Day 249 to 251 Bangkok (again)

After Kolkata I decided I needed the peace and quite of Thailand again so I took a flight back to Bangkok. Here I did a health checkup which was an experience in itself with a super-modern hospital and quite modest fees… If I am getting sick sometime in the future I hope I am in Bangkok… really excellent health-care!

 

This is not from a 5 star hotel but actually from inside the hospital I went to…

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Day 207 to 229 Bangkok

Unfortunately I have almost no photos from the time I spent in Bangkok. Mainly because I was wearing a par of pants that didn’t really have space for my camera most of the time… well, there are a few pictures from the first few days though 🙂 After that I did a lot of massage courses. I am now licensed in Thai Massage (90 minute program) Thai Oil massage (2 hour program) and Thai Medical massage (I have been taught acupressure points to cure 51 different ailments). In total I spend 20 days in school (6 hours a day) while in Bangkok doing massage… a quite hectic period since we where out partying almost every night! 😀

 

First day in Bangkok. I met the girl to the left on the bus from Koh Tao and we ended up sharing hotel room for the first couple of days to lower the cost (after that I started couchsurfing).

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Going to Wat Po for some sightseeing

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They have LOTS of Buddha statues like this there… like several hundred.

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A huge Buddha lying down. He is more than 30 meters long!

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Going to the cinema to see Avatar in 3D… cool movie!

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Not the best of pictures… but one of the few I had from Bangkok with CS:ers… well… you can look at my facebook to see some more pics that other people have taken of me 🙂

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Day 203 to 206 Koh Tao

After the meditation retreat my next step was to go to Koh Tao to do some relaxing with my new friends and to take a Rescue Diver course. We spent a few days in this fantastic Island with white beaches, beautiful diving sites and good parties at night… definitely a paradise Island.

Oh, and after the meditation it was a period where I was not carrying my camera around that often so unfortunately you won’t see that many pictures from this period… I started experiencing things more than documenting them for a while… but here is a few at least 🙂 (They are all of my friends that I met during the meditation retreat… so probably more interesting for me than to show that much of my adventures this time I am afraid…)

 

Checking in

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Two girls I spent quite a lot of time with in the beginning on the Island 

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We are on the beach again!

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Butterfly cocoon anyone?

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Dinner with the gang

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I want food!

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Hello!

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Day 192 to 203 Review of Wat Kow Tahm

I know many of you have asked me to tell you a bit more about my experiences at the meditation retreat Wat Kow Tahm, so here comes a bit of a “review”. First of all I should mention that this was one of the tougher things that I have ever done… to get a feeling try standing up, close your eyes and focus on your breathing for 60 minutes without moving… you will probably realize quite soon that your mind starts to drift away… when it does just note this and go back to the breathing… after a few minutes you probably will feel some pain in your feet… just note this and focus on your breathing. If the pain gets worse (for me my feet usually go numb after about 25-35 minutes) just go into the pain and examine it… how big is it, how does it feel, where exactly is the centre etc. If you can’t stand it any more you could try focusing on your feelings around it… are you afraid that you are hurting yourself, feeling impatient? Well, give yourself some compassion and see if that helps etc.

Ok, so is the hour over now? Ok, well imagine that you do these kind of exercises for 12 hours a day (we started at 4 am in the morning and went to about 8.30 pm every day… with some brakes for food and chores in the middle). And then imagine that you do this for 10 days… yepp… then you get roughly an idea of what it was 🙂

To be honest… after 3-4 days it actually started to become a lot easier and you could actually focus more on the things you where there to learn. The first thing that came was patience… with yourself for loosing focus, with time going soooo slow, with everything from standing in queues to following the schedule or not understanding basically. After that came increase in concentration. To be able to stay focused for longer and longer of periods. Once these started to work better we came more into other types of meditation such as compassion loving-kindness (useful for increasing your love for everyone in the world and generally behave in a more pleasant way and have more understanding for others). We also came into other types of reflections, everything from death to what causes us pain in life. One of my favorites was the compassionate Joy meditations. (I had some difficulties at times with this one though). It is about being able to be happy for your own and others fortune in life… to be happy for others joy. Actually not as easy as it sounds at times.

We also learnt some cool “tricks” such as how to deal with pain. Or rather your emotions connected to them which can actually make the pain itself irrelevant so to speak. I mean… it is still there… you just don’t care…. it doesn’t affect you really. (Normally the emotions are much stronger than the pain… think of when you here the sound of a mosquito… I think most of us have a very strong emotional reaction to this… but when you think about it… the pain of when the mosquito bites is actually not that strong at all really…)

The head nun, Mae Chee Ahmon giving a final speech at Wat Kow Tahm

A view of a small shrine at a viewpoint at the monastery.

