunteers’ food. As our group looked on in judgmental derision.

After lunch we “bathed” the elephants. Which is code for “throwing buckets of water onto them and coming nowhere near getting them clean”. But they just walk out of the water and throw a pile of dirt on their backs anyway. We watched as the elephants then stampeded into the water on their own and rolled around happily. We met some of the boy elephants who they keep in a separate area because they are cheeky bastards who like to throw dirt at tourists and impregnate the girl elephants. Typical. And all too soon, it was time to head back to the city, our hearts a little heavier from what we had experienced today.

We spent the evening drinking wine and sangria at our friendly neighborhood beer garden. The food cart vendors are literally starting to recognize us. We are regulars. Everyone turned in early tonight.

Part 2: Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Today Steph and Katie left us to fly home to spend Christmas with their families. They obviously did not take my blog post on the reasons you should travel over Christmas seriously.  So I bid them adieu that morning and headed off with the rest of our crew for our next adventure. And what an adventure it was….

Today we did a motorbike tour. Don’t worry, I am fully aware of the fact that I have no business on a motorbike considering I can barely drive my Mazda.  I was driven. Kim had heard about this tour from a friend of her’s who claimed it was the absolute highlight of her entire trip to Thailand. That’s high praise, because getting drunk on boats is fucking hard to beat in my book. My first response to Kim when she mentioned that they were doing this motorbike tour was “hell no”. My reasons being;
(1) I’m the shittiest driver in the world. Mercury insurance actually dropped me from my mom’s policy at one point because I’m too much of a liability.  Mercury.  That’s like Walmart refusing to serve you because you are too white trash.  I then had to go on my Dad’s car insurance because no one would insure me on my own. What a loser.
(2) I hate driving. I spent 7 years commuting an hour each way to work. I feel like I’ve paid my driving dues. I have road rage. My commute now is about 20 minutes and I flip people off about 4 times a week, on average. If I never had to drive again, it would be too soon. Add my intense desire for a driver to the list of reasons why I need a sugar daddy.
(3) I don’t know how to drive anything with two wheels. I once ate shit pedaling the half mile home from the Hermosa pier on my strand cruiser. Granted, I was highly intoxicated. I can only imagine the kind of damage I would do on a fucking motorbike.
(4) Have you seen how they drive in Asia? I don’t want to be racist here, but think about how Asians drive at home. Then multiply that by EVERYONE ON THE ROAD. Let’s then couple that with items 1-3 above and we have a recipe for disaster.

Enter option #2: have a Thai dude half my size drive me around while I sit on the back. Still not all that appealing, I know. But everyone else in the group was doing it, so basically, I jumped off the bridge because it’s what all the hippies were doing. I suffer from severe and chronic FOMO. For those of you that don’t know (do you live under a rock?) FOMO stands for “fear of missing out”. Basically, I am always worried that if I opt out of something it will end up being the best thing ever and everyone will talk nonstop about how great it was and I will be the ass hole who didn’t go. Have you have seen me turn down a party? A trip to the bar? A trip anywhere? Nope. Because I pretty much always says yes. My FOMO is so bad that my dog actually has it too. I shit you not. We call it “Beau Beau FOMO”. So apparently it’s contagious.

We were picked up at 8:30am. Both devils on my shoulders were saying “bitch, turn back now”. But I didn’t listen. We show up at the tour office and Kim and Nicole were instantly berated with questions about how much experience they have driving bikes. The guides looked very nervous for them. Carly and I started to get a little scared. So Kim and Nicole took a few bikes out for a test drive down the street. They came back terrified and we knew right away we would need a few more Thai guys as drivers. So that this point, out of all five of us, Brandon is the only one actually driving. Then they tell us that we will be riding on the motorbikes two hours out to the area where the “tour” actually starts. And then two hours home. Woof. This basically sounds like the day from hell to me, but travel Rory is trying to go with the flow.

Motorbike 2
Our biker gang

I have included below excerpts from the actual tour description online, followed by what actually happened. Keep in mind that we (foolishly) opted to substitute motorbiking instead of trekking. Because those were the only two options.

As advertised: “Drive on a countryside road to Mae Wang district, stop for a short time to get supplies and lunch. Continue driving for 30 minutes to the waterfall where we will play in the waterfall and then start trekking.”

What actually happened: Fear for you life as you swerve through the streets of Chiang Mai. Stop at a market where your guides will get lunch while you buy the market out of beer in an effort to calm yourself for the rest of the trip. Continue driving to somewhat unimpressive waterfall and watch some people cliff jump.

Motorbike 2
Biker gang at the waterfall

As advertised: “We will trek for about two and a half hours to a real Karen hilltribe family who live in the middle of the jungle without any luxury. We will share our lunch with them and you can learn about how they live on the mountain.”

What actually happened: We will take a motorbike off-roading through the jungle, at which point one of your bikes will have a flat tire. You will then sit on the side of a country road while the guides go get a new tire and fix it. You will enjoy a delicious lunch by the picturesque side of the road where everyone will eat with their hands after fixing said tire. You will finally make it, albeit a little late, to a Karen hilltribe village. No one will offer you any explanation for what you are doing there or any information about their way of life. You will wander around aimlessly while some children beg you for money in exchange for some string braided together. You will buy some shit from them because of your white-man guilt. You will then find a family of malnourished hiltribe dogs who you will feed with your leftovers. You will feel bad for feeding the dogs instead of the people, and will make a hasty exit.

As advertised: After enjoying your time with them we will trek for another 3 hours along the river where you will see many waterfalls and we will stop at some of them for a swim.

What actually happened: After fleeing the uncomfortable hilltribe situation you will motorbike through extremely dangerous terrain that your motorbikes were not built to drive on. You will still try to hold on with one hand and catch the action on your go pro. We will then stop at a river for a swim. We will see some water cascading about five feet and call it a waterfall.

As advertised: The trekking will end at another Karen hilltribe village and we will drive from there back to the city.

What actually happened: There is no other hilltribe village. You will be grateful for that. We will then drive two and a half hour on the motorbike back to the city. It will hurt. Your ass will never be the same again. You will cry of happiness when you see the finish line.

The name of the tour company was “Something Different Tours”. And they definitely lived up to their name, that is for sure. In all honesty, we had no business being on that tour. It was our own damn fault. But hey, you can’t win ’em all. We at dinner and went to bed. It’s a few days later and my ass still hurts. The physical wounds will heal. The psychological ones will take a bit longer. I’m sure I will soon look back on today and laugh my ass off about that time I road a motorbike through the Thailand backwoods for 8 hours. But for now, you laughing your ass off at our expense will have to do.

Luck be a Ladyboy Tonight

Sunday, December 22, 2015

I woke up Monday morning with no voice. That is code for “I got drunk and screamed a lot” Sunday night. “Screamed a lot” is code for “I took shots and yelled WHOOOOOO SHOTS!’. A lot. But I’m getting ahead of myself, as usual.  Here is a teaser pic:


Let’s start with zip lining. The crew and I were picked up around 9am and driven about an hour outside of the city for some zip lining. We arrived to a big group of people waiting around to zip. I was cringing on the inside, because a large group of people zip lining at one time can only mean one thing – extreme inefficiency. And it only gets worse if you have a wimp in your group who cries at every platform. Luckily, all of these people were doing “package A”, which is about 4 hours of zip lining. I can’t do anything for four hours save for laying in bed watching TV and eating Panda Express while nursing a hangover. So we opted for the 2 hours course. There was only one couple doing the short course with us. They were, of course, (1) late and (2) Chinese selfie-taking fiends. Homegirl was taking selfies while they were trying to harness her up. The guides hated her immediately. I love when other people hate the same people I do. It just makes me feel validated in my bitchiness.

So off we went on the zip lining course. It was nothing too exciting – none of the zip lines were crazy long. Just some good old harmless fun. I got some good videos on the go pro and some group selfies. You are probably wondering what is the difference between my selfie stick and Chinese tourist lady’s selfie stick, right? Well let me enlighten you. (1) Mine has a go pro at the end of it, which makes me instantly more cool and far superior than her and that cheap Samsung phone selfie stick. (2) Extreme narcism. This chick made her husband pay extra to have a professional photographer zip line with them so they would have pictures throughout the course. And she STILL used her selfie stick the entire time. Just in case the photog didn’t get enough shots of her making kissy faces at the camera. I however, use my go pro for the good of the group, and am essentially the group photographer. Sure I get a few selfies, but that’s just because if I didn’t you wouldn’t even know I was there. And (3) The sheer volume. If I had to guess, I’d say that girl walked away with about 300 shots on her phones, plus another 200 from her professional photographer. All of herself. Oh, and did I mention her husband had a go pro that we was also using to take pictures of her? I had about 100 of the entire group and I thought that was overdone. I get stressed out when my DVR gets over 30% full. I hate useless pictures and delete the crappy ones every night. Is there anything better than wifi-enabled cameras?

