Watching “The Interview” in Chiang Mai, Thailand

By David

Alexis and I went on an unexpected adventure Saturday night.

We were in a songthaew heading down to the Saturday night market on Wulai Road when we started chatting with this other foreigner in the truck.

He mentioned he was going to Wua Lai as well, but heading to Documentary Arts Asia where they were screening the much-maligned Seth Rogan and James Franco movie, The Interview.

James Franco plays celebrity gossip show host, Dave Skylark.

Alexis snapped a quick pic of James Franco playing celebrity gossip show host, Dave Skylark.

Now, if you haven’t heard the chatter about this movie, surely you’ve been living under a rock. Or maybe you’re actually just out living a fun life and don’t have time for internet nonsense. Continue reading

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Beautiful Ko Lanta, Thailand: Lanta Roundhouse and Klong Nin Beach

By David

Klong Nin Beach in Ko Lanta, Thailand

As you might have seen, Alexis and I did a mini SE Asia tour in October. We hung out with baby orangutans and ran away from giant lizards in Malaysian Borneo, island-hopped in Indonesia, and made a stop in southern Thailand before returning to Chiang Mai.

Two months later, we’re finally getting around to writing about it. In short, Ko Lanta, specifically Klong Nin Beach, was beautiful.

Our first southern Thailand experience was in Phuket and… we didn’t like it. It felt so touristy and grimy. In a concerted effort to avoid that same feeling on this trip, we headed to Ko Lanta which we had heard was far less touristy and much more of a laid-back beach vibe. The southern end of the island, especially, is far enough away from the tourist trail to make it a great place for those looking to just kick back in a bungalow and hang out at the beach all day.

And that’s exactly what we found.

Continue reading

I’ve Found The Perfect Travel Buddy

By David

The other day I got an email from Hostelworld that contained this article: 10 Signs You’ve Found the Perfect Travel Buddy. While I typically find this Buzzfeed-esqe list articles annoying, I gave it a gander. I thought of Alexis, my partner in crime, and how I’m so lucky to be traveling the world with her.

Don’t get me wrong, being Nomadic Newlyweds definitely has its challenges. We don’t see eye-to-eye all the time, and we often argue about things we wouldn’t have to deal with if we back in America living the typical newlywed life. But Alexis really is the perfect travel buddy. At the end of the day, there’s no one I trust more; I know she’s always on my team. So to piggyback of Hostelworld’s list…

1. She’s inquisitive.

Alexis and I both majored in anthropology, so we carry our interest and knowledge of world cultures with us in our travels. In Indonesia, I remember nerding out about how interesting it is seeing the culture shift from Asian to elements of Polynesian.

Taman Ayun Temple, Bali, Indonesia

These black grass roofs, for example, are everywhere in Bali. They are aesthetically much more Polynesian than Asian, something we found particularly interesting.

2. We’re on the same schedule.

You know what we did almost every night of our recent SE Asia October trip? We were in bed by 9pm watching a movie. We may only be 25, but we’re old people at heart. We both get tired early and aren’t usually up for late night partying. Continue reading

Thai Massage FAQ

By David

How much should I pay?

In Chiang Mai, our rule is to never pay more than 150 baht ($5) for a 1-hour Thai massage. Prices range from from 120 – 200 baht at the many local massage parlors.

At spas in Chiang Mai, 1-hour massages will be closer to 1,000 baht ($30).

In Karon Beach, Phuket, 300 baht seemed to be the going rate for the side of the road local shops. I remember when we thought $10 was cheap!

On our honeymoon, the resorts charged sky-high rates… I think I paid 4,500 baht for a one-hour body scrub and a two-hour massage.

How many massage parlors are there in Chiang Mai?

A lot. There are two on our street alone, and we don’t even live in the touristy part of town. Massage parlors are more common that 7-11 type convenient stores in Chiang Mai. Within the Old City, you can find one on almost every street.

Do traditional Thai massages happen on tables?

No. If you go to a spa, your massage will be on a table with a face hole. Traditional Thai massages, however, take place on mats on the ground. This makes it slightly uncomfortable at times when you’re lying on your stomach because the pillow turns your head sideways and elevates your head and shoulders as opposed to lying flat. Continue reading

Chiang Mai Immigration Take 2: Tourist Visa and Dependent Visa

By David

I went back to the Chiang Mai Immigration Office for the second time last week and learned two useful tips for my fellow expats:

1. You can get a 30-day extension on your multiple-entry tourist visa way before your 60 days are up, and

2. You can switch from a tourist visa to a Non-Immigrant O Visa (aka Dependent Visa) right here in Chiang Mai. Continue reading

Roses on the Road Won A Liebster Award!

