Bullitt's Bros

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Chiang Mai Adventure, Part 1

The last night I spent in Bangkok was the one where I saw kickboxing in Lumphini stadium. Although I had a got time watching young boys get brained, wife and I were not so keen on Bangkok. Too much pollution, too many people, too many loud noises, too much untrustworthiness...all that leads to too much stress. So we were happy to take a trip for the next few days to Thailand's second city, Chiang Mai. (And a distant second it is: Bangkok's population: 8 million; Chiang Mai's: 150,000.)

Not to put too fine a point on it, Chiang Mai is lovely. It's people really are friendly, the scams are easier to avoid (because less agressively pursued), the street food is bananas (as in: it's bananas how good it is. Also, there are a lot of bananas), and the city is very walkable. It's like a Thai college town. Moreover, there are great deals on all sorts of clothes, art, nick-nacks, etc.

I shall cover Chiang Mai--especially its labyrinthine zoo--in a little more detail in a later post. For now, I want to tell you about my outdoor adventure, officially entitled, "Flight of the Gibbons."

Flight of the Gibbons is an outdoor adventure consisting of four parts: a ziplining experience, a whitewater rafting part, a trek to a waterfall, and a stay overnight with some Thai villagers. The first adventurous element, though, consisted of being picked up.

Supposedly, we were going to be picked up at 8:30 in front of our hotel. So we woke up at 7 am (or maybe even 6:30, I forget), got to the front of our hotel by 8:15, and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Finally, at 9:20, the shuttle arrived to pick us up. Only one problem: it didn't arrive to pick us up; it arrived to pick up a bunch of other guests from our hotel. But not us.

We talked to the agency and they assured us another shuttle would be by to pick us up in twenty minutes. So we waited.

20 minutes. I read my philosophy book.

40 minutes. I'm really into my book now.

60 minutes. I'm sleepy. Can I go nap nap?

70 minutes later, the shuttle arrived. If we weren't in Thailand, we would maybe express our displeasure. But that doesn't work in Thailand. You're supposed to display "cool heart", and if you don't--if you get visibly angry--the Thais just check out. They're done talking to you. So we didn't get visibly angry. We get on the shuttle.

About an hour later, we arrived at the village where we would be staying that night (population: 400). It was a rickety little place, full of irregularly constructed sidewalks, antique houses, outdated plumbing, and satellite TV dishes.

We got to the building that deals with Flight of the Gibbon, and inside we found a pretty little Thai lady with what seemed to be foot-long eyelashes. Beautiful, in their way. We were supposed to pay 11,300 Baht for the adventure. So we gave her 12,000.

She thought for a second.

She looked at the price. Then she looked at our money.

Finally, she took out her calculator.

She thought some more.

Finally, she figured out that 12,000-11,300=700. She gave us back 700 Bahts.

At this point, we figured out why they were two hours late.

To be continued!


  • you are adjusting well one might say. I suppose the weather is good? and that you are learning a lot about why the US is a comfortable place to live!! You sound to be in good spirits and that you and Shawn are enjoying yourselves. What is the hotel like? I loved reading about the restaurants in the first hotel. Take care of yourselves and I look forward to reading more blogs. Mom.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:27 PM  

  • We await further news. Much love mom

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:16 AM  

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