Nice birthday morning

So, even though I haven’t been feeling well the last few days, I’ve had a very nice birthday morning. Lina came up with a nice birthday breakfast/lunch and then my best friend and my goddaughter called on FaceTime and wished me a happy birthday :) I do have some great friends!

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The difficult task of not spending money…

The last few months I’ve been debating getting a new camera, and now after I’ve been diving I’ve found myself looking into underwater cameras. Imagine how cool that would be! Several of the people I dived with had GoPro cameras and I got so jealous.

I mean look at this small thing!

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In the housing it’s water proof down to 40 meters. Which is amazing! It’s the Hero 3+ black edition that I’ve been eyeing now, which of course is the most expensive one. $399, or 3600 swedish kronor… Right now I’m telling myself that I don’t have the money (worst thing with being an adult is that “not having the money” doesn’t mean that I don’t actually have $399 on my account, because that would be bad, but that I really can’t use that money for a camera) and I don’t really see a need for the camera right now.

I mean I could definitively use this camera a lot when traveling. I love activities near or on or in water, so it would be perfect for diving, sightseeing waterfalls or on the beach (where I destroyed my last camera), but the thing is that I’m going home to Sweden soon to work the whole summer. The sensible thing would be to buy it when the summer is over and I’ve earned some money and know where I’m heading off to next…

As I said, the last few months I’ve been thinking about getting a camera, but then I’ve mostly been thinking about getting a good system camera. What’s been stopping me there is the fact that they’re even more expensive but also rather big and bulky. And I do love traveling light. I would love to take good pictures, but I’m not sure I would find it enjoyable to carry around a bigger camera…

Anyway, I should leave this train of thought now before I end up in Bangkok looking for cameras. Which I might do… just to compare the price… no. No! I really shouldn’t.

Big Blue Diving on Koh Tao

Before I went down to Koh Tao I did some extensive googling to navigate through the many, many, options of diving on Koh Tao. I mean seriously, I’ve never seen that many dive schools in one place before! But after the research I ended up choosing Big Blue Diving.

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I arrived early since I had arrived to the island the day before, which was good because as the ferries started coming in lots of people arrived to the diving school. I had booked a few days in advance, so it was easy to get checked in and settled. The room wasn’t fancy, since I had chosen the free accommodation, but I got a lower bunk and the sheets were clean.

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I decided to go the Advanced Diver course, and the instructors recommended the SSI’s Advanced Adventure so our group decided to go with that. My instructor was Mike from Australia and in my group was two guys from England and a guy from Spain. Together we got to decide what dives we wanted to do.

Day one we went through navigation on land and then headed out for dives. We did the mandatory navigation dive and the perfect buoyancy dive. Then after a short stop on land for dinner we headed out for the night dive.

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Second day we had an early start for the deep dive (also mandatory) to 30 meters and the wreck dive, bot were totally amazing dives. Mike, the instructor took some photos for us, which was very cool.

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On the last dive I got to tick of one of my biggest dreams, to see a turtle. It was so cool. Totally loved it!

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Overall I can really recommend Big Blue Diving on Koh Tao. I had an amazing experience there.

I saw a turtle!

Have had the most amazing couple of days diving. Today I had my two most favorite dives ever. First one was the deep dive (30 meter) in crystal clear water, second was a wreck dive. During the second one my dream of seeing a turtle came true! My instructor Mike took this pic of the turtle!

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I am now and advanced diver! (Which had nothin to do with seeing the turtle but with the fact that I finished the course today). Tomorrow morning I’m heading back home to Rangsit.

The things people google

On the wordpress site I can see what people have search for when they ended up on my blog. Sometimes it’s the funniest things. Like the three searches now? “Present for countdown for coworker leaving”, “kite runner recommendation”, and “swedish food thailand”. I wonder what entries they found with those words.

Other funny searches are: “was j.r.r. tolkien a nomad?”, “nomad studying at university”, “should I sell my house”, “touristy stuff bangkok” “how to sleep on sleeper bus”.

Mae La Refugee Camp

Today I’ve had a very interesting day. I was picked up by the head of the project from Handicap International and an occupational therapist at 8.20 and then we set off toward the refugee camp. It took about an hour to get there.

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The refugee camp was quite similar to what I had expected, but that’s just because I’ve been reading quite a lot about refugees situation in Thailand right now. Their “houses” are made out of bamboo sticks and leafs, that’s the only material they’re allowed to use since the camp is supported to be temporarily. The camps has been there for 30 years by now…

Mae La is the biggest refugee camp on the border between Thailand and Myanmar, it has about 50 000 registered refugees, but since refugees arriving after 2005 aren’t registered (and there fore not eligible to apply for resettlement) there is difficult to know how many people are staying in the camp. Found out there are 12-14 NGOs working there at the moment though.

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Resources available in the camp are scarce, and unfortunately it’s getting worse. Many NGOs are “forced” to leave the area because of lack of funding. Most international funding now go to NGOs going into Myanmar to work there. Which in theory is good, and necessary. But those resources are going to reach the already quite well off in Myanmar, and the poorest people in the provinces on the border to Thailand (Karen provinces) are just like today, not going to get anything for quite a while. People are, still today, fleeing Myanmar. Karen and other minorities in the north/east and Rohingya muslims in the south.

It’s a very difficult situation which effects the already vulnerable people the most. During my visit to the camp I did get lots of good material to my study though, which I have to be happy with.