Thelma, Zelma and Louise Roadtrip
Trip Start Jan 13, 2009
70Trip End May 17, 2009
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When I met Mariel, featured in the last episode of Exorcism", she told me she needed to do a Visa run. What that means, in every country around here, is that your visa is about to expire and you need to go to the border of another country, walk across the border, get stamped in, pay some money usually, and you have a renewed Visa. In Thailand, if you have travelled here by land, you get a 14 day visa, by air, a 30 day visa. I chose to come by air on the date I did because I counted back 30 days from my departure ticket so I would not be in this predicament. Something valuable I only learned here from seeing others doing Visa runs. Mariel mentioned she was going to do a visa run to Mae Sot - on the Burma border. Mae Sot was my next destination as I had planned to meet my two friends I had met in Laos there. Sharon had come to Mae Sot after Laos and had been teaching Burmese refugees for a few weeks while I did the multiple country tour and Laura had gone onto to Thailand and had joined Sharon a week ago and was also teaching
They had emailed me telling me they were the only teachers in a school, out in the country, with over 75 students aged 7 to 20 something's - all who live on the school grounds (displaced children with no papers - no status), no teaching curriculum, no stuff, no desks even or chairs in one classroom and they were looking for any help they could. Voila - I missed them and I was ready to give back a little. Good thing was it was all ready to go - fully set up, bad thing is - Mae Sot is the hottest town in Thailand, during the hottest week of the year and I was already puddling with every movement. Oh well, suck it up Princess I told myself and emailed saying I was on my way. Lucky lucky from the queen the day before and I could share a ride with Mariel to the border, combine it with a full tour on the way of stuff we both had not seen, her go across for her stamp and return to Chiang Mai, me get out and find my friends and start teaching. What a plan!
Mariel had met a taxi driver who was willing to create a tour of the day and we agreed on the price. A day with Mr. Boon and Mariel - see some stuff in a private car and no need for bus to Mae Sot. Mae Sot is about a 5 hour bus journey from Chiang Mai so I was glad to go upscale for once.
Saturday morning I pack all my stuff, say goodbye to the folks at the Guesthouse and meet Mariel and Mr
Mariel, the Norwegian dancing queen, with her strong Norwegian accent, comes up with Mae Sai, Mae Sot; - I just thought Mr. Boon didn't know how to pronounce it right!!! Oy vey!!! What to do now???
The two places are in opposite directions, both Burmese border towns, but we don't have time to get to Mae Sot and her back in one night, and Mr. Boon has planned a full day of stuff to see on the way to Mae Sai. And the tour price is more than one person can afford .....I have to go to Mae Sai today and Mae Sot tomorrow and I need to tell my friends who are expecting me and I need a place to stay when I come back for one night only to leave again in the morning.....
I return to my Guesthouse to use the computer to email my Mae Sot friends to tell them I will come on Sunday, not Saturday when an American woman walks by and says.....why are you still here? I thought you were going to Mae Sot? I did a double take, worried that the spirit removal/exorcism had stolen part of my memory or the lady boy shots were more powerful than I remembered
I told her I didn't believe I had ever seen her before and when she came into the lobby, she realized she had mistaken me for Mariel the Norwegian. They had met the night before (I stayed in with a sinus thing happening) and Mariel had told her she was leaving early morn to go to Mae Sot. I explained the whole deal and asked her why she wasn't coming on the ""Thelma and Louise do Northern Thailand"" Roadshow. She couldn't come up with a good enough answer so the Zelma, Thelma and Louise Roadshow set off.
The American's name is Cybele, but because Mariel and I couldn't say it correctly we chose Jasmine for her. Jasmine is a Doctor, a Tropical Medicine Infectious Disease Specialist, working everywhere but based in a teaching hospital in San Francisco. She had been working in Bangkok Hospital briefly but was disappointed in the dearth of really interesting infections, she had become bored and was going to see if Chiang Mai might have some better funguses and infections to spend time with. Another kindred spirit with ADD.
We had great fun. Twelve hours together in the car, out of the car, in Chiang Rai,up with the Hill tribes, in Mae Sai,, at the white temple, which was the most beautiful thing all three of us had ever seen, at the hot springs,, at Burma - Mariel going in, Jasmine and I hiking a little mountain to look across into. We saw lots and learned lots, from each other.
Mr. Boon learned the most. The discussions ranged from my prostitution career to Jasmine's specialty of STD's and HIV, to every tropical disease there is and what not to eat and where not to swim in the world, to good boyfriends and bad boyfriends and everything in between and biological clocks (Jasmine's) and cultures we had visited - between the three of us there were few countries yet to visit, and on and on. Another great spontaneous, unplanned semi disaster that turned out great. Again - proof that it's the journey......
Lucky lucky lucky as they say here.