It’s already been a couple weeks since we pulled into the marina on the north side of Phuket island, where we intend to leave Tamarisk until we depart Asia in a couple months. We’re accustomed to seasonal weather delays like this one by now, and although they can be frustrating on the one hand, they give us necessary time to do repair work and make plans and arrangements for our final (and most logistically complicated) passages back to the Mediterranean Sea. More importantly, they give us time to explore inland in a way we probably otherwise wouldn’t if we were free to keep sailing uninhibited by mother nature.
So we’ve buttoned up the boat and embarked on a new land-based voyage that will take us through Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. As we’ve done a couple times already on our voyage, the next few weeks will be dedicated partially to our usual sight-seeing and routine, and partially to researching charity related causes in this poverty stricken part of the world. We’re joined again by Elliott from Focusing Philanthropy (“FP”) and will be visiting some NGOs already supported by FP, some which are candidates for future support, and generally trying to form a better understanding for what needs exist in this part of the world and how they can most effectively be tackled with donations from FP’s supporters. All this gives us a rather unique opportunity to see the world from a distinctly non-touristic perspective, and we often discover things suddenly become much more interesting once we get off the usual tourist track.
For the time being though, we’re sitting here on Khao San Road, arguably the most absurdly touristic street in the most absurdly touristic city in the entire world. And we’re reminded of this each time we step outside the hotel door when the ridiculous offers begin flying at us from every direction: sight seeing tours, taxi rides, cheap suits, rubber band helicopters, balloons filled with laughing gas, grilled scorpions, things that make frog croaking noises, knockoff Viagra, and of course prostitutes…. all of it at bargain basement prices we’re crazy to pass up. And as interesting as that probably sounds, we suggest tempering your enthusiasm because the novelty wears off rather quickly. Unless there’s a reason we need to return to Bangkok in the future, this might be our last experience on its shady streets.
So we’ve now lined up our Vietnam and Myanmar visas and are ready to head to Hanoi, Vietnam tomorrow morning. We have a string of charity meetings lined up for the next few weeks, so we’ll be moving quickly and trying to squeak in some sightseeing whenever we can. Off we go!