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Southeast Asia, 2000-2001

a travel blog by Jason Kester


For Leg Two of the grand Australasian SlackOff, it was off to Bangkok to meet Jay, and later, Hannah for some rockclimbing on the beaches near Krabi. I put together about two hundred pages of trip reports below, so I won't go into detail. Rest assured, it was amazing!
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Tidal Wave

Ban Ao Nang, Thailand


So Thailand is treating me pretty well thus far. Beautiful weather, great beach, clear water, perfect rock, couldn't ask for much more.

So check out the first photo on this page:

http://www.megagrip.co.uk/Thailand/Thai7.htm

That is the route that I'm working on at the moment. The photo doesn't do justice to how ridiculously steep this piece of rock is. There is a 20
foot section where you gain 3 feet of elevation! Completely unlike anything I've been on. It's all sorts of fun, and plenty hard as well. I've put three days into it so far, and only just this morning finally got to see the top. That doesn't mean I'm done by any means. Now I get to spend the next few days linking together moves and trying to get the whole thing in one go.

Anyway, things go well. Plenty to climb, plenty of time relaxing on the beach, even some diving in the cards. See ya!

permalink written by  Jason Kester on December 9, 2000 from Ban Ao Nang, Thailand
from the travel blog: Southeast Asia, 2000-2001
tagged Climbing and Railay

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The King Cruiser

Ban Ao Nang, Thailand


So life in Paradise continues to be nothing but good. I made it out diving the other day, and it was the best I've ever seen. Ridiculous amounts of fish, anenomae and assorted critters. You'd lose sight of your dive buddy because there'd be 15,000 young barracuda in the way.

Our first dive of the day was on this passenger ferry that sank a few years back. The main deck is like 24m down and it's upright and in good condition. It's fun and a bit spooky cruising around inside the thing, as all the divers stir up the water & visibility is reduced to just a few meters. Being a boat, it has plenty of narrow doors and confined spaces to swim through. Definitely a cool experience!

And for those of you keeping score, I've put in a total of six days on the route now. Only a couple burns a day recently, since I have all the moves wired now, and I'm just trying to put together a clean ascent. I can get it with one rest along the way now. Now I'm just moving that rest spot gradually downward until I can cast off straight from the sand.

The route will have to wait a bit though, as I'm off to the islands tomorrow, followed by a dash for the malaysian border so that I can get a fresh
30 day visa.

permalink written by  Jason Kester on December 14, 2000 from Ban Ao Nang, Thailand
from the travel blog: Southeast Asia, 2000-2001
tagged Climbing, Diving and Railay

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Re: Hawaii

Ban Ao Nang, Thailand


So they have cats all over the place here. They are somewhat wild, though aparently you can claim one as your own by putting a collar around its neck. As far as I can tell, most of them are filling in the duty normally performed by pidgeons. They'll hang out next to you at the restaurant and wait for you to drop some rice.

They have all sorts of chickens and ducks running around too. In fact everything on the menu is present and accounted for except beef. That sort of sets the mind wondering as to the true purpose of all those cats...

Anyway, we set off traveling tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have more interesting stories to report.

permalink written by  Jason Kester on December 15, 2000 from Ban Ao Nang, Thailand
from the travel blog: Southeast Asia, 2000-2001
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Re: g-e-t-l-i-v-e

Ban Ao Nang, Thailand


So Jay seems to be a step or two farther from the grave. In fact, he'll be climbing this afternoon, and all I can do is belay. I seem to have hosed up my shoulder, so anything I do with my left arm is somewhat agonizing. Maybe more chillin' will help.

And you'll be happy to know that I've been downing every sketchy looking dish that the street vendors can toss my way. I've even been drinking the local hootch with buckets of poisonous ice from the bar. I'm indestructable!

(Notes: 1. Jay did in fact not die of the intestinal disorder that had him sidlined for most of the trip. 2. The shoulder complaints mentioned here were likely a mild case of the bends. )

permalink written by  Jason Kester on December 15, 2000 from Ban Ao Nang, Thailand
from the travel blog: Southeast Asia, 2000-2001
tagged Drinking

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Re: life philosophies

Ban Ao Nang, Thailand


Life remains unpredictable for me these days. I'm actually in Bangkok now, holding a ticket to Bali for tomorrow morning. It occured to me that I since I have another climber friend enroute to krabi in a couple weeks, I would need to strike now if I had any desire to go see non-thailand things. Malaysia was the first candidate, followed by chaing mai. Then I stumbled across a cheap fare to Densapur, and it got me thinking about surfing.

