As a self-professed Foodie, my last stop on this giant wander is most fittingly Thailand. Back home one of my favorite foods is Thai and when I discovered they had a country that actually specialized in this sumptuous food, a visit there was inevitable. Its like finding out there is a TacoBellLand or ChipotleLand. it is a mecca for people who get more excited for the next meal than what ancient artifact that may be looming in the background.
It was straight to Bangkok for me. I stayed not far from the infamous backpacker ghetto of Khao San Road and took went about the business of trying to eat 4 meals of Thai food a day. This is not a food blog (actually I have no idea what kind of blog this is) so I will spare you the probably boring-to-you details of what has been delicious other than it all has been. Luckily for me, I was able to meet up Jana Reid and her boyfriend Sean, with whom we both share many mutual friends back in our native Kansas City. They have been living and working in Bangkok for about 9 months and were nice enough to show the ropes and provide some insight into living in the craziness that is Bangkok. We did a bit of touring and they steered me towards some amazing Thai foods. They seemed to be thorougly enjoying their lives there I can see why as Bangkok possesses an allure and cool that swallows many people whole. Way up on the list of places to return to one day. I left Jana and Sean in Bangkok to head up north and then south, but I hope to rendevous with them to celebrate the end of this adventure before my flight back home.
The next stop was the northern city of Chiang Mai, where I spent the next two days exploring the area, with some friends Trilby and Emma, who I have run into at a couple points in the SE Asia circuit so far. By far the highlight of Chang Mai was the legendary Sunday Night Market, where the food stalls were endless and the goods stalls were all amazingly unique. A four hour walk didn't even cover the whole market. By far the best market I have seen in my life. Coming into a close second in the highlight department was the guesthouse pool that offered daily relief from the intense sun. It was all fun in games in the pool until the Kiwi grandfather I recruited to play Marco Polo with us hit his head on the side of the pool in an amazing display of tenacity and agility during the game. He is ok.
From Chiang Mai, the next stop was Pai, an old hippie town that has blossomed into a laid back home base for trekking trips around the region. For practically nothing my friends and I were able to rent motorbikes to explore the area. An activity I see as vital to seeing the best of SE Asia, although on this trip it would be the source of a bit of discomfort. Towards the end of the day yesterday, on a recon mission down a dirt and gravel road to find out about a place that supposedly had fishing opportunities, I found myself approaching two small dogs in the road immediately before me. Fortunately due to the terrible state of the road I was not going very fast, although it was fast enough to have to jam the brakes when the dogs did not scatter from the road, as in normal circumstances. It was all over from here. As I started to soar over the motorbikes handlebars, my first thought was that I had declined the $1 damage insurance on the bike and that that was probably a mistake. My next thought was that the gravel and skin are a terrible combination. I could have strangled those dogs....
Just like in the movies, it all came out OK. The roadrash was not pretty but my friends came to the rescue with the necessary bandages and beer. I also procured a hammer at my guesthouse to bang the bent bike parts back together enough to make no one the wiser.
Speaking of movies, I recently watched Taken and I am relieved my trip is almost done because I had no idea how much danger I am in of being kidnapped abroad and sold into prostitution by an Eastern European gang. Not only would be it scary but the health benefits and pay are atrocious. I'll take my chances back in the mean steets of Missouri.
Jumping on a bus and then a boat to the island of Kho Samet to ride this baby out. Maybe ya'll hear from me or maybe you won't.