Friday, August 11, 2006

Don't Tell Mum

Yes, I am aware of 1) The reverse psychology effect of this title, and 2) the futility of expecting my mother not to read something (everything?) I write on this blog. But she has been warned. There are two things in this post that she would probably rather remain in ignorance of.

But anyway, I wound up spending two days in Mae Hong Son (a semi-traveller-ified town in Northwest Thailand) after my rafting. The first day was spent wandering around town being nosy and doing errands (bank, laundry, etc) and climbing to the temple on the hill overlooking the town. It's a nice little temple, nothing too flashy, I got to see a monk using his cellphone during lunch, another one doing the holy laundry (orange, while a very enlightened colour, really does show the dirt), and another one checking his email on the computer under the temple), that and some really nice views out over the surrounding valleys.

Thing number one:

The next day I rented a motorbike (just a small automatic one, I wore my helmet all the time, even during lunch, and the rental lady showed us how to use everything and gave us lots of dire warnings "if you change gear with handle like this [throttle open] - acident", "if you go too fast - accident", "if you go down steep hill - accident" - I'm pleased to report there were no accidents, even when a stray dog ran out in front of me on a wet road.

Unfortunately for my mother I really enjoyed it - we went to see longneck village and KMT (Chinese village). These were interesting enough, but it was riding between the various sites that was the real highlight. The wind in my face (and for a couple of hours the torrential rain too), the views of the countryside, the feeling of control. It's like riding a bike - only a bit faster and with less balance and effort required.

We now reutn you to our Safe for mothers programming:

Today I just got the bus to Mae Sariang, where I will probably try to arrange a trek, might try and arrange a short stay on a gibbon sanctuary, and try to work out a vague plan for the next 20 days.

I know I have a diving course to do (4 days, plus two days of travel and recovery before hand, and probably a few days on the islands afterwards). I'd also like to see the bridge over the River Kwai and Lopburi (or another city with monkey-type creatures roaming free). So really I'm only working with a few blank days and there's lots of stuff I could do.

At the moment, the pencil itinirary is back to Chiang Mai foranother cooking course, a couple days of massage school maybe another short trek although my trusty old boots died on the last one, then down to the islands for diving and maybe rock climbing then back to bangkok, finally seeing the tourist sights there (I will probably do the bangkok in a day that Lonely Planet reccomends and a one day sidetrip because I think I have dog-eared something nearby that sounded pretty sweet).

Your suggestions are very welcome. I've had just about enough of temples and other old buildings though.

Then it's back to Auckland and - Thing number 2 - a brief familial interlude before I jet off somewhere else (or just possibly settle down and go back to university or get a real job - but don't hold your breath, my list of foreign possibilities for next year is pretty long and tempting).

So there you have it folks. I'm glad I'm X thousand miles and 20 days away from seeing my mother again - plus I've been away two years, which is long enough to attain prodigal son status, so I expect the full fattened calf treatment when I get back (although I would prefer lamb I'm not going to stand in the way of tradition, especially when it comes to getting feasted).

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