January 23, 2009
Khon Kaen, Thailand

A Thai receptionist at the hotel noticed my marathon bag and this was our conversation;

Thai Receptionist: You run marathon?
Kelly: Yes
TR: OH! How many kilo?
Kelly: You mean KiloMETERS? Like how far? 42; are you going to watch? Will you cheer for me?
TR: oh no no
Kelly; Umm ok…why not?
TR: Because I think you too fat to run.

January 24, 2009
Khon Kaen, Thailand

My accommodation, organized via the Khon Kaen race director, was a one level house on the city's college grounds surrounded by a few trees on the edge of campus. There were a couple bedrooms and mattresses covering the majority of the open floor space; no one was there when I arrived, but luggage lined the walls; I added mine to the stack and wandered around campus for a while. I returned to find the house filled with 30 of the professional Kenyan and Ethiopian runners. We stood in silence for a moment as they stared at me; nervous, I introduced myself. Mouths agape, their coach finally asked me what I was doing there.

I'm running the Marathon, I said. 

The 10k? 

No, the marathon.

Oh the half.

No. The full. 42km. 

After a pause the entire room started laughing. I obviously looked hurt; when they realized I was serious they immediately took me under their wing. I was so surprising after their initial reaction; they made me come on a training run with them that evening, cheerfully encouraging me while jogging at my very slow pace. They showed me their race pace, I kept up for less than 10 seconds.

February 4, 2009
Bangkok, Thailand

Patpong Market is filled with neon signs advertising Ping Pong shows. This is not the ping pong you played in middle school gym class; it did not remotely resemble the famous scene in Forrest Gump. I was ill prepared for what I was about to witness. 

We sat in the back row as a woman took the stage, stark naked. She laid out random items, seemingly disconnected. A wine bottle, plastic rings, chopsticks, a cigar, and some ping pong balls. A cross between a strip show and Ripley's Believe it or Not, she proceeded a slew of magic tricks involving these items and her lady parts. The lights were turned down low to see the red glow as she smoked the cigar – without her mouth. She used the chopsticks better than your average person in a sushi restaurant to grab rings from the floor and place them on top of the bottle – without her hands. 

I looked down for a minute to decide on a drink from the menu; she clearly did not like that I stopped paying attention. I looked up just as she shot a ping pong ball, with surprising accuracy, directly at my face. I batted it out of the way with the menu, narrowly escaping what would've been the most disgusting injury of my life.