Monday, September 29, 2008

Thailand - Chiang Mai Part 2!

Upon our departure from Laos, we promptly headed toward Chiang Rai (not to be confused with Chiang Mai). It's located in the N. East closer to Laos. We planned on taking trips and going trekking while in the area, but unfortunately on the 2nd night of our trekking in Laos I severly pulled a muscle in my neck maybe while sleeping. I woke up in so much pain I couldn't lift my head without using my hands. Once I was standing it was alright, provided I didn't turn my neck, but the bus rides to the border and to Chiang Rai did their damage. I rested for a few days while we explored the town and visited an amazing muesum on the hill tribe people of Thailand. The markets were great places to find food, and we visited them often trying to get a fill of the wonderful food we'd been missing for so long!

On our last day, my neck was feeling a little better so we rented a motorbike and headed off to a local Akha (a hill tribe) village who uses elephants for work and allows tourists to come see the elephants. Most tourists are rather run of the mill and take a tour. That means the people know when they are coming and have organized elephant rides, etc. However, we just showed up and started wandering the dirt roads in search of an apparently elusive pachyderm. After a few turn arounds, we saw a big grey butt strolling up the road with someone on his back. My experience with elephants rather small (that means zero), I didn't know if you could ride a motor bike past one on a small dirt road. I parked, locked it and we set off on foot. We hiked and hiked, but unfortunately a creature with 4 legs 3 meters tall is much faster than two bipeds under 2 meters tall. After about 15 minutes, we passed some villagers who were taking a break from working in the fields. When they saw us giving up and turning around, they got excited knowing we were looking for an elephant and pointed us in the right direction. The rider of the elephant had taken it straight up a hill and off into the forest and so off we went in pirsuit. The trail was great, since the tracks were fresh and the 45 degree angle hill had huge circular steps where the elephants feet has sunk into the mud! Chase as we might, we were going woefully slow compared to the elephant and had to catch a bus on to Chiang Mai that night so we finally had to turn around and head home. Nath was disappointed. She was like a bloodhound on the trail for a while. It was a fun little mini-adventure/challenge.

The bus brought us back to Chiang Mai, and we had called ahead to Malak our guesthouse of three weeks during our previous trip. We were home. Once in Chiang Mai, we hit the Indian Embassy and dropped off our paperwork for our visas and that weekend hit Crazy Horse Buttress for another day of climbing before continuing our massage training. As the week rolled around we resumed our routine from our previous stay of waking at 7am to go to class, take notes, and practice practice practice. We stayed til 5pm every day (class ended at 3) to practice and pester the staff with question after question. At the end of the week we received our final certificate for having completed the entire massage material, Levels 1 and 2! Yeah!

Our last few days in Chiang Mai were spent preparing for our trip to India. Buying, selling, storing, mailing, blogging, uploading pictures, etc. Now I'm sitting in Bangkok with less than a day left before we ship off to India and attempt to train and bus straight to Kathmandu for two days. It'll be crazy! Typically we try to avoid Bangkok (and have figured out a good system for doing this) but this time I had to stop to get pages added to my passport! Since March 2006 I've filled every "visa" page of my passport already!

Life is good!

1 Comments:

At September 30, 2008 at 2:03 PM , Blogger Stein L said...

Fantastic stories Nath & Josh!

Other good news: we received your box of cams! Yes, it took 3 months to get here, but it looks fine.

 

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