Northern traverses

Trip Start Dec 28, 2004
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Flag of Thailand  , Sakon Nakhon,
Tuesday, September 4, 2012

i have always been able to adapt to temperatures thank god. i get to Alaska and the first few days are kinda cold and the nights even colder but soon i am walking around in shorts and flip flops in 50 degree weather (10 for u Celsius lovers out there).  coming back to Thailand i didn't even notice the heat really, i just sort of fell right back into the weather so to speak.  the thing that DID take a little getting used to is all of the fucking people.  having spent 3 months in a tiny town in Alaska, it is a real kick to the senses when u are confronted with the hordes of Bangkok.  hell just the airports in Seattle and japan were enough to give me a case of the heebie jeebies, let alone the swarming, pulsing, sweating masses that inhabit this place.(please insert the welcome back Karter music here).

OK i inserted this part of the story in the wrong place but the browser wont let me cut and paste so you will just have to deal with it.  we went and started to look at cars in a formal sort of way. you know, actually going to showrooms and finding the prices lol.  Thailand is a bit crazy when it comes to cars.  first of all, there is a 100% import tax on foreign cars. so if its not made in Thailand its going to be astronomical.  as an example we saw cooper mini's priced at $90,000.  needless to say we are going with a car made in Thailand.  that narrows our choices down to Honda, Nissan or Toyota.  

We visited all three showrooms and i found that each of these companies only has 5 or 6 models of cars for sale at any time.  yes there are different packages you can choose from but there is one truck, one SUV, one cheap little hatch back and a couple of sedans.  that's it.  i was also reminded of Ford when he said about the model T "you can have it in any color as long as its black".  In Thailand you can have your car in black, white or champagnish.  there really are no other colors out on the road....well maybe silver.  the taxis are all painted up with neon green or pink or whatever but you can only buy a car in these 3 colors (with slight variations such as pearl white instead of white).  driving back from the dealers that day through the streets of Bangkok i was shocked to finally notice that these were indeed the only color of cars out there.  i will keep you all posted on my car exploits

So i arrived back in Thailand and got back together with im which is always a nice thing. we spent a couple of days in Bangkok for me to rest and recuperate.  during this time we actually headed over to the grand palace and the temple used by the king (don't ask me the Thai name).  I have been bugging IM for years to make the short walk over there with me since it is so close to khao san road.  it really irritates me how little of her own country she has seen and her complete indifference to it.

So we get to the palace and lo and behold, IM is not properly dressed to go into a Buddhist temple (wearing a dress) so she has to use one of the sarong rentals to cover herself.  she still looks much cuter in this garb then the poor Muslim women you see walking around MBK shopping mall in Bangkok.  I don't know what it is about MBK but it seems to attract every middle eastern tourist in Bangkok. every time i go there i see all of these women dressed head to toe in black, with only their eyes showing.  have the Muslims not heard of the phrase "she gave me the fuck me eyes?" what in the hell are they thinking letting their women walk around with their eyes showing?!  their fucking eyes for Christs sake!! they are likely to be mounted right there in the public square and ridden like a Shetland pony on fair day.  why are these women not wearing some fucking sunglasses i ask you? who in the hell do they think they are with the hither come yon eye contact?  fucking savages...............i digress.

 So im is dressed in her sarong and we make the rounds through the grounds and the various points of interest before entering into the actual temple. i enjoy going to these places much more with people whose faith i am witnessing. watching them pray and be moved by their religion is much more interesting then being on some hodge podge tour with a brochure and a guide book.  since this is pretty much the holiest place in Thai Buddhism, lots of praying and incense lighting was the duty of the day.  IM is really quite into her religion and it kinda bugs her I'm an atheist but guess what? shes stuck with me now!!! aint marriage bliss?

That same night we got onto a "super VIP" bus up to chiang mai. i was too lazy to dig my camera out of the bag to get a picture of this bus but let me tell u, talk about comfort and style. each chair was like an individual lazy boy recliner and had its own TV. now of course there were only Thai movies on this TV but that's not the point. each chair had its own fucking TV on a bus!!! the world in which we live is amazing.....rovers on mars, a black man in the white house and individual TVs on a cross country Thai bus.  brings a tear to the eye.

we get to chiang mai and kinda get put up in a guesthouse that was well past its prime. checking in at 5am it is very dark and for some reason, all of the lights in the hallways were off so its a bit creepy.  IM already has a ghost fixation and this did not help matters. of course me making eery moaning noises probably didn't help either but sometimes you just have to do this shit, consequences be damned, and i assure you that there were consequences.

chiang mai is pretty cool.  its an old city and a little bit higher up on the elevation so the temps are not as bad as in Bangkok.  we went to the night bazaar which is interesting and bought a few things to decorate the house with this year.  i like our little house but the walls were void of any sort of decorative touch so I'm hoping to fix that this year.  this night bazaar has the usual crap sold at Thai markets but then you can find some amazing little shops selling these carvings out of teak logs.  they are so beautiful and intricate and gallingly expensive.  the one i REALLY wanted cost about $3000 and weighed in at 41kg. it had used an entire log to depict a sort of 3 dimensional jungle scene in amazing detail.

