So what have I been up to the past week or so? Well I stayed with a nice family in Lamton and got to see Thailand's rice belt. It was a very relaxing couple of days and I even helped them with some computer issues to earn my keep. After that I headed back to Uttaradit to catch a train to Chiang Mai. I ended up meeting Mouse and her family at a bar and going later with them to a discotheque. She was really helpful and even took me to the train station the next day and introduced me to where she lives in Lablae (spelling?). Unfortunately, the train was second class only which means the ticket was more than I thought I was going to pay but it was the only train that passed through and was going to Chiang Mai. Arriving in my car I see a bunch of farangs (foreigners) and lots of backpack straps dangling from overhead shelves. I was later served a small pink cake and a drink. A lot different than the third class train I took from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi which had no air-con and when we stopped we got street food hawkers come on board to sell stuff. After arriving in Chiang Mai I went to meet up with Esther, a host on couch surfer. So far it has been a great experience in Chiang Mai. I had some dumplings at what I think was a six star restaurant. I went on what is called Flight of the Gibbons, basically zip-lines strung through the jungle in northern Thailand. If there was any doubt about me not eating enough before, let your thoughts be availed. In the past three days I have eaten more food than the rest of the trip combined. I tried some turtle in Lamton (chewy and spicy), some shark fin on a dumpling (I think the restaurant was The Oriental), all sorts of sushi at a sushi bar with a treadmill like belt for all the dishes to pass by. I also have been trying food specific from northern Thailand that is mostly pork such as sausages and things like that. Oh and I went to the theatre and watched Inkheart. The film was decent but we sat VIP in reclining chairs and were brought a blanket and pillow, pretty nice huh? They also do a little montage before the film with a song saluting the king where everyone stands up. So what is next? Not sure. I have about a week before my visa runs out and I was thinking of heading to Nong Khai because I've heard good things about the atmosphere there; plus it's right next to Vientiane, Laos where I plan to get my Vietnamese visa. But I'm going to see a hill tribe on Monday with Esther and Giles (a sculptor from London). That might flood over into a travel adventure into northern Laos or it might not. Anyway, I leave you with some photo's and hope everything is going well with everyone.
A rice field with a small room
(usually only used when needed)
A couple of rice farmers invited me for some rice whiskey while I was biking around
Esther hosting a bunch of us for massive amounts of dumplings
The skin of the duck is eaten around Chinese New Year (I think)
Geared up for being slung through the forest