I wrote this very fast so I apologize in advance for any problems with readability, grammar, or structure.

So it’s the middle of April and this is first entry that I’ve made in about four months. What makes it even worse is that I probably wouldn’t even be putting this up now if I hadn’t had someone ask if I was ever going to update my blog. I guess the answer is yes, but only to update it and not necessarily to give any interesting insight to my life right now.

So my operation went very well and a week afterwards the doctor told me that I was cleared for anything that didn’t put stress on my muscles. I don’t know how I would explain the experience, but I guess I can say that it went well enough that it wasn’t a negative experience. I did get very bored for the total six weeks that I wasn’t one hundred percent though.

While I was recovering in the hostel I did do a few good things. First I stopped smoking (again). I had quit about a year ago but the slow draw of the nicotine and my old lifestyle eventually drew me back.  So I quit again and although there’s no assurance that I will stay ‘quit’ each time seems to get a little bit easier. It’s been more than two months now.

I also have managed to keep the weight that I have lost over the last year off. When I left Dubai my weight was about 205lbs., now it’s about 157lbs. To me this is huge feat, and one that I am very proud of. I am almost skinny. J

About the end of February I left KL to join Sofiya in Thailand. The last time I had seen her was two months earlier and although we stayed in touch over the two months it was kind of tough go. We met up in Krabi, Thailand and hung out for the length of my visa. Although we kind of traveled around the area a little, we didn’t really do much sightseeing.

A couple of weeks before I left KL for Krabi a friend showed me a place where I could run. I had been telling him that I wanted to start running and wanted to know where a good spot was. So he took me to a pretty cool park with a running track that is situated under the Petronas Towers.  I could barely go around a quarter of the 1.3km track without having to walk, but I loved the experience though. I went back on my own at least four more times before I left for Thailand.

When I got to Thailand I actually started to run even more. In KL it was kind of a novelty, something that I hadn’t done in a very long time, but in Thailand I was a ‘runner’ kind of. I would get up at 6 or 630 in the morning and run nearly every day. This continued until in Koh Lanta I rolled my ankle/heel. The injury sidelined me for about three weeks and at times not only couldn’t I run, but I couldn’t even walk without a huge limp. It took some time but eventually I was able to run a little each day.

About two weeks ago I got back to Malaysia and jumped right into running nearly every day. I also found another very cool track around a lake in the botanical gardens very close to where I’m staying. So I split my running between the two tracks and sometimes run at night as well. I am having a lot of fun running and I have managed to go 4km without resting, and about 10km with breaks. This is huge and has inspired me to start doing some small races. I think I could only do a 10k at the most, but will probably start with a 5k just so I actually finish it.

So now I’m sitting in the Kuala Lumpur Airport getting ready for my flight to Taipei. It leaves in about 90 minutes. I plan on being in Taipei for up to a year while I get back into my designing… oh, and running too.

So that’s my update and I hope that it doesn’t take me three months to do another. Hopefully I’ll have a lot to write about while I’m in Taipei.

As I sit here in my hostel in Kuala Lumpur I feel like it’s time that I do an update to the blog. There are two significant things that have happened in the last two weeks since I’ve actually added a ‘real’ entry. The first is that I got a new computer and the second is that I am going in for surgery on Wednesday. Both are big to me, but maybe not that big for other people.

Somewhere during our stay in Mui Ne, Vietnam the screen on my computer was broken. Up until a few days ago I didn’t know what I was going to do, buy a new computer or have the old one fixed. The old computer has issues other than the screen so it was a real possibility that I would purchase a new one. I took the computer to a service center and they immediately told me that it was going to be very expensive, probably more than the computer was worth. I still waited for an estimate though, which came up to about $650. They were right. If the computer didn’t have all the other problems I probably would have had it fixed, but the headphone jack sometimes didn’t work, the power cord had to be replaced, and the battery only held about half a charge. There were other problems too, but those were the biggest.

After the news of how much it was going to cost I decided to buy a new computer. As luck would have it, there was a place that sold macs downstairs in the mall, so within a few minutes I was walking home with a new Mac. It’s nice but I wish that I wasn’t forced to buy it.