After our zip lining tour we had a shitty lunch at the “restaurant” and were taken back to the hotel, where we met up with Carly and Nicole. That’s right, new blog participants! Let’s do some quick introductions:

Carly and I with an elephant

Likes: Eating like a rabbit, working out a lot, ensuring she gets her daily dose of fiber while traveling, becoming the definition of “turnt up” at Yacht Week.
Dislikes: Beer (what the fuck?), meat (more of these fucking hippies – where do I even find them?), carbs.
Favorite travel memory: She said she has “too many”. That’s code for not having traveling with Rory yet. Because I will ensure that at some point you almost die and then look upon the memory fondly once the scars have healed.

Nicole and I at a waterfall

Likes: Breaking shit – because she is literally the clumsiest bitch I have ever met – and this is coming from the girl who rolls her ankles getting out of bed. International sign language including, but not limited to, “peace signs” and the “shaka”, which I was just informed is what the “hang lose” hand gesture is called. She also loves to curse. So we’ll get along great.
Dislikes: Walking straight, places that require you to speak in low voices (from what I can tell).
Favorite travel memory: Arriving in Rio for the world cup to find herself checking into a 16-bed hostel dorm room with 15 boys. I’ll let everyone infer why that was her favorite….just kidding. I think.

Okay, so now we are rolling 7-deep in Chiang Mai. Finally, a posse large enough to rival the Chinese tour groups! It was Sunday night, so we all headed out to the famous Chiang Mai Sunday Night Market. From here on out, it will be known as the “infamous” Sunday Night Market, because that shit was absolutely insane. I’ve seen ants march up a hill with more tact that the people in this market. It was like Disneyland Main Street on crack. We skirted the perimeter and sampled some street food. I decided once and for all that street food is just not for me. We took a peek inside the gates to the old city and our anxiety levels skyrocketed. It was a mass of people converging on to one street – and all walking in one direction. I would have rather thrown myself into the running of the bulls at Pamplona. I half expected some creepy guy in a derby hat to whisper in my ear “people go in, but they never come out”. So we turned around and made a bee line back to our neighborhood. Which is where we stumbled into the liar of the ladboys…

Night Market
Sunday Night Market Hell

This place was very similar to Yellow Bar from the other night. Just instead of gap year drunkards it was filled with ladyboys and old white guys who got picked on in high school and never got enough attention from real girls. It was a long row small bars, filled with trannies, and a big Muay Thai boxing ring at the end. Ladyboy Lane, complete with a surprise at the end, in true ladyboy fashion. We could not believe our luck. After perusing the options, we settled upon the “Marina Ladyboy Bar”. No Marina, but Ladyboys in spades. One out of two ain’t bad. We ordered a round of beers. At this point it was about 7pm and the Muay Thai fight didn’t start until 11pm. Kim, Katie, Steph and Carly decided ladyboys were not their thing and headed home, leaving myself, Brandon and Nicole to our bizarre bar crawl of questionable gender. And this is where the real fun begins.

Ladyboy Lane
Ladayboy Lane!

We decided to try out another bar down the Lane and settled into some bar stools. It was like the Special Olympics of people watching. It took about 4 minutes for us to decide that we needed shots if we had any chance of making it out of Ladyboy Lane alive. We taught the bartender how to put the booze in a shaker so it’s chilled, and before we knew it, we had a group of new ladyboy friends. The way these bars work is that about 10 ladyboys work at each one, and the unloved white men come in and buy themselves a beer and then a round of shots for all the ladyboys. And then they all dance around him. And he finds this appealing. These white dudes obviously went through the “big D”…and I don’t mean Dallas. They are broken, shattered men looking for love in all the wrong places. One woman, who I think was actually a real woman, was about 40 years old and dancing around on anyone who would have her and some people who wouldn’t. She was obviously on some kind of drugs trying to turn a trick to satisfy her next hit of god knows what. Perhaps a hallucinogen that made her think she was Beyonce. I took it upon myself to teach the women and ladyboys at the bar how to “drop it like it’s hot”. It’s a lesson I teach often. You may remember the time I gave the entire Stray Bus a lesson in Raglan. Big mistake. Because once I revealed myself to be the Mr. Miagi of “getting low”, the old crazy trick proceeded to attempt to grind on me and feel me up. It got so bad that we had to leave the bar. We sought refuge back at good old Marina ladyboy bar. And this is where shit really gets weird. No, we are not at weird yet.

Oh, the Marina Ladyboy Bar sans the Marina. How we have missed you. Apparently if you sit at the actual bar, you can watch the fight without buying a ticket – what a deal! So we posted up at the bar, and the beers and shots started flowing. The next few hours consisted of us getting to know our new ladyboy friends a little too well. The HLIC (head ladyboy in charge) was a large (wo)man with huge fake tits and sky-high platform hooker heels. She looked like Lady Marmalade meets Jaba the Hut. Her voice sounded like Kermit the Fong with emphysema. She was awesome. We started buying rounds of shots for our Ladyboys and basically everything was uphill from there. The HLIC kept giving us a great deal – “you buy us 5, I buy you 3”. We were the Ladyboy Jameson fairy god mothers of that Muay Thai fight. Apparently shots make these ladies crazy, because Jaba the Hut kept pulling down her shirt to shake her giant fake boobs at everyone. Even when we begged her to stop. You would turn around and TITTIES IN YO FACE!. It’s hard to look at first, but you get used to it after a while. Kind of like an uncircumcised penis. I took it too far again, didn’t I?

The fight itself was pretty uneventful, especially the women’s matches. I’m all for equality, but there are some things men just do so much better. And beating the shit out of each other is definitely one of them. The chicks just dance around the ring trying to outsmart eachother. They overthink think it. Just punch a bitch! I’ve taken more drunken swings at girls on a Saturday night than these girls did in the ring. My favorite part was when they put four fighters in the ring and blindfolded them. They were swinging at eachother like pinatas on Cinco de Mayo. All in all, we considered the fight background noise. I think it’s pretty clear that they ladyboys were the main event.

I woke up to some pretty interesting pictures on my phone. But I’ve attempted to keep it PG-13 for the blog. Up next on the blog: elephants and motor bikes!

The Basics of Bargaining in Chiang Mai

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Today we were picked up at our hotel by a lovely man named Tuan who owns a beautiful cooking school outside of Chiang Mai. When looking into cooking classes, I was originally interested in a cooking school on a farm, but that one lasted all day. I like to cook, but an entire day of pretty much anything is overkill. The optimal amount of time for any activity while on vacation is 2 hours. I specify “on vacation” here, because back at home I’ve had boozy brunches that last longer than an entire day. So I hunted down a half day cooking class with a beautiful setting to rival that of the farm. Enter: Pantawan Cooking School. Upon pickup he also casually mentioned that there would be no other people in the cooking class, only us. Now that’s great for us, because there is nothing I love more than private activities. However, that also means there are no self absorbed dolts to talk shit about. We can’t have it all.

The first stop was a local market where Tuan showed us some regional delicacies and the ingredients we would be using during our class. There was a very unfortunate “meat room” in the market that looked like a place Jeffrey Dahmer would go to get off. Tuan pointed at a large bowl and we all turned to find about 40 live frogs blinking up at us. I thought Kim was gonna go all Free Willy on us and release them. Not exactly my kind of “meat market”.

Upon our arrival at Pantawan we were instantly transported out of Chiang Mai and into a garden oasis with an amazing teak wood open-air structure that would be our kitchen for the next few hours. This place was awesome. Brandon found the garden and was in irrigation bliss (I told you they were hippies). Words don’t really do this place justice but you can see for yourself in the pics. The way the class worked is that you watched the chef do a demonstration of each course and then each person goes to their individual station and cooks each dish for themselves. This is useful because cooking for one is completely applicable to my life at home. It was like “Thai cooking for spinsters 101”. We made an amazing massaman curry, spring rolls, cashew nut chicken, and pad thai. And we did almost all of it in a wok. God I fucking love woks. They are just so much better than all other cooking vessels. They get crazy hot and cook food super fast, so they are basically god’s culinary gift of efficiency. And you all know about my passionate love for efficiency that borders on crazy. They also make you look like a bad ass chef. Or a Panda Express chef. Not that there is a difference in my book.

Our vegetarian hippies were catered to for each course – another reason those individual cooking stations come in handy. The highlight was when we made pad thai in the wok and learned to wrap the egg around the noodles in a little bundle and then flip it and slide it onto the plate. That’s the closest thing I’m gonna get to making a bundle of joy any time in the near future. Kim actually kicked ass at that part. Which shocked me, because when we lived together the extent of her culinary repertoire was baked potatoes and spaghetti. And I’m pretty sure she thought wine counted as an appetizer. And dessert. And still does. Once we finished our four dishes it was time to feast while overlooking the garden. Okay maybe I lied, eating was obviously the highlight.

