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2009 - Kenny Baldridge - "No Reservations"

a travel blog by Kennyboy12


This trip is pretty much one month, 4 countries, no plans.
I'll be visiting: Thailand, India, Egypt & Japan.

---
Trip turned out to be ~

THAILAND
--------
Bangkok
Damnoen Saduak

INDIA
------
Kolkata
Varanasi
New Delhi
Agra

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
--------------------
Dubai (Overnight stop. 25 hours in the airport...)

QATAR
-----
Doha (another 7 hours in this airport after leaving Dubai.)

EGYPT
-----
Cairo
Baharyia Oasis
Luxor

UZBEKISTAN
----------
Tashkent (60 min in this country!)

SOUTH KOREA
-----------
Seoul (3 hours in this airport.)

JAPAN
------
Misawa
Tokyo
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Los Angeles, United States




permalink written by  Kennyboy12 on June 16, 2009 from Los Angeles, United States
from the travel blog: 2009 - Kenny Baldridge - "No Reservations"
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Day 1 (6/18/2009)

Bangkok, Thailand



So I finally made it toThailand!
Here's the lowdown so far.

Flight from Seattle To LA I got my very first headache.... I slept wrong on the plane and woke up in pain.
While in LA, I had lunch with auntie Dory at Pacos wich was really cool considering I haven't seen her in three years.
She dropped me off back at the airport around 8 and I checked in for my flight to Bangkok. I had to wait at the ticket counter outside of security to see if I made the flight but luckily I got a seat, 30 min before the plane was taking off.
17 hours is sooo flickin long. anyways, I finally landed in Bankok!
This is where it gets fun.
After security and customs, I got a taxi outside the airport, very simple. The ride into town with tolls was 500 Bahts (1usd = 34bahts). I showed the driver the address and name of where I was trying to get too but he kept getting lost and asking other tuk-tuk drivers and taxi drivers. Finally after an hour of driving around Bangkok he stopped and said my hotel is down "this street". He was off by one I soon realized after walking the hot and crowded market street. It's now 8:40 ish and my shirt and jacket are drenched in sweat. The girl at the reception desk asked if I could come back at 1:00pm to make my reservation and get my key I was litterally dieing from the heat so I said sure and left. After walking for about 10 more minutes with my bags, I ran in the next guesthouse I came across, The Sweet Guesthouse. I asked for a room to drop my bags in and the guy gave me one for 140B. the room was the size of my bathroom, it was pretty cool I must admit. I quickly dropped off my bags, changed my clothes and set out to find a bank to get some Thai Currency to pay for the room. I luckily had this private driver during the next 2 hours driving me around town helping me get the things I needed only costed me 5 dollars. I Finally found an internet cafe, found a hotel, made reservations and headed out. I'm now at the Thai Cozy House and so far it's been pretty bad ass (My whole bathroom is the shower haha). I paid for four nights and leave for Delhi at 4:00am Monday morning. I spent most of the day in my room but I did get my first Thai massage which was really cool, I also did some exploring to learn the streets and my location and fought off a tout haha.

  • Tomorrow I head to the Grand Palace, do a river tour north then finish the day off with another Thai massage.


  • Saturday I make my way North East to the Chatuchak Market and and spend my day there.


  • Sunday I go see the standing Buddah and then the sleeping Buddah and do some laundry.


  • Monday I try to get to India.

  • Well That's been my first day in Bangkok!


    permalink written by  Kennyboy12 on June 18, 2009 from Bangkok, Thailand
    from the travel blog: 2009 - Kenny Baldridge - "No Reservations"
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    Day 2 (6/19/2009)

    Bangkok, Thailand


    Well today I was going to see the palace.. but i ended up getting lost for about 4 hours. I dont think i have ever walked through so many backyards, frontyards, houses, and alleyways in my life but it was a blast. I never knew there were so many cats around here. I walked along these railroad tracks through the poorest part of bangkok getting hit on by random girls and still attacked by tuk-tuk drivers, it was a whole other world.

    ps: whenever you see a map hanging from a post either walk faster or turn around. Those maps act as spider webs, once you stop to look or even walk by it, someone will jump out try to help you then like 50 (ok more like 2 or 3) tuk-tuk drivers pop out of no where, It's almost like being "blitzkrieged" by German forces.
    Pss: only ask poeple who dont look at you or the police for directions or help. anyone who walks up to you or seems too friendly will just end up annoying the hell out of you I finally figured this out.

