Chiang Mai – Day 1

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Last night we took the “sleeper train” from Bangkok to Chaing Mai. It’s about a 12 hour ride overnight and after they serve you dinner they turn your seats into bunk beds. Eric and i both ended up with top bunks. Between the swaying, the noise, the intermittent braking and accelerating, and the bright flourescent lights that were on all night…we did manage to get a 3 or 4 hours of sleep.

I’ve been on old trains before, but this one was really old. The toilet was a hole to the earth so your stuff just splatters all over the tracks. Eric couldn’t muster the courage to go #2, so he held it in all night. We got up early and went to the “dinner car”. Passing from one car to the next was a little intimidating since the two cars were moving so much. Stepping into the dinner car was like stepping back in time. All the windows in the car were completely down…big enough to fall right out of. The tables were in a 50’s diner. The train crew wore unifroms that reminded me of military uniforms worn by the vietnamese officers during the war. One old Thai guy was smoking a cigarette…jsut watching the scenery. The kitchen was open into the car…and the cooking was loud and messy. It was awesome. We stayed there until we reached Chiang Mai and took about a million pictures. I don’t have any way to upload the images until i get back…so you’ll have to be patient.

Chiang Mai is pretty awesome. A lot slower paced than Bangkok, but still a major city. Eric and I agree that that much of Thailand is “2nd World” …if that even exists. Not quite 1st world, but not quite 3rd world either. The sewage smells isn’t as bad here…but it’s definitely not missing. It will be nice to be out in the woods tomorrow night. Today we basically walked and Tuk Tuk’d around the city and checked it out. We got to see cheap labor in action…the insides of a jewelery factory and an umbrella factory. There are countless street vendors selling everything from mini buddah statues to fried chicken.

I read in the LP guide that Chaing Mai started as a place where bordering counries imported things into China through Thailand. All the street markets and handicrafts made and sold here are the remnants of those days. We are heading out into the night bazar now to check out what’s for sale. Before i take off though…here’s a few things we’ve noticed during our first few days in Thailand.

  • People smile a lot more.
  • Personal space is much less (when driving or walking).
  • Hot water is a commodity and not found in most places, however…the cold water isnt’s luke warm. Probably because the earth is boiling hot from the sun everyday.
  • Nobody honks their horn unless to warn of danger. Even if they get cut off. Nobody gets mad…they all just drive crazy like it’s some kind of fun race.
  • 95% of Thai people are thin. I’m convinced it’s their diet. They don’t eat cheeese and milk like Americans do. Lots of rice, fruits, vegetables and lean meats.
  • Many wives allow their husbands to be with other woman, because they work 12 horus days 6 days per week. However, if the woman have had children, they aren’t allowed to be with other men.

Eric’s got a weblog now too. Check out his version, which probably contains much more detail, since I forget half of what happens by the end of the day.

One Thought on “Chiang Mai – Day 1”

  1. ksunturtle Says:

    Boys, Guys, Fellas,Hi! This is so great! America is missing you guys for sure. Take care of each other. Neighbor John hug an elephant for me! (I want it on film)

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