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This is the view from up there

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The people in the retreat In the front our teachers are sitting together with the head nun in the middle.

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180 to 191 Koh Phangan part 2

This is to give a small update on some more parties we had on Koh Phangan, the New Year’s full moon party (which was kind of big) and my first attempts to learn how to use POI’s 🙂

Fireworks and Full moon party at New Year

 

Kao doing a fire show. (This thing is called a POI… I have started to learn it… but without fire :-D)

Another view from our Bungalow… the sunsets where sometimes quite extraordinary 🙂

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What can you say… couchsurfers… they kind of have their laptops with them 🙂

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We had breakfast almost every day at this place… great food and friendly personal. (The woman to the right was the one serving us most of the time :-D)

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Paaaarty time! (This time it is the Shiva Moon party)

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My camera doesn’t really do the UV color justice… but it looked pretty cool there 🙂

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With flash 🙂

 

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What is a beach party without some fire shows 🙂

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Annika Practicing with POI’s.

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Sushi dinner 🙂

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Birthday cake for Annika…

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Playing pool… eeh… was that not what you are supposed to do with the blue thingy?

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Yeay…. waterfall!

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A very nice view from a Chinese temple

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Kao taking a rest 🙂

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176 to 180 Koh Phangan

Here comes a first update from Koh Phangan, I will probably stay for a while longer on this island so expect more info to come later 🙂

The boat-trip out here was quite interesting. We where on a small shipping boat that they had decorated with rows of bunk beds… you really slept shoulder to shoulder with your neighbor.

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Victor on Christmas morning in our Bungalow

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The Bungalow to the right and the beach to the left 🙂

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3 small Santa ready for Christmas!

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Swedish Christmas dinner

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Well… KIND of Swedish Christmas dinner 🙂

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I am staying with the two guys in black… the girl to the right I met up with on the boat ride over to the Island…

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Half moon Christmas party… was really wild… SO many people there 😀

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Foam machine on the beach of the full moon party (the day after)

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A lot of people on the beach!

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It is a bit dark… but Victor is actually on that slide to the right 🙂

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Yea… Bevis and Butthead… or? IMG_2024  

These are called bucket shops… they sell a bucket of liquor (about 1 liter) for between 150-300 bath. (About 3-6 euro)

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Henri putting UV-paint on Victor

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Soo nice 🙂

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Scary hand!

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Then the question came… did the text work?  IMG_2049

Well… Victor got a bit jealous… so luckily Chantal decided that it worked for him too 🙂

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Typical Thai spelling 😀

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From our porch on the sunset.

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Barbecue dinner (The thing in the middle is actually on fire)

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How many people can you fit on a scooter? Well the extra saddle in the front kind of gives you a hint 😉

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Day 174 to 176 Phuket

These days where quite fun… I got to meet up with my parents again and revisit Phuket. I was there once before in 2005 but must admit a few things have changed… they don’t try to commercialize the Tsunami as much any more for one thing…

I also had the realization that my travels have changed the way I see and react to things in many ways. During the days I spent with my parents I did see them in a new light. Things that just a few months ago would have made feel angry or hurt or upset just flew right through me this time. I also realized that I cannot take responsibility for how anyone else feels, it is totally up to each person how they react to information. To be able to do this requires that you are fully conscious of your emotions and thoughts. And realize that what you feel or think is not who you are.

Once you have stopped identifying YOU with your emotions and thoughts you get a choice. Because once you observe your emotions from a “third person” perspective you realize that you are creating pain for yourself by staying in this mindset. There is no sane person who would ever create pain for themselves and when you then have the choice to react or not to circumstances around you it becomes clear that there is only one sane way forward.

Well, to be aware of this requires that you stay present, that you don’t identify with roles, and that you are very careful with how you react on things that SEEM to be positive things. (Such as if you build your happiness from when someone tells you that you do something well, or that you are beautiful or any other happiness built from external factors. The danger of this is that the happiness you feel from this is just the other side of the coin that brings misery or pain to you, such as when someone tells you that you do something bad, that you are ugly or other things that hurt you.) True happiness radiates from within… and is in all of us!

Well…. that was a few thoughts I had right now, here comes some pictures from Phuket 🙂

Mom and dad on a shopping street.

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All three of us

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A guy that was connecting a new while to the electric net… not quite the Swedish standard 😉

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On a restaurant, I love those happy smiles 🙂

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