This works out well for our kid Jay, as his body hasn't reacted well to tropical environs and poor sanitation. As weeks of never quite being healthy enough to climb piled up, he's been talking more about rafting, snowboarding, and other things you can do in sub-95% humidity. He hopped a flight back to the states this morning.

permalink written by  Jason Kester on December 19, 2000 from Ban Ao Nang, Thailand
from the travel blog: Southeast Asia, 2000-2001
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back across the equator

Kuta, Indonesia


Do you have any idea how cheap a flight to Bali is when you book it in Bangkok? Well I do now, and I'm loving it here. All I knew was that there's surfing to be had in Indonesia, and that was pretty much enough. Indeed there is, as I found out first hand today. There is also really good food, friendly people, sun and remarkably cheap accomodation.

In fact, everything is pretty cheap here. They actually have paper money that is worth less than a penny. You give the guy on the beach the equivilant of a two dollar bill to pay for a bottle of water, and he has to scramble among his friends to break it for you.

So I'm pretty much Bangkok'd out by now. It's a great place to visit for a day or two on the way to somewhere. But I've done that three times now on this trip alone, and there's really not all that much to do. They've got temples, they've got crowds, they've got people selling you fried, barbequed, and otherwise dead things to eat, but that's about it. About the only amusement I have left is playing "is that prostitute a man?" at night. She usually is.

permalink written by  Jason Kester on December 22, 2000 from Kuta, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Southeast Asia, 2000-2001
tagged CheapLiving

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Re: back across the equator

Kuta, Indonesia


(clarifying the Bangkok lady-boy remarks from the previous report...)

I generally try not to actually engage them in conversation. You can usually tell from a distance, though some do a really good job of looking the part!

Bali has some truly amazing waves that I have no intention of paddling out to anytime in the near future. I spent part of today day at Ulu Watu when it wasn't even on, and it looked plenty mean. There's rock here, by the way. I'm going to do some scoping over the next week to see if we should be planning a future expedition w/ Hilti in tow. There's definately enough bouldering on the beach to keep a fella occupied for a while.

permalink written by  Jason Kester on December 25, 2000 from Kuta, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Southeast Asia, 2000-2001
tagged Climbing and Surfing

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Merry Christmas

Kuta, Indonesia


Good to hear from you. I was getting a bit homesick as the big holiday approached. It turns out I had a pretty good time down here though. Xmas eve was spent with fellow travelers and Islanders eating curry in this festively decorated little restaurant with Indonesian christmas carrols in the background. Selamet nasi goreng and a happy new year!

So it turns out that my buddy Jay doesn't function all that well in the tropics. The five weeks he was in Thailand, he was never quite healthy, wavering back and forth between a stomach bug and some sort of bronchial thing. It worked out great for me, because he was always healthy enough to belay me on climbs, yet he could usually be counted on to eat less than his share at mealtimes. The perfect traveling companion as far as I'm concerned, but somehow he didn't see it that way.

Anyway, I'll be embarking on an informal tour of Bali and the surrounding islands tomorrow. It should be fun, I managed to get down the coast a ways today and It was quite a bit nicer than around town. Happy holidays!

permalink written by  Jason Kester on December 25, 2000 from Kuta, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Southeast Asia, 2000-2001
tagged Christmas

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Re: Back in Thailand yet?

Kuta, Indonesia


(a quick geography lesson for the parents...)

--- DRKester wrote:
> We haven't heard from you for a while. Have you made it back to Krabbe yet?
> ...
> Take care, and stay out of Indonesia (they don't like Americans right now).
>
> Love,
> Mom and Dad

Uhhh... Bali is sort of in Indonesia. They seem to like americans just fine so far, though I guess they bombed a church or two over on Lombok the other day. That's the next island to the right from Bali.

I spent a few days on Nusa Lembongan, a tiny island off the coast. It was just beautiful. I had this dream bungalow on the second story fronting the beach, looking over the lagoon and out to the reef where they have a great surf break. Pretty much the primo room on the whole island. Two bucks a night.

Yeah, the whole thing where they kill all the foreigners is doing great things for the exchange rate over here. And realisticly, it would take quite a while to kill them all. I think I'll last at least another week!

Well, happy new years! Keep me posted about the dot com situation. Maybe I'll just have to stay over here until the market improves!

permalink written by  Jason Kester on December 31, 2000 from Kuta, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Southeast Asia, 2000-2001
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Re: back across the equator

Kuta, Indonesia


So they got rocks here. I spent an afternoon bouldering at one of the local surf breaks and getting strange reactions from the locals. I guess nobody had ever climbed there before. I'll be renting a motorbike and doing some exploring over the next few days. There seems to be some good potential.

permalink written by  Jason Kester on December 31, 2000 from Kuta, Indonesia
from the travel blog: Southeast Asia, 2000-2001
tagged Climbing

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Hey! I wrote Blogabond so I guess that makes me your host. Welcome!

I spend about 9 months a year on the road, chasing the sun around the world in search of good climbing and surfing. I carry a laptop along with me, and take on small programming contracts to take care of expenses.
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