A Thai Patty's Day

Chiang Mai Travel Blog

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Dragon outside a temple in Chiang Mai

Bangkok proved to be drain on the wallet as I enjoyed lots of shopping on the streets. I figured I might as well fill the space I made in my bag after sending a package home from India. I liked that city, especially the public transport by river. It's full of temples and ugly white men with Asian girlfriends/wives. I needed to move on though, so I boarded a train bound for Chiang Mai. I was really impressed with their trains, but who wouldn't be after experiencing rail in India. We arrived early morning on St. Patrick's Day, so my first step after locating a place to crash was finding an Irish pub. Yes, they have one everywhere in the world, even Mongolia! It just so happened that the guesthouse we picked was a few doors away from the UN Irish pub.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (temple outside Chiang Mai)
My Guinness radar was well in tune. Before beginning the celebrations, we headed out to the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a sacred temple outside of town perched on a hill. Apparently the spot was chosen by a white elephant that died there while carrying a Buddha relic. It only required ascending 306 stairs, but inside I found some beautiful Buddha figures. I really enjoy all the dragons adorning the temples here.

That was about it for sight-seeing. The heat makes everything move in slow motion, so most of the time I move a little, then rest in the shade, then walk some more, and then rest. Anyway, after a nice cold shower, I made a beeline for the Irish pub to find out "what's the craic." Celebrating St. Patrick's Day is a must back home, so I had to throw on some green and join in the fun.

Detail of the dragon on the foot of the 306 stairs
I noticed on their business card that the proprieter's name is Alexander CULLEN. This made me doubly excited as that is my Irish side's surname. They actually had Guinness on tap, good enough for Thailand standards. An Irish band soon started playing, and I felt like I was back at home.

Although my homesick self wanted to stay, we decided to take in some of the local culture and headed to a Thai boxing match. We picked a good ringside table and I snapped many pictures of the competitors before the matches. I didn't see any blood flying like I imagined (well, as seen in the movies), but it was interesting. I was especially taken by the fact they had 12-year-olds up there fighting! Crazy. The main event was some Aussies vs. Thai fighters. I got progressively drunk through this entire spectacle thanks to two pints of Guinness and many more during the matches, by the time the cabaret show started with drag queens I was unstoppable with the camera and you would have had to tie me to my seat to get me to stay put.

Relaxing Buddha
We stumbled out of there, gorged on some food at a "saloon" and I've been nursing a hangover ever since. My typical post-Patty's day hell.

Tonight I'm laying off the sauce and hitting up the night market where I hope not to buy anything. Then tomorrow I plan to be a proper tourist.  We travel further north to the Golden Triangle (where Burma/Thailand/Laos meet) and then we'll check out the Long Neck tribes. Apparently they are Burmese but prefer to live in Thailand. They make all their money off tourists - the only tribe that charges money for a visit. This I must see, though, so tour booked and paid.  Photos to follow. 

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Dragon outside a temple in Chiang …
Dragon outside a temple in Chiang…
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (temple o…
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (temple …
Detail of the dragon on the foot o…
Detail of the dragon on the foot …
Relaxing Buddha
Relaxing Buddha
Not real emerald but very elegant
Not real emerald but very elegant
An Irish band in an Irish Pub!
An Irish band in an Irish Pub!
Getting ready for the fight
Getting ready for the fight
They start em young here
They start 'em young here
More prep
More prep
Oiling him up
Oiling him up
A little pep talk perhaps?
A little pep talk perhaps?
Some Thai boxing action
Some Thai boxing action
A break for the boy (I cheered for…
A break for the boy (I cheered fo…
These ladies mean business!  She w…
These ladies mean business! She …
Relaxing post-fight
Relaxing post-fight
I liked this kid doing his mother…
I liked this kid doing his mother…
The cabaret show after the boxing …
The cabaret show after the boxing…
John posing during the show
John posing during the show
I think it obvious that I was real…
I think it obvious that I was rea…
Nice legs, for a man
Nice legs, for a man
Chiang Mai
photo by: Stevie_Wes