Oct 7, 2010

chai yo chiang mai...

cheers to chiang mai. it's been one of my favourite destinations yet however I will back track a little and fast forward to now. i believe i jinxed myself in my last post because the day after i updated you all on our trip from phuket to bangkok then to chiang mai i literally became the lady who vomits in the minivan. a mixture of carsickness and what we suspect was a virus, saw me filling bag upon bag with vomit to and from the thai-burma border on our 15 day visa run. needless to say the next few days were spent feeling sorry for myself in a windowless room in a guesthouse. after a few wasted days though we were back on track in the the kitchen cooking up some of thailands most famous dishes.

we had a blast cooking penang curries, padthai and spicy and sour prawn soup and then touring around the local food markets to pick up the produce for dessert. our taste buds were enlightened and hightened by a certaing sense of adventure - as food was last on our list of priorities when we were sick. this lead us to sign up for a full day of fun starting with an unforgiving two hour jungle trek to a waterfall, some class three water rapids which we water rafted down and then we ended the day elephant riding through the jungle with quaint views of endless rice and flower fields. It was truely breathtaking. this adventure was had with an energetic group of people who represented all corners of the globe. and we quickly learnt two valuable lessons, that americanos do not get the australian sense of humor and that aussies and kiwis (still represent) know how to laugh at themeselves, which sometimes is the most important thing one can do. this bought us to our final evening in chaing mai where the Sunday walking street took place.

for market lovers like myself it's heaven. a maze of food, arts, crafts and clothes that trail as far as the eye can see. the funny thing was that not one of the vendors was selling something evenly remotely similar to what another vendor was selling - so everything was 100% original and authentic. des and ted you would have been in your element with antiques and knick-knacks galore. as we headed back to our hotel we watched as people lit candles for paper lanterns and let them take flight into the sky to bring good luck and good fortune.its a special tradition bought about by the monks at this time of year and it was another amazing thing to watch.

we left chaing mai bound for bangkok on monday afternoon on a 14 hour train. and might i just say that while it was better than the bus it still had it's downfalls. thank god we splurged and bought first class seats because i can only imagine the terrors that lurked in the carts behind ours. my trip was a sleepless one as we seemed to be the only guests unequipped for the trip. no insect spray, no insect nets and certainly no insect coils. cockroaches descended as the light dimmed and came out in full force... we arrived in bangkok in early morning pretty tired and ready for a hot shower but ended up lost in a cab with a driver who couldn't read maps. nightmare. after circlelling the block eight times we finally arrived and made ourselves at home. by some freak miracle we glided through the visa process at the myanmar embassy quicker than any other patrons in the office and were left to wonder the smelly streets of bangkok and get acquainted with our new neighbour hood.

we are now back to watching where we put our feet on the streets, careful to dodge the smelly sludge in the gutters and the suspicious looking foods or god only knows what, on the side walks. although i have been here before i still feel as though bangkok is a deep dark damp hole of a city that really doesn't have much appeal.

but on a more intersting note, when you walk around you really do get a sense of unease that there is political instability here and the notices of curfews are everywhere and strictly enforced. yesterday we caught the local monorail and there were armed guards with machine guns patrolling each station. front page news today outlined the most recent bomb blast which went off monday and tuesday nights killing three people and collapsing a building. tt's a scary reality that makes you more aware when your living it, albeit only for a few days and two realise how great australia really is. we are here for one reason only, to get visas and with that already ticked off, we are biding our time till Sunday when we head out to myanmar.

pics. the oldest wat in chiang mai,kurt cooking up a curry paste, the waterfall we trekked to, me around the moat after the sunday walking street and elephant riding.