Doing it Thai Style!!
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 18 of 34 › view all entries
April 18th, 2010 – by: staceyjamie
1. When I first arrived it took me a while to decompress from India..I simply had nothing to say
2. I have not had this best luck with wi-fi connection although it exists everywhere, and I'm not fond up putting up new entries in net cafes...which also are everywhere.
So I arrived in Thailand on the 15th of March, after escaping India. Bkk, with all its madness, was like an oasis when I arrived at some ungodly hour. I meet two girls on the bus into khoa san road who I end up rooming with for a few days. It was the first time in my trip I had shared a room with other people. It was strange having to smell someones else's trench foot, and having to be polite enough to pretend not to notice.
Bangkok, is a cool cool cool city, that I think needs to be given the respect to be slowly explored before any decisions about it are formed. It's a crazy cacophony of noise, traffic jams, high fashion, street style, whitening products, street food in abundance, and the sort of sweltering hot weather that has you wanting to take off your own skin. I have never sweat-ed so much in my life as I have in bangkok. As an aside, Thai women never seam to sweat, in fact for the most part they are immaculately turned out, with attention to nails, hair, accessories, technology, and fashion. You can sit in a central bangkok street and watch the youth of bkk meander around being uber cool, even with acne.
I tired of KSR, shopping and sweating after a week and headed up to chaing mai.
Wow, I love that place. It was the first time I slowed down enough to actually feel like I was travelling and not just on a long holiday. There's so much to do in CM, so I choose to do nothing, but my own thing. I visited water falls, and went for an overnight stay at the most amazing house boats surrounded by misted mountains, and a lake which was home to impressive sized fish. That night I ate fresh fish that has been caught by some off duty police offers who had decided to come and partake in paradise, and succeed in nearly giving me a heart attack. Nok, our host who is also the lead singer of La Fiesta the house band at Root, Rock, Reggae bar, was our host. Despite being amazing, Nok is also slightly crazy. I like her.
CM is the home of the artist, the musician, the eccentric and eclectic Thai. Thai's like to have a good time, and for the most part this includes drinking, lots and lots of drinking.From what I have seen I would think that its pretty fair to say, that there is large portion of Thai people who are functioning alcoholics...and also a small portion..who ere...don't fuction so well. Every town has is local down and out, mad women, or total out right piss head, and CM, and also Pai are no different. It seamed rude to take pictures..otherwise I would have shown you them.
So yeah, drinking plays a big part of the culture here, but to be honest in the last few weeks, I haven't been really all that interested. It's like I can't be be bothered to get drunk and deal with the hangover, wretchedness, and loss of half of my day. Really....can some one bring back Jamie.
Equally, I have been looking at and questioning "other things", that I enjoy. I have time to think at the moment, and I like that. I'm thinking through problems, and finding solutions and answers that I'm confident in. I've spent alot of time thinking.
I went into Vipassanna for 3 days, to learn about how to be mindful using meditation. I can't really describe Vippassanna, except to say, its not easy, you will get hungry, you will feel silly, but it does it get better. I think I left as I was starting to experience what being in a meditative state felt like. The first time I sat still for 1/2 hour with my mind relatively free from thoughts, and experiencing a serene kind of stillness was a real break through for me. Helen and Martin who run the place, where lovely and contended with my at times surliness, early morning tears, and didn't tell me off when I confessed to pinching a soda water. I thought I might die of thirst. However one of the 5 Buddhist Precepts we where supposed to live by whilst in Vippassana, was not take anything which was not given to us i.e no stealing. I felt bad, and had to own up. What will I take with me from this experience. I don't know, we will see I guess. I swear less.
In CM, I met Carina. Even as I think about this woman I smile. Wow, What a beautiful, calm, serene open hearted woman. 28, she is form Uruguay and has been travelling for over a year spending most of her time in India. I met her the day she came out of Vippassana. It seams kinda boring, and will never capture the sheer quality of her essence, so I wont go into my Carina stories. Carina. If you ever read this. You rock lady.. Few people can make me laugh like you do, especially when your " full drunk".. Remember the Samba.
After a week spent gracing the dance floor of Reggae Bar, and drinking Hong Tong style late into the night in Chaing mai, we both move on to Pai.
Let me explain. If Bangkok, is hard rock, Chaing mai, easy listening, theN Pai, is pan pipe music. I love Pai, although I suspect I stayed a day or two longer than it was really that fun.
