Archive for the ‘Stu’s Side’ Category


Picture this: For seven days, the entire city is engaged in a massive water fight.  Not just the kids.  Not just the troublemakers.  Everyone.  You can’t walk down the street without getting wet.  So secure your phone, wrap your cigarettes in plastic (or just quit already!!) because you WILL get soaked.  This is how they celebrate Thai New Year (Songkran) in Chiang Mai.

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Stuck in Siem Reap

Ever since we booked our trip, we’ve been looking forward to hitting the beach.  Fahrin has been waiting for 33 years!  In Bangkok we decided to travel north to see our brother rather than south to the beach.  Now it’s three months later and we’re at our last stop before the beach…and we’re STRANDED!!!!! Continue reading

Ban Lung – “More Than Just Dust and Sweat”

We survived the bus ride from hell, which brought us to Ban Lung, a small town in the north east of Cambodia.  Our first day there, we wandered through the town just to see what we could see.  We checked out the local market, which was very similar to the markets we’ve seen in Laos – dark, dusty mazes with stall after stall of the exact same things.  And the food section smelled of rotting meat.  Par for the course. Continue reading

The Bus Ride From HELL

I’m writing this post from the restaurant/bus station in the middle of nowhere, where we got dropped off at 1 pm.  It’s now 4:17 pm.  We left Don Det Island in the very south of Laos at 8 am, bound for Ban Lung, Cambodia.  The border crossing for a busload of people took a ridiculously long time, then the bus seemed to just wait to be filled with more people.  So we waited.  And waited.

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A Quick Update from Laos – It’s Been Awhile

Wow, you wouldn’t believe how busy I’ve been! So busy, in fact, that I haven’t had time to update the blog.  And today is a designated “Rest Day” to rest up from our adventures before a big travel day tomorrow.  I’ve got a hammock with my name on it at the “Relax Bars” across the river, so I’ll try to cover a lot of ground here…

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“Blink Blink” and Other Ridiculous T-Shirts

It may be a cultural issue, or a language barrier, but in Thailand there seems to be a different approach to what they’ll print on a T-shirt.  Most noticeably, it doesn’t need to make sense.  At least not to me, a native English speaker and a copywriter.  Nor to Fahrin, an avid reader and excellent writer in her own right.  Take, for example, this shirt…

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“That’s a strange-looking fish!”

After walking through the nightly tourist market in Pai yet again, we stumbled upon the locals market.  Here, there we no T-shirts or hats emblazoned with nonsensical slogans like “Let’s Go Pai” or “I Try… Pai”.   Along both sides of this street were stall after stall of vendors selling mostly fresh food, and some prepared food.  These were locals who must’ve pulled the vegetables out of the ground that day and trekked them over to the market.  We would call the food “organic.”  Surely, they just call it food.

As we were nearing the end of the street, I spotted some kind of strange-looking fish in a bag as I walked by.  Ten steps later, I felt the need to go back and get a better look.  Just to satisfy my curiosity. Continue reading

The Little Differences that Make a BIG Difference

Travelling in a foreign country, you start to notice things that aren’t like at home.  Some good, some not so good.  Here are some things that have really impressed upon me…

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Our Most Adventurous Meal Yet!

Last night, Fahrin and I set out to get some dinner at the local market.  When we got there, we decided not to eat there as most things were for take-away and it wasn’t really conducive to eating there.  So we continued our walk in the local’s neighbourhood to see what we could see.

Full of Thais -It MUST be good!

After awhile we saw a place from across the street that looked interesting.  It was full of Thai people – and ONLY Thai people – who were sitting on the floor in groups of 4 or 5 eating around round tables.  The place was packed!  It must be good, we thought. Continue reading

What’s All the Croaking About?

That night we got back to our hotel room and were serenaded by a LOUD, constant croaking.  There must’ve been a couple dozen frogs in the pond outside our room.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture the times when they all started going ballistic at once, but I got some of the more mellow times. Take a listen. The croaking continued till morning, but I had the best sleep since I got to Thailand.

The Mountain, Part II

The ride up the mountain the next morning was quite a bit different than the night before.  Sure, there were the same noxious fumes, and the price somehow increased from 300 to 400 baht on the way, but in the daylight we could see the scenery.  What incredible scenery! Valleys of lush greenery, homes that ranged from shacks on stilts to modern mansions (I’m not sure which I like better), all manner of vegetation…

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The Mountain

For our first evening in Chiang Mai, we planned to go see Fahrin’s brother, Alam, up in the mountains where he teaches.  The 40-minute drive turned into two hours with traffic and a driver who didn’t know where he was going.  Continue reading

First Impressions of Chiang Mai

We finally arrived in Chiang Mai, the place everyone raves about.  So excited to finally be here!  After the all-night bus ride, all we wanted was some breakfast.  So we walked up and down Niemenhamin Street where Fahrin’s brother lives.  It’s a swanky neighbourhood.  Far too rich for my blood.  Continue reading

Can We Get to Chiang Mai?!?

The second day in Bangkok was a lot more chill.  We hung out by the river, wandered in some quieter areas, and found some really quiet, leafy streets with guesthouses where we’d stay if we had to stay in Bangkok again.  The city seemed a little more diverse than it did on first exposure.  And a lot more palatable.  Still, I was anxious to go north to Chiang Mai.  Not just to catch up with my brother (in-law) who lives there, but to see what all the hype is about.  Reports of Chiang Mai were just the opposite of Bangkok – cool, slower pace, artsy, great vibe…  And it was just a 12-hour bus ride away…

A bus ride that seemed for awhile like it might not happen.  Were we victims of one of the bus scams that were written about in the Lonely Planet?  Continue reading

Arrival in Bangkok!

Confucius Say: “Man who go through airport turnstile with erection going to Bangkok.”

Everyone I’ve ever spoken to about Thailand has said the same thing: “Land in Bangkok and get the fuck out as soon as possible.”

So many people independently expressing the exact same sentiment.  And these were the same people who said, “You would love Thailand.  I mean youYou would love Thailand.  You have to go!” Continue reading