A hot summer

Arriving in Thailand was like a breath of fresh air just the friendly smiles and humid weather alone, reassured us that Thailand was going to feel more like a holiday than ‘travel’.

We spent our first night in a hotel close to the city. Tired and weary from the chaos of South Korea, bus rides and flights we were struggling to get back up of the bed.
We found a little restaurant in the red light district (everywhere else was shut) and feasted on curries and salads, for how tired we were feeling we surprisingly drank and ate for hours before stumbling back home and crashing asleep.

Our first day in Bangkok and with limited time we wanted to squeeze in as much as possible. By luck we ended up on a boat ride along the river, brought to the boat by tuk tuk we were greeted with smiles then loaded up with water, beer and fish food.
It appeared we had been taken to a not so popular dock as we were the only two on the boat, we couldn’t have been happier about the situation! As boats jammed packed rushed past us, tourists cranking over the edge to get photos, brad and I sat at the front beer in hand getting a chauffeur ride on the river. It was accidentally romantic and perfect.

The next morning we met up with my dad who has been living on and off in Thailand for the past three years. Like always my dad makes me feel so loved when I see him, a great big hug and brimming with excitement to see us both and get to spend some time together. On meeting my dad we also had the pleasure of meeting Oon, my dads new girlfriend. The long drive ahead was barely noticed, chatting nonstop all the way to Cha Am a luttle beachside town. It was so nice to see dad and to finally get to see his other life away from Australia.

Our first few days in our resort were spent sleeping, swimming and eating. It was great to not be moving for a while and I got lazier by the day. As days passed it became so apparent to me how in love my dad and Oon were, Brad and I looked boring compared to these two lovebirds and we always had this double date feeling when we were all together.

It makes me so happy to see my dad head over heels, he has always been a romantic at heart and affectionate but has never had someone to reciprocate those feelings or at least not that I witnessed growing up. My dad and Oon are constantly swooning over one another and completely content in their new found life together.
Although my mum was not on this trip I feel the same way for her new life also, currently living overseas with her bf Stephen and head over heels in love with each other. She finally has someone who loves her for her and support her dreams in life. So important.

It’s awfully relieving after witnessing all your life two very unhappy people who you love dearly finally get the love they deserve in life. Not just from family but from a partner to share the small things in life.

For the rest of our time in Cha Am we rode elephants and had the chance to see the bluest looking monkey around as well as a very cheeky Macaw. I keep trying to convince Brad we should put all our savings into one. We also went to the floating markets and spent a few hours walking around, eating fresh fruit and me being me, patting a large yellow python (next on my list of pets).

All in all…
Our days here were nice and long, skin kissed by sunshine and stroked with oil massages. A chance to get plump and be tipsy by the afternoon sunset. Like every place it’s sad to leave but always fitting when we do.

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Surprise champagne and spa by B

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Elephant inspiration

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Seoul to Sokcho

Travelling through South Korea has been both inspiring and a hardship. While the country is stunning and the vibe here captivating, unfortunately the expense of travelling in this country has blown our budget more than we imagined and barely any food apart from fruit and potato chips here that I can eat.
We have both tried to keep spirits high and make the trip work but at last feeling defeated I started to pose the idea of leaving South Korea early. Turns out we had both been thinking the same way. What a relief.
Brad has really been an angel in this whole scenario, without being able to eat proper food I have been constantly tired and agitated as well as letting the stress of financials consume me. Brad has only been patient and loving making our trip here still worth the struggle.
The decision to leave Korea early was definitely not one we wanted to make and one day I would like to come back to all the places we missed. This far only visiting Seoul and some of the east coast.
For now though we have airlines to deal with and possible cancellations without refunds.

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The end of Dulan

Dulan originally was a place we only meant to stat for four days, barry and Sonja the owners showed us immense hospitality and when our days went to four to ten to twelve, never once made us feel uncomfortable or move us. Even though they had other bookings for our room.
We enjoyed the daily rhythm of the beach and in all honesty spent most of the time sleeping, eating, swimming, drinking. But what is a holiday without these chances. Nonetheless we saw a part I think of Dulan other people may have not and we are grateful for that.
Goodbye Dulan, we hope to return one day.

Kristina and Brad

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Chewing betel nuts for the first time. Gross I know but it needed to be shown 🙂

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Our private beach we swam in and took Denny the little black dog

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We hit hiked most our way along the east coast, it was really fun at the best of times

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Vikram & Stella

While in Dulan we had the pleasure of meeting Vikram and Stella. Vikram like a lot of people here was an expat, originally from India moved here to seek the blissful life of Dulan that so many others have fallen in love with. Not only did we hear the history of Taiwanese culture but also facts like the percent of indigenous population on the east coast, as well as Taiwan being the third largest importers of pesticide and their progression to a green country. We also learnt about the geology of Taiwan and the tectonic plates beneath the island (which we witnessed a earthquake while there). Vikram was and is a man of many strong words and opinions, his ballsiness was what Brad and I loved the most.
If there is an invisible line it was crossed several times in our days of knowing Vikram.
Stella, Vikram’s girlfriend was a beautiful women too. She treated me like a sister while we were there forcing me to dance to her music and hugging me constantly throughout the nights we spent with them. Stella was an Indigenous women from the Amis tribe and while there I learnt a little of their language. While I can say it I can’t spell it so I won’t put up what I learnt. Mainly I learnt to say ‘I love you all’, which when saying among brad and I, Vikram and Stella it said what we all felt.
To know two people for such a short time and feel a warmth unexplainable is beyond me.
While chatting to the two we learnt that Vikram is suffering from MSD a blow to our hearts and news common words cant express.