In Pai, I became part of a family. A family who felt like they had found a glimmer of a place they felt like calling home in Pai.
The pai family:
Caroline-fierce woman from canda
Mark-The paddy who fell in love with caroline
choo-God Love her, Liverpools finest
Carina- My girl
and many others I haven't mentioned.
and an assortment of Thais, some local and some sojourning from other cities to enjoy some of Pai's good life. With 1082 bends to get up to mountain to reach Pai, you really feel like you have achieved something when you arrive in Pai. I don't think I met anyone who wasn't just in love with this sleepy, chic, artistically led, little peice of Thailand. AS Buck told me..."This isn't Thailand, this is Pailand". Buck was a 56 year old, pot smoking, chopper motorbike driving, ex interpol officer, living off his pension in a falling down resort owned by a drunken swiss.
You don't need a tv in Pai, there's enough drama going on, even if the place only holds about 4000 people. Pai is visually stunning, full of sheer drops,mad crazy vista and Lisu tribes women, pulling bamboo through the undergrowth in full dress. The Lisu tribes woman dress is a haphazard concoction of different colored fabrics in velvet and other crepe de sheen type materials, sewn together, and worn with velour harem pants underneath..original and beautiful.
I surmised after spending time in various thai markets,that thais are incredibly fond, of very pretty,dinky, cute, but useless objects, and they hand-make them in abundance. I spent a lot of time looking at the things for sale thinking, "and what exactly am I supposed to do with that". Thai's also like to spend, spend, spend. Despite what the papers say, Thailand does not feel like a third world country to me. Not even when you get out into the fields where people sweat and toil over the land all day, for next to nothing, does it feel third world. Thai's, for all their annoyances, like completely ignoring you when they cant be bothered to tell you they cant speak English,or giving you what they have, rather than what you asked for, and whole host of other things you could nit pick about, are a sweet helpful, humorous smiley people.
I'm enjoying using the few thai words I have picked up, even if the language completely perplexes me.
In Pai, I met Belgique, the 36 year old from belgium living 'back to nature' stylee about 7km out side of Pai. His home of 2 bamboo platforms, with no electricity, a fire, cats, and all the green things you can shake a stick at was amazing. I named it "Jungle book". I went there one day, and was there alone in the forest. All the noises of non human life become amplified when you take the time to listen, like the cicadas, the flys, the cheeping birds, and the cockerels calling in harmony. A few meters away lies the river that has This fierce current that will pull you down stream if you're not careful. I was brave enough to get into my birthday suit and swim....I love Jungle book. Thanks Belgique you mad hippy. See you at Burning Man, next year.
Whilst In Pai, Carina ,Milky and I, went on a road trip to Mae Hong Son. 4 hours of hard ridding going up hill and down dale, and we make it. We arrive right in time for a vicious water fight with two amazing young thai girls, who used the tactic of filling up their water from the temple, and Hiding in there,as they knew we wouldn't throw water at them there. Funny clever girls. Songkran lasted for days and days and days, and by day 3, I was very much over it. Being wet all day, everyday is just boring..sorry but it is.
They through a leaving do for Carina and I, after 3 weeks when I decide to make my way back ti bkk to meet andy. Except Carina didn't leave. It was held in the ubiquitous Reggae bar, which was the bar everyone hung out in every night. For a bar that housed the worst band in Thailand. they had a very local following. I had some good times, there, but when I stopped feeling like drinkingm the the thought of listening to the band clanking their way through every Bob Marley song they didn't know the wordS too, was too much, so I stayed away. But my last night was amazing, we danced, we drank, hit the bamboo, and took silly silly pictures. It was nice to feel I had met people who would miss me, and come out to give me a send off in such a short time of knowing each other. Thank you guys.xx
So, summing up. I'm back In Bkk, and there has been a fricking Volcano. Not that that is the end of the world. It's just that this volcano and it's big ass plume of smoke, has managed to shut down all of the European air space. . WTF. Did this have to happen the weekend Andy was supposed to fly? So me and my love are still apart, and a part of me wants to put this journey on pause until he gets here, because he's supposed to be here now. This is not fair, and my heart breaks for him.
So this is me checking in from the nicest hotel room I have stayed in my whole trip...it was meant to be a treat for Andy and I, and i'm all alone, eating far too much Thai food, and typing out the contents of my head, so that I can fill it with new randomness...mindfully.xx
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