Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I'm in Thailand - Chiang Mai, to be specific.

My arrival in Bangkok was a little gruelling. My pack was full to bursting, so I did indeed have to wear my boots and a thick sweatshirt. The taxi driver didn't know where my hotel was so he dropped me near Pat Pong street. This is my second trip to Bangkok, and the second time I've ended up in the red light district through no fault of my own. I swear!

I had the name of the hotel and directions, but the directions were designed for a (competent) Thai taxi driver so they were written in Thai. My Thai is a little rusty. I stumbled around in my hot clothing for about an hour and a half, with 30 kgs on my back, begging people for directions. Although it was night, it was 29C and very muggy. I don't remember it very well, but I'm pretty sure I was crawling on hands and knees by the time I found it.

The next morning I walked along Silom Rd to the river and back. There's no way to get around the fact that Bangkok is a crazy, frantic city.

A little side note: According to Lonely Planet, Bangkok is short for Bang Makok. To me, the shortened name doesn't really solve the problem.

That afternoon I flew to Chiang Mai. I watched the opening of the Olympics with my kind hosts.

The next day, they took me to an elephant show. I got elephant spit in my hair. Actually, it might not've been spit. It was whatever dribbles out of a moist trunk.

On Sunday, we drove down to Sukhothai - the Thai capital in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is well worth a trip. I'm pretty pleased with my photos. My hosts bought me a foot massage. I have issues with that. Apart from the fact that I've spent the last 6 months walking to work in thin business socks and old shoes so my feet are munged, there's something else that bothers me that I can't quite articulate. I think it's that once you're the kind of guy that gets a Thai woman to rub any part of you with lotion, you're on a slippery slope. Anyway, the lady entered the room, looked at my feet, left the room, and then returned with a stick that she jabbed at my toes to see if any would fall off. I'm pretty sure she thought she was on an episode of Fear Factor. Overall pleasant, but not something I'd repeat.

So in 3 days, the major theme of my trip has been new experiences, but the sub theme has been larger mammals violating my personal space. The reptiles are playing along too, because a lizard jumped me from behind the dresser and a frog was stuck to the outside of the window. We returned on Monday.

Today (Tuesday), I roamed around Chiang Mai. It's still hectic, but so much smaller than Bangkok that it seems manageable. There is a computer mall where a disreputable person could -theoretically- buy software for ridiculous prices. I can't understand how Microsoft can have made so much money, when they sell Vista for $4.

I've managed to set up a boat trip up the Mekong to Laos, so I'll be off the radar for a few days.

The backpack that was full to bursting? It burst.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

James - I burst out laughing in several places! So funny. I hope you are keeping this (or some other material) for your future book. Bill Bryson has a rival. Seriously, can you use this stuff for a book once you have published it online?