Pantawan 1
My finished product

After our cooking class we were taken back to the hotel. I dragged Steph and Katie to some tour shops to haggle down the price of a zipline tour for tomorrow. I’m still unhappy with the final price, but they kept letting me walk out when they wouldn’t go lower, so apparently my expectations were not realistic. Kim took a nap. Brandon took a walk and found his first ladyboy. It has been brought to my attention that I have not actually explained what a lady boy is. So for those of you that don’t know, a ladyboy is what they call transvestites in Thailand. They dress super slutty and some can be a bit aggressive…ly awesome. Some of them really do look like chicks. Some of them look like an asian Gary Busey in skanky women’s clothing. Oh, and a lot of them have tits. I’m not sure if they go all out and chop it off downstairs. I would imagine it varies. And don’t you worry, because I have one hell of a ladyboy story in the blog pipeline. The things I do for you people!

That night we all hit up the night bazaar. Which is basically a giant swap meet where everything is negotiable. And negotiate I did. I negotiated the shit out of that bazaar. I’m the girl who drives 40 minutes to the swap meet in Irvine because they sell my moisturizer for $10 cheaper than target and I can get my hair cut for $14. I love swap meets. And I love a good deal. But you wanna know who does not love a good deal? Kimberly fucking Ortloff. She tried to stifle my bargaining flow at every turn. Why, you ask? Because she is the poster child for bleeding hearts. And so she went on a mission to make sure every “adorable” Thai person in the place made a sale. To her. Anyone who told her she was their “first sale of the night” got an automatic purchase out of Kim out of pure sympathy. She was making it rain baht like crazy up in that market. And when I would try to negotiate on her behalf she would say “Rory! Jeeez. No no, that price is fine. I’ll take three. Make that four. Wrap it up. Brandon, pay the man”. Her rationale was that when everything costs a couple bucks, who really cares? Me, that’s who. I am a shiesty Jew who gains immense pleasure from haggling. My mother used to literally send me into places to practice negotiating as a child. It’s been ingrained in me from a very early age. It is a sport. And I am the MVP. Finally…MVP of something. Steph and Katie have traveled with me extensively and so they know the drill. If you find something you like, you tell me. Then I negotiate it for you. This way the girls get to shop, and I get to bargain and every wins.

For those of you who don’t know, there are some rules to haggling efficiently and respectfully. Let me enlighten you so that you don’t look like a fucking amateur:
1. Don’t be an ass hole. They know its a game. You know it’s a game. Have fun with it. Smile. Be good natured. Everyone should come out a winner. Especially you.
2. Decide what you want to pay before you start. Not going in with a price in mind is like going to a shooting range blindfolded. You need to know what general price people are charging for the same item. Do some reconnaissance. Ask around and see what people are charging for the same general item. Then cut it in half and that’s a good place to shoot for. If you are white they automatically double the price anyway.
3. Never take the first offer. Or the second. Maybe the third. It’s a chess game. Even Bobby Fisher needs a few moves.
4. If you are buying more than one, get a discount for it. Buying in bulk saves you money at Costco…why not when buying tank tops with elephants on them? Like when Steph, Katie and Kim bought ten fucking pairs of those ugly ass parachute pants at the bazaar. I was practically foaming at the mouth as they picked out pairs of pants because I knew that meant a better price.
5. Ask for the “pretty girl” discount. I know, it sounds ridiculous. I don’t use this one too much anymore. Because (1) it doesn’t really work in Asia where I am bigger than most men and (2) father time seems hell bent on taking this option away. But in Marrakech that shit worked like a charm in the souk. They don’t call me Fatima Couscous for nothin’.
6. WALK AWAY. At least take a few steps. If they don’t come after you, you know their floor. This is useful information for when you get to the next booth where they are selling the exact same shit.
7. If it is actually unique and you really want it, swallow your pride and just get it. I know, it’s tough. But you’ll kick yourself later. Trust me.

After a marathon shopping run, we hit up our favorite beer garden and settled in for an evening of live music, beers and food. Kim sniffed out the wine bar cart within about 12 seconds of entering. Katie and I pondered over the Mexican food cart but wimped out once again. Steph ate another big ass fish.

You do not want to miss tomorrow’s blog. Spoiler alert: ladyboys like WHOA.  I leave you with a throwback to the “Headshots du Jour”:

New Places, New Faces, Same Ugly Pants

Friday, December 18, 2015

Today we woke up to pouring rain in Rosarito. I mean Chaweng. But we had a 10am flight to Chiang Mai, so later losers! More free airport popcorn, courtesy of our favorite “boutique airline”, Bangkok Airways. Nothing says “class act” like a courtesy popcorn machine. Jorgie found a cookbook she liked in the airport called “Cooking with Poo”. Yum! And with that, we bid adieu to the Gulf Islands.

Our flight only had 26 passengers. I know this because I counted them on my way to the bathroom (and yes, I counted the guy in the other bathroom). Because I’m a freak who cannot fully enjoy an empty plane until I know exactly how empty it is. Once in Chiang Mai, we hopped in a taxi with a lovely Thai woman and just like that, we were at our hotel. We headed down the street and had some awesome noodle soup for lunch. It was too damn hot for soup in the south, so I had a craving. Yes, it is still possible to crave things even when you consume as much food as I do. Smart asses. A few hours after our plane touched down we were picked up for our pre-booked spa day at the fancy schmancy spa. A $9 massage on the beach is great and all, but sometimes a gal needs 3 hours of pampering in plush surroundings. I know, my life is so rough. Jorgie and I had a shared room…so we basically did a three hour couples massage. #whatelseisnew? But don’t worry, I wasn’t completely selfish – I got a picture of the sexy massage outfits I was telling you about the other day. Apparently we have been putting them on backwards the entire trip. But we still look like escapees from the women’s correctional facility regardless of how we wear them.

Now, the part you’ve all been waiting for. The blog’s biggest fan has arrived!! We met Kim and Brandon at the hotel after our massages. Reunion in Thailand! Let’s take a pause and meet the happy couple:

Kim and B
These Knuckleheads…

Likes: Awkward storytelling, Kathi Griffin (weird, I know), regular bowel movements, being a fucking hippy, eating hippy vegan food, doing hippy yoga shit, saying “thank you” about twelve thousand times a day.
Dislikes: Negotiating, getting roofied (there was a possible double roofie incident may years ago….either that or we just got waaaaaaaaaaaay too drunk. Both scenarios are equally possible).
How we met: Over a few bowls of mint chip ice cream at the tender age of five years old. Because that is how I made friends as a kid. I bribed them with ice cream.
Favorite travel memory: She felt the need to make her “favorite travel memory” getting engaged on the beach in Bali so that you would all go, “awwwwww”. But I think we can all agree this is not that kind of blog. So I asked for another one. Something about picking up sand dollars on the beach somewhere. I gave up after that, since apparently she is incapable of giving me a travel memory that doesn’t make me roll my eyes in cynical disgust.
Note: If she comes home having sponsored about 14 Thai families because she thinks they are “just too cute”, let the record show I attempted to stop her.

Likes: Apparently he really likes that hippy Kim, because he married her, speaking in fake German accents at random intervals throughout his life for weeks at a time, surfing (he likes this one a lot, like, maybe more than he likes that first one), being the proud benefactor behind Kim’s new $3 Thai parachute pants (that’s code for ugly hippy pants).
Dislikes: Much like myself, he has a instinctive hatred for stupid people. So between the two of us, Yacht Week should be interesting. Come to think of it, there isn’t much this hippy couple doesn’t like. Hard to fathom, I know.
How we met: Through Kimmy. But I would later take the rap for his many cigarette butts outside my apartment when Kim and I lived together and our landlord took a shining to counting cigarette butts and then berating his tenants about them. So basically, I’ve taken a bullet for this guy.
Favorite travel memory: Seeing his first ladyboy yesterday. It was a mixture of excitement, intense curiosity and disappointment that they didn’t look more like ladies and less like boys. He is currently rethinking his plans for a ladyboy show. Shall we talk him back into it for the sake of the blog?

Ok, back to the story. Kim and Brandon were found, shockingly, at the hotel bar, where they had made friends with a interesting Asian woman who made me wonder if Brandon had already stumbled upon his first ladyboy within an hour of touching down. But alas, we met her child so I’m pretty sure there are lady parts down there. This woman is hard to describe. She’s kind of a cross between Margret Cho (looks) and Kanye West (personality). When we ordered a few beers she asked if we could buy her one too. I think that’s all I really have to say, but just to make myself clear, she is a fucking weirdo.