 there were also quite a few Buddhist relics around with a fair bit of Tibetan Buddhism represented.  Tibetan Buddhism has the beautiful thangka paintings and since my sister had stolen mine from me.....shout out to sari, my thieving sibling!! i was looking for a new one.  unfortunately, the prices were a bit more then they were in Nepal which is where they come from so i had to hold off on a purchase this time around.  also found some decorative human skull caps that are used in ceremonies of some sort.  i really don't know how you go from a belief system of just finding inner peace to using human skulls in your ceremonies.  something has been lost in translation.  they need to go back and start from scratch on some of this shit because it has gotten out of hand.  human frigging skulls.

we went and saw the long necked tribe for a little bit the next day.  it was super commercial and not really all that cool BUT having grown up watching "Ripley's believe it or not" and having seen these women on that show, it was kinda like fulfilling some sort of childhood memory if that makes any sort of sense.

now looking at these women you are shocked and you have to ask yourself, is beauty really so important to do this to yourselves? its sort of a reverse argument of the Muslim rant on went on a few minutes ago.  somewhere there has to be a happy medium where women don't have to cover themselves in blankets to hide their beauty and don't have to alter their bodies drastically to be considered beautiful.  

men are all different. some like feet, some like nice long legs, some go for eyes......but we all agree on boobs. you put a table of bickering diplomats from Iran, north Korea, Israel and Palestine and they will want to fucking castrate each other until a topless woman walks into the room and then there is peace.  i have just had an Epiphany.  world peace can be achieved through boob power.  can woman not go do crazy shit like binding their feet or elongating their necks and instead maybe just get a Wonderbra from Victoria's secret and bring a little world peace, is that so much?  please don't go all femm on me here, i am looking out for the betterment of the human race, you have to understand the sort of utopia only boob power can bring about......is it too late to start a political party around here?  my platform would have one plank my friends and i think u know what that plank would be........

doing the whole sight seeing thing we headed over to a waterfall which much to our surprise, had 10 different levels to it.  this is like a 10 for 1 waterfall of some sort with a nice trek through some ancient rain forest to boot.  it was beautiful with the water cutting its way through the deep, lush forest. the spray from the falls kept you cool as you walked farther and farther up hill, deeper into the forest.  

having the forethought to bring my swimming trunks, i stripped down and very carefully got into the water.  the rocks here were slicker then goose shit from the algae and water so at one point i had to scoot across on my bottom until i hit an exceptionally slick spot at which point i started to shoot down the rocks like i was on a Flintstones slip and slide. luckily i was able to stop myself before i went over one of the big falls which would have been a bad thing i think.  IM got a couple of good pictures of me but i think i posted them on the last blog entry so you may have to go back to that one and get a look.

sometimes things in Thailand are stupid cheap.  we had gotten a taxi to go out to these places because they were too far away for the motorbike we had rented. so to have the taxi and driver the entire day (we used him for about 7 hours) cost us 400 baht or about $12.  how much would a taxi and driver cost in your home country lol.  crazy eh?

another place of interest was a Buddhist temple on top of one of the peaks surrounding chiang mai.  there is a pretty steep staircase which you have to climb but when you get up there you have views of the entire city and you are at a temple where one of Buddhas bones has been enshrined as a relic.  again IM was not properly dressed......shake of the head....funny thing here was that all of the western women were left to dress however they wanted but IM had to put on the sarong again. it was like they were saying "come on now, this is YOUR religion, be respectful". chiang mai is a city of temples, they are everywhere and some of their artistry is beyond belief, just had to get IM to wear some pants which is easier said then done, the girl likes her dresses.

Chiang mai was beautiful but soon it was time to get going and head over to IM's home. wanted to say hi to oom and give her some gifts.  i wish i had more time to spend with her because the little bit i do get, i really enjoy.  She seems to really like when I'm there too so hopefully things will work out sometime soon.

  I have been to isaan (province) a number of times and it always surprises me how mind numbingly boring it is there.  there really is not much to do other then sit and talk and maybe listen to some music. IM was in her element with all of her friends and female relatives so after awhile of this i would just go for long walks through the surrounding farms, listening to music.  Isaan is not bad, but not especially interesting either.  4 days was enough there and now its back onto the bus to head down to khao lak finally. i get to see Mimi very soon which is just f'ing fantastic!! i miss that little fur ball.

OK so that's the blog for now. hope i entertained and didn't offend too many. having a pretty good time over here and hope u are doing well where ever you may be reading this.  i have posted these pictures on facebook already i think but there are a few videos embedded here so have a look at those for a fuller idea of isaan life lol.

 
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