The first full day after arriving in KL I went to a clinic to get my problem looked at. (Normally, I’d mention the problem here, but it’s kind of personal, nothing really embarrassing, just personal, so forgive me for not telling what it is.) Anyway, I went to the clinic to verify my self-diagnosis and to hopefully get the wheels started on getting it fixed. The consultation went as I expected and I was indeed correct. The doctor gave me some options and more importantly, gave me the number of a specialist that I could talk to. I made the appointment for Saturday.

The specialist I saw was a nice guy and verified everything that the other doctor had said although he went into much more detail. The only real fix for my problem is to have corrective surgery and since I have been preparing myself for this since I first noticed the problem three weeks ago, I agreed to have surgery.

I go in on Wednesday morning for the outpatient procedure. They will administer a general anesthesia and I’ll be stuck primarily in bed for about two weeks, and be limited physically for six weeks.

One of the side benefits of this is that I had to go through some pre operation tests and although there were only three, I seem to be healthy. I also found out that I weigh only 160lbs. The last month or two I’ve would have sworn that I gained weight, but it appears that I lost about five pounds.

 

 

Okay, so I think an update is required since its been so long.

Sofiya and I have been staying in MUi Ne for the past few weeks, it’s been a great place to relax and just take it easy. Unfortunately, well, maybe fortunately, there was a typhoon hitting the the islands of the Phillipines and we were getting a little bit of it. The waves were absolutely huge, almost terrifyingly huge at times. We’d go sit at the beach and be mesmerized by the sheer size and power of the waves hitting the side of our hotel. A couple of buildings away, two bungalows were destroyed by the waves they were that huge.

Anyway, my update that I wanted to make was two fold, the first is that my computer is broken and I’m forced to use my iPad… It means that updates will be difficult. The second is that I leave here in about three days for MalaysiA. My visa runs out on the 30th so I’ll be going to Kuala Lumpur on the 29th. I have a possible medical problem that I think I’ll need surgery for, and Malaysia seems like the best place to have it done.

We arrived in Mui Ne, Vietnam yesterday. I don’t think I could feel so good getting someplace, but as the bus dropped us off I felt like I had stepped into a new world. A world filled with palm trees, beach resorts, and long beaches. The area we are staying is basically a very upscale beach area situated along a single road. There seems to be more white people than Vietnamese though and many, if not most, of the white people are Russians. There are so many here that many of the businesses have Russian language on their signs and menus. It’s weird but I get kind of offended if a menu is in Russian… I guess I now know how many feel when the menu is in English. J

We threw our bags on the bed and headed out to the beach. It was very windy and I guess the wind is typical for the area because about half the shops on the three kilometer beach are for kite surfing lessons or rentals. The first night here there were dozens, maybe hundreds of kite surfers flying across the water. It looks like a lot of fun. The sun was going down and the sky was turning orange. We walked to the end of the beach and then walked back along the road to the hotel. I know, boring right, but I have to set up the next part of the story.

After we finished with dinner, we decided that we’d sit near the beach and have a beer. It was about 8pm and very dark, Sofiya goes to the beach and I go to the room to get a beer. I grabbed a beer and head down to the lounge chairs that are overlooking the beach, remember there aren’t any light on at the time and it’s very dark. I’m able to make out someone sitting in a lounge chair and head over. As I get close I see dark hair and glasses, just like Sofiya, so I reach down and romantically run my hand through her hair. The person jumps and turns around, that’s when I realized that it was just a guy sitting listening/watching to the waves. I was mortified and in shock, I apologized about ten times and tried to get out of there as quickly as I could. Sofiya wasn’t that far away so I got to her and basically hid for the next twenty minutes. The next couple of days I kept running into him, but in all honesty I don’t know if he recognized me and I wasn’t about to give any sign that I knew it was him.

I left Sihanoukville a couple of days ago for Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. I was in Vietnam about six years ago but I never went south of Hanoi, and have always wanted to visit HCMC. When I left Sihanoukville I took a sleeper bus, with a single bed. I have to admit I loved it. There was wifi on the bus, I had the space to myself, and had more than enough room to stretch out. It was so comfortable that I fell asleep after about an hour.