After a few beers at the hotel, Kim was fading fast from her 24 hours of travel (read: Xanax), so she hit the hay. But Brandon was the fucking energizer bunny. So Steph, Katie, Brandon and I headed down to the night market to see what all the fuss was about. We quickly stumbled upon a Thai food truck/beer garden oasis. It was like my inner white trash alter ego and my current Thai life had finally come together in perfect harmony. As if things couldn’t get better than three bar stalls and a mixed drink cart, I found a Japanese guy with a potsticker cart. And these potstickers kicked Costco Ling Ling’s ass. If this bitch makes it to heaven, this is what I want to see when I get there. Actually, as long as requests are being taken, I want heaven to be this place in the middle of Whitehaven beach in Australia. We drank beers and dined on food stall delicacies while listening to live music. The band’s lead singer sounded like Adele and one of the chicks from the nail salon had a musically inclined child. Rory was happy.

After more potstickers than I care to admit and quite a few beers, we hailed a tuk tuk driver and got a ride. My general rule of thumb when choosing between the plentiful men and their tuk tuks is to choose the the cutest oldest guy I can find. Then a simple tuk tuk ride becomes a motorbike driven carriage by my fairy Thai godfather. As usual, I have visual aids of my toothless Prince Charming and I below. No one can say that guy isn’t fucking adorable. Oh, and did I mention I sat on the little seat in front with him because we had four people? It was essentially like riding in a sidecar. So life can only go downhill from here.

Tuk Tuk
My tuk tuk boo!

We dropped Steph and Katie off at the hotel and Brandon and I headed to “Yellow Bar”. We just asked the young Thai guys where to go and they all started shouting “Yellow Bar!!”. Good enough for me! What awaited us was beyond my wildest dreams. This wasn’t a bar. It was more like a giant Thai block party with bars everywhere. Is it possible that I have hit the jackpot twice in one night, or is Chiang Mai really just this awesome? It’s just that awesome. Brandon and I got some drinks and walked around doing some people watching. And by “people” I mean “old white dudes with Thai prostitutes”. It was either that or watch the frat boys try to spit game girls in those ugly short shorts that look like labia. At one point I thought a fight was going to break out amongst the hooker ranks over a guy that looked like a retired postal worker from West Virginia. Talk about living the dream. You do you, homie.

I negotiated a tuk tuk home once we were ready to leave. But not before getting some shwarma for the ride home. I’ve put down quite a few drunk gyros in my day all over the world and I can honestly say this one was exceptionally mediocre. Better stick with drunk pad thai from here on out.

Tuk Tuk2
Shwarma on the tuk tuk

Tune in tomorrow when we learn how to cook (sans poo) and then Kim buys out the night market!

A Taste of Mexico in Thailand

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Today we had a very lazy day nursing our hangovers. Er….wait. Ok, so we just had a lazy day because we are lazy. We slept in…until like 7am. Because when you go to bed at 10pm you can’t really sleep much later than that. After breakfast, we posted up on some lounge chairs on the beach. I found myself swimming about every 10 minutes because it was so damn hot and humid. Unbelievably hot. I actually began hoping for a little rain to cool things off. And I never hope for rain. Not even in drought-ridden California. Because I am selfish.

I also woke up today with a swollen ankle, yet no disastrous drunken story to explain it. Very odd. In addition, I have giant cuts all over the bottom of my feet from yesterday’s boat ride. I’m basically a hot mess from the ankle’s down. Steph thinks we may have to amputate. That should make for a really unpleasant blog. But seriously…my feet are not exactly that of a dainty, pristine geisha. I’m the girl who is ALWAYS offered the “callous remover five dolla” at pedicures. So I’m not sure how I managed to turn the bottom of my feet into ripped tissue paper. I KNEW I should have brought some water shoes. Those keens may be ugly as shit but I love them. Hindsight is a bitch.

My narsty feet

So I waddled around the beach on my tippy toes most of the day until it was time for our massages at the bougie spa in town. Apparently the 90 minute upgrade buys you a lot of butt action. And who the hell doesn’t love a good butt rub? Granted, it’s not quite as good as a belly rub after a big meal, but I’ll take it. Larry, Curly and Moe must have been occupied, because we had different ladies today. Not sure how we got demoted to the B-team, but they were not as good as yesterday’s massages. After our massages we walked around looking for a restaurant. One seemed pretty busy, so we incorrectly inferred that it must be good. We assumed wrong. We are really not doing well on the food front here on Koh Tao. I mean, quantity-wise we are killing it. But the quality has been somewhat of a disappointment. Although Koh Tao isn’t exactly know as a culinary mecca in Thailand. It’s know as the diving mecca. But I can’t dive because one of my many ailments in my old age are ears that won’t allow it. Add it to the list of things that are falling apart. I’ve seen 30 year old cars run more smoothly than I do.

Apparently the bar crawl in Koh Tao starts at 6pm…the girls were obviously very upset we missed out on it. But we saw them leaving their first bar while we were at dinner. It was an army of plastered white gap-year kids who looked like they hadn’t seen a shower in about a week. And I’m sure they each had a grand total of two beers before they started groping eachother. Reminds me of the good old days. Why the fuck didn’t I come to Thailand went I was young and skinny and cute? Ok fine…when I was young and cute. At 19, I was basically the poster child for binge drinking and questionable decision making. I would have been the queen of these ass holes. They would have bowed down to me and my trusty beer bong on my throne made of buckets of booze. I would have whoo-girled the shit out of Koh Tao if I wasn’t old enough to have birthed half the kids on that bar crawl. But I digress. After a mediocre meal, we got totally shit faced and did free body shots at one of the beach bars. Just kidding. We went to bed. But I will get shit faced and dance on a bar before this trip is over, so help me god. Ok, I’ll probably do body shots too. I am going to yacht week, after all.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Today we left Koh Tao and headed back to Koh Samui on the ferry. The morning was generally uneventful. We checked out of our Swiss Family Robinson villa and headed to the pier. Our fellow passengers were your typical tourists – no idea what a fucking line is or how one works, complete disregard for other people’s personal space, and a general lack of self awareness of any kind. Nothing new there. Once we reached Koh Samui, we bartered our way into a shared taxi to our hotel with an Asian couple. The girlfriend in the couple was one of those painfully meek chicks who looks like she is going to cry if the wind blows in her general direction. She was very concerned she was being sold into Thai servitude, because she kept asking her boyfriend if they were taking them to the right place. Get a clue girlfriend, if anyone is getting kidnapped it’s definitely not going to be you and your useless boyfriend. It’ll be Jorgie, for her blonde hair and congenial nature that would make a great third wife. Steph and I will be taken and then promptly dumped (or shot) once they decide we are far too much trouble than we are worth. But since all three of us aren’t exactly at the prime age for sex slavery, I’m gonna go ahead and say we are safe. And thank god, because my dad isn’t exactly Liam Neeson. We’d have better luck being rescued by Captain Jack Sparrow.

We were staying in Chaweng for the night before our flight to Chiang Mai tomorrow. Chaweng is the main town on Koh Samui. It is kind of a shit hole. It looks like Tijuana and Bangkok had an ugly baby. But for some odd reason people love it and don’t seem to know it’s ugly…it’s like that facebook friend with the ugly baby who they post pictures of non-stop because they don’t know their baby is ugly. We all have at least one.  This all got me thinking about the similarities between Mexico and Thailand. Bear with me here, as I don’t really know where this one is going either
1. They both have great beaches, good food and lots of sunshine – the obvious ones. But let’s dig a little deeper.
2. Both provide lots of opportunities to see naked chicks: There is the infamous donkey show in Mexico (if you don’t know, don’t ask), and I’ve heard a rumor about a show in Thailand involving women and turtles in very creative ways (again…questions are probably not a good idea here).  If the rumors are true, Thailand takes te cake on this one.  I don’t think fucking a donkey takes great skill.
3. Both have great beer – Chang vs Dos Equis. I’d probably have stick with the most interesting man in the world and give that one to Dos Equis.
4. Everything is negotiable in both Mexico and Thailand. And the negotiating is half the fun.
5. Both Thai’s and Mexicans fucking love trucks. If you are thinking that sounded racist, it’s because you thought I said “love riding in the back of trucks”. Who’s racist now? But in all honesty, they do.
6. Both utilize buckets at bars. Beers in a bucket in Mexico. Hard alcohol in a bucket in Thailand. This one obviously goes to Thailand.
7. Both countries make me want to tip everyone in sight. I’m still not sure if anyone else is tipping in Thailand, but I really don’t care. I’m making it rain over here. I’m American and I like to tip. And I don’t care what anyone thinks about it. This battle probably goes to Mexico though, because in Mexico there is nothing they love more than one dollar bills. You can roll in with a fat stack of ones and people treat you like fucking P. Diddy up in da club. And let’s face it, my ultimate goal in life is to be P. Diddy.

