Archive for February, 2008

Oh, And Also…

February 29, 2008

I saw The Lion King at the Milwaukee Theater on Wednesday night. It was INCREDIBLE!!!! Seriously. See it. What a lucky opportunity this was for Milwaukee.

And, I am going to the Marcus Center on Saturday afternoon to try and get tickets to the matinee of Avenue Q. My hopes are up, but I don’t think my chances are great of scoring cheap tickets for the day of. But I can hope.

Le Sigh

February 29, 2008

I am at work and bored. It’s Friday. I got back from Thailand less than a week ago. I am restless. I could use a nap. I could use an extra 8 hours to do nothing but catch up and journal about every day of my trip. And so, I give you this random list.

 -I am going out with some friends for sushi tonight at Ichiban. Apparently this place is cool now? I remember going here years ago and it was pretty dive-ish. Either way, I’m excited. I have a photo order ready to pick up at Walgreens with a random assortment of pictures to share tonight with anyone who’s interested.

-Even though I went to Thailand, I had enough money to pay my credit card bills in the full amount that I’ve been budgeting for. Of course, I have about $30 in my savings account, but it was worth it. Right?

-That savings was kind the start of my “(dream) wedding fund.” So that set us back. Now who knows when we’ll get married. Maybe we’ll win the lottery and I can have that pretty-pretty-princess wedding after all.

-It’d be pretty funny if my younger sister got married before I did. It could happen since she’s engaged now!!! I like the guy even though he proposed while I was in another country without a phone.

-I had no idea it was going to snow this morning/last night. I forgot I have to pay attention to weather reports now. You never had to check the weather in Thailand. You could just assume it was going to be about 85 degrees, sunny, and humid. It only rained once, for about 20 minutes, while I was there.

-I start rehearsals for Death On The Nile on Sunday. We’re supposed to be familiar with the script. I had hopes of being completely memorized but my obnoxious motion sickness ruined my plans for memorizing during my 40 hours of airplane travel in the last two weeks.

-I will have rehearsals about 5 days a week. Hrmmm.

-I am also supposed to be learning/rehearsing for a part in Little Shop of Horrors. The movie. No, it’s not what you think. You know how the Oriental Theater has been running The Rocky Horror Picture show with a live “shadow cast” forever? Well, the same group is now going to give other movies the same midnight treatment at the Times Cinema. And I’m part of it! A tiny part, but it’s my first time doing this kind of thing, so that’s good. Except I might have to actually sing. ME. I’m scared of singing solo. And I’m probably the only person who will have to do this. How’d I get so lucky??

-I also want to start South Beach next week. I hope I can manage that. I’m determined to keep off and add to the few pounds I lost on my trip. I’ll also get back into the habit of hitting up the YMCA on my lunch hour next week. I better start to rekindle my love of salad.

-I will hopefully have some time on Saturday night to write some entries about my trip. If I’m not flat-lining from exhaustion. That seems to be happening about every other night. In the meantime, here’s a cool picture from the Royal Chapel of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaeo:

Hopefully I can use my mad photoshop skillz to remove that fan in the left corner.

Can’t Concentrate

February 22, 2008



Pic036- Room with a View

Originally uploaded by Natrasha

Yeah right I’m going to write a blog entry every night about my trip. I guess I’ll have to catch up during the week based on my pictures. For now, I’ll leave you with this. From Samet Island. On my balcony. Where I spent the last two nights. Heaven!!

One Night in Bangkok…

February 19, 2008

Oh, thank goodness it’s not just one night!

I really wanted to write an entry at the end of every day, while everything is still fresh on my mind. No, this is not to brag for you readers about my amaaaazing trip, it is so that I can remember everything I did weeks and months and years from now. I don’t want to forget a single detail!

I am forced to start today, because my camera battery died part way through my day. Hopefully I will catch up later…

Today I went with a tour group to see a few sights outside of Bangkok. For 600 Baht (about $20 US), I would go to a Floating Market and see a Crocodile farm and Elephant Show. The tour was from 7AM-5PM. It was my first day “on my own”- apart from my friend. I was nervous. The tour place (MAMA tours) and buses were pretty… low-tech. But I’m so glad I went! My day was fantastic.

We started with the Floating Market. It was a long drive from Bangkok. When we got there, we hopped into a boat 1hfloating-market-our-boatsmall.jpg and our “driver” paddled us to the market. I was so excited to finally experience this! 1ifloating-marketsmall.jpg

The market is people shopping on boats. And people selling on boats and in stalls along the canal. It’s an interesting experience. The canals were very crowded and hectic, but it was so exciting to see everything going on. I bought a lot. I mean… A LOT! Along with touristy crap, there were dishes, clothing, and food. There were boats that were selling fruit and vegetables (I ate a delicious mango!) and then some boats were actually MAKING noodle and rice dishes in their boat.
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There were a lot of traffic jams! I didn’t like that they allow boats with motors into the same area. It made it loud and stinky! We got to get off the boats for a while and walk around to the vendor carts along the canal. I got suckered into buying a whole bunch of stuff because I got the “pretty lady discount.” Yeah, whatever. It’s cool stuff, so I’m not that upset.

