Posted by: marthacoolcat | November 26, 2008

Thailand nov 25

So I arrived early early, napped at the airport, ate at a crazy marche mover pick style restaurant. You exchange cash for coupons and then go around to any counter and buy the Thai food you want to eat. Kind of cool.

I did a bus tour of the city sights. Good news it was super cheap, the travel agent told me 1000 baht, but it only cost 30 bhat (1 $). Bad news it was completely in Thai. I could follow on my map where we were, and so I knew what stuff was.

I walked around a ?? ceremonial palace built to the honour of a deceased Thai princess of-very-long-hard-to-memorize-name. Man the Thais looove their royals. It says on taxis Long live the King, Man that is so 400 years ago! Another taxi said We love the King, we love Thailand. They make the Brits look like amatuers.

I decided that there were many many adventures I wanted to have in Chaing Mai, so I looked for transportation up there. They wouldn’t sell me a ticket for the train because the two-person room has a man in it. They are pretty trad about gender here. Makes a girl happy to be a canuck, I tell yah.

So no trains, unless I boarded really late, and missed a half day of Chaing Mai fun, so I checked out the reclining seat bus. Okay, I take it, with a hotel, and they arranged my Thai coking class for the next morning and my trekking in the jungle for the day after that.

I got picked up and driven somewhere weird, and there was a forty minute wait, so I wandered around and then got a 30 minute massage.

Thai massage
Now some Thai massages can be dodgy, like they include “extras”, but I liked this place because you got your massage in a room with other people and a big window to the street. I was the only person who had a male massage therapist. I said I wanted a back massage, so he told me to sit on a little round banana leaf? stool, and he sat on an ottoman. I was wearing my toga top, and he put a towel over my back. Okay I am used to oil, but not terrycloth. Neither Indian nor Thai women show their shoulders much, maybe I should have kept my t-shirt on overtop of my widestrap yoga shirt??? Well, he had strong hands so I didn’t care. He did this thing where he leaned his lower arms onto my shoulder, and then put a lot of weight on me. I was a little concerned when my bamboo stool was creaking so much. It was a great destressor after carrying my big over-full pack around the city all day.

Well, all that destressing went down the drain when I went outside and the bus had left. Someone from the tour company told me some guy could take me on a motor bike to the bus station where the bus was. That was my second “xe om” ride, like a motorbike that taxis people. It was pretty crazy, sometimes going 100 in the city, weaving through traffic, driving between lanes, driving on the wrong side of the road. It was also exciting with my 18 kilo pack on to just stay on.

Getting off the bike, I had to lean funny to shift the weight, and my calf .. touched? pushed against? the exhaust, which was quite hot. It looked scraped, but I had to run to catch the bus. When I got to the bus it was throbbing, so I got a bottle of cold water to put beside it, thinking it might be burned. I currently have a fried egg egg yolk sized blister on my calf, and it was hard to sleep on the bus. My Dad’s girlfriend Betty gave me lots of medical stuff, and now I am glad I carried it all over. The pharmacist told me to by a cream with silver in it for after it pops. Is that safe? Don’t people turn blue from silver? She says it will leave a scar, the burn not the silver. Oh well, it’s a story.

The Bus
At midnight we stopped at another moven-pik place. Indecisive Martha looked at everything and decided it was almost time to go. I bought a yoghurt (coconut flavour with cubes of jelly) and lays chips, Nori flavoured, don’t yah know? That’s the black seaweed they wrap around sushi. Now, I’ve been out of the country for a while, but last I checked, we didn’t have that flavour at home. I didn’t get how it worked. The bus, like buses and “goods carriers” here and in India are all colourfully decorated, and often have religious parafenila. Weird. Makes our cars look pretty bland.

The bus got in at 7am, not the 5 am they told me it would arrive. The hostel let me check in early, nice, and I crashed.

I had vivid dreams that I missed waking up for my cooking class. I was stuck at the hostel all day, and Tim and Sara where there. I kept on being really bummed about missing the course.

I woke up in lots of time in real life.

“The Best Thai Cooking School”
Our teacher, Hat, picked me up in .. a pickup truck with to benches and a roof in the back, and 6 others and we went to the market to buy fresh ingredients. Cool, I learned how to buy eggs. Dirty is good, because then the air can’t get in. Long fun educational day short, I made, sweet sticky rice with mango, papaya salad, tom yum soup, spring rolls and dipping sauce, chicken with cashews, paneng curry, we made green curry paste from scratch, and pad thai. Sooooo good! We also got to taste rose apple (never HEARD of it before), jack fruit and dragon fruit.

It ended kind of early, so I came back to the hostel, planned my trip to Laos. Yes, that’s right, I am adding a country to my overstuffed itinerary. Peter E from the co-op in Waterloo told me about taking the slow boat down the Mee Kong, and it sound great. Moreover, I will have to sit still for two days and watch the world drift by, and high octane Martha of late needs that.

I still had some time, so I found some peeps who wanted to come with me to Tiger Kingdom, to pet tigers. It was a bit of a sham – they quoted 300 on the phone and then said 500 when we got there. They said the newborns are feeding so we couldn’t see them for a half hour, and, contrary to what they dais an hour earlier, we could only see the babies b/c the older age groups where too active at night. On the phone we were told we couldn’t see the biggest cats because they’d be sleeping. Because of the display, you have to kill time, eating the not good over-priced food in their restaurant. Sigh. I had pork soup, not a piece of pork in it.

I had had it with them when the final thing was unveiled – the 500 bhat, and I said fine, show me the 3-4 month olds for 300! So they did. You can sit in the cage with the four of them and pet their backs but not their heads or faces. They had four guards in with me and they kept the tigers from getting to close to me. No flash photos, so I have a bunch of shots of me with a tiger-blob.

The most fun part was the end. They had to move the tigers to another cage, in a wheelbarrow/ bin/ cage. The three workers were all keeping the pesky naughty girl tigers in the bin. One jumped out so the guy grabbed its tail and manouvered it in the right direction, then another got out, and the girl chased it. That left the guy pushing and me, so I kept, sort of playing wack-a-mole and pushing down the tigers’ heads till we got to the cage. Like I am a trained zookeeper! It all felt a bit laissez faire, but (criseses averted) it was an adventure.

Then my two Swedish co-adventurers and I went to the Night Bizarre. Kind of like India, selling to tourists, many products from the prolific Factory of Tackiness. They don’t barter as hard here, and they don’t come down as far.

MUST go to bed – I am jungle trekking in the morning, six hours from now.


  1. Sorry about the burn from the motor…cycle? The silver is a very good idea. It has anitbacterial properties and is an excellent plan for keeping the burn from getting infected while you are having fun. 🙂

    Thanks for “bringing me along” on your trip, I’ve enjoyed the travelling, especially in the rather crappy weather we have here in SW Ontario.


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