Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 85

So I'm guessing by now its pretty obvious that my updates lost a little bit of steam while I was traveling. My last update took place in the south of Cambodia with just over a month left in my trip. I was holed up in Sihanoukville after having just been sick, but was recovered and on my way to Thailand!

I wasn't too sure what to expect from Thailand. It has a reputation that precedes it so I had high hopes. The adventure started immediately, we got dropped off at the border and had to switch from bus to van. Well, since there were 10 of us in a 11 person van headed to Bangkok we decided to wait 3 hours for the next bus to come through so that we could load in all the extra people and head to Bangkok. The unfortunate effect of this was that instead of getting to Bangkok at 8pm which I could hope to catch the last train to Chaing Mai, I only arrived at 11PM and had to stay the extra day in Bangkok. Although Bangkok has Kow San Road and a few other exciting parts, I just really wasn't in the mood for the big city. I spent the next day going to the Myanmar embassy, trying to get my visa (it was closed for a holiday but the guard couldn't explain this to me) and then just walked through China town before heading north.

Not a truck you want to get a delivery from, seen in Bangkok

Chaing Mai was a great change from Bangkok. Its a big small town. Everything is activity based. Either you go on hikes, check out temples, take a cooking class or massage. I decided my first day to renting a motorbike and cruising the mountains north of the city. It was AMAZING! If I had more time I easily would have spent a few more days cruising on a motorbike (or better yet my bicycle). These roads were incredible, hilly, and always winding.

Sweet Road leading to small hill villages

At the top of the mountain there was a temple. Big and gold, nothing extraordinary, however, there was a funny statue, Not sure what it was for, but it reminded me of you mom!

Just for you mom!

Day 2 in Chaing Mai: COOKING COURSE!

This was a highlight of Chaing Mai, I took a Thai cooking course where you could learn to make 7 different meals. There were groups of us so 21 different meals were made in total so if you were friendly to your neighbour you got to try a whole assortment of foods! I was apparently the only person who wasn't full by the end of the day. My favourites were Cashew Chicken and Pad Thai. Pad Thai has become a staple at my household now in Vancouver. Want to try it? Come on over for dinner!
My hilarious cooking instructor. He felt particularly sympathetic towards me because I was the only one not part of a couple taking the course. Either that or he just liked me

I realize neither of these photos are of Pad Thai or Cashew Chicken, but the spring rolls are the only photos I have of myself cooking

Day Three in Chaing Mai was spent taking a Massage class. Sure there were a lot of fun hikes I could take, but really, I figured this was a life skill someone from home would greatly appreciate. I can't remember the name of the course, it was Mrs. Tina's or something like that. I called from the hotel, spoke to a girl on the phone booked my class. There was supposed to be a full class in the afternoon, but the morning class still had space. I wasn't too sure what to expect (going alone without a partner). Well turns out the afternoon class being full meant there was already 1 person in it. These were 1:1 classes. Also, it was Mrs Tina giving the class. It was her brother. Nothing like a 4 hour massage course with a tiny Thai Dude. But in all honesty this was probably much less awkward than if it had been a 1:1 course with Mrs Tina due to the nature of the course, being topless was somewhat of a requisite and not sure how that would have fared otherwise.

Massage course finished I had one more day left in Chaing Mai before catching the afternoon train back to Bangkok. I spent a lot of time in Chaing Mai relaxing in my room in the evenings. We had cable TV and it just so happened to be the end of the most epic Tour De France in modern history! So between relaxing and doing pushups (because I stepped on a scale for the first time in month and realized I had lost 10 pounds) I just sat up and enjoyed the race and reflected on my trip so far.

Last day in the North was spent seeing TIGERS! Seeing the tigers wasn't actually all that exceptional, however some of the photos that came from it were easily worth the 25$ for the entrance.

Damn! Sweet Beard!

I got to see and snuggle up to an 18 month old (above) and a 2 month old tiger. Their fur is much more coarse than I would have ever imagined.

I got picked up from Tiger Kingdom and brought to a shopping centre to buy snacks, it was like Walmart, but the entire staff moved around on rollerblades.

I covertly snapped this shot!

Then it was on the train where I hoped I may meet Harry Potter on my way back to Bangkok while transferring to another train south to Krabi to meet up with Erich and Corinne!

Looking for Harry, must be on the wrong train
Long trip South

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