Saturday, April 08, 2006

Chaing Mai

Greetings from Chiang Mai. so sorry I have not posted as of late, but it has been balls to the wall busy for us and i literally have either not had time to get online, or have been too tired. And me, being a cranky old bitch, I needs my beauty sleep.

Rich got to Bangkok on Tuesday, a few hours before Colleen and i got back from luang Prabang. WE all met back op at Colleen's flat. Colleen is a holiday SLave Driver, so it's been up at 7 and to bed late every night. I feel like Billy Crystal in that stupid cowboy movie he did where he is on the runaway horse screaming "I'm on VACATION!!!"

Colleen has had fun taking us on sightseeing tours in the morning and then to very posh places for lunch. Since most of our sightseeing involves massive amounts of sweat or smelly things, you can imagine how attractive we feel showing up at the Oriental Hotel, Bangkok, one of the best French Restaurants in the world, covered in sweat and goo and looking like we've been thru a smell tornado. Or, as happened here in Chaing Mai, we went elephant trekking and I got in a tussle with a frisky baby elephant, who wanted my water bottle, drank most of my water, then snorted it back out all over me with the added ingredients of mud, goo and baby elepant snot. Directly after that we went to the Four Seasons for lunch, me covered in elephant snot, Rich dripping with sweat, and Colleen looking cool as a cucumber in her floaty summer dress. It's hard being a tourist.

Chiang Mai is great. I Really like it. We are staying at this funky little hotel on the River Ping called the River Ping Palace. It is a 130 year old teak house with about 12 rooms. It's funky as hell. The owner is a friend of Colleen's. The traditional Thai house is kind of a shack, basically, but a very stylish one. Staying at the River Ping Palace is like bing in the most stylish shack you've ever been in, with bathrooms that have a personality of their own (you never quite know WHERE the water for the shower will come from), windows with no glass but screens and shutters, and the sound of geckos calling in the night. The upstairs rooms have very high cielings (you are under the eaves of the roof and you can see the roof tiles and the wood slats) and the beds are very tall four posters with mosquito netting. I highly recomend it. Also teak houses such as this are very rare and to stay in one is a true treat. They are all being knocked down. And Esther (the owner) is one HELLUVA cook and we had some Thai food she made us that was incredible. WE didn't even order off the menu, just ate whatever she brought us, and it was GREAT. If you ever come to Chaing Mai, let me know and I'll give you contact info the for the hotel.

Yesterday we went to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. It's this huge temple on top of the mountain. Legend has it a white elephant died there after carrying relics of the buddha. The elephant is buried there. It's one of the favorites I've been to here. And, in a thrilling moment for me, I got blessed by a monk. It was SO cool. i was watching the people getting blessed and enjoying the simple ceremony of ti, and the monk saw me and waved me over. I was already on my knees (your head should never be higher than a monks', or Buddha's) so I sorta knee walked over and copied the other folks, hand in prayer position, head down. He splashed me but good with water and chanted. I think he enjoyed getting the farang extra wet, though I am being teased it's beacuse i am evil and i needed extra water. AFter the dousing, a guy tied a white string around my wrist and said that i would now have good fortune and good luck. I tell you, I was kind of verklempt afterwards. Not being a religious person, that little ceremony moved me. Anyhow, I wear the string til it breaks, they tell me. That's cool to me. I like having the reminder of a very special moment. So far Buddhism is the religion I would consider follwing. Any religion where you can go to the temple, do your praying, have a chat with a monk and then get a massage on the premises (as at Wat Pho in BAngkok) is alright by me.

Oh so much to tell. I also got my fortune told by a fortune teller. As i suspected, I am very lucky and protected by Buddha. I will live a long life and die a natural death, though at around age 76 I will have an accident, but not, as he said " a bye bye accident". I am a good communicator, good personality and clever, but must think before I talk. can get emotional and should watch the money. I should also exercise, meditate and take care of my lungs. My lucky color is red, blue not so good and the number 6 is bad. Friday is not my lucky day either. I thought the fortune telling was very interesting and very close to horoscope reading I have had as well.....

Today we are catching a quick flight to Mae Hon Son for one night to see the tribes people where the women have the long necks. You know , where they put the brass rings around until their necks are like a foot long? Then tomorrow we go from Mae Hon Son back to Chiang Mai,then back to Bangkok and thence to Krabi beach, where i can collapse for a few days. I have decided that my own personal nirvana is laying on the beach, drinking a mai tai, having a massage and reading, all at once. If someone would feed me prawn crackers and retouch my sun screen every so often, that would just about cap it off perfectly. I migt like a few extrea minions for a variety of beking and calling, but really, one cannot ask too much, now, can one? Oh, and at Krabi we get to go see the Cave of the Penises....yes, I will keep you informed.

photos to be posted later, as internet and computers allow....

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