Once we checked in at our hotel, I spent about an hour fighting with wordpress to upload pictures for your entertainment. You’re welcome. We then headed down to the “beach”. I use quotes here because the beach basically consisted of some chairs placed directly in the water because there was about 5 feet of dry sand, max. I was not impressed. I realize I hail from the sprawling sandy beaches of Southern California and so I’m a bit spoiled, but if you are going to call it a beach I need to at least be able to lay a towel down. Strike two, Chaweng. We nevertheless settled in for about 10 minutes of blissful sunshine before the clouds started to roll in. We were wondering when our weather luck was going to run out. With December being the tail end of monsoon season for the Gulf Islands, I had expected some patches of rain at the very least. We somehow managed to get a whole week of nothing but sun. You wanna bring the rain the day before we leave for our next destination? Be my guest, mother nature. I will consider our good weather fortune thus far her attempt at payback for that bullshit weather in the Dominican Republic five years ago. Consider your debt repaid.

We headed to a beach bar called “Ark Bar” for lunch and some beers. It’s basically the main game in town. It reminded me of one of those beach clubs in Rosarito, MX…minus the mechanical bull and foam dance party. And let’s be honest, those are the two best parts of a beach club in Rosarito. Ah, memories. Where was I? Oh yes, after lunch we showered and decided to do a little shopping while we were in the main town. Sadly, we weren’t really in the market for elephant figurines or shitty t-shirts with beer logos on them, so our attempt at shopping ended about as abruptly as it began. Do people really spend money on this shit while on vacation? I’ve seen better shopping at the 99 cent store back at home. Not really in the massage mood, the only thing left to do was have some drinks. So Jorgie and I got a bucket, and Steph got a Pina Colada in a coconut, and we tried to kill a little time before it was dark and therefore appropriate to eat yet another meal.

Tonight we were braving Mexican food in Thailand. I was slightly cautious. My rationale being that Thai food in Mexico sounds like the worst idea ever. We decided to order some chips and dips to test the waters and were pleasantly surprised. I followed that up with fajitas that were way too salty but altogether unoffensive. I mean, we can’t all make fajitas as good as Chilis, can we? Yeah, I said it. I fucking love Chilis. After dinner we basically couldn’t take anymore of this godforsaken town, so we went to bed. I watched a Will Smith movie and was way too entertained than I care to admit. So there’s that.

Tomorrow we fly to Chiang Mai and you get to meet the blog’s #1 fan, Kimmy! I don’t want to get all your hopes up, but she is living proof that the fan can become a full fledged blog participant. Dreams really do come true in Thailand.

Fun and Sun on Thailand’s Turtle Island

Monday, December 14, 2015,

Today we were leaving the lovely Nikki Beach Resort and heading over to Koh Tao via ferry. After a killer day on the water and unleashing our brand of Sunday Funday on the island, we had done what we came to do on Samui. We had a mellow morning lounging around and getting packed for our ferry. Apparently I had unknowingly bought us tickets on the “people of Walmart” ferry, because the nautical patrons were ripe for shit talking. There was, for example, my first real-life sighting of the elusive “Jomper”. Yes, that’s right, a denim romper, in the flesh. This Jean Queen was promptly dethroned by the far-to-common “Braided Beast”. That particularly odd brand of woman who willingly pays to have her white-girl hair braided while on vacation because she thinks….well now I don’t actually know what she was thinking. Apparently there is a serious lack of education in this world around the hair braiding epidemic. Especially in underdeveloped countries. So allow me to educate the masses: unless you are 10 years old or younger, you should not be getting your hair braided on vacation. I personally wouldn’t let my 10 year-old do that, but I’m not here to criticize your parenting choices. Oh wait, I totally am. In all fairness, I must admit that I once had my hair braided on a trip to Mexico when when I was a kid – but only halfway down my head. And I hated it. Okay fine, I was actually 15. I also had bangs and a perm at various points in my life so the hair decision making skills of my youth were obviously flawed. The best part of the grown-woman-braid situation was that an entire chuck of hair had either been missed, or fallen out of its misguided braided bliss. The result was a hot mess of woman. Did I mention that her PDA with her travel boo was OUT OF CONTROL? I would have rather seen the Jean Queen get down right in front of me that witness these toothless wonders going at it. Don’t worry – I got pics. You’re welcome.

After the oddly entertaining hour and a half ferry ride, we arrived in Koh Tao to a sign with our name on it. Another couple was being picked up by the same hotel with us. We couldn’t all fit in the extended cab of the truck, so the couple took it upon themselves ram through us in an effort to take the seats in air conditioning, leaving us to hop in the truck bed. Not that I mind the truck bed – but this is exactly the kind of entitled bullshit that couples do all the time without even knowing it. Because people in couples think they are better than single people. But that’s ok, because I think most people in couples are insecure ass holes who are disappointed they didn’t hold out for better but terrified to be alone. So I guess we’ll call it even. Upon check-in we were given bags of freshly popped popcorn. I fucking love popcorn. Score one for Koh Tao Cabana! We were promptly shown to our bad ass two-bed, two-bath villa on the beach. It basically looks like Pocahontas and Swiss Family Robinson had a baby in the form of ocean front property. Indoor/outdoor living at it’s finest. I must say, I am killing it on the hotel front over here. Single ladies for the win. The couple with no manners sure as shit wasn’t checking into the villa section of the resort. If I settled in life for a dude with no manners like that girl, he sure as shit better be able to pay for a villa on the beach.

We went down to check out the beach, where we had an odd run-in with the staff not wanting to give us towels or pads for our lounge chairs because “it’s going to rain in 10 minutes”. Soooooo, we sat their for ten minutes until the staff realized (1) it wasn’t raining and (2) we weren’t giving up, at which point they relented and gave us towels and chair pads. I decide to chalk this one up to a language barrier. Most because I have no clue what the fuck was going on. I guess you can’t always have the Nikki Beach staff following you around with champagne everywhere you go. Life is so unfair sometimes.

We headed into town to have a look around, get massages and dinner. We found a spa that looked to be up to our bougie backpacker standards so we booked three massages for tomorrow night, as they were booked up until 9pm. And y’all know we’ll be in bed by 9pm. We decided to just settle for one of the mediocre looking massage parlors with a bunch of surly Thai women on staff ready to unleash their torture on tourists. Let’s take a detour and discuss the thai massage parlor situation. Because it’s a little different than getting a massage stateside. And no, I don’t mean because they offer happy endings (we were not in that part of town anyway…). For one, they make you change into the most awful outfit you have every seen in your life. As Jorgie described it, we looked like we were getting ready to be ushered into a concentration camp. A beige button down loose fitting shirt, paired with GIANT brown cotton pants, none of which have a working elastic drawstring. The result: We looked like Communist chic post-gastric bypass patients leaving in the same outfits we arrived in. Second, there are no holes to put your head in when lying on your front. Anyone that gets massages on the regular knows the hole for your head is key to life’s existence. It protects the neck and keeps everything level. Well, almost everything. Personally, I think they need holes for your boobs too, because the well endowed woman can get a little off-kilter during a massage trying to balance around on those things. Can I get a “hell yeah” from the big tittie committee? Too much information? Third, you are generally in a big room with lots of other people. And glass windows – just in case people being walked on while looking like prison inmates is your brand of kinky, the show is free! No private massage rooms when you are paying $8 a hour.

The massage parlor we were at must have had their masseuses on loan from the nail salon, because those bitches would not shut the fuck up the entire time. Leave it to us to stumble upon the damn Joy Luck Club while trying to get a massage. And I highly doubt they were talking about how “pre-tay” we are. I think the convo was more like “I wonder if these three are lesbians?…[giggling]”. I left feeling like I just got the shit kicked out of me by that woman’s elbow. Not exactly the Nikki Beach massage experience I raved about the other day.

We settled on an Indian restaurant for dinner…because when do the three of us ever go anywhere an not get Indian? Ever the menu whores, we ordered way too much food and stuffed ourselves into a food coma. We were back to the room in bed nice and early, per usual. And good thing, because we had quite the Tuesday….

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Boat Day!!!!!!!! You didn’t think I was leaving this island before getting on a boat, did you? First things first. I actually woke up and went on a run on the beach. In Thailand. In December. I was sweating more than a Muay Thai heavyweight running from a pack of rabid lady boys. It was disgusting. I think the early morning group of scuba divers down the beach was concerned I might be having a heat stroke. This is exactly why I don’t own a gym membership. I was cursed with genes that do not allow me to wear a full face of makeup to the gym or run on a treadmill with my hair down. And that qualifies you for automatic Wench status at the gyms of Los Angeles. Jillian Michaels doesn’t judge me from my living room, so I’ll stick with that. We then had our hotel breakfast in the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse dining room. I am a sucker for anything that even remotely resembles a tree house. It was awesome.

