A Travellerspoint blog

2 Weeks in San Francisco

...with 2 dear friends...

sunny 23 °C
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September 9 - 22nd were spent in San Francisco. After 8 hours of food poisoning on the flight from Tokyo, I was ready to relax and catch up with friends in the city. Things didn't exactly work out as I had envisioned them.

I did get to see and catch up with many friends in SF, but the relaxing didn't really come to fruition until the last weekend, when we went to the Zen House (big sigh) in Russian River...more on that in a minute. Recovering from food poisoning in conjunction with jet lag was a new and unimagined hell that I would never wish on anyone. Late in the day for about the first 5 days, my head would start to get very heavy, my thoughts raced, my heart raced, and my eye lids felt like they were made of lead. It felt like I was starting to fall asleep, even though I was walking around, riding in a car, or sitting down to dinner. It was nearly impossible to carry on a conversation (as you know if you saw me during those first few days!)...I was conversationally impaired, to say the least.

Here's a photo from a night out in the city.

On top of trying to get well, I was trying to work out the logistics of getting my house sitter out of my apartment. The place was in such a state...you wouldn't believe it. If you were house sitting, would you not tidy up a bit when the owners came home? ...me too...I guess not everyone would, as I found out. There was stuff everywhere, boxes yet to be unpacked (after 3 months??), cat hair EVERYWHERE, a broken knob on the shower, smoke detector dangling off the wall with battery removed, wine stains on the carpet, a huge pile of baking soda in the bottom of the oven, a pile of dirty dishes, and all the furniture/pictures had been rearranged into a very un-feng shui configuration. Again, I try to put myself into another's shoes: if you were house sitting would you: rearrange the furniture? Move the wall hangings? Break stuff and not tell anyone? Not pay rent? Avoid talking with the owners? Avoid picking the owners up at the airport WITH THEIR OWN VEHICLE? Let your cat scratch and ruin the sofas? Myself, I answered no to all these questions, as I'm sure you did too. So you can understand my incredulity at this behavior. We offered the apartment/house sit at a huge discount because we were requiring a bit of work on the house sitter's part: communication over email to let us know that everything is ok, and water the plants. The response was HUGE on Craigslist, so I was able to re-rent/arrange a house sitter very quickly. ...instead of relaxing and catching up with the friends I didn't get to see. I'm still pissed (can you tell?) about the whole ordeal, but I am happy for the time I did get to spend with my friends.

During this sub-optimal home coming, Mike and I stayed with our dear friends, Peter and Brent (and their dog, Leo), in their lovely home in San Francisco. They were our saving grace - fed us, encouraged us to imbibe some lovely wine, and invited us to their Zen House in Guerneville (Russian River) to relax at the end of our stay in SF. These two have a knack for creating peaceful space...I never get such good rest as the rest I get at Zen House. They also both happen to be fantastic cooks, so we ate like kings. I contributed by making red velvet cupcakes - 5 each over the course of 3 days. Yes, there were tears on the last day when I had eaten my 5 already and tried to take one of Peter's. I think I raised some feathers with that one! ;-) The weekend was certainly the high point of our return. Sitting in the hot tub late at night telling stories and looking up at the stars between the redwood trees...can you think of a more peaceful evening? ...thanks a million guys, I love you!

Posted by kmpossible 10:41 Archived in USA Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

Thai Fruit/Vegetable Carving & Zen in Koh Samui

...an older entry that I forgot to post!

sunny 33 °C
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Mike and I took a Thai fruit and vegetable carving class at SITCA, the Samui Institute of Thai Culinary Arts before we left Koh Samui. It’s a 3-class series, each session 3 hours long. The first lesson was carving a watermelon into a flower pattern. It was a little stressful because if you cut at the wrong angle, your petals will fall off! Our charismatic instructor, Thim, has incredibly strong and steady hands…she carved a turnip into a flower in about 5 minutes! Next was the cantaloupe flower, and the third day was veggie carvings, plate decorating and garnishes. What fun!!!


As you can tell, we haven’t had much wind here on Samui. Also, the beach where we’re staying is pretty narrow, so it’s tough to launch/land the kites safely. I’m the proud owner of a new waist harness, and I’m chomping the bit to get a good run on it…it just doesn’t feel really safe here, and that’s intimidating. Maybe Koh Samet will have some broader beaches and steady, howling wind!

We’ve visited a couple different Wats since arriving here. The Wat Big Buddha is located at the northeastern tip of Koh Samui, and you can see it from our hotel poking up above the trees. It’s 12 meters high and gold!


I got to pray just before the monks started their chants, which was very moving. I came down from looking at the Big Buddha, and at the bottom there are several smaller shrines.


I was trying to get a closer look at one of them, which had several small, square cushions on the raised floor in front of a beautiful gold reclining Buddha. One of the monks up on the platform motioned me to one of the cushions, so I took off my shoes and climbed up. As I got closer to the Buddha, I felt a very warm, vibrating sensation fill my body. As I sat down on my heels I closed my eyes and let the scent of sandalwood incense fill my nose. I folded my hands, palms up, in my lap, and said a few words in my head, and then my mind went completely blank. I was totally overwhelmed by the heat in my body and the feeling of fullness, gratitude and love. Placing my hands palms together at my heart, I bowed forward all the way to the floor. I wish I were a poet so I could explain the fullness and beauty of these moments…it was incredible, the energy of this place of prayer and reverence. I felt a similar feeling when I was in St. Peter’s Basilica in 2000. I think religions are like fingers on a hand…they all lead to the same source. We all want the same things right? Love, peace, happiness? In this place, in the dim light of late afternoon, I felt like part of the whole, completely connected.

