Thelma, Zelma and Louise Roadtrip

Trip Start Jan 13, 2009
Trip End May 17, 2009

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

What a difference two letters make.  Mae Sai, Mae Sot. 
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. Boon.  We laugh that we are on a Thelma and Louise roadtrip, hoping to find Brad Pitt along the way.  As I am putting my stuff in the trunk......I mention a temple that would be good to see.  Hmmm....seems like that temple isn't on the way to where we are headed......Mae Sai, not Mai Sot!!!!
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 looked again and swore I had never seen her before, but it was spooky she knew what was happening.
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.
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lanaandgord on

Still reading the blogs....
Hi Deb...I am still reading these blogs and I can't believe that you have been travelling for so long! I think you will have to find some re-integration therapy when you get home! I love hearing about your interactions with the local folks.

All is good in Calgary but you may not escape winter unless you are returning in July. I would much rather be sitting at a small restaurant in Thailand eating Pad Thai...for now I will travel with you this way! Take care...Lana

nariko on

Don't do that --
I was having a heart failure - I thought you had a snake around your neck. Guess I should read before I look at the pictures. Something about snakes just makes me go crazy! Signed us up for a few sessions today - I'll e-mail you the dates. Flames are playing their do or die game (yeah - I'm giving it a miss). Too tired of all the bloody snow and cold weather to get excited about hockey.

Stay safe - have fun. Louise

marieloslo on

What is essential on a roadtrip?
Who needs to meet Brad Pit, when she is enjoying the roadtrip together with such colorful, beautiful and intelligent travel-mates ?!!

PS. Y could have written that Mariels biological clock was ticking also, as I was having heavy menopause hot-flashes in that very hot car of mr. Boon.

Lots of love from Mariel Maithai, The Dancing Machine

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