Within about one minute of stepping out of my hostel this man stopped to talk to me. He was a scooter taxi so he was looking for me to hire him. We got into a short conversation though about the War. He fought with the Americans against the NVA and barely made it through the cleansing that happened after the NVA invaded. He told me stories of what it was like after the Americans left back in 1973
Within about one minute of stepping out of my hostel this man stopped to talk to me. He was a scooter taxi so he was looking for me to hire him. We got into a short conversation though about the War. He fought with the Americans against the NVA and barely made it through the cleansing that happened after the NVA invaded. He told me stories of what it was like after the Americans left back in 1973

The bus got to Phnom Penh where I would have about a two-hour layover for the bus to HCMC. I didn’t like the idea of the layover, but sometimes you just have to take what you’ve been given and waited. It was about 1am when the bus dropped us off on a street in the city. Except for a small street restaurant there wasn’t too much around us. The people in charge of the bus service put us on a tuk-tuk to take us to another location. On the tuk-tuk I met a couple, the guy was from Portland, Oregon. It was kind of cool to talk to someone from my hometown even though I haven’t lived there in a very long time. He’s in HCMC teaching English.

Just a quick photo of part of the food stalls going on when I first arrived in Saigon.
Just a quick photo of part of the food stalls going on when I first arrived in Saigon.

So the tuk-tuk drops us off in front of a closed travel shop. By now the streets are nearly empty and except for the other six people going to HCMC there isn’t really anything going on. I was so tired that I could barely keep my eyes open.

When I bought the bus ticket I was told that there was a chance that the two-hour layover could end up being three-hours. Talking to the others there, they were told that it was a four-hour, maybe longer. The reality turned out to be about six-hours. I wasn’t very happy with waiting in front of closed shop at four in the morning. In the end everything turned out and at about 7 we were on a bus on our way to Vietnam.

Going through the border was surprisingly painless. The bus had a guy on it that did all the work and all any of us had to do was to pretty much walk through the borders. It was a little bit more complicated than that, but it sure seemed easy. It probably took us a little bit less than an hour to go through both borders.

About two hours from the border we finally stopped in HCMC and the bus dropped us off. My hostel is about 300 meters from the bus stop and I had no problems finding it. There was a festival of some sort going on in the park next to the bus stop so after putting my bags away, I headed out to get a better look at what was going on. I don’t know exactly what to call it, but the festival was very western. What I mean is that it was modern and contained mostly small tents featuring food from area restaurants. In Portland we had an event called Bite, and I kept thinking that it was what was going on here. There was some great food and I spent probably a couple of hours walking around and tasting different things. I even had Durian, and I was surprised it was pretty good.

Ho Chi Minh City is chaos. That’s the only way I can explain it. There are scooters going everywhere that don’t seem to follow any sort of rules. There are very few traffic lights or stop signs so it’s a challenge to get across the street. Most of the time I just start walking and hope that the scooter that seems to be heading straight towards me will veer away. There is al a kind of sense of a little of Taipei here, but I think it’s more on the architecture and less on anything else.

I didn't take many photos while I was in Saigon, so I'll add this one. It is a photo of the festival that was going on.
I didn’t take many photos while I was in Saigon, so I’ll add this one. It is a photo of the festival that was going on.

Sofiya finally got here about a week after I did and once she arrived the city seemed just a little bit better. Not that it was fun now that she was here, but it was at least nice to have someone around to validate my feelings about HCMC. We ended up leaving about two days after she arrived. At that point I was about to give up with Vietnam and head back to Laos or Cambodia so I asked Sofiya to decide where we should go. She decided on a beach town in Vietnam called Mui Ne.

 

As I mentioned in the last post, Sihanoukville is just the way I remembered it. It is a quaint town that is loosely separated into two parts, the local area and the tourist area. Most of our time was, as expected, spent in the tourist area. The tourist area could almost be confused with a beach town in the US with all the western cafes and beachfront shops. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still got a Cambodian flavor but still has a western feel.

 

Sofiya and I got into the town about 2pm and quickly caught a tuk-tuk to the city. We shared the ride with two people from Spain that I had struck up a conversation with before the bus ride. It’s always nice to meet new people and this couple seemed nice enough, plus riding with them we halved the cost of the tuk-tuk. When we arrived at the hostel I was hit with a strong déjà vu. It only took a few minutes for me to remember that I had stayed in the same hostel the last time I was here. Oh well, so I’m more or less just recreating my last time in Sihanoukville. 🙁

 

The next few days we spent our time wandering around the city and the tourist area. We spent about half our time out at the beach just wading in the surf. The beach is really nice here and I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed myself so much. We also met up with the group we were traveling with earlier for beers. It may have been only about a week since we last saw them, it felt like a family reunion we met. Turns out that they spent about a week at an island near Sihanoukville.