Thursday, March 6, 2008

talkin' Thai


No, this isn't an UnderArmor advertisement, but the lovely sound effect heard over and over and over from small confined spaces on public transit by those who love to cut their nails in what must be their only free time during the day. Long fingernails freak me out, and we have seen some freakishly long specimens, but cutting nails in public spaces might be my #1 pet peeve. I swear I saw one fly by me on the train from Bangkok to Ayatthuya.
Please just let our trip go by without getting hit!

We have made it to Thailand, and neither Kate or I can actually talk Thai. This city has been known to many to be the Sin City of the East, but it can also be a wholesome city if you look hard enough.

Kao San Road is the infamous backpacker street where you can be altered to look just like the characters in the Beach because you want to "fit" in. Want some dreads? How 'bout some wide legged pants, or tank tops of local beers? If you want it, you don't have to click your heels more than 3 times, that's for sure. We thought it would be a lot different, and after some perusing the many stalls of DVDs, flips, and knockoff brand name clothes, we took off hoping to not have to return!

We will admit, our trip so far has been a whirlwind around many intense places, so a nicer hotel with a pool is where we retreated to for some much needed R&R. The Thai's have definitely figured out a nice public transit system, consisting of a skytrain and subway, so moving around town was a breeze. You do NOT want to drive here if you can avoid it. Makes the Delhi traffic look like nothing. A large population of students seem to ride these systems, so hopefully they can focus on being doctors or lawyers, right? I think they all still want to be pop stars and nothing else; this being confirmed by the multiple "American Idol" type tryouts seen by all the major malls. I just don't think a bunch of amateurs singing on TV, in any language, will help the situation of any country ;) Fortunately, we did get out to see some great sites!

After waiting a few days to get our Visas for Vietnam, we headed north to a small city, Ayutthaya. It was once a capital city of the province it's located in, but it didn't have that ring to it. It does, however, have a lot of really nice temples! "Temple, Temple, Very nice temples" (as said so often by our driver in India). We chose to rent bikes to see the sites. Wat Mahathat, has the famous Buddha head wrapped in tree roots was an awesome site. After only one night, we were outta there!

A bumpy 14 hour train ride north to Chiang Mai followed by a 3 hour van ride over the mountains has brought us to Pai (pronounced bye). Who would have guessed the 9 hour bus trip we didn't take would have been faster?!?! We have driven on our fair share of mountain passes, but nothing has been even close to pitch or swerviness of the road to Pai. At the beginning of the ride, all 10 passengers were talking and laughing and when we all spilled out in Pai, everyone was a bit green and sick from the ride. It was a killer!

We plan to be in Pai for a couple of days checking out the infamous hot springs and the towns waterfalls before heading on. We might head through Laos and over to Vietnam, but the beaches of southern Thailand seem to be calling our names. I guess only time can tell....

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