Thursday, June 07, 2007

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Hey All,

Ok, so Dave and i made it into Bangkok and spent a couple of days there just chillin. It is so crazy over here, the traffic, pollution, food, heat and people not to mention the prevalence of 7-11's. We saw the Huge palace, the Temple of the Dawn, took a river boat, saw the reclining Buddha, the 10 story tall Buddha and all sorts of other stuff. We ran into a history professor on the street and he took us to a Buddhist Monk class (actual monks learning more about meditation) and into some of the hidden places that only a local knows. He was a devout Buddhist and we learned a lot about his faith, the king, the state of things in their country and so on. He took us to this amazing place to eat and at first Dave and i were a little weirded out by the food (it was all raw) but they cooked in a charcoal soup and it was really good. We also had a lot of beer with him. Rice Beer is very different and he just kept ordering them and we had a splendid night. The next day we took a Tuk Tuk (a little 3 wheeled truck that you sit in back of) and toured part of the city. We think we were involved in a scam, but can't be sure, it was really smooth, but they didn't get anything out of us. Over here you really can't trust anybody, maybe it is because i am white and like 6'4" and stick out like a sore thumb. They always come up and ask you where you are going, start making small talk and ask where you are from and then tell you that the Grand palace is closes at 1:30-3 but they would be happy to drive you in there Tuk Tuk or cab all over the city until it opens again. Real story, they want 60 Baht and the Grand Palace is open all day long. A lot of scammers here and contestant pestering for Cabs, Tuk Tuks, food, and anything else you can imagine. Lying is the modest operondi for a lot of people on the street. Poverty is rampant, so i am not surprised that they pester you so much b/c they have to live to. Buddhism is a very interesting religion/Philosophy and i have learned a great deal about it over here. When before Buddha, you bow 3 times while praying something and your sins are gone (or at least that is what i got from our friend and history prof. Don). You cannot show the bottom of your feet to the Buddha or a monk, step on an image of them, put them image down on the ground or step on the bottom of a door sill, that is where the spirit of the building is. Motorcycles are very common over here and they weave in and out of traffic even in the oncoming lane of traffic as do Tuk Tuks. It is just unbelievable! It is super hot over here, like 95 and hot! Last night we caught a train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai which is where i am writing this now and it was crazy. 14 hours on a train that barely seemed to move. We slept most of it but it was really slow and long. They have an open sewage system on the train which means that we do our duty on the tracks, you can see the tracks fly below where you are going the bathroom...spicy! So now we are in Chiang Mai, and it is a lot cooler, people are more chill and we have a huge 4 days planned up here. Tonight the night Market, then tomorrow we begin our 2 day trek and ride elephants and go through the jungle and stay at the Hill peoples huts. After that we have a few options, the Golden Triangle into Laos and Burma with a mineral bath and boat ride. Or see this huge mountain top Wat (temple) that has 330 or so stairs to the top. Then we fly down to Phuket for some time on the beach, over to the Pi Pi Islands for some more time on the beach, snorkeling and tanning (i need it) and then ferry over to Krabi to finish up our southern experience. After that we head back up to Bangkok for a night and get a good massage at the Wat Pho and head out at 3 a.m. I will try to keep you all posted as much as i can and let5 you know that i am still alive. Hope all is well and God Bless!
Brett Herrmann


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