Wats, tribes and bed bugs.

Trip Start Jul 24, 2009
Trip End Jun 30, 2010

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Where I stayed
Baanlansa, Chiang Mai

Flag of Thailand  ,
Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hi, so glad to get out of the hot hot city. I traveled up here by bus which took 12 hours in total. I was really dreading it but with a combination of interesting scenery, a reclining chair and my ipod ( 1000 thank yous to Thomas!!!)

I arrived in Chiang Mai feeling excited about my next week and a half. That was until I found my guesthouse and was shown my room. "We have chosen this one for you" said the owner and so had 2 spiders, numerous bed bugs and some guys beard hair (still in the sink). I had to shower and did so in a fashion very similar to being at the public swimming baths, nothing touching the floor and nobody seeing anything!! Wanted to shut the curtains before I left the room, but who'd have guessed that gaffer tape could be used instead of a pole and rings, ingenious! Got them shut and went out looking for some inner karma.

With the city being much bigger than I had thought I managed to visit about 5 wats/temples during the day. They were all magnificent to look at (as you can see from the pictures). The biggest temple is at the end of my road and I managed to watch the monks gathering to chant. As long as you behaved and dressed respectfully they were all so welcoming, possibly booking in for a monk chat later on in the week. Question on an email please. Knowing that I wanted to get out for a day before ny cookery course started I booked a tour to see the Karen tribe for the next day. Somehow had a feeling I didn't want ot chill in my room.

Had a horrible nights sleep as I was convinced there were mice running through the walls. The moment I got bitten on my leg by a bed bug I cocoon myself in my sleepsheet and thought sweating to death was better alternative. To make up for my night the visit to the tribes was amazing. A very thought provoking day. The main tribe we visited was the Karen tribe (the ladies who wear the rings around their necks, long necks). The women start wearing the rings around their necks from the age of  5 and every 3 years more are added. They are made of solid brass and are alarmingly heavy.  They sleep, wash and do everything with them on. As they are refugees from Myanmar money from tourism is their only income. Part of me felt pity that they had to carry on this tradtion just to make a living but actually being there the families were happy, well presented and showing us that it is just a differtn way of living.. They are very quiet people but not shy.

Cookery classes have started and they are brilliant. We make about 6 dishes a day and I have learnt to make curries, stir frys, salads, soups and some puddings. My chillithreshold has doubled in a matter of days! Not sure how I'm going to cope going back to having no chilli in my food. I'll have to ahve some pizza soon and see!

There are some great bars in Chiang Mai particulalry the Roof Top bar which is literally a bar on a roof. You have a bit of a climb to get there including a steep metal ladder which could turn leathal after too much of the local beer (6.4%!)!!

Going to the Elephant Nature Conservation place on Friday so I will tell you about that soon. Very excited as I heard there are some baby elephants! I'll try not to get too excited.

Tonight however I have an evening of washing, writing, wrapping and drinking.


ps I have also moved to a dramatically better room. Well I have my own hut now!
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