E-mail Update - 2005-10-27

#2 - Buses, Planes and the IDC

Hey Everyone,

The trip to Bangkok was quite an interesting one. Once on the ferry I met a friend who I had known a little from the night before. Her name was Amy & as we talked we realized that we would both be taking the same bus to Bangkok as well. It is always nice to have someone to travel with, especially for long journeys like that one. The ferry part which was first took 2 hours, so we got to Krabi around 11am. We then caught a shuttle bus to this spot in the middle of nowhere. Basically they want to keep you there so that you buy their things. We caught a shuttle into town since we were not leaving on the VIP bus to Bangkok until 4:30pm. In town we bought supplies for the trip & caught a good lunch. We had to be at a pickup point at 4, to be back for the 4:30 departure. We got there at 3:55 & waited for about 15 minutes before determining that there was no pickup bus coming. So we had to hassle the people there to send another bus. Apparently some people were there for it so they just decided to leave without the full load (typical Thailand transport). Either way we made it back on time, although it added a little stress.

We were lucky for most of the trip, but not at the start. We did the first 2 hours in this crappy, cramped bus. After that we had to wait like an hour at this place where we got supper & waited for a different bus.
It was another one of these middle of nowhere places. The second bus was the VIP type bus that we had booked (VIP is used very liberally in Thailand). Amy & I got our assigned seats together after a little work & it ended up that we were in the back row of the bus. Luckily the bus was only at about 70% capacity, so there was no one by us. We spread out to take 2 seats each. Also being in the back the seats had a little more room & when we laid down to sleep we did not have anyone coming past us.
Lastly there was a little ledge behind the seats I could put my feet on.
Even though the seats were not the most comfortable for my back I got quite a bit of sleep (not deep sleep at all though). The trip went pretty quick even though we had to do a few more stops along the way where we got woke up for some reason, mainly to buy food I think. We got to Khoa San road in Bangkok a little early, like 5:45am. Then I said goodbye to Amy who was going to with some people she knew in another part of the city.
There was not really anything to look at much along the way, plus it is dark for most of the trip. It went pretty well all things considered & it was the most comfortable overnight trip I have ever had, due to the extra seats.

I then tried to find a place to check in, after taking some time to get myself woke up. The place I had planned to go was closed & full. I ended up going to a more expensive place but they let me check in to the room at about 6:15am, so I went right to the bed & went to sleep until 9am. At that point I got a call from Angela (from Dodgeville). We talked for about 40 minutes, it was a great conversation. I also got a call from my friend Amy while I was in Phi Phi. It is always so cool to hear about people at home & about what is new in their life.

After talking to Angela I caught up with Bassy who is the Japanese DM that I know from Phi Phi. He was also going to Japan as well for a few weeks.
We had breakfast & went to do some errands (like getting my flight changed so that I would be back before the start of the IDC). I also got to eat at subway, which was soo good!! After that I came back & had a nap before we went to get supper & went out for the night. We went out with 2 people he knew & it was so much fun. They were a Japanese girl & a Thai guy who were a couple. We went to the Asian partying part of town. I have never really seen anything like it, there were Asians getting their freak on everywhere. It is like being someplace that there are no other people who look like you & you are ok being there because you are with people who qualify. Quite fun, plus we ended up at Dance Fever which was a fun dancing place.

Before going to all those places we ran into Grant & Tash, which was cool because I was able to catch up with them to find out how their Koh Samui trip went. The next day was more errands & trying to get everything ready for when I get back from Japan. I bought my bus ticket back to Phuket. I also went out with Bassy for supper that night & saw him off since he flew out that night. Just before he left when we were walking back from getting supper we saw Peter & Zab, who are 2 other friends from Phi Phi Island. After seeing him off I checked my e-mail & saw one from my friend Sadge from Phi Phi, who was in Bangkok. I sent her my cell phone & we were able to go out for a few beers. It is always interesting to find out what people you know have been up to & find out what they are going to be doing. After that I went back to my hotel & got ready for leaving for Japan the next day.

The next e-mail update will be about Japan & the time at the Instructor Development course (IDC). Here is a “quick” snapshot. I started officially on October 19 & am in the IDC until today (October 27). Then I have my EFR Instructor Course (Emergency First Responder) for Adults & Children, including both Primary & Secondary Care tonight & tomorrow during the day. The real tests start Friday night (October 28). We first have an introduction & get our assignments. Then we have 5 theory tests on Physics, Physiology, Decompression Theory/Using the Recreational Dive Planner, Skills/Environment, Equipment, which we have a time limit for.
We also have a 50 question standards test which covers all courses.
However, that is open book, so should be no issue even though it is time limited as well. It basically just makes sure that you know how to use the manual, which fills a huge 3 ring binder. After that we will go back to our rooms & prepare for the confined water skills demonstration & class room presentations that we have to do the following day. That day will also have various in-water skills tests & rescue assessments. Then Sunday the last day is the open water teaching presentation (off the beach) where we have more teaching skills to demonstrate. If I pass everything I will then be a PADI Instructor :) Sunday night we have a party which will be great, because this has been 2+ weeks of pure studying. I have been outside of the hotel/class area only for beach dives (were you see
nothing) & to buy supper, which basically means walking about 10 minutes away. Not that I am complaining but it will be nice to be past all of this & assuming I pass it will mean that I can start teaching people to dive :)

I will be home within the next 7 weeks, so that is closing in very quickly. It will be great to see my family & friends. I am also looking forward to the Holidays & Thad’s wedding. For those of you who might not know Thad is my only brother & is getting married in April of 2006. I am the best man which is cool because I have never been involved in a wedding before. I would have been in 2, but I was gone for them on this trip.

It sure will be different being back, but I think it will be nice to unpack for a few months, before the next adventure begins ;)