Hua Hin Trip | Christmas Day | 2020

While the majority of the world is in lockdown, I had the special privilege of traveling to a place I had been to just three weeks prior.

On the first traveling trip, a friend and I drove on some dangerous roads through what is NOW KNOWN as the redzone (recent COVID outbreak). This road is decimated with a plethora of construction projects that takes 5x the amount of time to complete because of rampant corruption. However, it’s a very easy shortcut to get to Hua Hin from there, so when we did, we when to Cha-am Beach, Hua Hin beach, ate some amazing food, took some pictures, saw horses running the beaches and so much more. It was a day trip, not overnight.

This time, it was over night, and it started with a new route, heading towards Nakhon Pathom and Ratchaburi (to the west of Bangkok) which is an additional 22km, but a phenomenally beautiful national park, by the name of Kaeng Krachan, is on the way. So, when we stopped there, I saw a lake tucked away high up in the mountains with camp grounds and AMAZING SOUNDS of NATURE. I saw a family on Campsite 2, walking around, preparing utensils for breakfast and playing games. We walked along campsite 1, and this place was just an open ground with a marsh down below, followed by the big lake. There were boats that could take you to watch monkeys swim (I’m not bullshitting), but then we saw the video online and felt like we no longer needed to go. So after hearing 20 different sounds of birds, we had an amazing lunch before going through a desserted highway through the mountain that had the freshest air one could ever breathe in Thailand. After about an hour, we came over a hill and straight ahead was a MASSIVE RESORT — low and behold, it was ours! Hua Hin Hilton. We navigated through some side-streets which were jam-packed with mopeds, and we had finally arrived — to a place that I had seen two years prior on my first trip to Hua Hin.

Camp Grounds

Too bright!

The Hotel

Wow, I walked in and said “I completely underestimated this place.” A 10ft snowman stood in the doorway of this place of the reception area with copious amounts of space, an amazing chandelier, about 3 staff and a magnificent cafe on the other side of the wall. That wasn’t the “WOW”…..the WOW was looking through the 30ft floor-to-ceiling glass out to the pool area (featuring a pool bar), and the sea. That’s right. Snowman, pool, sea. All in that order. This place was unbelievably gorgeous beyond comprehension (see photos below). After arriving to a lackluster hotel room (not the best but certainly $80 was a suitable price tag for what was inside), we went to the top of the hotel to see the most BREATHTAKING view I had ever seen within these borders. 21 floors up and a sheer amount of beauty down below. I looked in awe while my friend had become a bit annoying due to drink 1.5 glasses of wine. I saw all of these gorgeous women in santa costumes and I said “now this is a Christmas Eve to DIE FOR.” We went ventured out to the pool area, and to our amazement, it was happy hour and the beauty continued to unfold with gorgeous landscaping, different seating areas and a bar…..a bar overlooking the beach and sea down below. I had the BEST PIZZA IN THE WORLD (again, not bullshitting), which was a spicy meatball while my friend had an AMAZING pork chop with two glasses of Chilean wine. MY GOODNESS.

Nonetheless, we walked the beach after dinner, laughs, and mosquitoes (they won, unfortunately)…and hearing the waves while seeing the light reflect, seeing people enjoy their evenings and hearing laughs in the distance — PHENOMENAL.

The next morning was a meditation and photos on the beach with a succulent breakfast that featured PANCAKES AND FRENCHTOAST (just highlighting that my two childhood comfort foods were present)….and very interesting couples sitting sparingly throughout the pretty vast breakfast ground.

All in all, the trip back was a bit lackadaisical, but the trip overall made it the best Christmas I had ever experienced.

Next Vacation & Spartan Race: Taiwan!

You read it correctly. Your main man, who goes by the name of Arsenio Buck, is reentering Spartan after a bit of a hiatus.

When I was trekking through the foothills in Hua Hin, sucking in dust particles like it was oxygen, I told myself: “man, FUCK THIS!” I said I would never do it again. However, after listening to my body and feeling how strong I’ve become, my body is craving that immense pain once again!