We rented some snorkel gear from the front desk and I headed out to the beach to negotiate a long tail boat for the day. I had already suffered through one group boat tour on the trip, it was high time for a private boat day. The woman pimping out the boats was fun and good natured. I got her down 500 baht and felt I had done my negotiating duty. I also scored the longtail with the best sun protection (not for me, obviously, but our fair skinned Jorgie burns faster than you can say “Snow White”). After grabbing some beers from the hotel restaurant, we were off by 9am, just as planned. I just love when things go accordingly to plan.

What ensued over the next 7 hours was a mix of drinking beers, floating, snorkeling, and dancing to tunes from the jammy pack as our Thai boat driver laughed at us. Snorkeling highlights: (1) We saw the biggest jelly fish ever (pic below) at which point we promptly requested to move to a different snorkel site, cause ain’t nobody got time for jellyfish stings on vacation. (2) I saw three sharks. Or one shark three times. At which point we swam back to the boat very quickly because I was starting to think he was circling. And if anyone is going to be mistaken for a defenseless seal, it’s this bitch. (3) I saw and eel. And then I screamed. They are so fucking gross.

Now, it took a few hours, but our driver finally caught on to the fact that we like to keep the whole “snorkeling” thing at a minimum on our snorkel tours. We instead prefer to float in the water while drinking beer and listening to country music. We are basically the Red Neck Yacht Club’s international diplomatic convoy. We are the kind of group that tour guide’s dream about. We don’t complain (unless you take me to jellyfish infested waters), we ask very few questions, we bring everything we need for the day (read: beer and music) and we just fucking sit there and get drunk. After which we are super fun to be around. Or obnoxious, depending on your outlook on loud drunk chicks. Actually, we did make one request during the day: we ran out of beer. So we asked our driver to take us to shore somewhere we were re-stock. He told us that there was no place to buy beer – the restaurant that is usually open on the other side of the island is closed this time of year. Refusing to accept defeat, we saw some people laying around at a shitty looking hotel across the bay. And where there are people on vacation, it usually follows that there is beer. So we drove over to investigate. Score! Nine more beers for the drunk American girls please, and make it snappy! Re-stocked, we made our way over to Koh Nang-Yuan Island off the coast of Koh Tao. It was a little crowded, so we perched our shit (jammy pack and beers) on a rock and did what we do best. Not a fucking thing. A great end to a great boat day!

Back at our hotel, we demolished some room service snacks, showered and readied ourselves for our 5pm massages at the bougie spa. Upon arrival, we changed into our favorite Thai women’s prison inmate frocks. And then we hit the massage jackpot! The massages today were a whole $3 more expensive than the shitty ones we got yesterday. Best. Three. Dollars. Ever. Spent. Turns out, you really do get what you pay for. Before leaving, we booked a massage with Larry, Curly and Moe for the next night. We even sprang for the 90 minutes. Big spenders!

Today we were eating street food for dinner! Finally. I know, I know…I can’t believe it’s taken us this long either. We found a beach bar with some bean bag chairs and settled in with some drinks. There is a wonderful little thing at bars in Thailand called the “bucket”. It is basically a small plastic children’s beach toy bucket, but instead of sand, it is filled with your choice of booze and mixer. It’s basically like the Sharkeez “shark-attack” goblet, minus the roofies. You Hermosa Beach peeps know what I’m talking about…don’t act like you don’t. Anyway, its fucking blissful. We grabbed some kebobs and pad thai from a street cart and settled in for some culinary bliss. I’m not gonna lie. It was pretty disappointing. I’ve had better pad thai from Trader Ming. We are hoping we just made a bad cart decision and fully intend to give the street food another try. After our mediocre dinner in which we through caution to the wind and disrespected every food safety standard there is, the girls were not feeling so hot. So we headed back to the hotel for an early night.

Tomorrow: a lazy day on Koh Tao. And a mystery ankle injury. Hey, I lasted a week this time…


Improving International Relations One Sunday Funday at a Time

I’m Sunday, December 13, 2015

I woke up at midnight with a raging hangover. I stumbled to the bathroom for advil, while visions tequila shots and go-go dancers flashed through my head. What time did I make it home? Was that pad thai a dream, or did I actually shove my face in that plate? And how in god’s name did I manage to wash my hair? To anyone that knows me, this is a somewhat regular occurrence (just sub dominoes for the pad thai). Welcome to Rory’s day drinking post-mortem. Let’s start at the beginning…

After our wild night of passing out at 8:30pm the day before, we were up bright and early with a skip in our step. I mean really early. Like 6:30am early. Steph and I even went to the gym and did a Jillian Michaels video. God I love that crazy workout bitch. After struggling way too much for any workout labeled “level 1”, we had an early light breakfast and then prepared ourselves for our 9am massages. The massage to end all massages. The massage that trumps all others. At least until tomorrow when I have another one. As this blog is nothing if not educational, I have broken down the reasons why a Thai massage is better than any other massage:

1. As a thirty year-old woman with bursitis in her left hip, weak tendons in her ankles, a sprained toe that refuses to fully heal and the possible beginnings of carpal tunnel in her right hand, I can confidently tell you that a Thai massage is exactly what you need for whatever ails you. They will pull, stretch, rotate and slap your body into submission. They will leave no bone un-cracked. No muscle un-stretched.
2. These bitches walk ALL OVER YOU. At one point I was laying there thinking “Damn, this chick has some big ass hands”. And then I realized those were not hands. Homegirl was standing on the backs of my thighs. It was like she was re-enacting Flashdance on my ass. If you are one of those people who thinks a massage should consist of someone swirling some oil around your body, turn back now. You have not lived until a Thai woman has walked on you.
3. You will feel oddly accomplished at the end of a Thai massage. Like you just kicked ass in a masters yoga class. Not that I would actually know what it’s like to kick ass in a yoga class…

Now that we were completely calm and relaxed, there was only one thing to do. Go to a giant Sunday brunch and pool party. The Nikki Beach “Amazing Sunday Brunch” was today. Brunch + day drinking + pool party. I don’t think I need to explain further why I was so excited. If there were Olympic games for “being Rory”, brunch and day drinking would be the main events. Bathings suits, however, probably wouldn’t be on the agenda. Two out of three ain’t bad.

Ever the overachievers, we started with some beers in our room and then showed up promptly at 11am. I wanted to get my first round of food down before the bikini portion of the day. And the less people that witness me put down a buffet, the better. There are Lions that kill their prey in a more delicate manner than I hit the buffet line. Let me take this opportunity to shed some light on the intricacies of the two types of girls at a buffet. Girl #1 – the girl who walks around the buffet multiple times, acting like she is just so spoiled for choice that she doesn’t know what to do with herself, after which she finally decides on a salad (hey, she splurged on the wedge!) and half a plate of whatever carb-free rabbit food she can find. As if that isn’t offensive enough, she then laments how full she is! This, ladies and gentleman, is called a waste of money. The least Girl #1 could do is eat like a grown ass adult and then puke up her food later so I can feel better about my three empty plates. Seriously, where is the respect for others? And then there is good old, down-home, get the fuck out of my way if there is mac-and-cheese Girl #2 – she see’s the size of the plate not as a suggestion of portion control, but as a test. A test to fit the most food on the plate she possibly can in order to maximize efficiency. She quickly scans the buffet options, making note of what items cost the most money. Any girl #2 worth her salt knows to hit the meat station first. The salad bar is an insult to Girl #2 – a way for the buffet powers-that-be to over charge and under provide. A distraction from the main event. A sub-par opening act. A waste of perfectly good food real estate. All-in-all a great buffet – but could have benefits from some tater tots.

I don’t think it should come as a surprise to anyone that this is not going to be a very lady-like day. Sorry I’m not sorry. Now…let’s get to the party. I’m not gonna lie, it started off slow. We ordered a bottle of champs pool-side to kick things off. Obviously. When you move from your day bed to the pool, your champs table comes with you! The staff literally follows you around with your booze wherever you are so they can promptly refill you. I need to keep this in mind for that expectation-setting meeting I will one day have with my pool boy. The single men pickings were slim and there were far too many kids. Seriously – who brings kids to a drunken pool party with house music? Europeans, that’s who. I may hate their children, but I do admire their no-fucks-given attitude towards parenting. So I promptly began to hit the vodka in an effort to dull the cries of children and, of course, to provide a short term anecdote for my resting bitch face. Worked like a charm….

