Sunday, January 31, 2010

An Early Return

As foreshadowed in my previous post, I am indeed returning to Canada earlier than planned, though not by much. On February 7th I'll be flying Bangkok to Vancouver, that's about 2 weeks sooner than my previous flight of February 23rd. The earlier return is due to various factors, the greatest being MONEY. No Complaints, No Regrets.

   This leg of my trip has become something I didn't expect. The plan was to come here and dive and teach, and do not much else. After being shafted by the shop manager one too many times (he gave away courses I wanted to teach), I realized there was no reason to stress. There is 6-9 months of intense physical labour waiting for me when I get back to Salmon Arm, why worry about working my butt off? I've made friends, told jokes, drank well into the early hours of morning, visited walking street -

If you still have no idea what Walking Street is about, I found this video for you all. DANGER - Ladyboy at 00:42!!

   I've made this trip to Thailand a proper holiday, for me and me alone. Good lord it has been fun. Dad, you thought I had stories from last time?

   So tomorrow or Tuesday I'll be leaving Pattaya. I' catching a bus 3 hours south to an Island called Koh Chang. My Best Friend (have I have not seen in over a year) is down there at the moment. We're going to spend 5 days laying on the beach, drinking, telling stories, diving, riding motorbikes, exploring, and most likely manage to cause some mayhem in between our otherwise busy schedule. He has warned me to bring a camera, as I won't remember any of my time there. Pookie is the nefarious bastard that would buy me trays of SangSom Coke. You can see where the trouble could lie... On the 6th of February we're going to catch a mini-bus back up to Pattaya so he can see everyone here, I'll grab the rest of my stuff, and in the morning of the 7th I'll head on up to Bangkok to fly home.

   Upon landing in Vancouver, my Mom will pick me up, so we can spend the night at her boyfriend's place. Few days with my Dad Mike and my little brothers, then back to glorious Salmon Arm!
   As promised, photos of me diving the Hardeep, courtesy of Darran C.
See you later, B

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Vikki! Oh, and a Night Dive.

Yesterday, I made it. I finally got to do a night dive. I've been meaning to do one since I first arrived, but something has always gotten in the way. Teaching, sinuses, hangover... a variety of ailments or responsibilities. We went out on MM3, my favourite Mermaids Vessel. It's smaller, there's usually less customers, and it's just so peaceful in and around the islands down in Samae San.

   Darran, an intern that was here during my last time at mermaids is here now on holiday, and we had the great luck to dive together. Our first dive took place in the afternoon on the Hardeep Wreck. It was... stunning. The diving in this part of Thailand can be a bit crap at times but, on the rare occasion, the visibility is good, and you see a few things that make descending to 27m in a dropping 20 current worthwhile. We found 2 blue spotted rays, a few angelfish, butterfly fish, but the majority of the dive was just spent exploring the larger open areas of the wreck. After 25 minutes, we made our ascent up the line and boarded the boat. Not even 20 minutes after being back on board, dinner was served.

   Masaman Curry, steamed rice, fried chicken and spicy pork. So good. We had a while longer to wait until dusk, so the group of us divers lounged on the sun deck and bullshitted back 'n' forth and the semantics of British English and Canadian English. They're chips, not Crisps! The boat was moved to our second dive site, Shark Fin right before sun set. I managed to snap this photo:

No idea why they call it Shark Fin...

   Darran took a few pictures of me during our wreck dive. Will be sure to get them off of him before he leaves on Friday.

   So after returning from the night dive, I skipped back to my hotel room, ditched my gear, showered, changed, and picked up Darran on Pat (my motorbike). We made a b-line for the bar, Shooters, where our lovely friend Vikki was holding her birthday celebrations. Shooters  is located on Soi Whitehouse, off Jomtien Beach Road and it is right across from what was the Original, True, Mermaids Dive Center where the 3 of us (and many others) first began their dive training. The bar is conveniently, located not 5 paces across the road.

   The night carried on in spectacular fashion. Bound to happen with copious amounts of cheap alcohol, great friends, wigs, a horn, flaming Sambuca, lei's, a passed out Master Instructor and dancing.

Happy Birthday Vikki!

See you later (possibly sooner than later actually), B

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Kit Bus Ride

I've been trying to Upload this for a few days now, but the internet has been sktechy! It's pretty self explanatory - a ride on the back of one of our kit buses fro the Pier back to the shop.

