Thursday, April 17, 2008

thailand in review -- part two!

image courtesy of travel blog.

to continue my talk about thailand, here's a bit more about the trip.

some things i loved/noticed/did:
1. lui, our guide/driver for a few outings in chiang mai.
2. the kind thai people that are so easy to meet everywhere.
3. praying in wats and offerings with incense and flowers.
4. fruit and flower market in chiang mai.

image courtesy of big map.

5. fun overnight train trip from bangkok to chiang mai.

me on the overnight train to chiang mai, with my singha!

6. an obsession with elephants is common there. and it helps to flame my own!
7. blessings from a monk is a special experience.
8. crossing the street in chiang mai is a funny and rushed experience.
9. thai band-aids rock my world! they stay on through everything.
10. for some reason, 7-elevens are everywhere. they're like starbucks there (though there are starbucks as well).

photo courtesy of thai websites.

11. the ronald mcdonald was "wai"ing outside the mcdonald's. (see photo at top of post)
12. a baby, about a year old, that offered a wai to me when saying hi. he must have just learned to do it. =)
13. a white western child seen praying in a wat after his parents had already left. with a monk in the background. i had the most amazing photo of this. sigh...

some things I didn't love/noticed/did:
1. squat toilets. while i've been through my fair share of experiencing these things in various places, they are inescapable in thailand. and if you're lucky enough to get a regular toilet, you can't put toilet paper in it. yuck, yuck, yuck.
2. unattractive, clearly use-only housing. it ruins the vista quite a bit to see unattractive buildings and housing everywhere. there isn't that feel for a history in a lot of the architecture.
3. the first part of my elephant trek was hard on me -- hiking up a very steep hill/mtn. to one of the tribes. i had a migraine that morning, and it was 95 degrees out. not good for me... if you have physical troubles of any sort, this is something to keep in mind.
4. everything is geared towards tourists. i feel like this lends to an aspect of inauthenticity, and almost a lack of pride in their daily life and ways (though i know that's not true, but that's how it came across). it was increasingly hard to find things that are untouched by expats and tourists, or something that's not striving to be western. we did find those outlets, and they were wonderful to experience, but i'm sad it wasn't more accessible.
5. it was hot. did i say that? =)

a couple of travel notes:
1. if you have to travel to the east, fly cathay pacific! they rock my world! the seats are comfy, they attendants are kind, the food is plentiful and very good for airplane food, and the entertainment options (movies, tv, etc.) are various and excellent. i caught up on a lot of my award-winning films on the flight!
2. ladies, this one's for you: whether it be on vacation or this summer, we all know that sandals means blisters. well, my mother-in-law told me before i left that she heard a rumor about deodorant on the feet, and that it might be a good way to keep the blisters away. even though it seemed like it might be a great joke, i figured i'd give it a shot. i mean, what the hell -- the worst that could happen is that my feet smell good! but let me tell you, it really really works!! i only got one blister, and that was on a day when i forgot to put it on! so ladies, go for it. trust me, you won't regret it.
3. take tums with you to thailand, if you have a sensitive tummy. =)

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