After a brief swim around the pool reminding myself that I am not actually allowed to spank other people’s offspring a nice boy came over and introduced himself. He was probably about a 4.5. BUT, he had an Australian accent – which is an automatic 2 points. So now we are talking about a 6.5. And once you add some booze and round up, you have a solid 7 on your hands. I can work with a 7. We’ll call him Mr. Seven. Mr. Seven was at the party with a few of his “mates” as part of a bachelor party for a wedding that was taking place on the island in a few days. Within about 30 seconds of meeting these guys we were taking shots. I knew right then that I had found the right group. Even though they were tequila shots that tasted like coffee. It’s like they went out of their way to order something I would aggressively hate. But ever the lady, I took my shot and said thank you. While this was going on, Steph and Katie were lounging on the day bed reading their books. The boys kept inquiring where my friends were and why they weren’t partying in the pool. They then began calling them “the librarians”. So I harassed the gals to come play. Apparently Steph drew the short straw and took her place in the pool as my wing woman. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. Did I mention Mr. Seven had a twin brother at the party? Mr. Seven Twin…meet my friend the librarian.

And so the rest of my day ensued in true “Whoo-girl” fashion. A hazy mix of splashing around in the pool with strangers, lots of shots, even more vodka-sodas, and since I’m nothing if not honest, a lot of sloppy pool make-out sessions with Mr. Seven. A lot of them. More than I care to admit. But remember, I’m 25 in Thailand. And 25 year olds get drunk and make out with people. Yes, I was that girl. The girl who has way more fun than you. The girl who screams “whoooooo” when she sees a shot glass come her way. The girl who you spend your Monday talking shit about to your coworkers because you secretly wish you could be on my level. After (literally) seven hours of playing in the pool with our new Aussie friends, the sun had gone down, all other patrons had left, and we were kindly asked to leave. Not the first or the last time I’ll be hearing those words…

We bid our friends adieu, claiming we would try our best to make it out later that night, both parties fully aware that it was a lie. I apparently managed to shower and throw on some PJ’s before I got intimate with a plate of room service pad-thai. A delicious end to a shit show of a day.

Boozing and Boating in Koh Samui

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Today was our first full day in Thailand, and we hit the ground running. Or rather, we hit the ocean boating. We woke up to clear skies and nothing but sun, so we were off on our boat adventure to Angthong National Marine Park! Pickup was bright and early 7:45am. Which apparently translates into 8:30am in island time. We are slowly learning that there is no such thing as “on time” here in Thailand. So this is me, going with the flow. We had a shared transfer to the farthest damn pier on the island. So we hopped in the van and got comfortable for the long drive around Koh Samui that we have come to know and dread. At least there was entertainment in the form of the dumbest couple in life. I’ve narrowed their accents down to Eastern European in some form. We shall call them Fucktard and Fucktress. Fucktard was telling Fucktress about his plans for a book that he is writing about the future. It takes place in 2020. THE FUTURE, you see. Pretty sure four years ago I was a single accountant living for my vacations, so you can see why I’m not exactly banking on the world to dramatically change in another four. But alas, his plot thickens. Fucktard informs Fucktress that by 2025, 30% of all jobs will be taken over by robots. Sounds great, because I could use another 30% of my life to travel and entertain you all with my odd life choices. And then a political debate ensued and we had to tune them out for fear their stupidity was contagious. Don’t worry – they’ll make another appearance later.

We arrive at the pier and are hustled out of the van and told that we are “very late” and that everyone else on the boat has been waiting for us. Ummmm, who is late? Take that shit up with your driver and his 45 minute morning smoke break. Now the problem with being late is that it left little time for us to procure beer for our boat trip. Who the fuck gets on a boat without beer? Apparently all other tourists. Amateur hour at it’s finest. I informed one of the guides that we needed beer before boarding. He took me down to the bar at the pier to get some, where we were promptly informed that the guy who has the key to the booze fridge wasn’t here yet. He must have been out partying with our driver last night. So no beer. One look at my face and the guide knew that this was not an acceptable conclusion to the quest for libations. So off we ran, across and down the street, in search of beer. My persistence was rewarded with 12 cold ones after which we sprinted back down to the boat. Upon boarding, everyone looked at me like I had just broke out of Betty Ford. One guide even commented “lots of beer!”. Luckily your blog writer is also a bad ass accountant, so allow me to break this one down slowly: 12 beers divided by 3 girls = 4 beers/girl. I was just planning on these lasting us to lunch, where there is a bar. In what world is four beers considered “a lot”? No world I want to live in, that’s for sure.

It was made clear to us at that moment that we would really need to pilot our own destiny on this tour and bring the fun. First, we were told to put on our life jackets. I politely declined with a “no, thank you” and we were met with confused stares. Life jackets are for children, people who can’t swim, and losers. Let’s just say there were no children on the boat…infer from that what you will. Finally we were under way. We cracked a couple of beers and settled in at the back of the boat (next to the cooler) for a scenic ride out to the marine park. My peaceful mood was immediately interrupted by the family in front of us with the most disgusting feet I have ever seen in my life. We named this family “the Flinstones”. And yes, we managed to get pictures of both Fred and Wilma’s feet. Pedicures are like $5 in Thailand. Work it out, people.

After about half an hour, we made a stop to snorkel. The gals and I were in the water before the guide even got to the English portion of the instructions. Only on a shared boat tour does “snorkeling” warrant the need for a 15 minute instructional how-to. Apparently Steph heard one guide actually say “if you can’t swim, please keep your life jacket on”. I know I ask this every time, but if you can’t swim, what the fuck are you doing on a snorkeling tour of a MARINE park. What part of your brain has failed to equate water with swimming? Once again, the citizens of this world have left me dumbfounded. By the time all the other ass holes made their way into the water, we had already finished our underwater photo shoot and found a giant jellyfish. I mean, GIANT. I hopped back on the boat to get our floaties (read: life jackets) and beers and turn on the jammy pack. For those of you who don’t know, if you turn a life jacket upside down and put your legs through the arm holes, a life jacket magically turns into a floating chair, perfect for your aquatic beer drinking needs. I know – I’m like the Martha Stewart of booze cruises.

Once we were back on the boat, one of the Flinstones took a shine to Steph and spent the rest of the day following her around like a puppy dog. Luckily for her, it wasn’t Fred. I obviously got a picture of him spitting his prehistoric game at her. We then stopped at one of the islands for a mediocre “lunch buffet”, but more importantly, a bar. By the time the guides called everyone for kayaking, we were poster children for happy, drunk tourists. As if this day couldn’t get any better, we were directed to a three person kayak. Finally, a tour that caters to the single lady trio! The guides directed us to follow them on a kayaking tour. But we were drunk, and there was a sand bar calling our name. So we headed in the other direction and promptly beached ourselves on a sandbar, spending the rest of the “tour” lounging in the sun listening to some beats on the jammy pack. Let this trip be a lesson to all of you that with a little persistence and a can-do attitude, any shared boat tour can be turned into a private booze cruise.

Flinstone BF
Steph and her Flinstone boyfriend

The trip home was pretty uneventful. We polished off a few more beers on the ride back to Koh Samui and then hopped in our shared van back to the hotel. There was only one other couple in the shared van home. You guessed it – the Fucktard twins. Fucktard requested they get dropped off in town. He did not, however, think it was necessary to put his pants on. And his swimsuit bottoms were smaller than mine. Although, in his defense, his ass is also smaller than mine. So we left them on the side of the road, sans pants, slightly disappointed that we would never know what happens when the robots take over. Back at Nikki Beach we showered, ordered room service and passed out at 8:30pm. Again.

Now I know you all want a drunken party blog. And I’m going to give it you. Tomorrow. Sunday Funday was a wild one. Stay tuned.

Later losers!!!

The Wednesday Night Travel Rush

I assumed my plan to fly to Thailand on a Wednesday was genius. I had visions of awkwardly laying across my own empty row of coach seats, lounging away on my 13 hour flight to Taipei while drinking red wine until the flight attendants cut me off or the Xanax kicks in, whichever comes first. And then I would sink into a blissful state of self-medicated sleep with legs fully extended. Because who the hell travels on a Wednesday night? Bow to Rory, the brilliant travel god, who has outsmarted everyone. FALSE.

Needless to say, shit went down a little differently. Clue #1 – the LAX traffic backed up into the tunnel. Nothin’ worse than waiting in bumper to bumper traffic in a B-rate uber. You know the ones I’m talking about – where you are afraid to touch anything in the car and the uber driver can’t make it four feet until you put the destination in. If I wanted a ride to the airport in a car that looks like its been lived in with a shitty driver, I would just drive myself. Clue #2 – China Airlines check-in. Be afraid. Be very afraid. It basically looked like half of China Town decided to pack up their entire lives and move back to the motherland. It was baffling. A line halfway down the entire Tom Bradley terminal with so many boxes and bags of shit, I began to wonder if Trump was kicking out the Chinese now too…via Taiwan. At one point, they actually corralled everyone in the spillover line into a holding pen because we were taking up too much room in the terminal. The corral is for basic travel bitches. Not Rory. I immediately began to panic – between our two hours before take-off and this line, my money was on the line. What was a gal to do? Make friends with a TSA guy, that’s what. TSA guy had no front teeth, but he was a man with a plan. He directed me to the self check-in kiosk (the ONE kiosk for all of China airlines) which works about 15% of the time, and assured me that if I could get boarding passes, he would get my bags checked. And so began the fun game of passport scanner roulette. I’m pretty sure the scanner was actually an etch-a-sketch in disguise, because it took twice as long and worked half as well. After about 15 minutes of “let me try, I have the magic touch”, we finally had three sets of boarding passes. And so off we ran to TSA man to hold up his end of the bargain. And just like that, we were off to security.