Friday, January 22, 2010


I imagine you would like to see some photo's of where I am? What my life is like? You ask, I deliver -

Here is the surprisingly not bad view from my room's balcony, as of last night. 

This is one of Mermaid's Kit Buses... I Kia Pickup with a canopy, benches, and a place to sit! I had a great shot of the interior of the kit area but I accidentally deleted it right after I took it, and the truck had moved on! Try and snap one tomorrow...

Here's a lovely picture of Traffic from the back of the Truck, and one for my mom!
My bare feet dangling over the tailgate! Rode like that the whole 45min journey to Samae San. Quite comfy. Just don't kick your feet out. Showing the soles of your feet to a Thai is considered very rude.

Here's everyone on the forward deck of MM3 with all their kit ready to be assembled on the tanks.You can see some of the other boats and the pier in the background...

Last, but surely not least, the view from the top sundeck on MM3, on our way to the dive sites.

Well, that's all for now. Will try and take some more pictures over the next few days... I'd like a few of Pattaya, it's bars, stray dogs/cats, people, dirt. It's a unique place. Hard to express how "unique" through photo and word alone... i really think you need to smell it!

See you later, B

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's War

I'm at war. I'll finally admit it. At war with the goddamn bloody bugs. I hate them. I hate their sneaky ways, their ugly tiny faces. I really, really hate that they eat me alive while I sleep. The ants have been gnawing on me from my first night onward, the bites covering my body will prove it. I'd post a picture, but the little red dots on my shoulders, arms, hands, and stomach don't make for interesting viewing. I first struck the ants with an Insecticide Chalk. Literally a stick of "chalk," used to draw a line of insecticide across any entryway the little buggers can get in. I also drew a nice thick line around my bed. That hasn't worked as much as I'd have liked.

   Now that I've become accustomed to the heat, I can sleep with the A/C off (it's just cheap) and the balcony door open. This, while stunting the bite my wallet would take at the end of the month, has allowed the ever nefarious mosquito into my room to take a bite... out of me. All the while I try and get the beauty rest required for exhausting days spent diving. This turn out to be difficult when the blood suckers buzz in your ear and nibble on one's flesh. Today, I expanded my arsenal. Mosquito coils, check. Ant poison/trap thing, check. More/THICKER chalk lines around everything? Well no, not yet. But when I return to my room... watch out! If none of the above lessen my plight, I will succumb to buying, and in turn smelling, like Off! I know, hot, DEET, sweat, and ocean.

   You haven't the foggiest idea how good my room is going to smell. To be honest, the mosquito coils are masking the smell of stale-ish dive gear... Sadly, the Lavender Gel air freshener I purchased for my bathroom isn't doing the best job of covering the foul stench of sewage. Keeping the door shut contains the lavender/pooey stench yet when actually in there trying to either shower/wash face/brush teeth/shave, I just have to live with it. Fun. Dunno about you, but I have always felt cleanest when smelling sewage in the shower! Not.

   So, after that lovely glimpse into my life, here's more interesting news. The Deep Spec I was team-teaching went well. Completed sans difficulties. I manged to certify two out of the four students who ended up finishing the course. We started with five, but the allure of the bottle and a group of rambunctious interns was too much for one. Good though, being drunk/hungover is the last thing you want to be for a dive to 40m (131ft for you imperialists). The 2 students I certified have also offered me to certify them as Master Scuba Divers, which requires no work on my part beyond checking out that they have 5 specialties, are rescue divers, amd have over 50 dives. Then I sign the paperwork! Score.

   Tomorrow Mike (the Instructor I'm working with) and I begin teaching Navigation. This spec takes a day, 3 dives. The following 2 days will be spent doing Search and Recovery. Fun courses to teach, but tough. There's a lot of logistics involved, and loads of stuff I've forgotten. So, I must get back to studying. I'm just waiting on a lovely Red Curry, Medium spicy, on rice, from my favourite Thai restaurant. Jealous? All for about 2 bucks.