A few week ago, Jelena of 100 Days of Sunshine nominated us for a Liebster Award, an honor meant to congratulate new bloggers for their initial success and further encourage the discovery and recognition of your peers.

First, we’d like to give a big THANKS to Jelena! We really appreciate the support!

These are the rules for accepting the Liebster award:

  1. Post the award on your blog.
  2. Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog.
  3. Write 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers who you feel deserve this award and who have less than 200 followers.
  5. Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter and ask your nominees 11 questions.

Rules 1 and 2 have been checked off, so on to Rule 3. Since being married doesn’t magically make you one person with identical thoughts, you’ll be getting a double dose of answers. That’s what’s called a two-for-one special.

11 Random Facts About Alexis:

  1. I visited 20 countries before I was 20-years-old, and I’m on my way to 30 before 30.
  2. My guilty pleasure is the TV show Teen Mom.
  3. I have 2 full siblings, 3 half-siblings, and 9 step-siblings, bringing me to a grand total of 14. True story.
  4. I never liked beef when I was a kid, but my dad would tell me it was “monkey meat” and then I would eat it, no problem. Weird.
  5. My #1 go-to snack is chips (currently addicted to sour cream and onion Pringles).
  6. I was valedictorian in high school.
  7. I had a nose piercing for about 6 years.
  8. I studied abroad in Salzburg, Austria during my sophomore year of college and loved it.
  9. I spent two summers working at a car wash called Fabulous Freddy’s. No, I did not wear a bikini. And I didn’t even do the actual car washing. I was a sales girl and worked the gas pumps. Once, a lady told me I was “too pretty” to be working there and that I needed to get a sugar daddy instead. Oh, Vegas…
  10. I can’t stand slow walkers, people who block the end of escalators, and people who awkwardly sing in public. The first two are rage-inducing, and the last makes me cringe.
  11. My  nickname growing up was Lexie, and my family still calls me that.

11 Random Facts About David:

  1. I might be one of the worst spellers in the history of mankind. Definitely Top 10.
  2. I have three brothers, two older, and one younger. Besides my wife, they are my best friends.
  3. I am a quarter Japanese.
  4. I really, really enjoy shortening words. Alexis understand me by now when I say something like, “I’m really trying to be clevs here, but I can’t think of anything.”
  5. I think Would You Rather is the greatest game ever invented. It’s the perfect way to break the ice and get to know how a person thinks. What people place value in is extremely interesting to me.
  6. Whenever I think about how we lived in London, it always seems way more glamorous in my head. But we were so poor that it was really hard to do much of anything. Yet still I romanticize it in my head every.single.time.
  7. I didn’t see snow until I was 18.
  8. I love sports. My favorite teams are the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Having lived in Washington, DC for three years, I’m also a huge fan of the Redskins, Wizards, and Nationals. #natitude
  9. I’ve never broken a bone or gotten stitches.
  10. I have been skydiving and bungee jumping.
  11. I love to surf and snowboard but haven’t done either in forever.

Now on to the questions Jelena posed to us:

What is the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

David: Hot dog flavored aerosol spray cheese. My friend in high school brought it back from the Phillipines. I ate a spoon-full and proceeded to puke it right back up.

Alexis: Hmm, my dad once brought back a piece of fried alligator from Louisiana. Tasted like salty chicken. But I’ve also had frog legs and escargot in Paris! Pretty gross all around.

What is your favorite season?

David: God, this one is tough. I always struggle with this question because they’re all so good! I’d have to say Fall though. The temperatures are cooling down after a brutal summer, the leaves are changing, holiday season is here. I’m not a huge fan of Halloween, but I love Thanksgiving. Best holiday by far.

Alexis: Spring. For sure. I hate hate hate being cold, so when things finally start becoming warm again, I’m blissfully happy.

Ice cream or gelato?

David: Ice cream. Gimme the hard stuff.

Alexis: Psh, ice cream for sure. Funny story though: Growing up, ice cream was never one of my preferred desserts, but since meeting David I have become addicted. It’s a problem.

Did you watch Breaking Bad?

David: Only a few eps. I’ve been meaning to watch the whole thing though, I hear it’s amazing.

Alexis: Nope. I don’t usually like dark entertainment. Same reason I don’t like House of Cards.

What is a talent you wish you had?

David: To pick up languages really easy.

