Saturday, December 10, 2011

Back in Tokyo

I've made it back to Tokyo with the first leg of my two day journey home now complete. All I can say is that I got used to the warm weather of Thailand....it is cold here but I know it is even colder at home.

It feels like I've been away for years and I can't wait to get back to work!! Yes, that last part was sarcasm. Right now I'm not even sure I can remember exactly what it is that I do at work.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Heading home

Today I start the long journey back home. The fun has come to an end.

I am heading up to the Bangkok airport where my flight to Tokyo departs at 6am on Saturday. Then I have a one day layover in Tokyo and fly back home on Sunday. The good part is that I get another day in Tokyo and I guess it will help me get ready for the cold weather back home. While it won't be as cold as the less than 0 degrees temperatures London is currently experiencing it certainly won't be the 35+ degrees I've been enjoying for nearly two weeks in Thailand.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Winding down

My trip is winding down. I'm nearing the point where I spend two days travelling to make it back home. I've been fighting a pretty bad cold these last few days and it has really taken its toll on me. I don't have the energy to do much of anything and the rude and ignorant tourists around me are making it worse. Phuket was so much better. I can see myself returning to Thailand just to enjoy Phuket again but I don't think I'll ever come back to Pattaya. The beach is not as nice. It is much narrower, garbage is strewn all around, and it is absolutely STUFFED with lounge chairs that are filled with abrasive and chain smoking Russian tourists.

The outside of the Hilton.


The beach is just across the street.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pattaya

I have flown over to the other side of the country from Phuket and I am now in Pattaya.
It has a different feel to it than Phuket. Probably because it is just a large city on the shores of Gulf of Thailand. Where as Phuket is dotted with smaller urban areas so the people are not all concentrated in one spot. Also there are a lot of Russian tourists in Pattaya and I mean A LOT. If it wasn't for the sun, beach, and palm trees I could be in downtown Moscow.

I'm staying at the new Hilton just across from the beach. I had prepaid for this hotel and would have been out quite a bit of money if I didn't come. But so far I like Phuket much better and almost regret booking a stay in Pattaya.

My suite on the 25th floor:









View from the balcony:









Friday, December 2, 2011

Looks like rain

First day where it is completely clouded over. Unless it clears up it looks like it might rain for the entire afternoon. Which would be a shame. Not much to do around here when it rains. Phuket relies mostly on the sun, beaches and water sports for attracting tourists. I haven't seen anything around that could occupy a person for an entire afternoon while it rains. Still having a very good time here. I'm really loving all the food here though. While I can get Thai food at home, there is nothing like eating a nice curry with rice in the heat and sun of Thailand. I have to laugh at the tourists I see lining up a McDonalds, Burger King and Starbucks. Why travel half way around the world to eat that crap?

I can't believe my vacation is almost over.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Phuket

I made it to Thailand without any problems. The hotel I have booked in Phuket is small but the staff and other guests are very friendly. The owner is a guy that enjoys his motorcycles and has toured a lot of the world on one and his bar and hotel reflect that. He built the bar 10 years ago and about 2 years ago decided to add on the hotel. So far it seems that the other guests here are mainly Aussies and a lot of them from Perth since it is only a 6 hour plane ride for them to get here. At 6 hours I'd be here at least once a month. The weather is great; 35+ degrees, sunny and if it rains it is early evening and only for about 20 minutes and then it clears right up.

I don't know how often I will be posting now. My trip is going to take a different tone and I don't have any specifics sights that I am planning to visit. I just want to enjoy the sun, the heat, and the beach and relax for the next couple of weeks before heading back to the cold weather.


The beach:











The hotel and bar:








I was given the Harley-Davidson room.




The bar.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thailand

I'm heading to Thailand today. My flight leaves Tokyo at 6:00pm and I get to Bangkok at 11:30pm. I decided not to stay in Bangkok because of the situation with the flooding. I will be spending the night at an airport hotel and then heading to Phuket island on Monday for a week of relaxation on the beach.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas Lights. City Lights.

It is getting dark very early here and the sun is completely gone shortly after 5pm. So I decided to go and see if I could find some more areas decorated for Christmas.






This was a light show set to music. I have a video but it is uploading to YouTube very slowly so I will link to it later.









Since I was very close to Mori Tower (a large office tower that has bars, restaurants, stores, a theatre, an art museum, and an observation floor) I decided to go up to the observation deck. I visited Mori Tower during my previous trip but found it difficult to take night photos of the city lights because of reflections in the glass windows. However, since that time they have added an outdoor observation deck. I headed up to find the observation floor had the same problem with reflections in the glass but the outdoor observation deck was perfect. There was no glass surrounding it. In fact it was simply a walkway around the helicopter pad on the roof of the building.








They are building another tower in Tokyo called Tokyo Sky Tree. You can just make it out in the distance. When completed it will stand 643 metres, 90 metres taller than the CN Tower.



More photos can be found in my Flickr photo album.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Edo Tokyo Museum

I visited the Edo Tokyo Museum today. Edo was the name of the village that was eventually picked to be the new capital of Japan and renamed to Tokyo.

The museum had many displays on the growth of Edo/Tokyo over time and the many changes that occurred in the early to mid 19th century.

Many of the displays were dioramas depicting every day life in early Edo.




This is a model of Nihonbashi bridge. Nihonbashi is the kilometre 0 marker for roads in Japan though the wooden bridge was eventually replaced with a stone bridge.




A kabuki theatre stage.

They also had displays showing Tokyo changing with the Great Depression, World War II, and the period after the war. There was even the Japanese Instrument of Surrender.







I believe this is the original copy because during the signing the representative for Canada, Colonel Cosgrave, signed on the wrong line forcing everyone after him to sign below the line they were actually supposed to sign on.



But the most interesting part for me was the ukiyoe (wood block prints) that they had on display.















More photos can be found in my Flickr photo album.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mt. Mitake -- well almost

I tried to visit Mt. Mitake today. Tried but failed. I made it out of Tokyo to the Mitake train station but I just couldn't find the cable car that goes up the mountain. It is located a fair distance away from the train station but after walking for quite some time in what was supposed to be the correct direction I just assumed I was going the wrong way.

No matter. The scenery was beautiful and I managed to find what is probably THE fishing spot at Mitake. A lot of people (and families) out fly fishing or having a picnic along the shore of a river.




I had to walk along the edge of the road with very little room between me and the traffic.