Sarah Learns to Turn!

Trip Start Dec 01, 2009
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10
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Chat House

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

After saying goodbye to Pat in Koh Samui, we headed off to Laos. Unfortunately, Laos is really really far away from Koh Samui. In order to get there we first had to take a ferry off the island, then take an overnight bus to Bangkok. We spent 12 miserable hours in Bangkok (although we did get seasons 1 and 3 of Dexter put on Sarah's new Ipod!) before getting on another overnight bus up to Chiang Mai. We spent a day there, ate our favorite dish Khao Soy, and then took another bus up to Chiang Rai.

It had been three days and we weren't even at the border yet! According to our guide book at the internet there are no ATMs in Laos, so we had to take out all of our money in Thai Baht and convert it to Kip once we crossed the border. We didn't have enough money in our bank accounts, so we had to wait a few days for a bank transfer to come through. Plus, our New Zealand friends Rob Tommy Ash and Phil were staying for a few days in Chiang Rai. They lured us to the same guesthouse as them with promises of the best khao soy they had ever tasted. They did not lie. We pretty much only ate Khao Soy for 3 meals a day.

We met a few Canadians who were working in Chiang Rai and living at our guesthouse. They took us out to a local reggae bar called "Peace Bar." The next day we rented motorbikes. Sarah was determined to learn how to turn. They started off in the morning with Sarah on the back with Phil and Tommy to visit the White Temple and the Black Temple.

The white temple, officially known as Wat Rong Kuhn, is unconventional contemporary structure. The entire temple is completely white to represent the purity of Buddha. Even the fish in the pond surrounding the temple are white. It is also convered with mosiacs of mirrors that reflect the sunlight. The glittering temple looks like it belongs in Disney world. The temple has a brightly painted interior, and the story painted inside includes images of cellphones, superheros, and a demon with Osama Bin Laden in one eye and George Bush in the other.

After the white temple we headed to the Black Temple. In opposition to the glittering white temple, this is dark and gloomy. The 40 small black structures are filled with bones, skins, animal horns, and other artifacts.

That afternoon Sarah was determined to learn to turn a motorbike, so she took it  by herself on a short expedition and finally learned how to correctly lean. Yay!

The next day we had to wake up really early to catch the 6 am bus to Chang Khong- the Thai side of the Thai-Laos border. We had a two hour bus ride on a cramped local bus- our friends over 6 feet literally could not fit in the seats-before arriving at the border town. We took a long boat across the river, and finally entered Laos at about 9 am!
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