Top 10 Places I want to go back to

1) South Korea: I don’t feel like I gave the place enough of a chance because of how cold it was when I was there. I developed a taste for Korean food, too.

2) American Samoa: I was there a week, but spent most of the time in a hotel room recovering from a skin infection. I’d like to go diving there and visit some of the outer islands.

3) French Polynesia: I went there near the start of my trip. My camera skills weren’t very good and I didn’t give it a chance because of the cost. I’d like to go to some of the outer islands and get out of Tahiti.

4) Vanuatu: It rained my entire time in Vanuatu. My flight to Tanna Island was canceled and I never got to do anything outside of Port Vila.

5) Papua New Guinea: I was way too worried about safety concerns. I’d like to go back and visit the highlands region someday.

6) Northern Japan: Because of the weather, I didn’t go farther north than Nikko in Japan. I’d like to visit Hokkido.

7) Micronesia: Hotels in Chuuk were booked when I tried to go there. I also didn’t get to visit Yap. I’d also like to take a boat to visit some of the more remote islands.

8) Fiji: This is one of the places that keeps cropping up in my memory. I’d like to visit other islands, but I’d also like to just go back to the places I was before.

9) Indonesia: I never got to Florez or Komodo, nor did I explore much of Sumatra.

10) Tasmania: I could have spent much more time in Tasmania and seen a lot more than I did. This was also a function of cold weather.

There Once Was A Man From Phuket

Well, the airport protest only lasted a day so I was able to get the next flight on Monday. It is amazing what a difference a border can make.

Phuket is only about 200 miles from Penang, and that 200 miles is a thin isthmus, but it is a totally different world. Thailand uses a totally different alphabet. It is based on Khmer which is based on Brahmic script from India. Unlike Malaysia, you can’t read a thing.

Thailand is 95% Buddhist, where as Malaysia is 75% Muslim. That makes huge differences in what you’ll see with foods and culture.

Unlike the rest of SE Asia, Thailand was never colonized by Europeans. Like other countries which were never colonized, (Tonga, Saudi Arabia) they still have a rather powerful monarchy. The king of Thailand is thought of very highly in Thailand. In the drive from here from the airport, I must have seen at least five large photos of him on the road. Also, lots of yellow, which is the color of the king.

Phuket is very touristy. It was hit very hard by the tsunami back in 2005. I haven’t visited any of the beach areas yet, but I’m interested to see how everything has sprung back. The cab driver from the airport did the thing where he stopped somewhere to try and sell me a different hotel. Didn’t work.

My goal is Phuket is to get my rescue diver certification done. I’ll need a CPR course on top of that. I hope to start tomorrow or the day after.