Mae Hong son : Coffee and crashlandings
Mae Hong Son Travel Blog› entry 94 of 268 › view all entries
Donāt think Iām gonna do much today. Mooch about Mae Hong Son a bit. Back as a solo traveller once more thereās something refreshingly unencumbered about wanting to just do little more than anticipate the likely play of sunlight and shadow on your chosen photographic subjects of the day. This being the temples and hills of Mae Hong Son today.
I stroll abouts a bustling morning market. A kind man and his smiling daughter are disproportionately impressed by my sub-mediocre mauling of their language whilst I buy doughnuts off of them. But kind of them to encourage. I also - hatefully - waste time (oh precious, precious Liquid Crystal Displayed time!) searching and finding the only place in town where I can have the āpleasureā of purchasing a new watch. āGrrrrr!ā There will be no instruction manual with this one so I try not to let my general rage at watches boil over into visible; audible frustration whilst the guy tries to show me how to utilise the various functions of this torturously ugly looking device.
I had spotted a temple riiiight up on a hilltop yesterday so this is my first sightseeing mission of the day. Two carved dragon-dog thingamies guard the entrance and base of a long, pleasantly zig-zagging slope that takes you all the way up to the hill summit and Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu. It is considered the most important temple in Mae Hong Son, if not the whole province and the two principle chedis (or stupas) were built in 1860 and 1874 respectively. So not so venerable in age as these things often can be. And itās fairly impressive too. Surrounded by little stalls, mostly manned by monks hawking postcards or small baskets of artistic looking offerings of flowers, fruit and incense sticks. The Thai visitors gather these in their palms and stroll clockwise around the chedi base, cameras clicking all the way.
Other wats, shrines and pavilions are scattered around this high vantage point area, some 1,300 metres above sea level.
I gladly sit down for a coffee at āBefore Sunset Viewā cafĆ©, a tiny affair, a collection of tables and chairs on a wooden balcony overhang facing towards the sunset stage of the western hills. Taking this coffee and slowing down and staring at this green horizon panorama has to be one of the finest coffee breaks of my journey to date!
Iāve noticed today, strewn all about the hillside and temple grounds, and occasionally snagged in the trees, the ghostly burnt remnants of the large white tissue paper lanterns that have returned to Earth after all under cover of dark.
I stroll back down, all the way into town. I make enquiries of the tourist office as to what there might be to be seen in the immediate area as Iām not inclined to bus or package-tour it out of town for inspiration today. All he mentions Iāve pretty much already seen. So lunch by the lake. Some readingā, writinā and the like and I pretty much decide to amble back up to hilltop wat as I have promised myself that I would like to be in prime position, seated and iced coffee in hand at the āBefore Sunset Viewā cafĆ© for when the golden orb once more bows out for the day.
So thatās where you find me now, jotting away in my note book.
But, I dunno, thereās a something a little more to the manner of my present discomfort I feelā¦ I feelā¦ I feel?ā¦ I feel pretty grim actually. āPhewf!ā Have a another slurp of iced coffee, thatāll helā¦ āoof!ā, no, that didnāt help at all. Try focus on reading. Sun. Sun. Sun. Hot. Hot. Hot. Nope readingās an impossibility right now.
But yep, somethingās really grinding away down there. Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. Sun. Sun. Hot. Must see sunset. Common symptom of the longterm traveller. Sunset and sunrise addiction. (The former addiction more frequently satiated than the latter as it doesnāt involve the need to crawl out of bed!). Muuuust see sunset. Rumble - rumble - gloop. Hmmm? Not good. Coffee? Not good.
Sun turns from ochre to gold to redā¦ rumble - splong -bubble - bubble ā¦ and it drops ā¦ rumble - roll - rumble ā¦ sunset DONE! Tick that box, pack that bag and āGO GO GO!ā ā¦ but not too fast! Donāt shake that amoebic nitro-glicerine in your gut too hard, you donāt want a chain reaction setting inā¦ rumble - slosh - splash - rumble- sploingoā¦
[ T-minus 5 minutes to lift off ]
āOh I seeā¦ lovelyā¦ā Did I even ask a goddamn question that statement could possibly have germinated from?! Rumble - splosh - burpā¦ āUnd how about you?ā ā¦ slosh.
[ T-minus 4 minutes to lift off ]
Iāve only really had minor food poisoning the once. Not fun of course but I consider myself to have been lucky in life so far in this regard. And Iām still hoping my sturdy immune system will win the day, avert disaster, cut the correct coloured wire ( āā¦ the red one, the red one! NOT THE BLUE!ā ) to diffuse the bomb about to go off in my belly ānā bumā¦ ruuuuumble ā¦ but I dunno. And anyway. Should the worst happen I feel Iāve had a blessed journey so far. Not one cold, cramp, bout of diorrhoea or other illness to hamper my global progress so far. Hey, I even went a whole month without a bout of Egyptian Belly so it may well be time to pay my dues to travel karmaā¦ and I did laugh at Jon after all! Blop - blop - gurgle -blopā¦
[ T-minus 3 minutes to lift off ]
āUnd vhere else vill you be travelling next?āā¦ err to the nearest possible f**kinā toilet mate! āUm, Iām not really sure.
[ T-minus 2 minutes to lift off ]
āAlzo, okay, okay. Safe travels!ā. āSawah-dii kha!ā.āThanks!ā Ruuuuun! Thank god my sleep-shackās so close to the centre of town! Splosh - splosh - splosh. Jog. Run. Jog. Run. Rumble. Run.
[T -minus 1 minute to lift off ]
āHello - hello - evening - BYE!ā To my hosts. Fumble key in door. The Boy Scout in me has one last ( ruuuuuuuuumble! ) task to dash off before showdown should it happenā¦ grabs empty plastic mineral water bottleā¦ rumble- blopā¦ grabs scissors from First Aid kitā¦ sploosh - sploosh - sploosh āUh oh!ā ā¦ cuts around base of said 1.
10, 9, 8...
Be Prepared. The time honoured Boy Scouts motto.
7, 6, 5...
Am I prepared for this?! Get to the f**king bathroom Weselby!!!
4, 3, 2...
āIām sorry for laughing at you Jon!ā So long and farewell my good friend Dignityā¦
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