Newsflash: Despite some questionable reports that backpackingbadger is at large in the People's Republic of China, our increasing surveillance efforts indicate that she is in fact still roaming the hills of Northern Thailand and is increasingly losing her grasp of the concept of time...
So folks - my two weeks exploring Northern Thailand has somehow mysteriously, and completely unbeknownst to me, elapsed into 4 weeks as my plans get hazier and hazier by the second... It's all good though as I've been learning lots and lots of very useful things - so here goes:
- I have mastered the art of the motorcycle. Forget those pathetic little scooter jobbies - I'm talking full-on, hear-em-before-you-see-em, kickass bikes. I've been cruising around and generally picking up a mild addiction...
- I can make Thai curry paste from scratch! I nearly lost my right arm in the process after a ridiculously lengthy session with a pestle and mortar - but I got there in the end - and can also make a sumptuous feast of other delicious Thai dishes.
- Rice rice rice. Planting rice. Mulching rice. Dehusking rice. Cooking rice. Soaking rice. You would not believe how much time and effort goes into the production of those seemingly innocuous little grains of white stuff.
- I learnt an awful lot about my good self (the good, the bad AND the ugly) during an intense but indescribably rewarding 7 day meditation retreat in a blissfully tranquil monastery in the midst of the beautiful rugged limestone peaks of Northern Thailand.
- Cooking on open fires and using earth ovens has made me a firestarter of unsurpassable quality. Sure, I've had some setbacks (it is rainy season here after all...) but I'm now a fire maestro. I defy any pile of twigs and leaves which dares to deny me the power of fire...
Yes, I know it's a cliche (and I shudder at the thought of becoming one of those) but getting stuck in Thailand has been one big and crazy adventure. It all started on a boozy overnight train trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai (which involved me learning a baffling amount about quantum physics - but that's another story...) and I'm still here - although thankfully not still on the train - 4 weeks later.
There's been cooking courses, long and fascinating conversations with monks in the temples of Chiang Mai, lemon shakes galore, hooning (a little Australian term I picked up along the way...) around on a motorbike on a road with 1800+ curves, waterfalls, tribal villages, organic farming, silent meditation retreats, rain, copious amounts of laocao - the local rice whisky - which is marginally better than the Indonesian local rice whisky (am becoming a sort of pro on this front), night markets, sweet basil chocolate (YUM!), pounding rice with a contraption which looks like it belongs in the year 1364, getting saturated in the back of a pickup during a torrential rain shower, ducks (befriending them not eating them), ex-mafioso buddhist monks, rain, shovelling s***, starfruit jam, roaring motorbikes, oh, and did I mention the rain?
Times are good and I'm realy enjoying floating around to wherever takes my fancy (sorry guys), which I'm pretty sure is Mongolia - although don't hold me to it...xxxxxx