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The Big O.E An epic adventure across the world, backpacker style :)

Kolkata to Paradise

INDIA | Sunday, 1 April 2007 | Views [1226]

Koh Tao Sunset

Koh Tao Sunset

So we've arrived in Paradise after the trip from hell...
Had a mission day in Kolkata (never again will we try to live in that chaotic city at over 30 degrees with no room to base ourselves in...) Our flight didn't leave till 2am, so we had a bit of time to kill. Which would normally be fine, except we had carefully budgetted our last rupees, so we had about $6 NZD to last us the day.
We did ok though. For $6 we got breakfast, lunch and dinner (on the street of course. 50 cents for a spicy vegetable roll), two movie tickets to "The Namesake" (pretty cool to see the places we'd just visited) and a taxi to the airport. We had enough change to buy some chewing gum at midnight.
After a morning shopping and sightseeing (with no money spent of course) we avoided the heat, filth, noisy traffic and beggars in a "mall" by reading books in the food court. James is enjoying Kate's "The Journeyer" and Catherine is enthralled by "May you be the mother of a hundred sons" (should have been compulsory reading before India).
The airport was dismal. Mosquitoes flying around everywhere inside. Short flight = no sleep.
Arrived in Bangkok and were amazed at how clean, tidy, efficient, orderly, peaceful and polite everything was. With real toilets and toilet paper included! A real culture shock!! We could walk down the street without people staring at us, trying to sell us things or ask for our money because "no sister, no brother, no father, no mother". Incredible! And the traffic worked fine, following give way rules and everything and NO HORNS were involved!!!
So funny to think that just a month ago we thought Bangkok was a bit dirty, smelly and chaotic!
We got a room for the day and sorted out travel for that night. 7pm it started. Bus to Chumphon. It had the great feature of smells in the air conditioning right above our noses. Sometimes it was the bus driver's cigarette, then the stale urine in the toilet, then someone's deoderant, then the food from upstairs... Random stops at little stalls at midnight, then on the side of the street at 2am, where we were taken in another bus to sit at the side of the street till 4am, then on another bus at 6am, then a boat at 7am, then we got a place to stay and had our first SLEEP since last week.
You would think we might have taken some time out.
Or maybe you know us better.
7am next morning James was on the dive boat. And Catherine is now the proud holder of an Advanced Open Water Dive card :) We haven't really stopped diving since. Hoping to get to Sail Rock the day after tomorrow. But I'll let James tell you about the dives another time. I'll just say that I finally got it - the water here is 30 degrees (so no horrid wetsuit and only 3kgs on my weight belt) the visibility is amazing, and being under the water is almost like flying.
Big kisses and hugs
Catherine and James
PS I left out the bit about me only eating the BRAT diet (banana, rice, apple and toast) for a few days - you can guess why
PPS And the bit about James having to get hydrocortisone, penicillin and antihistamine - you can guess why
PPS And the bit about the fire coral that got my hands.... We're having a ball, trust me :)

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