    Anyways, I left my hotel this morning around 8 and finally found my way home around noon, after hitting every corner of bangkok. I found out that Thai tuk-tuk drivers favorite question to ask is "where you from?" before they try to get you to pay cheap prices only to drive you not where you want to go but where they get commision.
    So far I have been from Argentina and Mexico. The mexican situation was funny, a tuk-tuk driver tried to get me to use him, I pretended I didnt know what he was saying, then he asked if i speak english, so i blerted some random words i remembered from Spanish 101 and said hablo espanol poor chap still tried to get me in his "taxi" as i walked off. I saw several temples and buddahs during these four hours which was amazing. I got home showered then researched and headed back out to see the Grand Palace which is the coolest place ever and I'm totally modeling my future home after it. When i got back to my hotel after that i got an official 1 hour Thai message which ended with tea and dried fruit on the roof of the hotel where i ended up talking with this dude from Australia for an hour. now im going to my room to eat some soup.
    Tomorrow I head to the weekend Market
    Sunday I do whatever i haven't done yet along with laundry haha.
    byee.

    permalink written by  Kennyboy12 on June 19, 2009 from Bangkok, Thailand
    from the travel blog: 2009 - Kenny Baldridge - "No Reservations"
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    Day 3 *Kenny Finds A Starbucks* (6/20/2009)

    Bangkok, Thailand


    Today I woke up and headed to the weekend market. That place is crazy and yet very ordered. I had some random dishes with meat in them that I can't mention due to not knowing exactly what and a lot of random juices and pretty much just walked around aimlessly in the labyrinth like shopping areas; you litterally feel like a mouse in a maze.
    After the weekend market I was tired from walking so I went back to my hotel and just chilled.
    Now the highlight of the trip so far.
    That's right, finding a Starbucks (haha soo kidding, kinda). Anyways, today I find the mythical Starbuck hiddin in a back alley square only two streets away from mine. Lets just say this Starbucks isn't mentioned on the main site or google maps but only in the map my guest house gave me (this guest house is great!).
    It's still farely early in the day, only 5:18 but it started to rain right after I finished my coffee so now im back at the guest house and prolly gonna call it a night.
    Not a big day today but at least I found a starbucks haha.

    Tomorrow I head to the bus station and head two hours South West of Bangkok to the huge floating market in Damnoen Saduak, Google it to see pictures. I'll be posting my pictures when I get back to the States.

    byee

    permalink written by  Kennyboy12 on June 20, 2009 from Bangkok, Thailand
    from the travel blog: 2009 - Kenny Baldridge - "No Reservations"
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    Damnoen Saduak, Thailand




    permalink written by  Kennyboy12 on June 21, 2009 from Damnoen Saduak, Thailand
    from the travel blog: 2009 - Kenny Baldridge - "No Reservations"
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    Day 4 - Last Day - (6/21/2009)

    Damnoen Saduak, Thailand


    So today I woke up at 5:30am and headed northwest to the bus terminal where i caught the 996 bus to Damnoen Saduak to see the floating market. The whole place is obviously marked for tourists but locals still go to buy fruits ands meats and what not, either way it was one hell of a time. I got ripped off, I'm used to it now, on my hour long boat tour through the market (i think i paid a little more than i should have, oh well.) but I really didn't care cause in the end being right in the middle of it all was awesome, i got some really good pictures too. After my boat ride, i got dropped off where i started which was quite far from the actual market maddness, so i decided to walk back to the center of the market and walk around this time. I had lunch there which was a noodle soup with a chicken leg and a pigs liver, yum. I took more pictures then headed back to where i was first dropped off to find out where the bus stop was to get back to Bangkok... I ended up asking local after local and walking for ever to finally see my bus on the other side of the road passing by me, I ran across 6 lanes and thank god someone else was running too and caught the bus drivers attention.
    Two hours and one 20 min taxi ride later I'm back at the guest house. I then bring my laundry down and head out to see what weird things I could find cooking on the streets, then I see a durian cart and a few people huddled around it. I walk up and finally have my first taste of durian... I like it! Then somehow I end up buying a kilo of it and I mean a kilo of the edible part..... Don't ask... So now I'm in my room with a half litre of coke, one kilo of durian and soccer on the television. Yay for south east Asia.
    Tomorrow i wake up at 3:30am to check out by 4:00am and find a taxi to take me to the airport to chexk in for my (hopefully) 7:35 flight to New Delhi!
    byee!


    permalink written by  Kennyboy12 on June 21, 2009 from Damnoen Saduak, Thailand
    from the travel blog: 2009 - Kenny Baldridge - "No Reservations"
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    Bangkok, Thailand




    permalink written by  Kennyboy12 on June 21, 2009 from Bangkok, Thailand
    from the travel blog: 2009 - Kenny Baldridge - "No Reservations"
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    Kolkata, India




    permalink written by  Kennyboy12 on June 23, 2009 from Kolkata, India
    from the travel blog: 2009 - Kenny Baldridge - "No Reservations"
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    Day ... Uh... 7! Day 7. (6/24/2009)