Posted by kmpossible 20:32 Archived in Thailand Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Koh Samet...

...hotter than Koh Samui!

sunny 33 °C
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This is just a short entry to let everyone know that we're burning alive here on Koh Samet. I feel like an ant under a magnifying glass...it's hot as hell! But I'm loving it.... There's just a small dirt trail through the middle of the island. We walked about half the length of the island yesterday...of course it was at the hottest point of the afternoon! Getting back to the airconditioned room was such a treat.

There seems to be very little, if any, wireless here, and we're too far to walk to the internet cafe, so this will probably be my only entry until we get back to Bangkok next Friday. We rented an ATV today to get around..I'm driving, and it's sooooo fun! It's a little weird getting used to driving on the left hand side of the road, but I'm adjusting quickly. Good thing, or we'd be roadkill by now.

We're staying at the Samet Ville Resort near the southern end of the island, on the east coast. It's a cute room with AC and hot water, but the restaurant is pretty bad. Breakfast was not good - it's included in the price of the room, but we've decided to go out in search of better vittles in the future. Today, what we found was not any better...and I'm HUNGRY! =( Oh well...maybe we'll stick to crap-jam and marj on toast with a bitter cup of nescafe, and get a hearty lunch. I'm almost certain it's impossible to starve over the course of a week. I complain, but the dinner we had last night was actually quite tasty. I'm in search of a beach BBQ for dinner tonight...fish on the beach + Singha = happy KimPossible...wish me luck!

If you're looking for seclusion, Koh Samet seems the place to get it. We walked all the way to the next beach north of us yesterday on a very rocky & beautiful coastline and didn't see a single person or boat. There are loads of lovely outlook points all around the western coastline, which is mostly cliffs, it seems, though we haven't explored the entire length yet due to the heat/lack of sunscreen yesterday!

Pics to come...I'll email out a block of Koh Samui pictures when we arrive in Bangkok. Also, if you have any requests for goods from Thailand, this is your last chance! I'll be doing a bit of shopping in Bangkok, since we have a pretty heafty weight limit on our bags for the flight to San Francisco.

I'm sending you hugs right now!!! Muaaaa!

Posted by kmpossible 23:24 Archived in Thailand Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Koh Samui in gorgeous Thailand

sunny 33 °C
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Mike and I landed in Koh Samui on the 14th after 12 hours of flying and waiting around airports (Jakarta and Bangkok). The airport is so cute here! When you land, a fleet of open-air busses greet you to shuttle you to the terminal (there's only one). The baggage claim conveyer is under a little palapa, and it took only minutes to get our bags and be on our way. It's much hotter here than Bali, so we now have an air conditioned room! It also has HOT water! ...I don't think I mentioned, but we've been living without hot water in our hotel for the last month. I didn't really miss it, especially since it's warm in Bali. You come in from breakfast and you're hot, so a cold shower is quite refreshing. Having hot water seems to be a bit of a luxury. We're staying at the Bangrak on Big Buddha Beach, which has a huge golden Buddha statue just east of us. We're gonna check it out in the next couple of days.

Yesterday we drove around the island in our rental car I like to call "Hairy Boy"...it's actually called Carryboy or Ladyboy or something like that...it's a cross between a jeep and a teeny pickup truck. Just enough room for our kites, boards and a pony keg. We ended up stopping in Chaweng Beach to buy a much-needed t-shirt for Mike and tank top for me - our other ones are starting to show the wear and tear of being worn every other day for 2 months. One of mine had a permanent funk from sunscreen and from lying on my wet kite (stinky!). So Chaweng according to the Lonely Planet travel books is the most popular beach on Koh Samui. It is definitely busy, though it wasn't very popular with us...when we stopped and got out of the Hairy Boy, the sewer smell almost knocked us over. Everywhere we walked, it smelled of poop. Not nice. I don't know if it was just a particularly hot day, or there was a problem with the sewer, no matter. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. We found our shirts and a couple inflatable rafts for the sea and hauled ass outta there.

Aside from that little hiccup, the island is stunningly beautiful. I'll upload some pics at some point, though we're without internet at our hotel, so who knows when that'll be. We tried to visit a snake farm and a butterfly farm, but couldn't find them yesterday. I had an image in my mind of what a snake ranch and snake rancher would look like...itty bitty lassos and cowboy hats? Yep, that's what I thought too! ...we may never know.

We're learning a bit of Thai which is cool...so far I haven't learned a stitch of any other languages. I now know how to say hello and thank you. I know, always the overachiever! =)

Posted by kmpossible 20:00 Archived in Thailand Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Indonesia, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

A list of my favorite places.

sunny 29 °C

Sanur, Bali:
1. Ananda Beach Hotel & Restaurant – get room #6 or 7
2. Grilled sweet corn on the beach, north end
3. The Village, Italian restaurant on Tamblingan
4. Spirit Café, on the beach, free WiFi with purchase
5. Mango Café, on the beach, good food, really tough to get the bill
6. Bennos, on the beach, great chicken & coconut milk soup
7. Randy’s, restaurant on Tamblingan, best place for breakfast other than the Ananda
8. Picadilly’s International Pub and Restaurant, on Tamblingan, great pizza, fabulous guitar player, Agus on Monday nights
9. 6 Point Café on Tamblingan
10. Little Pond Homestay, on Tamblingan, clean comfortable room, very inexpensive, friendly staff
11. Circle K, Magnum ice cream bars & PopMie noodles, baby! On Tamblingan.
12. Chinese place across from the Hyatt on Tamblingan (can’t remember the name)

Gili Meno

Jimboran, dinner on the beach watching the sunset

Posted by kmpossible 23:15 Archived in Indonesia Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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