Monday, November 28, 2005

A Piece of Pai

Pai is a mass of contradictions.
Remote village tribespeople right next to the 7/11. You can buy native handycrafts here as well as puffy-jackets. There is almost as many forign people here as Thais, so I naturally have mixed feelings about Pai. Yesterday we walked up to this mountain temple and the view was amazing. I love all the Jungle. Today was so great though...we rented motorcycles, and it was so much fun! I wasn't sure how I would like it but it's great. I love to go really really fast. It's not even automatic, so we learned how, all of us for the first time today. Dan's bike was having problems and Michelle was not so confident but Ori and I went really fast all the time. Tomarrow we will go to a canyon and to hotsprings.
A small note about the bus ride up, it really made me realize how spoiled we really are. The public bus to Pai was not only crowded but packed sardine-like, and oh yeah it was rediculous uncomfortable. At first I was very miserable, our assigned seats were taken and we were crammed into a much worse spot. Then i saw all the Thais around me, how this is the ONLY way for them, mabe everyday and realized that sometimes, life is suffering, and that is ok, my mood brightened and I was able to enjoy the rest of the ride in a better mood.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


Two days ago we had an incredible adventure. We went to Doi Inthanon National Park and met some incredible thais. It all started when the guidebook said that it would cost 30 bhat to get to the top of the mountain but all the taxis and minibus' were charging 1000! We could not afford this and would not settle so we tried our hand at hitch-hiking. The first truck we saw we asked the driver ("Mr K") and his friend if we could all go in the back of his pick-up and for what price...And through broken English he not only let us ride with him but FOR FREE! As it ends up he was also a tourist to the park and all of us (Dan, Ori, his friend Michele and I) spent the day looking at incredible waterfalls, mountain-top temples and beautiful scenery. As if that were not enough, he also drove us back to Chaing Mai (over 60km away). To thank him and his friend we wanted to take him to dinner, but he drove us there and picked the restaurant, so we had authentic Thai food with Thais-it was great! They even wanted to pay the bill but we would not let them. That day was definitely the hi-light of the trip for me so far.

Yesterday we went to a forest monastery/Wat and that was very cool and peaceful. The temple was built in something like the 1300's. It is so interesting to see and touch something that is so old. We also went to check out a program that offers 10 day meditation courses. We read about this in our guide book and went to see if this would be a good thing to do. It is not religious but inward based, and in the Vipassana meditation style. This means no talking, contact, reading or writing for 10 whole days. You stay at the monastary and live very simply, meditating pretty much all day. It is supposed to be very difficult but also very rewarding. We are still not sure if we want to do this.

What do you think?
Is it a waste of our time or an experience that we should seek?

Yesterday we also went to a monk chat- that was very neat because we were able to ask the monks anything and they were able to practice their English.
Today we head for Pai with Ori and Michele, it is a very small city almost a village that is supposed to be very beautiful. The bus ride however is 4 hours of cramped winding roads. Well usually there is a trade-off.
We have pictures of all of our adventures but were not able to up-load all of them. Soon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Gentle Awakening

The bus to Chaing Mai was not that comfortable (but about as good as it gets for riding a bus anyway) I couldn't sleep but read "Girl with a Pearl earring" -good but not great. I was 5 pages from the end and the bus driver turned off my light- that really sucked. However we decided to stay at the guesthouse that we were dropped off at-quiet and cheap and the big bonus is a comfortable bed. The last guesthouse bed was almost plywood. So it turned out that the gamble with the super cheap bus turned out.
I fell into a deep sleep and awakened to birds chirping and warm sunshine sunshine, gentle mulling about on the ground below. I felt that the suffocating nature of Bangkok was finally lifted. As if that wasn't enough we found a funky and serene "Roof Top Bar", also called "THC bar" to watch the sunset and drink beer and tea from. That was truly awesome.
We also met Ori, a young Israeli man and we have made plans to go to a national park with him tomorrow, it is on the tallest mountain in Thailand.
We have made a light itinerary of going on a sort of loop around the north western part of Thailand to the areas not too touristy and more authentic in nature -however this comes from the most published guidebook in the world so we will have to see.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Mystery of the North

Tonight in 45 minutes we depart via bus northward specifically Chaing Mai. There is so much relief that a change in pace and scenery and people is nigh. The trip is 12 hours and we got a great deal but it is definitely a gamble because we don't know if the bus is actually aircon, reclining seats and a bathroom but for the both of us it cost 400 bhat. Very cheap.
We finally met Bee-- he was working but at least he was able to spend his break with us. He is a very cool person and when we get back hopefully we can all go out but now he is a crazy busy working studying person like many of you.
We also went to Jim Thompson house which was very neat and informative about some Thai culture as well as having many artifacts. The zoo was a strange combination of good and bad. More sad than anything, many of the animals were in very cramped spaces and were bored, swinging their heads back and forth and begging for food. The bad part is that people would actually feed them just to amuse their children. But it was very neat to see tigers and different bears and even hippos. Well now we depart.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Bangkok fever

Oh yes i have the fever, but the kind where you are hot and sticky, sick and your head hurts. For the first time since i've left i really miss people. Especially my nephews. today we went to the amulet market and another Wat or temple with a 46m long reclining buddah. We also ran errands--which take forever here because the city is so slow but busy all the time.