    Varanasi, India


    Oh my god. Past three days have been hella rough. This is what I've been up to.
    Monday I woke up at 3:30am and checked out and got to the airport around 4:30am to leave for New Delhi. I had like 4 or 5 flights that I could standby on. I get there, get to the ticket agent and they won't accept my tiket, apperently I had to go through this process first to be able to use their airlines with my zed ticket bought with Jet Airways so anyways after battling with ticket agent after ticket agent one of them finally just does it for me but I soon find out the 7:35am flight is now so overbooked they won't even let me standby, so is the evening flight with that airlines. Great two flights down and the rest of the other flights are later in the day. Ok so, basically I'm at the airport getting rejected after rejected for standbying, hours later i'm starting to know the staff that's working that day, both the taxi people outside and the information helpers inside oh and the girls with northwest airlines who were a huuuge help in getting me out of Thailand. I finally pull out my phone and start looking up other cities in India I could use my ticket for. I find Kolkata, and so I rush to Thai airways booth and ask if my ticket to delhi could be used to get me to Kolkata and they say yes and to come back at 6 to check in. 'Till then I'm still trying the other airlines to get to Delhi and I'm still getting rejected due to overbooking. It's finally 6:00pm, I've been here for 13.5 hours and they say the flight looks good and to come back at 10:50pm to see if I have a seat. So 'till then I have dinner, a beer with a taxi driver, talked to an English dude and his Thai girlfriend (oh by the way, there are a lot of white dudes old and young with Thai girls haha), sitting around a lot, watching a Thai movie being shot at the airport and I finally get a seat and make the 11:30 flight to Kolkata....before the flight I meet this man and his family who says if I really wanna experience India, then I should spend a month hiking in the hymalayas (Eliot, Cam, that's us next summer haha) and he tells me all about when to go what it's like and explained how the weather works there, he drew pictures for me and gave me his email address if I had any questions regarding the possible trip. Ok so now It's midnight, Tuesday, and I land in India, oh Indians and planes, that's a whole other story, I felt sorry for the pretty Thai flight attendants. Anyways my first 5 min in India, after their crazy customs check, I'm fighting with their crazy taxi driver who say the fare to my hotel is, which I called before exiting the airport to check on what the fare should be and if they have any open rooms, is 890 rupees... The hotel said 215 rupees. Shit so now were calling the hotel back, the taxi drivers and me (cause by now more have come over...) And they finally work out a price of 250, I only had 850 rupees on me so I decided to give them a 10USD, the driver drops me off at the railway station and I'm lost. Omg this town at night is the scariest place I've been, thank god everyone is so nice haha. This taxi driver helps me out in finding a place to stay. We drive around for like 40 min going to hotel after hotel and we finally get back to one we checked out earlier and the driver worked out a deal for me so I could stay, I only had 700 rupees on me by now so I gave the driver 200, and for the 800 rupee room I gave the man my last 500 and my passport to hold on to... It's around 3am now I'm in a room and I can't sleep, I got maybe 4 hours that night. At 8am I left to get money to pay the last 300 and more. The hotel guy really helped me out that day. After walking around Kolkata for an hour tryin to not get lost finding money exchange place the front desk guy of my hotel helped me get a ticket to Varanasi and had it delivered to me at the hotel since tickets aren't bought at the station this really saved me time and money. My train left at two. Time passes by and the guy with my ticket shows up at noon like they said, I pay him and they find me a taxi and now I'm at the station... The place the first taxi dropped me off the night before... I was sweating so bad it was crazy. I bought two litres of water and a 7-up for only 40 rupees! That's under a dollar. I finally figure out where my train is around 1:50 and I get shown my berth. Haha ok these next 18 hours really lifted my spirits about this trip. Met this military man who helped me out and before he left asked If I wanted him to tell the guy sitting with us when my stop was so he did. The rest of the people I was with was this huge guy and his son, this other skinny dude who was really nice and a business man. All were there the whole 18 hours with me. During this time I'm chillin and dying from the lack of AC On this train. Nothing big happened for the first 6 hours, I had my first chai tea in India. They get served in these little clay cups that you toss out the window when finished, actually you toss everything out the window when you're finished with it haha. By now I'm getting aquanted with my cabin. Ok so now this father, mother, daughter and um uncle I think joins us for part of the trip. You know something us up when the father asks out of no where if I have a girlfried, followed by how old am I haha. I answer, then watch as he speaks to his daughter in hindi whose now laughing and blushing and looks at me. The father says "that is my daughter" and I say "oh she's very pretty" she actually was mind you. So now the jokes start about him trying to get us together mmm good awkward fun now our whole section of the train is taking about me and that daughter, then the father leans over to me and says "give her a couple of days and she will give in" haha. So now they are joking about, well nevermind the details, all in all if their Stop wasn't that right when it was and they were with us the rest of my ride I prolly would have had a wife by Varanasi haha (joking mom!) kinda lol. Later on this trip I get some dudes junk thrown in my face... He was dressed as a chick and wanted something that I wasn't going to give (no that is not the part that lifted my spirits...) Eeh moving on, 18 hours later I'm in Varanasi! Finding a hotel was a whole lot easier and the tuk-tuk drivers were soo nice and not ripping me off at all. I'm now at the kareshut hotel and hot as he'll. Well I'll prolly update this entry with more stuff, right now I typed this all up on my phone so there's bound to by typos and stuff I missed. All is well and I'm still alive.
    K heading out to the town.
    Byee


