Merry Christmas to all and to all a good, FLIGHT. Off to Colombia!

I realize it hasn’t even been a full year since I began my first trip and blog post, crazy that it seems so long ago! One of the locations on my list that I didn’t make it to my last time was Colombia. However, I think waiting was a good idea because now I’m heading there in December when it’s lovely weather, a short(ish) flight from home, time-off work and traded tips from friends who have already been. This time would be different, since I would only be gone for 12 days, but I was excited nonetheless. I dug out my travel gear and started planning my route…

…The day had come (Christmas Day) and while I wasn’t originally nervous, cautions from worried loved ones had started to affect me a little. That quickly changed the second I landed in Bogotá. I re-found the familiar feeling of being some place foreign to me, yet feeling at home. I had to dust off some of my Spanish to get a cab and make my way to the hotel near the airport. I arrived after 11pm, but had a flight at 9am the next morning to arrive at my first planned destination, Salento.

Continue reading Merry Christmas to all and to all a good, FLIGHT. Off to Colombia!

By car, not plane to Marrakech.

We took a car instead of plane to Marrakech today, it was an easy 3.5 hours and mostly a straight road. Once we arrived at the Medina, we had to walk the rest of the way because the cab couldn’t really fit down the streets.  I ended up getting hustled by some kids who helped lead us there, only gave them 20 dirhams, but they wanted 200. The streets were super interesting. Small, covered, and filled with vendors.

This afternoon we stuck close by but found some good things. I got an oil lamp (that I’m hoping contains a genie) and some stress inhalers filled with eucalyptus. Then we were pulled into a rug store. We of course were offered tea, asked where we were from, told we were welcome, told we would get a special price, told we were family and all the other sales techniques these folks have mastered. Kristi found a few rugs and I bought two poofs. The nice thing about this place is that they’ll ship them for you, and they had a shipping book to see all the other places they’ve successfully shipped.

Continue reading By car, not plane to Marrakech.

To where everyone told me not to go: Phuket.

Today I ran the perimeter of the Chiang Mai old city (I always try to run on travel days) and then hopped on a plane to Phuket, the place that almost everyone told me to cut from my itinerary. Instead of cutting, I changed my day trip to Phi Phi to an overnight trip, that turned out to be a very good decision which you can read about in my next post.

Landing in Phuket I opted to take a group shuttle into Patong beach where I was staying. It was only 150 Baht ($3) for an hour long drive. Well, how could I forget, you get what you pay for. After waiting for 30 minutes to make sure the van was packed full, we finally took off. We made a stop after 15 minutes at travel agency to “verify” our hotels. AKA to try and sell us tours which thank goodness no one fell for and we were on our way after 20 minutes. From there it was a 2 hour drive since it included dropping others off. The good news is that I was riding shot gun, had access to a charger and the driver was playing early 2000’s R&B hits.

It’s true what I was told, Patong is like Jersey Shore for Russians. Lots of young men in tank tops and older men in Speedos drinking on the beach. At night it turns into what I can best explain as the Las Vegas strip. You want bottle service amongst a techno DJ? You got it! You want to see a strip show for the cheap price of $30 a beer? Done! There were promoters on every corner offering you a deal to get into their club. To be honest, I probably would have had fun if I was with a group of my girlfriends and didn’t have a 7am wake up call.

Instead, I went and found some food, walked around and then packed a bag for my trip to Phi Phi tomorrow. I decided to not mess around with my large backpack for just one night. My carry on bag wasn’t very small, but I tried to cram in everything I thought I’d need. Mainly, a swimsuit, sunscreen and pajamas. Then, I climbed into bed (this hostel has the privacy curtain so it was like my own dark movie theater) and fell asleep watching Outlanders.