A light in the midnight sky shines bright,
But when it goes out it is missed.
A loss gone astray but not far from the next.

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I regret not having more photos of this time

River trekking & BBQ’s

Today we set off for a trek through a river canal. We have been fortunate enough to be included in the tight knit team of the two hostels Dulan 98 and 102, we have been staying in Dulan98 and it has felt more like a home than place to sleep at night.
Our trek led us through rivers banks, climbing rocks and swimming waist deep. We ended at a waterfall for a rest and the adventurous to try and climb.
Barry and Sonja the owners of the two hostels invited us to a BBQ at their property the night before. Expecting to arrive at a house, when we get there the land was pitch black and stepping out of the van Barry pointed in a direction saying, ‘walk around their and please break your ankles carefully’. Dodging potholes, rocks, sticks and dogs we made our way around a dome shaped structure. Once on the other side we could see the enormity of the dome and it’s excellence. Unfortunately it was too dark to take photos. Designed by a Swedish architect, the dome was comprised of treated recycled bamboo. The bamboo had been split lengthways and bent to accommodate the shape of the dome, an environmental wonder and alot of hard work.
That night we sat around a fire, shucking oysters, roasting mince balls and drink beer and wine. We listened to the wonders of Taiwan, finding out hidden treasures on the east coast and getting to know more of each other and how everyone came to be at this place.
As the night went on feeling drunk and full we raised the fire to a monstrosity adding bamboo, which creates a firework effect. Listening to the popping and playing games our night was soon coming to an end.
Back in the van, six adults and four dogs we made our way back to the hostel. Another night and memories to keep.

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Barry and Sonja

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The dog that captured our heart

Two days into staying at Dulan beach we seemed to acquire a dog. Walking along this day I noticed a black flea ridden dog lying on the street with the rest of the strays, I looked at Brad and said ‘doesn’t that look like Layla’ (my sisters dog) and with no other look at the dog before we knew it this little black dog was trotting behind us.
Since that day to twelve days later the dog that we came to name Denny stayed by our side the whole time. Denny was such a beautiful nature and for a stray who was badly malnourished covered in ticks and fleas was so smart and learnt to sit, stay and shake hands.
I felt like with every tick I pulled off her and every bath and frontline application, she knew I was helping her. She went from being shy to protective when I walked down the street and even know she loved Brad too, she wouldn’t leave my side in the end. One night I went into Barry and Sonja’s to pay for another night, while I was there Denny followed me in, I had to go to the bathroom and told her to go outside. While I was gone a full grown man tried to pull her out but she sat down and wouldn’t budge. On returning from the bathroom she would not leave until I left the room with her.
It absolutely broke my heart to leave her and breaks my heart even more to think about her unpredictable future. Everyone in Dulan has dogs, no one has room for a stray like Denny.

Anyone that has a dog reading this please give them an extra big cuddle and an extra big walk, for all the strays out there like Denny that are cast to the edge of the district unwanted and unloved. Imagine if it was your dog, appreciate the one you have.

Lastly if any of my Taiwan followers would like to adopt this beautiful dog please contact me. She may not be a pure breed or in perfect condition but she is a beautiful nature and just wants to be loved.

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Windswept Dulan II and Chenggong

Some more photos of the effects of the typhoon at its strongest point and our trip to Cheng Gong.

Today we decided to explore Chenggong a county township about 30 minutes out from Dulan. We catch the bus in with a friendly betel chewing bus driver who has techno beats blasting in the back for the whole ride. Arriving in Chenggong the air is thick and salty with a haze over the town, we start our walk to the aquarium that was recommended to us by Barry. Worth the money and living up to its title “The aquarium of anemone fish” if you like Nemo then you have gone to the right spot. Every different kind of Nemo fish imaginable in creative well looked after tank set ups as well as a variety of other sea creatures of all kinds.
After a couple of hours watching fish we decided to grab a bite to eat from some of the amazing seafood this harbor has to offer. Arriving at one of the many restaurants on the street we were greeted by someone who could speak English, ‘Mary-Lou’. ML helped us choose one of the fresh fish lying on ice, some long stringy green vegetable I don’t know the name and fried rice. The meal was absolutely delicious, the fish as fresh as it gets and for all this food plus beers was only 600TWD (about $18 aus).
Moving on we try to make our way to Sansianti but without the ability to read Chinese couldn’t figure out the bus timetable, so we decide to see if Mary-Lou can help. Back at the restaurant we ask about the buses and before we know it we have a small group of six people all yelling (as the Taiwanese love to do) and talking over one another, eventually it seems a decision has been made, ML will come with us and show us. Brad and I walk back around to the bus stop ML jumping on her scooter, after some deliberation over the bus timetable ML calls her uncle a taxi driver to come pick us up and drop us where we need for the same price as the bus. The hospitality doesnt stop here though, she also gives us a card with her number (and Facebook) to call when we are finished in Sansianti to get her uncle to pick us up again.
I have said it before but will say it again, the people here are beautiful.
We get to Sansianti watching mesmerized for sometime at the giant waves, rolling in every which direction like each individual one had a mind of its own, before crossing to Sansianti island. Walking across the bridge in this typhoon weather was quite an experience. As you walk across the sea you have got this violent ocean beneath your feet, waves crashing and spraying up around you and wind billowing in your face.
After exploring the island we get ML to organize the taxi back and make our way back to Dulan on a non techno bus this time. Back in Dulan we climb up to the rooftop of our hostel, taking in the ferocious winds blowing palm trees and knocking things over all while watching a stormy sunset.

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