Then, it was onto a cheap lunch on a floating restaurant farther down the river. It was very pretty and relaxing and they had good chicken fried rice!

Next was the part I was really excited about… the crocodile farm and elephant show! It was at the same place… the Samphran Elephant Ground & Zoo. This is when I noticed my battery about to die. I was SO UPSET! I had to save it, but I still got some good pictures. We caught the end of an incredibly lame magic show. The tricks were fine, but the magician was so dumb and cheesy.

Then the elephant show started… It was supposed to be a history of elephants in Thailand, but they mostly just wanted to show off the cool elephant tricks. I did learn some interesting facts, like any white (albino) elephant that is discovered automatically becomes property of the king. The white elephant is considered royal property and is very rare.

The elephants did some cool formations and tricks.
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I really reget not having enough battery to capture everything I wanted. The elephants did so many neat tricks like balancing on their front legs and noses. It was totally cute.

Then came a bunch of elephants in “soccer jerseys” and the people put up a sign saying “Elephant World Cup 2008 Thailand.” They played that “Ole Ole” soccer song and the elephants danced around and “warmed up.” Some of them seriously looked like soccer players getting ready on the field. Ronaldo was a total ham. Here he his, spinning is trunk round and round like a windmill. Later he spun a hoola hoop on there too.
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There was a demonstration of elephants used in warfare. The elephants all came out in fancy dress and there was a full on battle reinactment, complete with cannons and fire!
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After that, the show came to an end, but the excitement wasn’t over yet. Carts of bananas came out and you could buy a bunch for 10 Baht to feed to the elephants! I was all over that. I fed them my bananas and pet some of them for a while. They’re so gentle and beautiful. It’s really amazing to see them so close!
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That picture was the last one I took today 😦 as that’s when my battery died.

I went on to the Crocodile Wrestling Show. This is the kind of craziness where people put their heads and arms inside crocodile mouths. It was a very short show, but it was crazy to watch. I almost couldn’t watch as one dude reached all the way into the croc’s mouth and down his throat. I was so sure I was about to see an arm get ripped off.

Then I toured the rest of the zoo/grounds. Here is where I missed my camera. The elephants were all out on display! And you could sit with them and have your picture taken. I settled for feeding some more. There were a few small elephants. But then I got to the tiny little baby elephant and it’s mother. OH MY GOD! It was SO CUTE! It was like a little Dumbo, but with smaller ears. It barely came up to my hip. I pet him a lot and the mom nuzzled my arm with her trunk, looking for banana treats. I got lots of elephant snot on me but I didn’t care. That little baby was just too cute for words.

Here’s a picture I found online. It was probably even cuter than this, if you can believe it. They’re Asian elephants (duh…) so they have smaller ears and this prickly hair on their heads. But the baby’s is still soft…

I wandered around until it was time to leave, and saw the hundreds of crocodiles. There were enclosures everywhere, seperated by age and type. I saw giant salt water crocs that were 20-70 years old! They were huge and scary!

And then it was back “home” to Bangkok. The tour was well worth it, although a little scary, just because I switched busses a lot. Oh, and by busses, I mean oversized vans. Although there was a point when I was sure it was my time to be sold into slavery, nothing bad happened and everyone was very friendly.

After I got back to Khao San Road, I had a while wander while waiting for my friend. I got a spring roll from a street cart and some iced green tea and did some serious people watching. It is just so different over here. On our way to get a cab, I got some pad Thai from a street cart (my friend thought this was very brave) and walked down the street eating it.

Oh! then, this scary dude bumped into me. I think he might have been Indian, but I’m talking like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom dark skinned creepy mountain people scary. And I don’t mean bumped. I mean shoved. I was next to a car, but not so close that someone couldn’t get by. Not to mention, um, that there’s a whole ROAD. Anyway, after he shoved me out of the way, this white tourist (I’m thinking Austrailian) quickly brushed by me and body checked the creepy dude in the exact same way he had done to me. Then he turned and looked at the guy and said really loudly “OH! EXCUSE ME!” I smiled at him. It was totally awesome. It’s nice to know that other tourists have your back!

I’m exhausted now. It’s 9:30PM here. I could be going out and doing things, but I’m just too tired. Tomorrow morning I have to get up early again to hop a bus to Samet Island. But I stay there for two glorious nights. This will be the true relaxation part of my vacation. Then it’s back to Bangkok and I will be going out and experiencing the night life!!

I Had A Witty Title

February 16, 2008

But apparently 20 hours on a plane will make you forget even your name.

 If I never see another plane in my life, it couldn’t make me happier. Although I know that won’t happen, since I have to fly back to the US for 20 hours. But that’s not for a week! So I won’t worry about it now…

On both of my long flights, I was seated right in front of the lavatories, right behind the airplane wing, against the window. If I were to give ONE tip for international travelers right now, it would be noise cancelling headphones. Buy them. Borrow them. SOMETHING.

I borrowed a pair from my dad and they were a lifesaver. I don’t even want to think about how miserable I would have been if I had not had them. Thanks Dad!