Alexis: It would be awesome to play a musical instrument really well! I played piano when I was younger but didn’t stick with it. Kinda hard to lug a piano around the world…

What are some hottest and/or coldest places you’ve been to?

David: Thailand is probably the hottest. Coldest? We’ve been to Iceland, which sounds cold, but we were there in the spring so it wasn’t too bad. The last week I lived in Colorado, it was -6ºF, so I guess that.

Alexis: Well, I grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada which is pretty freakin’ hot. My parents told me that in July 1989, the month before I was born, they were moving into their new Vegas home and it was 120 degrees Farenheit. Crazy. Coldest place? Probably Washington, DC actually…That wet cold is the worst.

If money was not an issue, where would you like to be on New Year’s Eve?

David: Hmm.. maybe like a rooftop party in NYC with all my friends and family. That way you’re part of the excitement, you get the community feeling, but you haven’t been standing out in the freezing cold for hours on end, smashed in like sardines with all the peasants below.

Alexis: I gotta agree with David on this one! NYC. Or ooo maybe Paris!

Southeast Asia or South America?

David: I’ve never been to South America, and I live in SE Asia, so I guess I gotta go with that.

Alexis: Again, gotta agree with David. SE Asia, please.

Big cities or small towns?

David: Small towns. Living in London forever solidied this fact.

Alexis: Can I pick something in between? I’d like a small city, please.

Where is your dream house located?

David: Love this question. We’ll start with a cliff. A really badass and dramatic cliff. Below the cliff is a beautiful, white sand beach in a little cove. The rocky cliff outcrop that my house is perched upon creates a nice little point break that I can surf whenever I want, without crowds. Within a half hours’ drive from my cliff house is a mountain where I can snowboard. I’m not that good, so I don’t have too many specification for the size of the mountain or the quality of the snow. Decent is good enough for me. In terms of where in the world, as long as I’m close to my family, I’m good. California has long been a place we’ve discussed settling down in because it’s right in between my family in Hawaii and Utah and Alexis’ family in Utah and Nevada.

Alexis: Probably in the foothills of a lush green mountain that just happens to have floor-to-ceiling windows with an unobstructed view of the ocean. Oahu, Hawaii would be a good place for that.

Cats or dogs?

David: Dogs, all the way. Cats are stupid and useless. I want a big ol’ dog to roughhouse with and take on hikes and play in the ocean.

Alexis: Dogs BUT little ones only. I’ve actually had a legitimate dog phobia my entire life, but it’s manageable now that I’m an adult. Yes, David and I are in direct disagreement about the size of our future family dog.

These are 11 blogs we nominate:

I’m sure some of these have more than 200 followers, but…shh…

www.girltrieslife.com

www.sweetdistance.com

www.goforth-explorer.com

www.ficklomat.wordpress.com

www.jayme.me

www.chelynb.wordpress.com

www.nomadlife.guru

www.padthaiandprozac.com

www.blissfulguro.com

www.cyclingabroad.com

www.unfamiliarvoices.wordpress.com

And the questions we pose to the newest Liebster Award Nominees:

  1. What’s your pet peeve?
  2. Sweet, salty, sour, or savory snacks?
  3. Where’s your happy place?
  4. What’s at the top of your bucket list?
  5. Do you have a lucky number?
  6. What’s the last song you listened to?
  7. Would you rather never be able to leave your home country again or never be able to go back?
  8. Ocean or mountains?
  9. If you could only have one country’s food for the rest of your life, what would it be (e.g. Thai, Mexican, Italian, etc.)?
  10. What’s your favorite movie?
  11. Would you rather, for the rest of your life, only be able to eat iceburg lettuce, or throw up violently every time you ate (but you can still drink water and juice without throwing up)?

Musings During A Thai Massage – Part 2

By David

What where you doing on June 15, 2014? Whatever it was, it was the wrong thing. Why such a harsh statement, you ask? Because Roses on the Road were publishing their first ever blog post and you weren’t around to read it.

Never mind the fact that there was no way you could have known the most epic blog known to mankind was about to explode into existence. Never mind we made no attempts to promote or advertise or draw any kind of attention to our humble blog. Never mind all that. Erroneous!

That first post, “Musings During A Thai Massage,” was published by Mrs. Rose as we spent an unglamorous week in Phuket coming (way, WAY) down from our honeymoon high. Our first $10 massage was the first step towards recovering from our new reality and helped us refocus our minds on living in Thailand.