I made an oath to myself at the beginning of the year that I was going to take a year off from Spartan races because the Beast in Hua Hin last year was just so unbelievably demoralizing. However, after sorting out my visa situation here in Thailand, micro trips to Malaysia and Singapore are NO MORE!

I can’t let just a few assholes at Immigration in Hong Kong determine the outcome of me traveling everywhere. Yes, Taiwan will be another very difficult country I need to acclimate with, but because I will be be the “not-so-thumb-sticking-out,” that means I won’t have a problem recording and documenting my stories. Will the Spartan Super go as planned? I have no idea. I will need to adapt very quickly and once I land in Taoyuan International Airport, I’ll know what I’m up against.

The Ramble of Positivity: Episode 031 – Singapore, I’m COMING!

Excited, jubilated, in harmony, bliss, serenity. Baby, I’m going to Singapore. Cathay Pacific right into the new Terminal 4 which houses that new magnificent Jewel? Oh, I’m definitely NOT complaining.

Excited, jubilated, in harmony, bliss, serenity. Baby, I’m going to Singapore. Cathay Pacific right into the new Terminal 4 which houses that new magnificent Jewel? Oh, I’m definitely NOT complaining.

Land, catch the magnificent train to my hotel, check in, and have my friend pick me up for some Malay/Singaporean food? CHECK! Friend to meet for drinks after? Aquarium on Saturday?

I’m grateful. I’m excited. This is my first “real” holiday since last August. I had Laos in November of last year, topping off the most FORGETTABLE trip of the last 10 years. Malaysia, which was just below average, continued the soar trend.

So I’m going to buck this trend by heading to my favorite country in Southeast Asia.

Heavy Breathing In The Morning

Anytime I go to the airport, I always think worse case scenario, which is probably not a good thing to entertain in terms of having a though. After getting on an always-crowded-skytrain (in the morning — rush hour), I got to the airport link, had my ticket at hand already and got to the airport.

I followed a couple of students up the escalators before finally reaching Cathay Pacific. The guy at the counter looked new, and Chinese. not that the nationality mattered, but there was a guy overseeing what he was doing and of course, he kinda didn’t know what he was doing. After 4 minutes and without any questions, I received my ticket, went through an always-easy security check, and then to passport control.

This is the place I dread because the could be nasty….however, out of all the times I ever left this country, it was one foolish, old, racist lady that put her glasses on and went through my pages before I started laughing at her bigotry. New passport and guy? 1 minute, stamp, done. EASY!

So, all the heavy breathing, again, for NOTHING.

Going into the airport…some questions may come, but last time I came, there weren’t any. If they ask (and they don’t do so often), it’s because I write something ridiculous on my paper that raises a question. So, now I’m sitting here at the airport and waiting for my departure to an ultra-efficient country!

Podcast

Next Trip: Hong Kong & Macau! Pre-Bookings & Efficiency!

Oh, how unbelievably elated I am to announce my first ever trip to HK.  I was suppose to go there last year on a layover, but I cancelled my trip back home to America (for so many different reasons).  So, discussion ran rampant in class one day and I was trying to tell my students to list the pros and cons of going to specific countries and it went a little something like this.

First, when deciding a flight, always look at multiple sites.  I’m telling you this because I almost paid $450 USD for a flight that was jut under $300 USD on another website — a whopping 33% difference.

After searching for flights, and with along some other students at another location, it came down to the Philippines and Hong Kong for my August travel (and again, hopefully this is the last travel until October/November).  After reviewing the metrics and figuring out what Manila had to offer, of course I went with Hong Kong, a city that has so much more to offer and a ferry ride to Macau.

So, here I am on the cusp of going to Hong Kong, a country I never thought I’d go to while highlighting one of my goals on my 101 goals list (flying 5 ***** Cathay Pacific) and I’m just amazed how I’ve kept at my goals and aspirations.