Well, I’m in my little apartment in Bangkok, Thailand now. Safe and sound. My body is exhausted, but my mind is going a million-kilometers-an-hour now. (Ha, kilometers rather than miles. Get it? They even drive on the wrong side of the road here!)

I’ll be sure to write more when I’m a little more coherent. Tomorrow we’re going to a weekend market so I can do some shopping!!

Goodnight, Farewell

February 15, 2008

My bags are almost ready to go. My passport is set. My nerves are steeled.

I’m leaving for Thailand in the morning.

I had a great last day with David. We rocked it cheap high school style.

We went to Kopp’s and had delicious burgers for dinner. But we had no room for custard!
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Afterwards, we went to Fun World and got $20 worth of tokens. We played arcade games, air hockey, and even visited Big Bertha
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We won lots of tickets!!
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and bought a fiber optic lamp thing, some pixie sticks, and foam NUNCHUCKS! They got cut out of the picture, but they’re there.
fun-world.jpg

THEN, we went to see Definitely, Maybewhich was SO cute and heartwarming. A little cheesy and cliche, but I totally enjoyed it. And I love that little Abigail Breslin.

But the most exciting part was during the previews. I got excited about Sex and the City, but I peed my pants over the last preview. It was for THE NEW INDIANA JONES MOVIE!!!!! I took a picture of the screen I was so overjoyed. I wish I had gotten Harrison Ford’s gorgeous face clearly, but oh well. It’s just proof I saw it. And peed my pants.
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It was a wonderful last day to spend with David. I CAN’T FREAKIN’ WAIT!!!! Good-bye Milwaukee!!!

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Obama Mania!

February 13, 2008

Obama

After starting to read his “Blueprint for Change” and tearing up after the first two pages, I decided I had to post. There is no way I can possibly write something more eloquent than what he or others have said, so I just have to profess my love for Barack Obama.

He is about more than hope and inspiration. He feels strongly about major issues and has clearly laid out what he wants to do on his website. You can also download his “Blueprint For Change” there. I am very tempted to print out all 64 pages of it for some “light reading” on the plane.

He represents SUCH a drastic departure from our current administration and that couldn’t make me happier. In fact, I am so excited to vote for him that I am sending in an absentee ballot for my vote for the primary as I will be in Thailand on the 19th. That’s serious love.

I know everyone in politics plays some sort of game, but at least I don’t see it written all over him. Instead I see a true love of our country and a real desire to make it better. With that kind of commitment and conviction, I would be overjoyed to call that man my President.

A Better Outlook

February 13, 2008

While laying in bed last night, freaking out, David reminded me of a few things. And I’m trying to make those thoughts block out all the scary ones.

Yes, I’m nervous and scared, but if I let that consume me, I won’t be able to enjoy myself. And what’s the point of 21 hours on a plane and more than a day of total travel time if I’m not going to have fun?

I have been longing for adventure my entire life. I’ve had small adventures and I’ve done exciting things in my life (like a week wandering New York City! A nearly spur-of-the-moment trip with friends to Disney World!) but I have always wanted to go somewhere exotic and exciting and different.

“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell.” That is one of my favorite lyrics from Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite movies. Even when I was young, when it first came out, I loved that line and that whole little song reprise Belle sings while running through the field.

Here’s my chance!! Here’s my chance for a real life adventure. Going somewhere unfamiliar. Taking a risk. Experiencing a new culture. On the other side of the Earth. That’s major.

And I’ve officially decided that it is majorly awesome.

In 48 hours I will have arrived in the Detroit airport, and be waiting to board the plane that will take me to Tokyo, and then on to Bangkok. I can barely sit still.

I Should Have Done This Earlier

February 12, 2008

There is an interesting section all about health and safety in the back of my Thailand Travel Guide that I just discovered today at lunch. It talks about various diseases and infections one could get while wandering the country. It does say that it is generally safer in big cities and by taking simple precautions, but somehow that isn’t settling in at the same rate as words like “rabies” and “hepatitis.”

So now I’m convinced that if the plane doesn’t crash and blood clots don’t stop my heart, I’ll probably come down with a severe case of malaria, typhoid, and DEATH.

Three days to go!

idk my bff target

February 11, 2008

I went to Target AGAIN today for my Thailand trip. Jeeeeebus. If I have to buy any more crap to feel prepared for this journey I’m going to go nuts. Today was for toiletries. And a purse I’d feel comfortable with to tote around my crap (ie- camera) while wandering the streets of Bangkok.

I think I might have everything, save for things like a neck pillow and headphones that I’m borrowing from various parents. I bought NyQuil to help me chillax on the plane. I bought travel sized toothpaste, toothbrush, hand sanitizer, deodorant, lotion, sunblock, etc. I even bought this crap: 
because I heard some toilets in Thailand don’t really have toilet paper. Everything is under a dollar in Target’s “Travel Size” section, and I clearly went a little nuts.

Tonight I am going to start packing! I have my suitcase out and a pile of clothes in the living room, so it’s really just a matter of putting it INTO the suitcase. The hard thing is going to be deciding what to wear while actually traveling/flying and what to put in my carry-on.

Holysweetjesus. Four days.