Friday, July 28, 2006

Open Water PADI

We are now Level 1 Open Water PADI certified, which means that we can scuba dive to a depth of 18 meters without an instructor... That's right mister!

We did not really plan to pass the PADI but after reading about the crystal clear water of Ko Tao, we decided that we should really scuba dive to enjoy the fishs, corals and other wonders of the sea.

So after Chiang Mai and the mountain trek, we flew to Ko Samui (Bangkok Airways) where we meet with my brother and his girlfriend who are speed-visiting Thailand... Funny that I am living in London, he is living in Cameroon and we are meeting in Thailand... Anyway: we stayed for three nights in a great hotel in Ko Samui, the Ayaraburi Boutique Resort with its private swimming pool and little beach. It was way above our budget range (2300 THB/night) but whatever. We enjoyed it very much.

We then split and with my girlfriend, we continued to Ko Tao using the Lompraya Catamaran boat service. It's about 90mn from Samui but instead of going to Ko Tao, we went to Koh Nangyang, a very small island just in front of Ko Tao.

Koh Nangyang is probably one of the most beautiful island in the world: three pieces of land connected by a white sand beach surrounded by blue crystal water. There is only one hotel on the island, a bit pricey but worth it in my opinion. There is also a dive center and that's where we passed our Level 1 PADI certification. You need at least three days to pass the level so we stayed four nights on the island and we didn't move from it so we did not go to Ko Tao itself.

We are now back in Bangkok to spend two days partying with my brother and tomorrow, we are off to Cambodia to visit Angkor.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Back from the jungle

After three nights in Bangkok, we took a plane for Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand. It's a complete change from Bangkok: the city is much smaller and quite welcoming with more bookshops and temples that you could ever visit.

We did some sightseeing in the city but our main objective was to arrange a trek in the jungle and we are actually just back from a three days trek where we visited the hilltribe villages in the region. We had a fantastic time, even if going down a small muddy path through the jungle with tennis shoes is a bit tricky... We slept in bamboo houses, drank Thai whisky with the local villagers and even did some elephant riding!

We are now getting ready for the beaches: we are taking a plane to Ko Samui in two days for one week in Koh Tao and Ko Phan Ngang.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

In the heat of Bangkok

After a long flight with a three-hour connection in Dubai, we landed in Bangkok on Tuesday. After spending some time at the Bangkok Airways ticket counter to arrange our next flights in the region, we took a cab for Siam Square and managed to find a correct guest house: the A-One-Inn hotel which is relatively correct for the price (600B).

First impressions of Bangkok: the most modern city I have visited in the developing world, although I'm not sure Thailand is a developing country anymore. Modern skytrain, very clean streets, Western style malls with all the same shit that we have home (KFC, Starbuck and the other usual suspects...). What a change from the African cities or even Saigon and Bombay for that matter!

We are off to Chang Mai in a few day for trekking and relaxing in the Northern part of Thailand. Stay tuned...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

This is over...

Yep, this time it is the end... Yesterday was Congregation day for the Full-Time MBA Program. The closing speech from the Dean Laura Tyson concluded two years of education at the London Business School for me. I hope never to read another business case from now :)

It was a fine day. We were all wearing nice gowns and all went on stage to shake the hand of the Dean and receive a piece of paper saying that we attended the Congregation ceremony. The actual diploma will be sent by post in a couple of weeks.

My parents and girlfriend were here and most of the other students had their families with them. Some students went on stage with their kids, the most impressive being an American girl who went on stage with her twins that she had during the second year. How did she managed to survive, I'll never know!

The mood was a bit darkened by the two minutes of silence to honor the dead of the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London but life has to go on.

So what's next for me? Well, first thing is watching the World Cup Final tomorrow and hope that France will make it... Then, I'm leaving with my girlfriend for Bangkok on Monday for a two months trip in South East Asia. Back in London in September and then one week training in San Francisco for the Consulting company that has hired me. After that, back to Europe for the first consulting project and then, who knows...

Monday, July 03, 2006

Zidane is magic

Yes I haven't blog in a long time but I've been quite busy, and not only for the World Cup.

Anyway, the game against Brazil was fantastic and if Zidane keeps on playing like this, we have a good change to go to Berlin on July 9th. Of course, the Portugeses are serious people and they sure know how to play football but they were not that convincing against England. We'll see...

Couple of pictures below from Piccadilly which had a little air of Champs-Elysée last Saturday...