Same same but different

Trip Start Jun 16, 2006
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Trip End Feb 2007


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Monday, July 17, 2006

We have been very busy (not so little) girls this last week so you might wanna make yourself comfy 'cos this could turn out to be an epic!

We cheated and flew to Chiang Mai, timing our arrival perfectly to hit the Sunday markets which we loved so much we deliberately stayed til next Sunday so we could go again. It's a much nicer atmosphere and cheaper than the Night Bazaar, and between the two we've managed to whistle away a fair bit of our savings.

Tuesday morning we embarked on a 3 day trekking / elephanting riding / bamboo rafting tour squeezing into a small truck with 10 other people plus guides. This squeeze resulted in the gear stick being literally rammed into our thighs every time we went into 2nd gear, 4th gear wasn't much better. After many stops and starts through the city and up and down hills into the country we were mighty happy to climb out! 3 hours trekking later our group arrived at Karen hilltribe village, puffed and soaked in sweat and mud. Throughout this trek the guide would look at the two of us and say "Same same but different" and laugh their heads off (this seems to be a bit of a Thai saying -you can buy the t'shirt). Day two consisted of an hour trekking the hills, 2 hours elephant ride down stream and 2 hour bamboo rafting further down stream. We very narrowly avoided capsizing into the muddy river (packs and all) as the French guys sharing our raft were completely incompetent in following the guides instructions. As this stage the rest of the party abandoned us as, unknown to us, we had simply been added on to a 2 day tour. This left just Heather, I and our crazy Thai guide for a day in a village with little planned. Fortunately two Spanish girls in a similar situation joined us for the night and we got on real well and talked the hours away.

A little disappointed with our trek we booked ourselves in for a Batik painting course -which made our week! In the photo Jo's are on the left, Heather's on the right -hopefully you can't see the smudges -its harder than you think! It was just the 2 of us on the course and we had a great time chatting with the lady who ran it. She turned out to be a fabulous travel guide giving us all the information we need for catching the train to Bangkok - little tips like booking the ladies cabin 'cos the toilets are cleaner.

We followed this up with a Thai cooking class. We were breifly introduced to some goods at markets before heading out to the school with its own organic farm in the country. We cooked ourselves up some splendid food and became familiar with all the ingredients -so now we know what we're eating at restaurants and food stalls!!

Sunday we slowed down the pace, just cruised to our regular breakfast spot (a little vege cafe we love!) then went to see a Thai movie with English subtitles -this time we were in much better form for the tribute to the king.

Today (Monday) we are just biding time, doing a bit of trip planning before catching the overnight train to Bangkok, before we head over the border to Cambodia.

Hope things are trucking along nicely for everyone back home!
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