    Update (rest of the day)
    Well it's now 10:22 and I'm stuffed and tired. After a well needed shower (it's been three days now without one) I head to the front desk to figure out where to get money and to get train tickets. A man working there says he will get my ticket and will also show me around town explaining things and all that touristy stuff free of charge. Well nothing is free and I don't like guides so I opted out. He still helped me exchange some money but before the he brought me to the Muslim part of Varanasi to take a free tour of the business that goes on there... It seemed a bit skethy but during it I had a good time, walked with the cutiest kids ever and learned how those one I a kind um what are they called... Duveys?? (spelling?) and those plankets you frame and put on walls and those sheets with the silver and gold threads that no one ever sees but are given to royality anyways I got to see how those are made in these little family homes. Then in the end I meet the man in charge and, this is where it gets sketchy, then he's showing me all these expensive decorative spreads and cloth pieces, then asks if I'm interested in buying one... Yup always money involved. After a half hour of him saying there is no obligation but still stacking on the discounts, mind you these things are ati in the couple hundreds range I finally get out without buying even the cheapest piece he has, and 900 rupees. I'm now back at the hotel and giving money out I'd my train ticket to Agra. I then venture out to find the river where I see the second white guy since being in india. I ended up stopping to talk and fund out he's lookin for the river too, I continue on down this road and he meets up with me and we find the ganges river. We're chillin out just enjoying the view and watched a ceramony performance then we went to get some food and we parts ways. Were both gonna head to the river tomorrow morning at 5am to catch a boat ride up river at dawn. And then to take a dive in the holy water. Well now I'm back in my room, it's 10:37pm and I'm waiting for my train ticket still...
    K byee.


    permalink written by  Kennyboy12 on June 24, 2009 from Varanasi, India
    from the travel blog: 2009 - Kenny Baldridge - "No Reservations"
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    Day 8? (6/25/2009)

    Varanasi, India


    Oh man, I'm starting to miss home. sike.
    Today I was supposed to wake up before sunrise (4:30am ish) and head to the ghats. It's now 6:00am and I'm just rolling out of bed. So I miss the sunrise and meeting up with nick, the Australian dude from the night before. I still head to the river and pay for a private boat ride up the river. This hour long drift was so relaxing and the view of the city was amazing I took pictures of course. During the river journey we stopped at the burning ghat where a live cremation was being done and watched, by live I mean done in public not that the person was alive lol during this part I wasn't allowed to take pictures out of respect. After the boat ride I head back to my hotel and wait for my train tickets still... Ok so the rest of the day was spent waiting for my tickets which the man couldn't get. Eventually I end up buying a plane ticket from Varanasi to Delhi for 4500 rupees... Retarded but I really wanted to move on. So now I have a plane ticket and I ask if I can book train tickets for other cities from here. The travel agent guy and my hotel host said yes. So now were working out bus/train tickets for a route that was Delhi ---> Agra ---> Jaisalmer ---> Delhi. There was a connecting train bus I forget in Johdpur between Agra and Jaisalmer. In the end I opted out heading west to Jaisalmer and to just end my first trip to India with Delhi and Agra. I'll be back someday for the west and south parts of India. A couple hours later and more waiting and a thousand rupees later I have my train tickets for Delhi to Agra and back to Delhi. Sigh... Expensive stuff. Well now I'm packing up my things and heading to bed. I check out at 11:30 tomorrow. You know I never did take a dip in the Ganges, maybe I'll get up early, hopefully before sunrise and head back down one more time, then take a dive. We'll see how things go tomorrow morning.
    Oh btw, on my way back from the river this morning a man approached me and we talked and he helped me find the street my hotel is off of but of course he wanted to show me the family silk business....I know Varanasi silk is what every Indian bride wants but do these "family businesses" need business that bad that they have to bug me? I'm cutting my trip short and they want me to buy shit. Heh. I didn't buy anything just so you know.
    Well bed time.
    Byee


    permalink written by  Kennyboy12 on June 25, 2009 from Varanasi, India
    from the travel blog: 2009 - Kenny Baldridge - "No Reservations"
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