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Bangkok was our first major Asian city in our travels so far.  I think we all had different expectations before arriving.  I was prepared for a densely crowded, dirty, dangerous place where we would have to be super militant as we navigate the streets.  Well I was absolutely wrong.  Yes it was crowded and polluted but the city had a very friendly and safe atmosphere about it.  Bangkok is a city of 12 Million people which is half of Thailand's population.  When we arrived at the airport, we did not have a hotel booked, but we read a good review in the LetsGo Thailand book the gave us a name and address of a hotel in downtown Bangkok.   The key to getting a taxi was to make sure it was a metered taxi, which meant that before we got in we had to make sure the driver knew we wanted to pay the metered rate, not a pre-negociated price.  As it turns out the Hotel was better than expected because the price was right and it was close to the river and walking distance to the palacial and temple grounds.  Yes!  We successfully found a decent place to stay and paid the metered rate for our taxi ride into town.
      The first thing we decided to do . . .


 
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On Jennifer's recommendation, we had an amazing late afternoon / evening kayak trip with a local outfitter called John Gray's Sea Kayak Adventures.  Basically our day was spent kayaking into various Hongs that surround Phuket.  Hongs are a Thai word for lagoons in the centre of a small island, made by the top of the island eroding until a hole is left in the centre, like a donut.   The hongs are surrounded by steep cliffs and are accessible via "tunnels" that can be paddled only during low tides.  We were paired up and each assigned a specific guide to paddle us into these often narrow caves that reveal their hidden gems to the motivated paddler.  Hopping on our canoe, Birch and I excitedly took in the scenery.  Tom our guide paddled us beside these steep cliffs that surrounded the lagoons with Carolyn and Allegra and their guide close at hand.  We entered our first . . .

 
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We were off to Thailand, specifically Phuket which was our first stop.    A friend of Carolyn's from high school, Jennifer, invited us to stay at her Villa while we were in Phuket.  Arriving at the Villa was spectacular.  We arrived at night and were shown to our respective rooms - absolutely gorgeous!  - a real luxury after travelling in a Jucy Camper Van for 6 weeks.  We were served a late snack and waited for Jennifer and her husband Fergus and son Cameron to arrive later that same night.   It was great to meet them all and quickly catch up before heading to bed.  The next day we . . .

 
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KANGAROO CROSSING SIGN
One of the first road signs we saw was the iconic kangaroo crossing sign.  When I saw this I was really excited and the following day, rest assured we saw wild kangaroos at a golf course.  A little like driving along on Bowen Island and seeing deer on the side of the road or in a park but better because they are kangaroos!