This is a cat (duh) at the amulet market


These are the amulets--you can get a good luck charm for pretty much anything--yes even that what you are thinking!


this is the huge buddah, you can't even get the whole thing in one picture.
So before i didn't post any pictures because we wern't sure if we could log onto the same site at once, however there are much more pictures on dans flickr website from my digital camera. if you were wondering I took 98% of the pictures. Some of them turned out quite nicely.

Well it would be really nice to hear from all of you to see how you are doing. I miss you all.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Grand Indeed

Yesterday we went to the Grand Palace, what can I say really? Wow. Bangkok is such an old city with so much detail in all the temples and the history is so rich that it makes it all the more magnificent. No detail was spared in the making and up-keep of the Grand Palace, every tile of mosaic is perfectly placed. It is almost overwhelming trying to take in all the details, a cursory glance is not enough, then you realize that everything is in layers. One object means something and that to something else. The mystic and the real collide here and something magical happens, or at least something really beautiful. To follow this experience was another great insight into Thai culture. Yesterday was not only the full moon but Loi Gratong.

Loi Gratong by Chaokoh (The Islanders)

November, full moon night,the tide is
high on the river bank. Boys and girls
and the gang come on enjoy Loi Gratong

Loi-loi Gratong, Loi-loi Gratong,
LoiGratong Thailand, The Islanders band
comes LoiGratong.

Ram Wong- Loi Gratong, Ram Wong -
Loi Gratong, donc..da..di..donc we're all
enjoy, donc..da..di..donc, we're all happy

Winai Kwunyeun

Loi Gratong is a day where the people of Thailand pray for forgiviness from the river god. They float beautiful arrangements of flowers and bread down the river with candles and incense. There is also a big festival with a ton of people, food and dancing. This was such a neat experience especially because there were not many foreigners there. We were given the translation of that song from the musicians who played it. I really loved to see the Thai girls dancing, it was so colourful and elegant.

Ping-pongs anyone?

Two nights ago, after a two-hour Thai massage ( here is a correction because I guess it depends on where you go, that you get your breasts massaged or not, at this place you do. The lady giggled and said "so nice...I don't have") we decided to check out Patpong. This is the historic red-light district of Bangkok and everyone I have talked to has talked about the freaky sex-shows that they have there. One of those things that you go to experience and never do again.
Well that pretty much sum's it up. There is also an extensive night market selling fake and rip-off everything. As you walk down the market you are approached by men who shove a list in your face and say "sexy-show, banana-show, ping-pong show"
So after we had finished shopping and eating we dared the "show".
Our guide book warned us about the places claiming no-cover charge and are instead huge money-suckers.
We thought that we were going for a bar that avoided this but of course we were almost robbed. What we saw was some very bored dancing thai's and "shows" that were more awkward and bazaaro than a turn-on. I don't know, darts just don't do it for me. But it was an 'experience'.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A day on Thai-time

Today we had planed to go to the Grand Palace and we choose to walk because it is not too far away. On the way we were had by our first scam. A woman and a guy came up to us and started talking then poured corn seed in our hands to feed the pigeons. it was so sly and we tried to walk away but no chance. As soon as we tried to leave and the pigeons were gone they demanded 150 bhat each for a few small bags of corn! That is like $3 american and far too expensive considering most small meals are 20-40 bhat. I went to dgive him 5 bhat and he got so mad when we walked away he threw it on the ground...i didn't look back to see him pick it up again. We were scamed but Dan reluctantly gave them 40 bhat---they were not happy but too bad. We made it too the Grand Palace but by the time that we got there it was almost closed so we decided to take the water Taxi to Chinatown. This is a very interesting, cheap and fast way to travel. Here I had my first experience with a crouching toilet---confusing but i figured it out. We then got shoddy directions to the oldest Chinese temple but never did make it there--or find it for that matter. We ended up at the Golden Buddha Wat but just as it closed. However an Indian man made me a delicious roti-type bread/crape thing with egg, sugar, banana and condensed milk mmmmmmm that was sooo good. So we wondered around trying to find the next water taxi port but instead got quite lost. The bad news was that it was getting dark in an unknown part of the city, the good news was that we were able to see the real Bangkok, where the people live and eat, it was a bit scary but very interesting. It was grungy but not dirty, crowded but not claustrophobic. and the people eventually guided us to the way we needed. On the river taxi home we saw these really cool lit up boat floats and now we had planned to go to Patpong ( the red-light district) to check out what that is all about but it's already quite late and we haven't eaten in a while so maybe we will not quite make it there either. This brings me to explain that today we were on Thai-time. Apparently the Thais have a very lax view of deadlines and appointments, so if they say they will meet you at 1:00 you can expect them after 2. So today we were on Thai-time and were too late for pretty much everything... oh well at least we have tomarrow. We did buy an alarm clock after all.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