See you later,

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I got to dive! 3 days in a row now! Waking up Thursday morning, my sinuses were clear. Still apprehensive, I left Pattaya on board Mermaids 4 (MM4), and headed out towards the far Islands. Setting up all my new kit was, as usual, exciting. I'm still trying to figure out where I want all my stuff clipped to. So many more options now! During the two dives, I tagged along with an Instructor who was teaching The National Geographic Specialty. I was worried I may have been all over the place with my buoyancy, but there was no issue (once i added 2 extra kilos to my pockets!). It was like I had not stopped diving for yes, an entire year. I think my buoyancy may in fact be better.

   Day 2 consisted of helping a different instructor teach Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) to a family from Britain. We made 2 dives again, and I mainly worked with the mother of the family. I even got to sign her off as a Discover Scuba Diver! That's 1/5 of a "Cert" in PADI's eyes...

   Today I made 2 fun dives down south of Pattaya out of the village Samae San on Mermaids 3 (MM3). We did one dive to the Hardeep and out looking for a reef, and the second dive we penetrated the wreck from bow to stern. Swimming through old doorways, corridors, cargo holds, the engine room, and even a section of a boiler, it was an exciting dive. Tomorrow though, the real fun starts. I'll be team-teaching new interns a variety of Specialities over the course of the week with one of the instructors I worked with earlier on. They are somewhat tougher courses to teach, but they are quick. Quick means more "Certs," faster! I will be very busy while the courses are happening, so my updates may be few and far between for the next bit.

   On another note, I bought a new Backpack today. Mine finally bit the dust. One of the shoulder straps was literally hanging on by a thread, and the main zipper has been losing teeth quicker than a hockey player. Still, it's served me well. I bought it over 3 years ago when I worked at Staples. This new one will fit the purpose of world traveler a touch better i think. Much more comfortable for hiking, and loads of places to strap and snap things to, while still providing a nice cushy place for my laptop. I also like the layout inside much better.

   See you later, B


Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Well, here she is, my sweet set of wheels. I call her... Pat!

Been doing a bit of riding around on it, as my sinuses are still giving me trouble. I blew my nose a few times today and it was bloody, yay. First few days back in this dump and no diving. If things don't improve tomorrow I'll be going to the doctor for some anti-biotics. Always a bonus that they hand them out like candy here!

   Just finishing up some stuff here at the shop then off to my room to watch a movie. If I'm lucky sleep will come early, and I'll be magically healed for diving tomorrow!

See you later, B

Monday, January 11, 2010

Return of the Baht Bus Man

I made it. I'm back in Pattaya. And? Mixed emotions. Yesterday I got off the plane exhausted, found my bags, and then found my taxi driver. It's an odd experience traveling 14 hours in a plane at 880km/h and not feeling like you've gone anywhere. Then, hop into a car driven by a random Thai man down the motorway at 160km/h for an hour. You can really feel the speed - despite wanting to pass out, I didn't sleep a wink!

   I arrived here at the shop at about 3 in the afternoon and started to chat with Sheena and Terry, the South African couple that run the shop. We had a good catch-up, I got told where my accommodation was, then I went outside to find my old friend Chris. From there, I found my room (hurting - just ugly, but hey, it's busy season), had a shower, then went for some dinner at the little Thai place right behind the shop. The lovely thai lady that runs it remembered me! Within minutes my dish, Pad-Gra-Pow-Moo, was in front of me and I had an ice cold fanta. Made the rookie mistake of asking for it Medium Spicy, then pouring all my chilli's into as well. Ow.

   The rest of my evening consisted of catching up with those still around I knew, and gossiping about all the new interns. SangSom cokes were ordered... okay, one. And some red wine! Just a glass. Nothing crazy this time around. Around 8pm I hopped on a baht bus (a truck you jump on/off of - public transport) and headed to downtown Pattaya. Not so much for entertainment purposes, but I wanted to stay up to at least 10 pm. I wandered the shops and stalls for a bit, then caught a Baht Bus back home. Sleep came easy after over 24 hours with limited sleep on a cramped Airbus...

   I've spent my morning in a theory class reviewing some physics, and after re-learning the Constants of some of the equations most of it came back! Possibly doing a wreck dive and night dive tonight sinuses dependant. Nose is clear, but feeling a bit of pressure in the ol' sinuses. Woot. All that time in dehydrating aircraft sure kills the nose.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

   Well I'm off to buy some batteries for my Dive Light and sort my gear out. Wishing you all the best.

See you later, B

Ps: Will try and take some pictures of Baht Buses, Gogo girls, and all the other unique things around Pattaya for your perusal...

