Remote Connections

Trip Start Mar 06, 2012
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Thailand  , Chiang Rai,
Sunday, March 11, 2012

• Trip day: 6

It’s day 6 of Mave on the Move... & we’re moving; 4 locations - Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai &... em, where we are now (see below) - in 6 days means we’re movin’ alright. Clare & Michael are still with us, still hanging around like the proverbial bad smell. It means we’re probably drinking more & thus spending more than we’d like but it’s ok for now; we are, 6 days in, still in holiday mode (& we should be able to tolerate them for a few more days).

Where?
As I type we’re in the Akha Hill guesthouse situated in the mountains 23kms outside Chiang Rai in extreme Northern Thailand, not too far from the border with Burma (some call it Myanmar). We arrived here a few hours ago, when it was bright. The drive here from Chiang Rai saw us pass through & around dense jungle & scorched hillsides, the latter being responsible for the constant smoky-haze in the air, not to mention the poor visibility (it’s a problem not only here but in the whole region). I don’t know the name of village we’re in. I can’t see a name listed anywhere & if I did it probably wouldn’t even register with me as a village name anyway. Not that the name is important, not when it - the village - & our 400 baht-a-night (€10, AUD$12) bamboo hut, overlooks a majestic valley (we’ve seen it) surrounded by tea plantations (seen those, too), rice fields (nope, not yet), waterfalls (tomorrow, hopefully) & jungle… lots of jungle. We’ve just had dinner (Pad Thai for me, fried veg for Mel) and now we’re sitting on the bamboo veranda of what passes for the guesthouse restaurant staring out into the darkness listening to the cacophony of soothing sounds coming from the creepy crawlies who call the jungle home; it’s remoteness in sound & (black) vision. I’ve maybe been to remoter places during my travels (although not many) but I’ve certainly never blogged from somewhere as remote as this. Having Wi-Fi access here is a sign that - & the remoteness aside - travellers demands are being catered to in a way I’d never have thought they would be (to be honest I’m impressed they have electricity here). But it’s a sign of the times - rather than sit around drinking Chang beers and scrabbling in paper journals, travellers can now blog, check facebook & skype loved ones. It’s just one more convenience to make the world feel like a smaller place it has become.

Catching Up
I’ll let the pictures tell the whole story but in a nutshell since we left Bangkok 3 days ago we’ve… had too much of a good time on the train to Chiang Mai… stayed in our favourite accommodation thus far (the 350 baht-a-night Peppermint Guesthouse), caught up with friends of Mel’s & taken in the Night Market (all in Chiang Mai)… chilled out in Chiang Rai & seen it’s Wat Rong Khun temple… & made our way here to… to this village in the jungle near the Burmese border. We’re still having fun... it’d be hard not to.

Trip Day 3 – 6 Observations
I was fond of highlighting observations in my last TravelPod blog so I’ll be doing the same here; if anything it’ll probably make the blog a bit more interesting - Mel said after reading my last post, the first of the trip, that she felt I had ‘nothing to say’… which was fair comment (I always start off slow).

Wi-Fi everywhere
We’ve stayed in 4 different accommodations thus far (5 if you include the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai… we don’t) and they all have offered free Wi-Fi. Even cafés & bars advertise it to entice patrons. Hell, it's even available at rickety bus & train stations. Maybe having it here in the jungle shouldn’t have been the surprise it was.

Every Little Helps
Tesco is here. Yep, they’ve even infiltrated Northern Thailand. Small, convenience-style shops granted but an infiltration nonetheless. Seeing them & their megastores in Korea was a surprise but to see the Tesco logo on the backstreets of Chiang Rai was another matter.

Mozzies & Mel
The mozzies love Mel. Her legs, especially after our stay in the Akha River House in Chiang Rai, look like a nasty join-the-dots puzzle. Me? Nope, they don’t find me tasty at all… and never have done. 

Elsewhere
1. dMb blog: Chiang Mai Reflections, March 9th 2012
2. dMb blog: Chiang Mai Night Market, March 10th 2012
3. dMb blog: White Wat, Chiang Rai, March 11th 2012
4. dMb on flickr: Thailand
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