Now, the security line was also terrifying, but moving rather swiftly. And honestly, we were so proud of ourselves for getting out of the China Airlines Trail of Tears downstairs that the security line didn’t even faze us. The guy who checked our passport informed us that (1) this was an unusually crazy Wednesday, and (2) Wednesdays and Thursdays are usually the busiest. Color me wrong. Fuck. So now you all know. Finish out the work week and leave on a Friday like a normal person. You’re welcome.

A Smartwater run and trip to the ladies room later and we were boarding our COMPLETELY FULL 13 hour flight. The first of three flights to get us to Koh Samui. Are you cringing as you read that? Because I’m cringing as I type it. We haven’t even taken off yet. However, I have two rather small men in my row. Just knowing that I will be able to actually climb over the obstacles between myself and the bathroom takes the anxiety levels down significantly. Bring on the vino and shitty movies!

Okay….I’m back. The long flight was rather painless. Probably because Xanax works just as well in a sitting position. The little Asian men next to me got a kick out of my ninja moves as I hopped over them to get to the bathroom. Three times. Our second flight from Taipei to Bangkok was rather uneventful, save for the nosy bitch next to me who is literally reading my blog over my shoulder as I type this. I cannot create this masterpiece under a microscope, people! She is seriously cramping my blog flow.

Bangkok airport
Delerious in the Bangkok airport

Now, after our flight to Bangkok we still had one flight left – to Koh Samui. Apparently Bangkok Airways is the “boutique airline” of Thailand. They have a lounge that is open to all passengers where you get free wifi and snacks. I am fully supportive of them using any adjective they want to describe their airline as long as it means I get free popcorn. Bangkok Airways rules. An hour later, we were touching down in Koh Samui. FINALLY our endless day of travel was over! OR WAS IT? Our plan was to grab a cab to our hotel. Seems easy enough, right? After about 20 or so hours of travel, we were not on our game. Those airport hustlers heard our please for a cab and sold us a ticket for a shuttle instead. The fucking super shuttle of the island. So off we went, with stops at about four other hotels before ours. Because we were the last hotel. Because our hotel is in ass-fuck nowhere on the island. Now, I was aware this hotel was a bit out of the way, but I was not aware that Thai islands have a rush hour. And construction. If you call a bunch of dudes smoothing out cement by hand on the side of the road construction. So after about an hour driving around the island on a one way road, we finally arrived at Nikki Beach in Koh Samui. I could have cried I was so happy. We checked in, confirmed our boat tour for tomorrow, hit happy hour, and were in bed by 8pm. That’s all she wrote. Tomorrow, we get on a boat. And you all know there is literally nothing in this world Rory loves more than a boat day. Teaser – it’s a group boat tour. I’m gonna be talking some mad shit on those ass holes.

The December Travel Itch Strikes Again

Another December is upon us, which can only mean one thing for me: travel time! I’m making my way to Thailand for the next month! I’m sure you’re wondering what fabulous job I have that allows me to frolic around the globe for a month at a time. It’s called unpaid vacation, people. If that’s not dedication to the travel game, I don’t know what is. Luckily Thailand is well known for being relatively cheap. So I’m thinking my typical Friday night bar tab at North End will last me at least a week over there. Ok that’s a lie – we all know I go to North End on random Wednesday nights. And go to bed at 9pm on Fridays.

The next question I usually get (from people who obviously don’t know me) is “you won’t be home for Christmas?” I’ve never understood the need for grown ass adults to be home around the holidays. Yes, I realize this is, in large part, because I am a Jew. But I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that I’m pretty sure Jesus would rather spend his birthday in Thailand too. So, for all you basic people out there who forgo my favorite travel month in favor of fickle things like family, friends, and holiday cheer, I’ve put together a little list of why would you should spend December seeing the world. I’ll call it “Rory’s twelve reasons why you should spend the twelve days of Christmas abroad”.

1. TRAFFIC. Holy shit December traffic sucks. The other day, it took me half an hour to drive 6 miles to work. That’s a five minute mile pace. Half of Kenya can run faster than I can drive in LA.
2. For the love of god, you are a grown up. If you want something, buy it for yourself. Haven’t your parents done enough? When I was in college, my 25 year old boyfriend’s mother emailed me his Christmas list – just in case I needed some ideas. I was appalled. How can you, as an adult, make a Christmas list for your parents and still maintain self respect? But in the spirit of full disclosure, I did use it…
3. Let’s be honest, family can be a real pain in the ass. And you just saw them at Thanksgiving! What ever happened to absence makes the heart grow fonder?
4. If you are single, you will spend every holiday family get together explaining why you are so unloveable. Because being single is a disease and you must explain how you were infected. I myself contracted it after first coming down with a serious case of “standards”, which then left me with a severe allergic reaction to douche bags, which runs rampant in LA. I actually think I was patient zero.
5. The weather at home blows. And it gets dark at 5pm. What is that about? I feel like a fucking vampire.
6. There are SO MANY awesome destinations that are prime in December. Basically, the entire fucking southern hemisphere. Literally half of the world is at it’s best, and you are bundled up at home hanging shit on a dying tree. 7. You spend so much fucking money when you are home for the Holidays. Mostly buying presents that will probably sit in someone’s closet until spring cleaning. So let me take this opportunity to thank you all for accepting the fact that you aren’t getting a present from me, because I spent the money on a trip to Thailand.
8. Most people take time off around the holidays to spend with family. Which means, no one can give you shit about not being at work for a few weeks. Some companies even shut down, leaving you free to use your vacation days the rest of the year! We all know December is a throwaway month work-wise anyway. Don’t act like you are the one person that is productive on December 22nd. Ass hole.
9. Other countries have movie theaters too. I mean, that is what you’ll be doing Christmas day, isn’t it? Have fun watching Star Wars, losers. I’ll be on a floating raft house on a lake in the jungle. Check mate.
10. But Rory, I love the snow! I have no argument for this. Because you just can’t argue with stupid. We will have to agree to disagree on this one.
11. New Years Eve is ALWAYS better when you are in another country. For example – last NYE when my travel soul mate, Stina, and I picked up the hottest guys EVER in Queenstown. Or that crazy NYE in Costa Rica with DFR…which I would go into details about if I had zero self respect. Now, let’s flash back to a few of NYE nights at home…there was the time I punched some crazy Mexican chick in the face and then lost my phone while trying to make a swift getaway….not to be outdone by the time I went to bed at 9pm….and the time I went to bed at 10pm.
12. Now this one is probably the most important, so focus. You will have the best tan in town when you get home. So not only have you forgone the holiday weight gain, you actually dieted! Did I mention that I consider tanning a form of dieting?

Now, if you have young children, I’m going to give you a pass on traveling. Because (1) kids actually are entitled to presents christmas morning (unlike you), (2) traveling with kids is fucking expensive and extremely inefficient, but mostly because (3) I don’t want your annoying kids anywhere near me while I’m on vacation.

Okay, back to the trip at hand. I know you are dying to know your cast of characters for this one. We’ve got some new ones and we’ve got some trip bitch veterans joining us for this adventure. First up at bat, Steph and Jorgie. You will all remember Jorgie from her James Bond-like driving abilities in France on the blog a few months ago. And you Steph fans may remember her from bitching out that Italian boat skank in Sardinia, also on the blog back in September. The three of us will spend the first week island hopping, at which point we will meet up with friends who are new to the blog. Spoiler alert: Thisbitchbetrippin’s NUMBER ONE FAN fan, Kim Ortloff, will have a starring role on this trip!

Holiday party
We’re Back!!
Our agenda will include: islands, beaches, jungles, temples, elephants, adventure activities, and much more. And as if it couldn’t get any better – YACHT WEEK. If you people thought I talked a lot of shit on random strangers before, just WAIT for Yacht Week. It’ll be a fucking smorgasboard of morons, slutty basic bitches and sluttier frat boys past their prime. And yes, I know I’m basically a sorority girl waaaaaay past her prime. Pot, meet kettle. Oh, and you all know the drill, if anyone asks, I’m 25 for the next 4 weeks. Let’s fucking do this.