So this is Thailand.
We started in Chiang Rai and immediately had an unforgettable experience. Still with Paul and Jacinta we all hired bikes to go explore, and what an explore!!!
We went to see a cool new temple that had been painted White but with weird features like; a model bust of the Predator, a sea of hands, one flipping the bird, paintings on the inside of the Twin Towers disaster, pepsi trucks, evil oil pumps and Darth Vader. Kim being more attune with the arts tells me it was an Easy v West thing and how they don't need the ills of our world for happiness, or something along those lines. I just found it intriguing and distasteful.
Onwards to a waterfall and the heavens opened (by the way, we were doin great takin turns on the bike!). It was nice to get back to nature but as ever we were all on a schedule and so to the elephant sanctuary. Before getting there it rained more, and this time I had Kim on the back. Ultimately it was miserable but we gave the elephants bananas, had our picture taken in our daft emergency ponchos, and persevered on. Our aim was the rain would stop and we'd finish the day in nice hot springs. That didn't happen. The bridge close by to take us there existed only on the map, but there's worse. Not only was it lashing but the road turned to a dirt and silt-covered ice rink. Yet worse we were faced with 10-15deg gradient - in Belfast think Hannastown hill, in Glasgow think Clarence Drive. In Austin or Fyfe think of a really steep hill.
To my surprise I was handling things quite well, that was, till Kim mentioned petrol. Realising I had little left I had to take my eyes off the road to fin the horn and let the others know. That was tricky but Jacinta stopped at the bottom of the hill. I tried to stop half-way down but, caught in a grove on the slippy dirt I lost a bit of control. Having slowed down the weight of both me and Kim was too much and we fell off. Kim was re-acquainted with her eternal partner - the cut knee, and I had a matching elbow. Other than that we were fine. But Kim wasted no time in switching to the back of Pauls' bike!! She tells me it was so I would not have to worry about her, but I think she was more worried about herself - anyone wanna vote!?!
We called it a day then And headed back. Soon tho Kim wanted another go and between us, an without a map, we made it back home safe and sound. We celebrated with alcohol, Jacinta danced and played the guitar after gatecrashing a band, and Kim broke out Pass the Pigs again!
Next up and Chiang Mai and another highlight - tigers!!!! Cool-see pics. Next day and Paul and Jacinta wanted to drive elephants, but we didn't want to so we went on a cooking course!!! It was superb, and I even got a certificate to say I'm a Thai chef along with my self-professed mastery of the Spanish language since Maddy left!!! Then we had to sadly depart P&J's company, but we'll catch up again.
Our next stop was Bangkok. And what a disappointment. Kho San Rd was cool, if unexpected. We walked around for hours with not a lot to see. We did go for some good shopping and seen a massive leaning Buddha and nice temples but, not being interested in the sex trade we found it ultimately dull. Maybe we were missin somethin. We did see a really good band on a rooftop bar and Kim had 'the best corn on the cob and chicken skewers' from a street stall.
Next up was a quick visit to Kho Tao, a little island famed for diving. We lazed by the pool and even took in a 'Ladyboy Show' - guys in drag doin cabaret. Kim enjoyed it. Our tight timescales meant we were travelling the next night. A bit of bad luck meant I had to travel on an overnight boat with a sore head. Imagine a wooden boat, two floors, each wall lined with little blue mats like you had in primary school PE and pillows. It was actually more comfy than you think. Then a bus and over to the other coast to be subjected to what was a constant feeling particularly in Thailand - people takin the piss and tryin to rip you off. After her bus got us there 5mins late, the woman at the travel office said we could wait 5hrs for a boat, or, for an extra fee, we could get the next one in an hour. With Kim not wanting to hand more cash over and me worrying about time, I went down the St to her competitor who did the next trip for nearly half the price!
So we got to Pi Pi. We stayed in a wee resort with it's own beach. It was great but having to get a boat there meant we could only eat there. That was fine but after two days we decided a change was needed and went into the town. Kim felt the need to party on the beach, after watching young folk (male and female) go to the toilet in the sea I felt the need to leave. The street pizza was nice tho.
Highlight here has to be going to see Leonardo Di Caprio's Beach. Again amazed by Kim's physical prowess as she swam to the rocks, even tho violent waves were crashing all around, and climbed up. Crossing the island and it was all worth it as it was really stunning.
That done, and as we only had a 14-day visa, we had to leave the country. As you can tell there has been a lot o moving at quick intervals lately, the main reason for me falling a little behind with the ol blogs. But thats me nearly there!!!