Back Online and a Buck a Beer

April 15, 2009 - Filed under Drinks, Eats, General, Planning, Stuff to do



After almost a month with an over heating video card stuck in 640×480 and $600 later, I’m back online. For most travelers it probably would have been a non issue till they got home using internet cafes in the meantime, but I have a number of client projects on the go and I’m usually not more than an arms length from my PC unless I’m underwater. Luckily I bought an iPod Touch before leaving Canada! I’ve often pooh-poohed how the iPhone and Touch are bulky MP3 players with not quite enough built in features to be true PDAs, but man was I thankful for the WiFi, browser, and email applications these past few weeks, not to mention the countless hours spent playing solitaire when the power was out. I was able to stay on top of client issues and steal Kelly’s Mac for emergencies. It took UPS almost 2 weeks to ship a new video card from New Jersey to Koh Tao in Thailand via expedited shipping. At least I didn’t have to install it with my Swiss Army knife screwdriver… I ended up finding a repair shop locally that had the proper tools, something of a rarity on some of the smaller islands.

So what does a nerd do offline in a tropical country? He stays hydrated…

Tiger Beer

Tiger Beer
My personal favourite. Malty and a touch sweet. Originating from Malaysia, but also brewed in Thailand. More than 3 of these could be considered a meal.

Mekhong Whiskey

Mekhong Whiskey
I actually had to go online and look at pictures of whiskey on Google to find out what this is. There’s not a word of English on the bottle. Thai whiskey is potent, guaranteed to give you a wicked hangover, and has been rumoured to have some slight hallucinogenic properties. All I know is you put it in a bucket with Coke and Red Bull. Yum.

Phuket Beer

Phuket Beer
Brewed by the Phuket Brewery, this light lager is… light. Almost flavourless in fact.

Singha Beer

Singha Beer
The staple of Thailand. Available everywhere. Light and refreshing, it goes with everything. Like breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Leo Beer

Leo Beer
A close runner up to Singha. Also very light and enjoyable. Probably the cheapest, good beer available almost everywhere.

SiamSato Cider

SiamSato Cider
What we thought was a beer, but turned out to be a cloyingly sweet cider. Lesson learned, if it doesn’t say ‘beer’ on the bottle, don’t assume it is one. We ended up pouring this one out.

Archa Beer

Archa Beer
Also a good light beer. We haven’t seen this one again since Phuket.

Mai Tai Guy

Mai Tai Guy
This little pineapple headed fellow let us drink his fruity brains. Yum. I’m a tropical zombie.

Chang Beer

Chang Beer
The other staple beer of Thailand. Stronger than Singha, this is the backpacker’s beer of choice. You buy less liquor but it gets you drunk quicker. Famous for the ‘Changover’ the next day, it was once rumoured to have formalin added to it as a preservative.

Cheers Beer

Cheers Beer
Norm would be all over this. It’s light and good like so many of the other Thai beers. Really, in a blind taste test I would be hard pressed to tell one beer from another.

We’ve done a bit more than just drinking for the last 3 weeks. It’s currently Songkran, the Thai New Years where a ‘cleansing’ takes place in the form of a country wide water fight. It’s a little more chill here on Koh Tao than when I experienced it 6 years ago on Koh Samui. There I was barely able to get a block out of the house before being soaked from head to toe and surrounded by crowds of belligerently amusing Aussies. Here on Koh Tao, it’s a sleepy little dive town where the festivities don’t really get started till later in the evenings.

We’ve had some really good meals. La Matta is a great little Italian place on the main strip of Mae Haad that serves wood fired oven pizzas and hand made pasta. Local Thai food is spicy, cheap, and everywhere. I had 3 dinners the other night. Seafood beach BBQ is everywhere and very fresh. We’ve become late night regulars at the local pancake stands where they’ll whip you up a chocolate nutella pancake with condensed milk in 30 seconds. Needless to say, I’m packing on the pounds.

There’s been some rioting in Bangkok lately, but looks to have been resolved without closing the airport. There were a few deaths and a multitude of injuries when protesters and the military clashed once again. The issue is the same as when the country closed the airport last December, 2 political factions are fighting for control and one is trying to oust the current PM. Thankfully, we’ve been pretty much unaffected out here on the islands.

The fact that we only have about 3 more months before we head home has started to settle in. We’ve vowed to cut back our baggage size to something a little more manageable and do more traveling in the coming few months, rather than settling into an apartment. I’m stoked about doing a motorcycle tour of Borneo and both Kelly and I are contemplating Bali or eastern Malaysia for some more diving.

We’re looking forward to coming home for a visit. We’ll be spending a week or two in Vancouver, then heading to the Island, Kelowna, etc… to see family. Funnily enough, the most expensive part of our whole trip could be the time we spend in Vancouver. Anyone have a good hookup for hotel deals near the downtown core? Following that, we’re thinking that we’ll be moving on to Central America for a while. Pending economical conditions and homesickness of course. We’re looking forward to seeing you all.



Posted by: Shim

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