Like a recurring bad dream I’ve found myself back in Bangkok again. Island weather was getting worse with the onset of the monsoon season. We went snorking around Koh Samet’s decidedly dead looking coral reef but not before I was seasick (the Gulf of Thailand now tops the list of "The Most Interesting Places [REDACTED] Has Ever Thrown Up In"). We also paid a visit to a shark and turtle farm. Not quite sure what type of sharks we saw though.
The weather forcast for the next week is "rain punctuated by thunderstorm". Not just for Koh Samet or Bangkok or even Thailand, but for the whole of South East Asia. We know, we checked google.
But at least in Bangkok we can get some shopping done or look at the grand palace.
Currently I’m in the only functional internet cafe (that I can find) on the small island of Ko Samet in the Gulf of Thailand. Doing nothing whatsoever – except swimming and laying in the sun.
We left Chiang Mai two days ago – but not before sampling the "delights" of a Thai massage…
We were led up stairs in to a dark room (but not before being ordered to change into what would have been loose fitting robes on a thai person, but making me look a bit like a badly dressed genie). and then I had my entire body pounded and kneeded like bread dough. Not really recommendable unless you’re the Maquis de Sade.
Katie would like to point out that it wasn’t that bad and that she has a higher pain threshold than me. But I would like to disagree for the sake of argument.
In no particular order of events:
Katie was feeling a bit better by yesterday evening, so we signed up to go day trekking. Which involved: a short but tiring hike up a hill to a Hmong tribe village, an elephant ride, bamboo rafting and a swim. I have never ridden an elephant before so wasn’t sure what to expect. Unfortunately my elephant had a bad case of the sniffles (and so would you if your elongated nose dragged in the dust when you walked). The problem with this was that elephants come equipped with omnidirectional probusci and this particular specimen managed to sneeze orange snot backwards up my trouser leg.
Last night (told you this wasn’t in any order) we went to the cinema and ended up watching "Hotel Rwanda". One of the few English language films worth watching in Thailand at the moment. Very harrowing though and the use of close camera angles gives the film a near documentary feel. I think the film proves Voltaires maxim "we are all guilty of the good we never did".
Also we found an Anglo-Mexican cafe that serves bottomless cups of tea. This blog entry was brought to you by the buzzing of caffine induced paranoia. And the letter q.
…So I’ve left her in the guesthouse to get some rest (Thank you Tractor Girl whoever you are, for your concern, I’ll pass on your regards).
Yesterday we had the mother of all storms (or at least the worst tropical storm I’ve ever been in). It came in late afternoon and left power outages all across our side of Chiang Mai. It took out the air con too – so we went down the road where the lights were still on, to a restauarant to cool off for a while. Chiang Mai traffic is hairy at the best of times, but trying to cross the road with no street lights was pretty nerve racking.
Travelling just a few streets of a city in pitch darkness, was like the end of the world. Darkly claustrophic streets and alleyways light only by torches and the occasional candle in a shop window, like a Ridley Scott movie set.
I have a vegetarian to look after so I’ll stop typing now.
We are still in Chiang Mai. Saturday ended up being another laundry day (I have fresh attire again), with a quick visit to Wat Prah Singh (big temple in Chiang Mai), then on Sunday we went to Wat Doi Suithep (big temple outside of Chaing Mai). I’m all monked out now, but the sight of monks wandering around with large cameras taking photos for the tourists isn’t one I’ll easily forget. I always thought buddhists eshewd technology for some reason.
We also made a trip to the Chiang Mai Zoo, and saw some extremely lazy big cats (or possibly comatose with boredom?).
Who would have thought that Chiang Mai would have a thriving Rasta community – a discovery we made on the strip of land behind the hostel we were staying in – A whole strip of bars with a reggae vibe, Jamican flags and dreadlocked Thai’s. Very Strange.
Oh, Katie is currently laid up in bed as she was quite ill last night.