Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Step away from the Chang

Downtown Bangkok

Having a hookah in an amazing bar in Bangkok called Gazebo. Strawberry shisha - tasted so good it must almost have been healthy


Khao Yai National Park

Look closely at the biggest, scariest looking bastard of a spider I have ever seen. This is the female, the male was also on the web near it and he was about 1/20th of the size, the poor guy.

A big millipede. Kind of tickles when you let it crawl up your arm

If we didn't have a guide we would probably have been utterly lost

The waterfall from the film The Beach. Not a bad place to go for a swim

Just your everyday roadside elephant



A video of the first wild elephant I've ever seen. (Normally, I upload videos through youtube but in Thailand that isn't possible as youtube is banned for showing derogatory images of the King. They like their King a lot. I haven't met him personally but he looks firendly enough...)

We're now in Chang Mai, Northern Thailand having spent a collective 16 hours on trains yesterday and this morning. A 3 hour train out of Pak Chong followed by a 13 hour journey North to Chang Mai. I really needed a shower by the time we got here. To say I smelt a little bit would be like saying that Hitler was a little bit naughty.

Bangkok was fun, almost too much fun, we could have stayed there longer and become full-time alcholics if we'd wanted to. Luckily we recognised our weakness for a cheeky Chang or four and hotfooted it out of there in time. We are now all the proud owners of Thai Fisherman pants. They are amazing, like really baggy trousers that you could really only get away with wearing over here, kind of like the khaftan I bought at Glastonbury and only ever wear at Glastonbury because it looks like something Jesus might have found de rigeur.

We also went to see the lucky Buddha and a giant Buddha, all part of a cunning ploy by our tuk tuk drivers to take us to a tailors afterwards where, they hope, we will all buy suits (because I obviously need one for backpacking) and they will get a nice comission for taking us naive travellers there. Well I don't own a suit and the owner of the shop was less than amused as we played along, walked round the shop once and staunchly refused to buy anything. We also saw the Grand Palace although I don't have any photos of it because my camera battery decided that was the day it was going to die. Always happens at the most convenient time.

As hinted to earlier we may have had one or two nights out while in Bangkok. "Highlights" in a nutshell were Nick and Laura nearly getting arrested as part of a scam by a large bar to con more money out of backpackers/tourists. Having a beer on a rocking horse outside our hotel would be up there too, as was finding the bar called Gazebo, having a strawberry hookah whilst watching a live band for a couple of hours.

The day we left for Pak Chong I awoke a touch the worse for wear. Luckily the journey to Pak Chong wasn't too taxing and once we were there we were politely kidnapped by a guesthouse that could also offer us a guided tour of Khao Yai National Park the next day. When I say politely kidnapped, we didn't really know what was going on other than we had been shown a leaflet of a nice looking hotel, said that we would like to go there and so a 4WD taxi is called and turns up. Only when we get there does the guesthouse look suspisciously different to the one we were shown. But, as far as kidnappings tend to go, this one worked out fine and our tourguide, Jeep was excellent. We saw monkeys, gibbons, spiders, birds, an elephant, lots of wierd bugs and exotic flowers and plants. We even met the now grey-haired man who had killed two tigers that had each killed a couple of people 20ish years ago. He waved a revolver at us that would have made Dirty Harry proud. Did he ask the tiger if it could remember if he had fired five bullets or six? I hope so.


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