Since then, we’ve had many more massages. Now in Chiang Mai, we never pay more than $5 for a 60-minute massage, however. Our latest experience was this past Sunday at the park in the southwest corner of the Old City. This is me discovering I can take time lapse videos on my phone that very same day:

 Pretty park, right?

My massage musings were mixed:

1. This is probably the best masseuse I’ve had in Thailand (non-honeymoon resort, that is). And…
2. I’m getting eaten alive! Continue reading

Why We Shouldn’t Have Gone to Lombok Before Gili Air

By David

Yes, it was beautiful, but was it worth it?

Yes, it was beautiful, but was it worth it?

After three perfect days in Bali, we trooped east to the next island in the Indonesian archipelago, Lombok. We had heard Lombok was how Bali used to be before it became over-touristed and devoid of the real and natural beauty that made it so popular in the first place. We can’t speak too much about Lombok as we were there for less than 24 hours, but we absolutely loved Bali, so I don’t think we’ll jump on the “skip-Bali-head-to-Lombok” bandwagon.

Heading to Lombok at all was a bit of a mistake for us. As seasoned travelers (ugh, I hate myself for saying that), having two time consuming and financially costly mistakes (you can read about the first one here) in one trip was a bit embarrassing, but to be cheesy, you live and you learn, right?

The reason we regret visiting Lombok is pretty simple: we just didn’t have enough time in Lombok to justify making a stop there. Instead, we should have just gone straight to Gili Air from Bali by boat because it’s cheaper, quicker, and easier.

Still, every mistake has a story. Our time in Lombok was no different… Continue reading

Three Perfect Days in Bali

By David

Jimbaran Beach, Bali

After four great days in Borneo, we boarded an AirAsia flight from Kota Kinabalu to Bali. The two and half hour flight was $91 a person and touched down in Bali just after 8 PM. The flight itself was spectacular — check out the photo Alexis shared in “Back in Chiang Mai!” In addition to the beautiful sunset, we also passed through a lightning storm for about an hour. It was really something to see.

Where to Stay

When we were planning the trip, we had a bit of a head start on where to stay in Bali. One of my writing gigs required me to write an article about Bali’s best beaches. Believe me, the fact that I was writing an article about a place I had never been to made me feel very jaded about the online blogging industry as a whole, but that’s a story for another day.

In any case, my research led to me conclude that the place we should head to is Jimbaran Beach. Since beach time was our number one goal, staying as close to the beach as possible was the objective. Filtering through my two favorite accommodation booking websites, Airbnb and Agoda, we found this place on Airbnb. There were pros and cons which I detailed in my review on the listing if you’re interested, but overall I’m glad we stayed there. For $20 a night, breakfast included, and a five minute walk to the beach, it was a great fit for us.

Other places I researched and wrote about and we subsequently looked into were Balangan Beach and Nusa Dua. Nusa Dua is on the east coast of the Bali’s southern peninsula and is supposedly much more quiet and less touristy than other places (including Jimbaran). This appealed to us, but we weren’t able to find cheap enough accommodation in Nusa Dua, so it was ruled out. We almost stayed at the Balangan Sea View Bungalow, but it, too, proved to be just a little too expensive. So we went with Jimbaran and.it.was.awesome.

Jimbaran Beach, Bali

Jimbaran Beach, Bali, Indonesia

In the daytime, Jimbaran is wide open.

When we announced our trip on the blog, I admitted that I was a little nervous about going to Bali. It’s always been a place I fantasized about, but almost everything I’ve ever read about the island made it pretty clear it’s been over-touristed and stripped of all its fantasy-inducing qualities.

Remember that side comment I made about writing online being phony? Well it’s true. Jimbaran Beach was amazing. Continue reading

Wrapping Up Borneo and Why It’s Southeast Asia’s Hidden Gem

By David

Day 1 in Borneo brought pleasant surprises and a strong feeling of, “why don’t more people visit this place?”

Day 2 in Borneo brought us up close and personal with baby orangutans and resort life.

Day 3 in Borneo was spent exploring secluded beaches and being terrified by giant lizards that desperately wanted to eat us.

Day 4 in Borneo offered us a chance to do a quick local hike and take it slow before sadly saying goodbye to Malaysia.

Signal Hill Observatory Platform

The Signal Hill Observatory Platform in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo

Our activity for our last day in Borneo: A hike to The Signal Hill Observatory Platform in Kota Kinabalu

We had to be at the airport by 3:30 PM that afternoon to catch a flight to Bali, so we thought it would be best to stay in KK until then. We had read about a quick hike up to the Signal Hill Observatory Tower and figured this would be the perfect time to do that.

Continue reading