“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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Fried Egg On Whaaa???

There is place we like to eat in Pai called Home.  It’s a nice little restaurant that appears to be run by a woman and her teenage daughter.  Her younger daughter is often there doing her homework, as is an older lady who may be the owner’s mother.  They don’t speak much English, but the food is good and cheap, they have a travel Connect Four game for patrons to play, and there is one outdoor table surrounded by trees that is great to sit at if you can get it.

We’ve been there for dinner several times, and went there a few days ago for breakfast, when I noticed this on the breakfast menu:

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The World’s First Ferris Wheel and My First Waterafall

You can only sit around and look at the river for so long, so last week, we decided to get out of town and see what the surrounding area had to offer.

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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 Life of Pai

Last weekend we were back in the city in Chiang Mai, down from the mountains and ready to party hardy with Alam and his crew.  Turns out I still have a bit of party left in me (for one night, but not two), and we ended up having a really great weekend.  Last Monday, we made our way down to Pai for a few days, which has now turned into a week and counting…

The ride up here was spectacular.  Up a winding mountain road where the scenery never got dull and the twists and turns never seemed to end.  And then, all of a sudden, we were here.

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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.

Unpretty

There is just no way around it:  I’m not pretty in Thailand.  There is a definite standard of beauty in this country, and I just don’t meet it.

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“She’s Gonna Go Jurassic Park On This Place.”

I haven’t been to the zoo in so many years, that I don’t even remember the last time I went to the zoo.  I feel so sorry for the animals, and though it would be exciting to see them, my guilty conscience about being part of the species that keeps them locked up has kept me away.  But a couple of days ago, Alam suggested we visit the Night Safari in Chiang Mai, and we went.  Bad idea.

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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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Been there. Done that.

Yesterday was particularly special for both of us.  We got to do something Stu had always dreamed of doing and I had never imagined doing:  hanging out with elephants.

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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

Show & Tell in Chiang Mai

After much hulabaloo with the bus out of Bangkok, including several almost-misses and me yelling down the dark streets of a Bangkok alleyway “STUUU!!! STUUUU!!! WHERE ARE YOU?!?!?!”, we finally got out of Bangkok on Sunday  night.

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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

Look Left. Look Right. Look Left Again.

Remember that old video game called Frogger?  It was something like a frog trying to cross a street, while dodging cars in every lane?  That’s kind of what it’s like trying to cross the street in Bangkok.

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Sunrise In Bangkok

Sometimes, a girl just needs to go out for an early morning walk with her guy.

Like when he wakes up before sunrise with a headache, needing some food so he can take an Advil, and you’re sleeping in a tiny room in a strange city, you can’t just let him go out alone.  And so it came to be that Stu and I ended up going out for a sunrise walk in Bangkok. And I’m really glad we did.  My only regret is that I didn’t think to take my camera with me at that time in the morning.  But maybe I can paint the picture for you here.

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Dancing Girl

There is one spot I love in Bangkok.  I’m definitely less allergic to this place than I am to the rest of the city.  We found it yesterday, on a walk down to the river.  (When we asked for directions to the river, we were told with a vague wave of the hand, “it’s that way”.  Funnily enough, the dude was right.  And we found it.)

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Adverse Reaction

I’m allergic to Bangkok.

No joke, I’ve been sneezing and sniffling since we got here.  I don’t have a cold, and it’s not because I haven’t been sleeping enough.  I know what both of those feel like, and this isn’t it.  I’m just allergic to Bangkok. Continue reading