Sleeping on a Ship: Sleeping on a ship such as this can be interesting -the strangest sounds can wake you up at night - and not necessarily coming from the guy sleeping above you, or across the room, or above that guy, or even above that guy - oh no, we have the distinct pleasure of being directly beneath where they park aircraft - it's actually not that bad except for the chains...they anchor down aircraft with chains to make sure they don't move when parked - and the chains are pretty heavy, probably 15 pounds each, and people drag around 4 or 5 at a time- and they're long, so they get dragged. I've drug them a bunch on the deck putting planes away and getting them out without thinking about it much, but when it's directly above your head it sounds like a dog barking and scraping at your door - which can really mess with your head if you are asleep and they're parking a bird at 2am. But even more disturbing, and more rare, thankfully, is the fact that our rooms are at the end of the ship with the main anchors - they dropped anchor at like 4am the last time they did it and I would have sworn it sounded exactly like what metal ripping 75 feet up the side would sound like - quite startling. But the best experience I ever had was the few weeks I stayed on an actual aircraft carrier - one level beneath the number 3 catch wire (the one aircraft aim for) and next door to the actual arresting gear - no joke, it sounded like a freight train derailing and crashing through the next room...every couple of minutes...until 2 in the A-M - yeah, that was pretty awesome
The Walk: As for the walk - if you don't see the intoxicated Pooh-Bear, then you will after this post - The Walk was what solidified for me that Craig is as frugal / cheap as I am, especially in port. If my family was with me I would have no qualms with getting a cab - but two dudes in their 20s and the cabbie wants 1000 baht (about $30) - we don't even try to bargain, we just laugh, take a gander at the directions, and headout. Lucky for us, 7-11 has apparently bought out every other convenient store in the country and is as plentiful as a Starbucks in Malibu. We were going to a house that all of the officers put some money together to rent - it would have free food and free drinks, so we skipped lunch. There was no talk about how long it might take - we had a map, but no reference to distances...or elevation change, for that matter - we just both mutually understood you don't pay for food when there's free food out there and you don't pay for a cab when it's two dudes and we're not on crutches. So we head out and bounce from 7-11 to 7-11 getting frosty beverages along the way - interesting thing in Thailand, if your drink comes in a glass bottle, they open it for you at the counter - nice and happy the Thai are. Oh, did I mention we skipped lunch? So it's 1pm...in the late summer...in Thailand - yeah, we started and continued to sweat - thankfully the 7-11s we frequented were air conditioned, the only places that were with the exception of houses and hotels, actually - so we walked and walked, and walked some more -just like Rabbit, Piglet, Tigger, and Pooh into the 100 acre wood - it was hot - it was humid - we were sweating - I got a sweat stain on my jeans where they creased on my ankle - just above the shoe - and soaked our shirts through (FYI we are all taking daily malaria medication which makes you even more susceptible to sunburn - and if you know me at all you know I hate hate hate putting on sunscreen - total baby, I know -but instead I wore a hat, jeans, long sleeve shirt, and undershirt -awesome attire for Thailand, by the way - Craig did the same) so yeah, it's hot, we're walking, we make a couple of turns and we see the hill -now this wasn't a normal American hill, oh no, it was a lying, menacing Thai hill - full of curves and false plateaus - we kept walking up up up- and got laughed at by a lot of Thai people - you know, the friendly "You silly Americans, why don't you get a tuk-tuk like everybody else" kind of laugh - a Tuk-tuk is the Thai version of a cab - google it because I forgot to take a picture. So just as the sun is starting to hard-boil my brains under my hat I see it - the funniest thing I will see in Thailand and one of the funniest things (situational dependent) I will probably ever see - the ridiculousness of the sight - here we are, winded, hot, sweating out of every pour (EVERY POUR) and there is a billboard-sized picture of Whinny-the-Pooh, loved by children, enjoyed by grown-ups, an icon of youth and innocence - drunk off his stuff-and-fluff- now THAT I had to get a picture of - and I did - and we were only half way up the hill So we make it the rest of the way and when we get to the house people are confused and thought we had already jumped in the pool - then they realized what we'd done and they laughed at us - this was more the "You guys are weird so I'm going to laugh at you" kind of laugh - eh - we saved our 1000 baht and ate our free food and drank our free drink -success. We just had to figure out how to get back.