Monthly Archives: December 2011

Goodbye Siam..Hello Laos

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Off to Pai, Thailand

Before I left Chiang Mai, I went to the Friday night fights…  I walked to the night market and found the “stadium”…basically a parking lot with a tent and some plastic chairs.  It was surprisingly good though.  I sat with an Australian who had just taken his family on a 3 day jungle trek on elephants. I have never been to a fight before and this was my first, and a Thai kick boxing one.  About 8 matches, a couple of lady fights too. When the fighters come out they first do a little dance and they fight to music.  There were a couple of moments which were very exciting.  One guy did 2 back flips after he knocked the other fighter out.

The whole thing brought me back to grade school and when I got hit by bullies in the neighborhood.  I bet I could now beat up most of those guys that gave it to me back then. here is a video from the fight…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85REdDF-wN0&feature=bf_prev&list=UURmh4yT9NH02cxmL0wcB5VA&lf=plcp

I got a van to Pai and the ride was way up a mountain and has over 800 curves.  Pai was really rocking… this was a 3 day holiday weekend and plenty of people were visiting Pai.  There were plenty of tents set up along the river and I was lucky to get a room in the place I stayed last time.  The price went up 3 bucks because this is the high season here.

I found my curry house place and enjoyed a curry which is served in a coconut shell. I rented a scooter and took a ride up north… I kept on going and arrived at a place called Mai Hung Son. (Rik, Jordan and Zachary might enjoy that name)  I was so far away from Pai, I got a room for the night.  I rode around town for a while but all the miles made me very tired.  They have a temple next to a lake and I was told the whole temple was carried here from Burma, which is not that far away.  I took a picture of the temple and posted up on google+.


I had two options in the morning… go back to Pai the way I came which was a lot shorter… but I went south back to Chiang Mai and then north back up to Pai.  This was a journey of over 300 miles on winding roads up and down and around mountains… it was tough and very rewarding. I got to see plenty of Thailand up close.  I filled up the bike in Chiang Mai and when I got to the last 20 miles from Pai I was just about out of gas.  I stopped at a police checkpoint and asked if anybody had any gas.  They showed me a store which sold me a liter of gas for $1.50.  The cop put the fuel in the bike for me and I was so relieved that I would not run out of gas in the dark way up in the Thai Mountains.

there is a bird at my hotel which can talk pretty good.. He can say hello and thankyou in Thai… he also imitates the starting of a scooter.  I put up a video of this bird here..

http://www.youtube.com/user/helderweb

So my time here is going by slow, after my scooter ride I really do not feel like doing much.  In the mornings I walk across a bamboo bridge and have coffee and toast at a place next to the river… I usually get a massage later in the day…most of the massages have been Thai ones…these are deep tissue massages which stretch you like Yoga…they can be painful at times…but a “good” pain!!!  Just taking it easy for now…probably head back to Chiang Mai for Christmas and New Years.

Jordan seems to be the only family member who is keeping in contact with me on google talk and skype.  I got to see my two granddaughters on Skype last week and it was very nice to see how they have grown.

Not much news here but I really am not doing much in Pai, Thailand. Sent my sons there last Christmas present today.  that is all I can do from so far away.

later….

Time in Chiang Mai

The train ride from Bangkok was fine… I slept many hours on the train.. one problem was that this was the last train to leave and there really was no food or drinks on the train.  My seat mate was a French Chief from Corsica who was just arriving to be with his Thai girlfriend.  We bought 2 large Chiang beers at the train station and that is all I had for 12 hours…  The kings birthday was the next day and there was a large stage show going on next to the train station… I do have amazing timing on my trips.

It was nice to sit between the cars and look at the northern Thai villages, farms and mountains go by… When I got to Chiang Mai I was not as excited as my first time there last May.  I knew how to get a tuk-tuk to my hotel in the old city which is surrounded by a moat.  BP the French guy that runs the place was so nice to me.  He and his Thai wife are going to have a little boy in a few months and he seems very happy.

It is hot here but not so bad.  My time consists of walking around this city and looking for some gifts to send back to my family.  My TV has two english channels…FOX news and a station from Australia.  I got myself worked up looking at Fox, but now I am streaming CNN on my computer and that is calming me down…. I really do not miss the daily news stream here… I follow what is going on via Twitter.  My sim card provides access when I am out of range from WiFi.  I have really enjoyed the Pad Thai eats and the amazing fruit juices you can get on the street.  I walked around for several days and my South African sandals came apart.  I finally got some nice leather ones at the market and I hope I will wear them until I get back to the USA in May.

Today I just took off and walked out of the old city to a new part of town.  I found the flower market and walked along the Ping River.  I got to see a guy catch a very large fish from the river.  When I got near the market place I bought a new hat and some gifts which I will mail back this week.  I have a collection of Moroccan and South Africa things and now I am gathering Thai things…  The lady that sold me the hat told me that she has a sister who is 3o years old who would love to meet me.  I told her that I really was not that interested…  There are plenty of Americans and Europeans here who have retired to this great city and many of them have Thai wives and girlfriends.  I do not think that is in my future.

I really wanted to describe the things that I see and do here in Asian…. they just do not come to me when I write these blogs.  I hope to do better in the future.  I plan to go to Pai, about 3 hours north west of here next Monday.  Then I will rent a scooter and go way up to the Chinese border.  My plan is to return here for Christmas and then take a van and boat to Laos after the first.  I really have not made any friends here but there are some nice people staying at this hotel and one French guy has a guitar and sings songs from around the world.  I tried to play something but my heart was not into it.

tonite I found the controls for the AC and for the first time I feel so comfy here in this room.  There is a balcony which overlooks this city and tonite I looked out at the skyline and saw yellow lights rising in the sky far away.  At first I thought it was helicopters but then I realized it was paper hot air balloons which people send up for good luck.  I am having plenty of that….\

that is my blog for now

Back to Bangkok

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The flights from So. Africa and Doha were long and easy..nice to get some sleep on the jets!! When I got back to the NapPark Hostel in the Khaosan Road area of Bangkok, I was amazed to see an old friend Christina from London sitting there in the same place when I last saw her in March… I asked her if she ever left NapPark?

She had just arrived back from London and we were amazed that we both came on the same day 9 months later.

My 5 days here have been fantastic… First the food is just great.  I realize I need to get back to a Thai cooking school for more advanced course.  I have been taking it slow here..just a beer or two and plenty of walking. This is the King’s birthday weekend and the place is rocking… I had to wait to get a train ticket to Chiang Mai up north.  So I had to spend a few extra days here… Fortunately Christine and her friend Jamal put together a hostel party which turned out great. I went with them to the market to buy chicken, pork and vegges.. When I use the word market I am not taking Walmarts…

Along the canal the market goes on forever… I hope anybody who reads this is lucky enough to experience an Asian market sometime..

So finishing this on upper bunk on train to chiang mai.