Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bonjour from Mae Hong Son

We have arrived to the small 8,000 person northern Thailand city of Mae Hong Son. We were going to book a trek from Chiang Mai but met a wonderful Frenchie on his way to Mae Hong Son and he convinced us to join.
We have some catching up to do since we have mistakingly lost track of time and have to update on the last five days, oops.
We spent the bd night at a very hip and loud restaurant called the riverside in Chiang Mai, where we both had the most ridiculous cocktails ever- one red and one blue. We then continued the party at Cocktail Cycle Bar- imagine a cable car on wheels with bicycle seats attached to the outside sitting about 5 feet above ground with loud music and bright lights. There we met Narrin, a very flamboyant Thai bartender who convinced after birthday shots, to go to the Reggae Bar we swore we wouldn't return to.  A few more cheap drinks, conversation with a high maintenance traveling Ethiopean, a smoke filled multileveled dance bar with crazy drunks almost falling through the ceiling and the night ended well.
Caught up on some more Chiang Mai sight seeing, and made our way to Dash restaurant to visit Maddie's aunt and cousin. 5 hours later with full tummys and well conversed mouths we went home because we had planned on seeing a Buddhist holiday at 6am the next morning. Of course we slept in until 630am so we hurried to purchase offerings for the monks. We picked up bananas and some hot food and made it to the event as it was closing up. Nervously we placed the goods into the young monks' bowls and continued to view the 12,600 monk spectacle. So many monks. So many bowls. Later that night we went to what we were told was the market that "no tourists go" to... or that EVERY tourist goes to. Peaced out of the trap and discovered the "real" market where we found all sorts of goods that we found out supply the whole country of Thailand, at a cheaper price.
The next morning we changed guesthouses for the fourth time (need a suggestion? we can tell you...where not to go...) and tried our, aka Brooke's, skill at driving a motorbike. We took a drive to Wat Doi Suthep, a mountain top temple that has been around since 1383 and overlooks the city and has about 300+ stairs to get to the top. We then went back down the mountain to Wat Umon, a temple consisting of underground-like tunnels located in a huge garden. It was definitely a favorite of all the temples we have visited so far.

Tina took her practice run at the moto bike and sadly... failed. A simple mistake, confused the gas with the brake and thus an abrasion to the knee and some mental scars.
So after Brooke drove us back (mind you driving here is like playing frogger with your life on a moving and unpredictable freeway) we went to see our favorite cousin of Maddie (he says you never write him by the way, Maddie...) again. For another 5 hours. We played some card games, sipped tea, talked to Patt (a sweet expat who teaches English at the Burmese Friendship Library), and were invited to a Muay Thai fight... which we declined.

Following day we caught up on sleep and met a friendly, very French, Frenchie, who we are currently traveling with. The bus ride the next morning to Mae Hong Son was the greatest ride ever, and Tina means that in the most sarchastic of ways... but it actually was a very beautiful ride through the mountains of Northern Thailand- a mix of Lake Tahoe and Amazon jungle. We decided to stay at the human made lake-side guesthouse, Johnnie's place where you can hear dog and cat fights as if they are in your room. We have just signed up for a trek, finally, which we will be taking off for in the morning and returning from the following night. Even though we have been hesitant to enter the "human zoo" of the long neck tribe, we are planning on visiting them tomorrow morning. We have read that the government pays these indigenous peoples money to wear the iconic gold rings around their necks so that the tourism will continue. Kind of gross but we will have to decide for ourselves.
Mae Hong Son is a pleasant town, with very few tourists, but we will probably head back down south after we return from the trek.
As for tonight, we search for this sausage stuffed in snake fish head and strong thai whiskey. Kisses and buttrubs.

1 comment:

  1. The area sounds like a tremendous mix of Thai mountain magic and touristic opportunism. So why are you guys so unlucky when it comes to finding accommodations? You need to study those guidebooks closer. Also, don't forget Eric's advice about making sure you watch who makes those disco drinks - whiskey can be risky!