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Well i made it to Sri Lanka, Just waiting for my connecting flight to Bangkok in 3 hours. Feeling very tired after a late night (date night with Tara and packing) and a 10 hour flight. Definitely looking forward to the shorter trip to BKK. I think I'm over these uber long haul flights. Calgary to London is easy, with the nice larger planes and no need to look forward to a connection in a starnge country where 15 yr olds dressed in army fatigues have to carry uzi's. I now remember telling ymself LAST time i flew to/from Thailand that i was sick of these trips! Looking forward to getting to Pattaya and having a shower and a drink in the ar with some old friends. Will do a proper post soon if i can find Wi-fi. This hurting computer terminal is giving me tennis elbow.

See you later,B

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A little bit of worry

I've commented before on England's inability to cope with the smallest bit of snow on the ground. Okay, I outright poked fun at the entire nation. I should have known better - "If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all,"

   It has now snowed for nearly 24 hours, an eternity in this country. I worry only because I am supposed to fly on Sunday morning and the forecast does not look conducive to clear runways at Heathrow. Woohoo! At this moment, very happy I had the foresight to purchase additional Travel Insurance for flight cancellations, et. al. Stranded once again whilst trying to depart a country I've grown bored of! Don't take that the wrong way, I love England. It's beautiful, quaint and all that... It's just time to go. There's not much to do here on my budget. Being snowed in does not help at all.

   Tara and I had plans. Great, intricate, meticulous plans. We wanted to actually get our lazy bums out of bed before noon and go do something. Anything! She needed to take in some dry cleaning, find a shoe shop, do some banking. I needed to... get out of the house. Maybe drop some Moolah on an SD Card for my new camera (still lost in eBay limbo). F.Y.I. - those fancy, complex plans we had for waking up early? Just a second alarm clock across the room you can't tell to shut off. Didn't work. Tara woke up, went and made herself a coffee. I moaned and whined and stayed in bed. After seeing the 5in of snow, she came back to bed as well. Effective.

   In the boredom that overcomes one on another day inside, I began to search for some new tunes. A new band, or "Super Group", as some have dubbed them, I'm listening to are Them Crooked Vultures. They've received the moniker of Super Group not because of their music, though that would be a plenty good enough reason. It's due to who is in the band:
So far I'm only on my first good listen through the album in it's entirety. I'm enjoying it, and the standout for me has been the instrumentation. I've never been a huge fan of Homme's vocals. I think Grohl would have been a stronger choice, but I imagine he's been dying to be back on the drums. And the drums are good.

   Next on my iTunes list is the new album from Jared Leto's band Thirty Seconds to Mars. This Is War is their sophomore debut, and I hope it's as entrancing as A Beautiful Lie was. What else have I been keeping occupied with? The original Grand Theft Auto and GTA2. I used to have the #1 on my PlayStation. When I found out Rockstar Games had them both for free download, I had to have them! Good easy fun when waiting for flights...

   Will keep updating on the weather and flights. Hope everyone's 2010 is going great, see you later.


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

And a few other things -

Some of you may have noticed I added a Traffic Feed to the right side of my blog. I've been surprised to see how many people actually come here to read this thing. Would you mind posting a comment so I know somewhat know who you guys are? Just curious! Cheers.

   I'm starting to get excited about Thailand now. My flight is less than a week away, and I had to buy a few items for my trip today, sunscreen being one of them! Looking forward to being in the heat once again, and having the ability to jump into the ocean when things get too hot. I'm still a bit nervous about having to teach again. I feel it's been far too long since I last had the responsibility. My past instructors are being supportive though, telling me, quite literally, to just dive right back in. Will be sure to spend more time in the water and less time in the bar this trip... It will be tough to avoid my nemesis SangSom.

   See you later, B

It's about that time. Time to...

