Micah: Unmitigated

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Posts Tagged ‘Chiang Mai’

500 Miles

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

(by IPod = photos added in post-production)
In Chiang Mai, i’m staying at a nice, cheap place called Thapae Gate Lodge. Walking distance to everything, and walk I did.

Saturday: decided to change my food up a little and ate at Mike’s Burgers. Classic diner style place, I had the bacon cheeseburger and some tasty fries. From there I began my Wat (temple) treck through the city. A lot of golden framed buildings with sizable Buddha statues, front and center.

I have always been a fan of cathedrals and temples, due to the quiet and beauty. Everbody respectfully admires the art and religion. I feel a little weird taking pictures while someone is on their knees praying, but try not to disturb them.

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Wat Phra Singh was my favorite, with multiple structures and gardens. While there, a female student from the university asked to have a 5min conversation with me, an English speaker. She had a helper with her and there was only one question I couldn’t understand. Glad to help, but I had to refrain from using my normal slang and curse words.

After all the Wats, I headed to the local mall. My camera has been wild’n out so I bought a Canon A100 IS. No bargain since I was in a mall, but I like it. I did a little post purchase celebrating by hiting the Saturday night street market. A series of food stalls provided supper while I walked and eyed the goods.

Sunday: Caught a bus up to Doi Suthep National Park, home of Wat Phra That. 306 decorated steps up to see good city views and many intricate statues. Children dancing for Baht in front of temple, kind of sour the scene.

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Bus dropped me at entrance to Nam Tok Monthathon (a waterfall) where a 3 km hike up the road was rewarded with a place to cool my feet.

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Hiking up even more, revealed a series of pools, rock slides, and frolicking locals. I did one unintentional slide which amused them. After an easier stroll back down to the main road, I waited for a bus to drive by.

More waiting and some drivebys, I decided to strut my stuff. One advantage, I got to visit a few more falls on the way. During all of this trekking, I had the Peter, Paul, and Mary song “500 Miles” in my head. Luckily, a local motorbiker gave me a free lift the last few km back into town.

I proceeded to cruise the Sunday night street market. Even bigger than Saturdays, this new area has more streets involved and some Wats. Another night with a random supper, local crafts, and street music.

Normally they play Thai songs, but while passing one musician on guitar, I swore I heard “500 Miles”. I figured my dehydrated mind was deceiving me, until the words came. Sure enough, my theme song for the day was being beautifully sung to me on the streets of Chiang Mai. I hadn’t heard any other recognizable songs the past 2 nights, my trip has now been blessed.

Tomorrow morning I hop a minivan to Pai and the mountains. I am ok with cities but look forward to the views. Also, I will attempt my first walk up hostel booking. It is fully on.

The Next Chapter

Monday, November 9th, 2009

I am currently at my next farm, about an hour north of Chiang Mai, here is what you have missed:

13 hr night train ride from BKK. Sleeper train full, window seat next to cockroach family (insects on wall, not meant as racial slur) = no sleep. Met up with the Brit from previous farm, long bus/delivery van ride to farm.

One of many stops

One of many stops

About the farm: New Host has 2 restaurants back in town and a floating cottage on reservior where people pay to stay. Nice wood house, good rooms and beds since some tourists stay here before going out to cottage. Wifi, DVDs, help yourself bar (pricey), cooks, and cleaners. Some Thai farm workers.
Farm is far more developed than previous, most food for us and eateries is picked here. The meals are great with fresh mushrooms every meal that grow in a special room. So far: i’ve been turning dirt, composting, weeding around asparagus, and making strawberry planters out of coconut.  Also, catfish in pond i have tried to catch, but only got one crab. Brit caught 3 fish, fried, we ate for supper.

In rod we trust

In rod we trust

People: Host is retired British military, looks tough, very laid back. Hostess is Thai and stays in town during week to work at their food places. The Brit you already know, he has been traveling and drinking a lot since he left the last farm. He is leaving Wednesday to head back to BKK. 2 girls from Belguim also here WWOOFing, speak French and decent English, fun and good workers, I will refer to them as Jerry Lewis. And I, who will be here until Saturday. After that I go where the buses take me.

Sunday was a day off, so the Brit and I biked around a little then picked up Jerry Lewis and headed to the reservoir. In Srilanna National Park, the area is beautiful and hilly. A nice change from the relatively flat Bang Phra. We swam off some rocks and jumped off a floating dock house.

Quantum Leap

Quantum Leap

I love being away from it all in this very small farming community, with just one small store a 40 minute crab walk away. We take photos of every sunset, weather is perfect, and it’s quiet. A guy could get used to this. ชีวิตของเกษตรกรเป็นง่ายหนึ่ง