Hitting the beaches...
Trip Start Feb 28, 2012
40Trip End Nov 22, 2012
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So in about an hour I’ll be in Pattaya. I have been in Chiang Mai for 2 nights from my exerts in Mae Sariang. I am typing my first diary on my own laptop which I decided to buy in Chiang Mai. After researching and finding the best option for a day I buy it the next day, communication is tough but we manage and on the first night there is a night market where I find a copied software place and buy windows ultimate 7 and MS office 2011 for about 3 quid each! So next day they load them on for me as there is no problem here with copied software; in the Pantip Shopping Plaza where I bought it there are 3 shops which sell copied software
So far I have been a bit concerned with the extra valuable I am now carrying around but now being on a bus and being able to do my diary is pretty good. I have backed up all my photos and have personalized the netbook and set the security options up too so hoping buying this was the right choice.
Havent eaten since 5pm yesterday so got headache but had a coffee on train this morning which may have been why I have just had my first taste of needing the loo on a moving bus…! Not a good experience when you only have one hand rail, a bucket of water and a McDonalds cup..! Say no more…
So after spending a good few days in Mae Sariang I decided that rather than cramming in treks and the northern circuit which would be more difficult to travel anyway, that I would get closer to BKK for the flight and try Pattaya and then Ko Chang
So after a relaxed, sleepy and pleasant few days in Mae Sariang I took the 5 hour bus trip to Chiang Mai. I sat opposite a Phalang but just nodded and kept myself to myself for a bit as didn’t want a long chat the whole journey so thought id try speak later. On the journey down there was a great roadside river perfect for white water rafting and loads of places to stop and this is only backing up my idea to maybe take an international driving test license and buy a bike to travel through Asia. Like the UK you have to buy a ticket to your destination though on the swaentghaew you pay where ever you get off which is good but you cant then get off, look round and get another, you have to wait and probably for a while too but on a bike you can really explore so I have a post on Lonley Planet asking what insurance I would need and license and also whether its possible to travel SE Asia by bike and if so what spec bike I would need. Hoping that by time I get to Phnom Penh I know what to do and can take the test and buy a bike there.
Chiang Mai was as expected but maybe a little better, I thought it would be just like BKK but it wasn’t as bad… lots of phalang and when walking round loads of bars, go-go bars, massage places (mainly cosha – I think?!) but I spent the first day walking to 3 shopping centres where places sold laptops and at night I met Marc, who was the phalang on the bus I later chatted with, a retired French guy who kinda kept pulling faces like Mr Bean does, so I met him for dinner and he told me all about the thing with ‘Peter’ who was the guy who succumbed to Nazi pressure in the 2nd world war and caved in to the Germans…
After, by chance I found a place with Thai boxing on so I went in and it was a boxing stage surrounded by about 10 bars, all with go-go girls in and one place with Ladyboys!! So I sat to watch in a cunning position to see the wonder that is the Laydboys! I think most of you have seen Alan Partridge and his strange curiosity with Thai Ladyboys but now that is even funnier because I understand the strange curiosity… they are a bit of a phenonomen…. I don’t know if I mentioned but Swedish phalang told me the reason you get ladyboys is to do with the diet in Thailand?! And that the spices in food affect estrogen levels?! and that before healthcare for it here became free, Thai’s couldn’t afford the medication so babies had a 50/50 chance of being a lady boy, but also when they grew up they actually take estrogen pills, injections etc to be even more feminine…. All sounds far fetched but who knows…. They are all ultra feminine tho, way more than women are and they range from BA in a tutu to actually stunningly beautiful…! And there really are many that you cant tell with and also many you wouldn’t wanna get in a fight with either!! So anyway the Thai boxing was good but after a while I realize its like WWF and think it’s a bit staged but I managed a video or a knockdown which I will put on youtube, but then I took a sneaky 2nd video and panned round to the ladyboys and one chatting to a phalang sat in their bar… its dark so ill work on a better one if I get chance again!
So I am in Pattaya and immediately I see why Thai’s have said to come here and the reasons are 2 fold; firstly there are many Thai’s here who come to holiday or spend time at the beach and enjoy the seafood and secondly because I am a phalang, this is phalang central and possibly in some parts, the sleaziest place on earth
So I go back down and there’s a mobile food vendor and I ask how much to do a big pot I can share with everyone, he says 100B so I get one and eat and share with the bar women and we chat and I learn their names and we joke and they ask if I am here for a Thai woman! And I explain no, I am here for the beach and to relax but thank you anyway, and so the records set and they seem to find that ‘different’ but you see they like it and so we all chat, get on and laugh and joke…. As I type this I am not sure how it all sounds, but the reason I am putting this in is obviously as it’s a diary but also to try and explain what Thai people are like, you see they really are amazing, 99.9% of them anyway, so remember they are nearly all devout Buddhists and sometimes I am not sure if that is why they are so nice or whether they are just naturally very friendly and being Buddhist just adds to this pleasantness. People do what they have to to get by and there is a sense of warmth between all Thai people; they all accept the ladyboys, just with a wry smile tho, there seems to be no class divides anywhere I have seen, they love life and live it as best they can so you see, unlike in the UK where the vice industry is illegal, its legal and fully accepted here, you wont find anyone turning there nose up to anyone else whatever they do and if someone is struggling, has a problem or needs help they will help anyone, even phalangs! You see instances of this every day here, and its quite addictive and for me its perfect because it fits well with me everyone being that way with everyone else
So after eating and having a good laugh with everyone (I have a pic I will upload too) I decide that after 3 weeks here and only the odd beer I am gonna have a look round and have a good night, game of pool and a few drinks and chat to some of these phalangs…
So anyway, that was my night out, I had a great night, it seems strange that I speak so little Thai but now manage to have conversations in half Thai half English all the time and in the 3+ weeks I have been here have probably spent 75% talking to locals and 25% to phalangs…. My time so far has been perfect, a perfect mix for me of my own time, time with the locals and some time with phalangs and that’s without doing a single tour, trek, course or anything but I know that when I come back to Thailand I will do the cooking course and a few treks too and look forward to now meeting some phalangs and maybe travel buddies but at the moment I am liking how it is going, and its probably going to be the same same for Cambodia too and I am really looking forward to going…. Oh yeah, and in Thailand and Cambodia, in mid April its New Year and they have this water festival thing where for about 3 or 4 days the country goes wild, everyone is off celebrating the whole time and everyone, and apparently this really is everyone, just throws water over each other! In streets, in bars, restaurants and I’m talking with buckets, cups, barrels, water pistols, anything and all day for the whole time too! Now I had heard about this and was gutted as I thought it was just Thailand but I bought my Cambodia book and it says they do it too but that they also throw talcum powder too so everyone is just covered in like a white clay mixture all the time
OK, so I am staying in Pattaya one more night as travelling to Ko Chang is difficult by bus but I found a local service that will take you right to the coast by air con mini-van for 400B which includes the ferry over which is probably only 50B more than getting the buses and ferry separately but is much quicker. So my next update will probably either be from Ko Chang or when I get back to BKK for my flight over to Cambodia…. Can’t believe its almost been a month, its gone very quick, I am loving it and want you all to know I miss you all though but also to say I am well, good, enjoying the travel and there is nothing to worry about – all is good. Love to you all…x