Thailandian adventures

Trip Start Jan 14, 2008
Trip End Jun 14, 2008

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Lots of exciting things we have done here in Thailand.
 Bangkok is a fabulous city. We actually didn't really venture further than 4 blocks from our hotel. But in those 4 blocks there was loads to do and see and buy. In that area at least, it was full of international travelers. Mostly bohemian looking backpackers from european countries. I guess USA doesn't realize what a happening place Bangkok is.  But the one New Yorker that we did talk to asked adam to be a model for his male fashion magazine. He told adam to get food poisoning a few weeks before returning home so he would be nice and skinny for a model shoot.  This all happened while I was getting hair extensions and braids, and adam was getting a large henna tattoo on the street. Super fun.

We met up with our new adventure group, not as cool as the last one, a few odd balls, but we are managing fine.

So since we have done so much already and the trip,  I'm just going to tell you all the highlights.  On our second day we traveled on the back of a pick up truck with welded on seats and roof (very common means of transportation here) to a 7 tier waterfall. It was so beautiful! The water was a clear green and blue and there were tons of large and small fish that would nibble on your toes, a very weird feeling.  We all went swimming in the pool from the third waterfall. We had lunch and then walked up to the other waterfalls. It was like walking through fairy land, or living in the Midsummers Night Dream. It was surreal and magical. There were these huge trees on the waters edge where people had tied colorful scarves and beads around their trunk and laid elephant figureens and toys at the roots to honor the trees spirit and to bring them good luck.  It was a wonderful place and I wish that we could have spent more time there. But we rushed down the mountain to take an hour truck ride to Tiger Temple. Its this temple where monks rescue abandoned baby tigers and raise them in the temple. They care for them and let them run free around the temple when they are young, and when they are older, they are walked around the grounds on leashes, kept in enclosures and are made available for tourist to see and pet. Kinda strange and unnatural but the tigers did not seem unhappy.  It was super exciting for me because its like one of my life long dreams to be near tigers. I got to have ones head rest on my lap while I petted it! It was the most wonderful thing!  I kept waiting to get nervous but I never did! It felt so natural. I think that adam got a little nervous though. These were some huge tigers! So beautiful.

The next day we stayed a full day and night on a river raft on the river Kwai. The raft was two huge covered rafts with toilets, a kitchen, a lounging area where we slept, and a disco party area, complete with disco ball, steam maker and colored lights. There was also a smaller bamboo raft trailing behind where we sun bathed and read, and where we tied tubes and floated in the river.  We had people cook for us, and make our beds up and hung up our mosquito nets with sweet smelling white flowers.  We stopped along the way to see temples and adam got to work out at an outdoor gym.  At night they played really loud music that shook the rafts and made the lights dim, and we all drank beers and Thai whiskey and played cards and sang karaoke. It was lots of fun.

The next highlight was at Ayuthaya. We had a city tour and we stopped at this old buddhist temple and palace and capital of the city (it was all one place). It was beautiful and in ruins but for me and adam that made it even more wonderful to look at.  All the buddhas heads (and there were tons) were cut off by thieves that sold them to european countries for their museums.  So it had an eerie feel. One of the buddhas heads had been cut off but then left behind or forgotten and it ended up growing with the roots of this large tree. So the head is about two feet off the ground, bound and held by the roots. It was the coolest thing. And if you wanted to take a photo of it in the front, you had to sit down on the ground because you always have to be lower than a buddha.  There were guards there to enforce that rule.  This was one of our favorite places that we have been to on this whole round the world trip. It was called Wat Mahathad.

We traveled to Chiangmai that night on an over night train that was okay despite all the cockroaches running about. We had starbucks and Indian food and shopped at the night market in Chiangmai.  We traveled outside of the city and rode on the backs of elephants. They were happy elephants that roamed free around the grounds and ate bananas from your hands when you were riding them. They looked like they were smiling all the time and they had a friendship and understanding with their Thai riders.  As soon as we got on our elephant (Paitoon was her name) my flip flop fell off and our Thai rider yelled some gibberish and Paitoon stepped back and picked up my flip flop with her trunk and handed it up. She was so smart!  Elephants are strong, amazing animals.

The next day most of us decided to take a Thai cooking class. It was so great!  Our cooking instructor was a woman who used to be a man and her name was Wa Wa. And she kept saying that she was a sexy girl. She was a great teacher and Thai food is so simple to make and so delicious! Well its easy if you can find the ingredients. We made pad thai, tom yum soup, fried spring rolls, green or red curry, chicken with cashues, and a banana coconut dessert. And we had to eat it all. We were so full and so impressed that we had cooked it all ourselves. We got free cook books too!

At some point adam and I went to see a Muay Thai fight. Its Thai boxing and its kinda violent but it was fun to see first hand.

We traveled to Chiangrai and then to a small village where we stayed at a "homestay" but it really wasn't because we all stayed together. But we had fantastic home cooked food. Adam and I and this couple from Coventry England stuffed our faces full of food. They just kept serving us more food and we kept eating it.

The next day we started our 3 day 2 night hill tribe trek. The first day we walked with our heavy packs up steep hill sides through the jungle. It was quite easy compared to Mt. Kinabalu. We got to the Lisu village where we stayed at the "5 star bamboo hut". It was actually really nice. We had a view of the hillside village and of all the rolling hills that surrounded us. Adam and I bought bracelets made by the villagers and we ate Lisu style food which was so delicious and fresh. Again we stuffed our faces more than anyone else. The next morning we visited the village school and the children were so excited to see us. We made lots of friends and I even got a little camera man, who figured out how to use my camera on his own. He took lots of pictures of me and a sweet little girl who wouldn't let go of my arm. Adam was a jungle gym.  We were very tired when we left.

We hiked through cabbage and coffee fields on the sides of the hills to the next village, the Akka tribe. It faced west so when we arrived the sun was casting a warm orange and purple glow that was reflected by the deep red soil. Our accommodations were not as nice and we all, everyone, had little to no sleep that night. We slept on the floor of wooden boards with thin mats that made nothing softer. But the noise from the dogs and the roosters and pigs and men spitting chunkers and the voice on the loud speaker at all hours, was what made it a horrible, restless night. We all woke up super grumpy and ready for the walk back to the hum of electricity, cars and flushing toilets. We walked down through bamboo forests and tall grass fields. The sun was pounding on us and I had blisters and Adams knee was hurting.  But it all seemed so surreal to be walking in the northern hills of Thailand, through orange groves and vegetable fields that smelled like cabbage and cilantro and where village farmers wore straw hats and their work horses grazed beside them  We walked through other hill villages on our way back but it was mid day when the sun was the hottest and awful smells like NYC homeless men lingered in our nostrils. That's where we had lunch and me and adam didn't want to eat. But there was the cutest puppy there that we taught how to sit for pieces of pork.

We were thankful to sleep in a soft bed with pillows and listen to the hum of the air conditioner. And a hot shower, pure bliss!

Our trip is not yet over but I feel that most of the excitement has already happened. Australia is next and we are super excited about eating a massive steak!

Keetch, Adam
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