...Ramble On - Led Zeppelin

Leaves are fallin' all around, time I was on my way
Thanks to you, I'm much obliged for such a pleasant stay
but now it's time for me to go, the autumn moon lights my way
for now I smell the rain, and with it, pain
and it's headed my way
Aw, sometimes I grow so tired
but I know I've got one thing I got to do

A-ramble on, and now's the time, the time is now
Sing my song, I'm goin' 'round the world, I gotta find my girl
On my way, I've been this way ten years to the day
Ramble on, gotta find the queen of all my dreams

Got no time to for spreadin' roots, the time has come to be gone
And though our health we drank a thousand times
it's time to ramble on

A-ramble on, and now's the time, the time is now
Sing my song, I'm goin' 'round the world
I've gotta find my girl
On my way, I've been this way ten years to the day
I gotta ramble on, I gotta find the queen of all my dreams
I tell you no lie

Mine's a tale that can't be told, my freedom I hold dear
How years ago in days of old when magic filled the air
'twas in the darkest depths of Mordor, mm-I met a girl so fair
but Gollum and the evil warg crept up and slipped away with her
her, her, yeah, and ain't nothin' I can do, no

I guess I'll keep on ramblin', I'm gonna
Sing my song/Sh-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah, I've gotta find my baby
I'm gonna ramble on, sing my song
Gonna work my way all around the world
Baby, baby/Ramble on, yeah

A-do-do-n-do-n-do-n-do, my baby/Baby
A-ramble on, baby
A-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-de-do-de-do-de-do-de-do-de, yeah, yeah/
I can't stop this feelin' in my heart
Everytime I feel I will leave, I really gotta part
Gotta keep searchin' for my baby/
Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, babe
I've gotta keep a-searchin'for my baby
My, my, my, my, my, my, my baby/
Yeah-yeah, a-yeah-yeah, a-yeah-yeah
My, my, my, my, my, my baby/
Yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah
Ooh, my, my, my-my, my-my, my-my, yeah/
I can't find my bluebird, I'd listen to my bluebird sing
but I, I can't find my bluebird
I keep a-ramblin' baby/ Ah, ah, yeah
I keep a-ramblin', baby/I keep, keep, keep, keep, keep
Babe, babe, babe, babe/
I keep a-ramblin', baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby
My, my babe
Bay-ya-by/A-goodbye, goodbye, a-goodbye, baby
Well, something's wrong

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I have eaten way too much. I have done nothing but eat and eat and eat in Britain. We just had a new years Lunch with Tara's family, her cousin, and his wife. Starter, turkey, potatoes, veg, wine, cheesecake, ice cream, and chocolates. Stuffed.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Well, from me, to all of you, a happiest new year! I hope everyone had a great New Years Eve, and that 2010 brings you the all the best. Any resolutions?

   I'd say if I were to have one, it would be to live 2010 to the fullest.  No regrets. I've done a pretty good job of that in 2009, and I'd like to keep it going. Oh! One more. Dive. More. Much more. Whatever I end up doing for the majority of this year, I need to set myself up so I can get under the water as much as possible. And stay there for as long as possible. I missed out on diving way too much in '09. As my departure for Thailand gets closer (9 days now), I'm getting more and more excited.

   Yes, the diving is poo. The city is loud, crowded, and filthy. But it's diving, and for near 2 months I can be under the water almost every day. I'll even eventually be able to teach people to dive again! I can be out on the ocean looking at the sun and tropical islands. I'll be seeing old friends, and meeting many new ones. Oh... Did I mention I get to go diving everyday? That'll be nice.

   I don't know if I've mentioned it recently (don't care, my blog), but I've been enjoying the music of Dave Matthews very very much these past few months. My boss, Matt, put me onto him earlier in the summer. The tunes are just so good. I first fell in love with his solo album Some Devil. It's slower, moody, and has a lot of emotion. Then, I heard Big Whiskey and The Groo Grux King. It was more upbeat album with Dave and his full Band. I listened to it non-stop. I made a few road trips to Vernon, and listened to it on repeat the whole way! I have always believed an Album is good if you can listen to it for days or weeks on end and not want to listen to anything else. That has happened with the Album I purchased off iTunes for Christmas, Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds: Live at Radio City Music Hall. Genius, absolute genius. It's become the soundtrack of my trip. YouTube wouldn't let me Embed a video of Dave and Tim, but here's one with the full band. Great song though. Look for the same song done by Dave and Tim!

On another note, Our new year's eve was quite quiet. We were meant to head to London for a costume party, but we didn't get costumes in time. I've also managed to catch Tara's cold, a stain of the MAN-FLU. I've spent the last week telling her she gets no sympathy, as I received none when i was sick last. Now, no sympathy for me! Good start to the new year! I will fight it hard. Vitamins, rest, liquids. I don't need a cold for traveling or diving!

Happy New year, and see you later,