Chiang Mai, re-re-visited

Trip Start Feb 29, 2004
Trip End Apr 12, 2005

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Just wrapping up yet another month here in Chiang Mai. It's practically my home way from home now! Have been pretty busy and had loads of laughs while doing a 3-week Thai massage course. Theoretically, I've learned levels 1-3 and we even did full 2-hour massages on our final day of practice. I almost remembered all the moves, and found out that my brain is incredibly rusty as far as learning and memorizing go and will need a bit more practice with studying if I'm seriously going to go back to school at some point next year. Ouch...

Once again I've met some really quality people, mostly through the course. When we got sick of tofu every day for lunch, Oriel, Laurina and I went across the road to taste a few crispy critters at the local market (the bees had a nice flavour till you get to the nasty aftertaste--but to be fair to the bees, we think it was maybe due to old oil). We also went rock climbing the other weekend about 45 minutes outside of CM and it was GREAT! My first time out on the rocks with all the gear, so thankfully the other two were pros and could guide me thru it all. Can't say I'd like to wear a harness and those bloody tight little rubber ballerina shoes all day every day, but it all works to help you get up the rock face, so that's fine with me!

My old friend Mark (Mark, that means I've known you for 15 years, it doesn't mean you're 100!) from my uni study abroad year in Bordeaux also came up and visited for a few days since he was in Bangkok for the CITES conference (deals with illegal international trade in endangered plants+animals). It was great to catch up with him and reminisce the golden oldie days again, and we even hiked up the local mountain, Doi Suthep, to the completely guilded out wat at the top. It was a bit of an adventure trying to find and stay on the 'trail' a lot of the time, so we got extra exercise from walking up and down several parts while we searched. We got even more exercise and a major adreneline rush when we were stopped dead in our tracks by what sounded suspiciously like a snake hissing every time we tried to take a step forward...We tried throwing things in the general direction of the hissing piles of leaves, but nothing was stirring out into the open. In the end, we decided that walking up the road was better than taking a taxi ride down to the hospital with two fang puncture wounds, so we back-tracked back out onto the road. A shame, since we'd just spent the better part of an hour trying to find the damn trail and then had to abandon it less than 100m after we'd started up it. Oh well, it gave us a good story that ended well--but if you ask either of us face to face, it was a 10-ft black cobra (and not a cockroach, which was choice B). Better to look and feel foolish than mess with fangs, I say!

So once again I bid farewell to CM. Next, it's back down to BKK and then to the island of Ko Tao (Turtle Island) for my first ever diving experience to get my open water PADI certif! blub blub blub

Then it looks like I'm flying out to India next week--I'm sooooo excited! I've wanted to go there for so long, so it's a bit weird to actually be going now. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for the assault on all the senses, if that's possible.

And as a footnote, I'm also slightly reconsidering how I do this travelogue. I've really enjoyed doing it, esp as it's made me realize again how much I love babbling on--er, I mean writing--and of course shooting photos, and it's been great for a new taste of being the 'research-photo-journalist' that I've always wanted to be. But I also feel like I've spent a bit too much time in internet cafes during the past few months (kinda like you can see from the shortened entries of my trip thru Vietnam), so I think I'll take a slightly easier approach to it on the India leg of this journey and maybe keep the entries on the briefer side (yyyaaaaayy say the viewing audience!).

So enough for now, hope everyone's well and having fun. For all my American friends out there, I hope you're going to vote--this one's is SOOOOOO damn important!! (esp if you're voting for anyone besides you-know-who!). :)
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