Well what can I say... this place is amazing (at this time of
year), Songkran, is without a doubt, the most friendly and
pleasant festival ever -... I'm absoloutely soaked from head to
foot and just sat my big black 45 baht bucket-with-string next to
me in the internet cafe - brilliant, I cant really describe the
atmosphere here, but I wish we had anywhere near as much fun and
energy on a public holiday at home.

At any rate, lets cover what I've been up to... My trek for 3
days was really fun - my first night in Chiang Mai I met 2 of my
fellow trekers, A girl from Finland (Anna) and a guy from England
(Paul) - Paul is great, a very very interesting fellow who in his
30 years has a great deal of life experiences to share, not all
of them pleasant, but all the more interesting... Anna has a
wonderful command of the english language, and has studied
psychology and is a transient..and vid people watcher (like
myself) - so we get on quite well, we even got up to a bit of
drunken urban exploration as we wandered home last night.

First night of the trek we headed out and stayed a night with a
Karren (sp?) hill tribe - they dont speak standard Thai in these
regions, and as part of the "eco" tourism push they have been
oddly converted (no feed lines, but the tribes have solar panels,
T.V. aerials and catholic churches - catholicism in Thailand is
very interesting, I still haven't quite got the "measure" of it,
as they still celebrate budhist events such as Songkran and
generally are a little.. umm.. Odd.  Missionaries have a bit
of answer for ;o)

Second night we headed to a little village that had a waterfall,
very scenic... just kicking back and having a few drinks with our
trainee guide, Mr Bad Boy.. who's birthday apparently it was, but
wether it was true we're not quite sure.  Mr Ken (our main
guide), was hungover (among other things... hehe) from the night
before and let us be.

The last day we went bamboo rafting (and it was the first proper
day of Songkran) so we got very wet.. and then went for a half
hour ride on elephants at the elephant camp, which was definitely
an experience.. riding on an elephant is really quite something,
especially when they start scrambling up an eighty degree

My Trek was great, but the variety and amusement derived from the
people I met on the trek was even better - the social dynamics
are hilarious (the group consisted of a bunch of british girls
ranging from 18 through 22 and one english lad (Tom) who had been
teaching english in Thailand for the last 3 months, 2 Australians
(both pretty cool), Paul, Anna and Myself being the solo
travellers.  I can't really be bother putting it down into
words right now, but it's been a lot of fun, and the food was

Today I had a lazy start, as we went out to the riverside bar and
grill for drinks and food last night and I was felling a little
run down (Honey coated pork spare ribs with spicey papaya salad
with prawns and a 2 litre pitcher of chang beer, so good!) - so I
had breakfast at 10:30 then read a book till 12 (Trigger by
Arthur.C.Clarke, which isn't a bad load of bollix) - and went
wandering with Paul.

Since then I've just been getting sprayed with water by kids and
old people alike (it's good luck to wet westerners :) almost
continually... there are people everywhere, and they're all
smiling... it's just amazing - you really have to be here to
understand, but you're very greatful for your Typhoid
shot!!  Everything is covered in the local water out of the
ping river and surrounding areas, deli belly central I'm sure...

Tonight I'm meeting up for drinks with the Trek'ing gang again at
8pm, which should be fun - I have the advantage of not really
having plans till after Songkran, so I can have a bit of a fun
without worrying about needing to move again the next day.

Once Songkran is over I'll book a thai cooking class for a couple
of days and arrange my slow boat to Luang Prabang in Laos (I've
already got my Visa being processed now) - and I take back what I
said about Chiang Mai weather, it's miles better then Bangkok
because the nights are a lovely 20 degrees.. just dont get out of
bed till lunch time and you have a 5 hours heat and then the
temperature eases off, I actually wore a pair of jeans last night
comfortably.. first time in Thailand.

Hope everyones doing swell, whats the weather back home like :?

 - Alex

Written on April 13, 2005