Monday, March 28, 2011

Goodbye Thailand

Tomorrow we drive to Chiang Rai (in Northeast Thailand) and then we'll be heading out of the country on a slow boat down the Mekong into Laos.  I've done a lot over the last few weeks, here are some of the more memorable moments.

1.  Boating, canoeing and swimming around the karsts near Phuket.  Truly magnificent and quintessential Thailand.

2. Riding the ferry to Koh Tao.  It was a very rough day (we were fortunate that the ferry wasn't cancelled) but it meant that about 100 people were either green or hanging over trashcans and the side of the boat.  Unfortunately for them that meant that they were also drenched from the rain and sea spray.  Malena and I were 2 of about 20 that weren't sick.  I was having a great time (as soon as I went onto the back deck where I wasn't afraid of drowning if the boat capsized).

3. Trying to find our way to Jim Johnson's house in Bangkok only to be trapped inside the post office during a torrential rain storm.  When we left (it was still raining) we started hopping between the awnings to move down the street and found ourselves among what must have been all of the mechanic shops in Bangkok.  They were highly amused by our antics.

4. Lost again trying to find the bus station on the north side of Bangkok.  This time we got directions from a guard (all but two words "museum" and "car park" were given in Thai and with A LOT of pointing).  Along the way we wandered through the gates of a garden where we asked directions again from a different guard.  He pointed us in the right direction and we went off.  At the first split in the path we started down the wrong way...only to discover this as another guard came running after us...apparently the guards had been talking on the radio so we were essentiallly handed off through the park by little Thai security guards with radios. It wasn't a normal botanical garden experience.

5. Avoiding the tuk tuk drivers and trying to find the wats in Bangkok.  Although frustrating at the time, it really is funny to think about.

6. Wandering through one of the biggest night markets I've been in so far in Chiang Mai.  Originally on the Silk Road it's history is a long one and the market takes up about four city blocks.

7. Our "adventure" day outside of Chiang Mai with a character for a guide who was playing little pranks on everyone as we went along.  He was originally from the jungle of North Thailand.  We saw a village of long-neck people, rode and played with elephants, hiked to a waterfall then went for a swim in the frigid water, and finished the day rafting down the river.  We had a good group of people (us and 6 others) and it was a full and exciting day.

Pictures will follow soon.  Next up:  Luang Prabang, Laos and then Siam Reap in Cambodia

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