To the now

(from the beginning start from the bottom)

So here i am in a very stuffy internet cafe writing to you. Street sounds, whurring fan, sticiky, wonderful. Yesterday we had our first adventure with the tok tok (small motercycle taxi) we went to three temples one of the very tall standing buddah and also the lucky buddah. before we went we got to see a parade for some sort of holiday , we have no idea for what but it was really cool to see and hear the different music and dances and performances. Very cool.
We were worned about the tok toks and how they can cheat you very easially. However for more than 2 hours we got free transport with the catch of two stops. The drivers get special gas vochers if they drop off tourists at stores that support the drivers. so basically you have to look around and pretend to be interested for 5-10 mineutes then leave and get the rest of your ride. Not bad but not for all the time to get around.

Today we went to the weekend market. That was really cool. It was a maze of tiny shops inside and outside. When it rained we went in and tried not to get too dripped on by the leaking roof. When it was sunny there was so much to eat and see outside. I bought a few things: silk scarf, bracelets, wallet, not that there was a lack of interesting things to buy, but quite the opposite. There lies the delema of Thai shopping. There is about 1000 of each thing and all in different colours and designs so for me i just get too overwhelmed and can't decide. Also there is the bargining factor, yes its pretty cheap already but how much should i settle for? Some vendors wouldn't even bargin with me, through not the lack of trying they would only give me a relitivly small discount. oh well i have 6 months to figure this out. After going to the market we went to MBK a huge 6 floor shopping mall and i didn't even buy anything, mostly because in comparison to the market the prices were much higher.
Soon we will be leaving for Chaing Mai but there is still lots to see in Bangkok yet. The full moon is on the 16th.
My next post will be soon. Oh i think that we are 15 hours ahead, its 10:10 pm here and 6:10 am for you guys.
miss you all!
lots of love....Breanne

we havn't been able to figure out how to put the pictures right on my site but you acan view all the ones we have been able to upload on the flickr site that is connected to this page.

ok here we go

I'm sorry that i havn't updated anyone yet but this is my first time on the internet even. Things have been so busy and crazy its insane ( in a very good way )

Well i did write in my travelers diary (thanks mom) so here are those posts.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Surreal: a day of first days indeed.

Its incrediable how alive and colourful this place is. Its amazing that a place can be enthusistic and peaceful all at once. We slept in (not suprising) and by the time we were organized we went for lunch , then came the rain. And oh did it rain! When it rains here it doesn't screw around. Flashes of light so close and the thundersometimes even making me jump and definatley making me smile. Then there is the food, such amazing tasty food!

Noodle soup
BBQ banana
Young coconut
Thai Sweet Pancake
Fresh pinapple----( as i'm re-writing this i am craving one and i just might get one on
the way to bed :)
Veggies and pork on rice

I can't wait to try more. We met two really cool Austrailians, they were very nice. However what topped my day was the one hour Thai full body massage. --FREAKIN' AWESOME!!!---
and no cathy- they do not massage your breasts. Best $4 ever spent, for sure. I feel so good right now its ridiculous. I could try to tell you but i know that you wouldn't be able to understand.

Touchdown: The realization

Slept almost the whole way from Seoul to Bangkok. Fortunately our bags showed up, unfortunately i want to kick myself in the ass for packing WAY too much. right away i know that i have to ship stuff back-- the cab driver actually fell-over when lifting the boehiemith. Walking out of the airport doors the humidity hits you like a slap ing the face, then it crawls in and latches onto your boneslike an infants grip on your finger.

"Weolcum to Khao San Ro' . Happy Thailand! Is this honeymoon?"

$16 for 2 nights at a clean guesthouse w/ a/c hot shower and a washroom. I fell asleep and woke up to the whurring climaxes of gears shifting.
I also woke up to the realization of my dream. Me and my man in the land of the free. Wow so this is what it feels like to get something that you really really want. Indescribable.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Day One: and so it this real?

By ear: No one knows (Queens of the stone age)

Of course I didn't sleep last night. Even still my bags are a combined 60lbs----booooo! And now after a nap on the plane i fly over the pacific. I tried watching bewitched in Korean....something something "scrambled eggs"....Is all I got. My ass is very numb (5 hours sitting) and i gotta pee but i'm sandwitched in the middle row by sleepingbodies, i'm seriously sardinified. It's ok chocolate will get me through mmmmmmmmmm....

Saturday, November 05, 2005

This is me