Bullitt's Bros

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Chiang Mai Adventure, Part 3

So, we last left on a cliff-hanger.

I bet you were worried.

Well, as I told mom in a separate email, it really shouldn't have ended with "the horror. the horror." More like, "the mild discomfort. The mild discomfort."

Here's what happened:

After seeing the tea-leaf demonstration, it was time to go to bed. So wife and I retired to our home-stay and took a better look around. We were pleased to find a light in our room. That was the last bit of pleasure.

The bed was rock-hard, like my abs, in my head. It was not comfortable, like standing very close to me. The pillows wrapped little rocks. Why wrap rocks? Why not just put the rocks there?

(OK, they weren't rocks. Rocks would have been more uncomfortable. I'll grant that.)

The bathroom was a fucking enigma, man. Don't get me wrong--I knew what I was supposed to do, and where I was supposed to put it. There was a toilet bowl and even a basin behind it--no squat toilets here!--but there was no flusher. Like, once you were done, what were you supposed to do? All I could was a shower nozzle and two dark-looking buckets of water. Was I supposed to squirt myself off? Was I supposed to have gone in the bucket? I didn't know. Wife couldn't figure it out either. So I just went and let God sort it out.

Then there was the extreme coldness. Although Chiang Mai is hot by day, it is uncomfortable at night, unless you (1) wear a lot of clothing and (2) move around a lot. I had (1) totally covered. It was (2) that's the problem. Moreover, (1) wasn't all it was cracked up to be. It's not comfortable sleeping in a jacket under any circumstances, but when your jacket is very thin, and your covers are not covers, but a patchwork of 1'x1' quilts, you get cold. There was a lot of snuggling that night. But not out of love. It was a purely mechanical, no funny-business kind of snuggling.

Hmm. I guess the word "snuggling" is inapt, then. Let's call it "need-based snuggling."

But I haven't gotten to the best part: the roosters.

Now, earlier that day, I found the village roosters hilarious. "Cock-a-doodle-doo!" they'd shriek, and then I'd have a laugh as they skipped from rock to rock. I looked forward to having nature's alarm clock wake me up.

And by God, they woke me up. At 2 am.

Here's the thing about roosters that you might think if you haven't spent much time around them. You may think, "roosters only cock-a-doodle when they wake up, right?" No, sir. Roosters never shut the fuck up.

They start at 2 am and they finish at 6 pm. And it's like they have some kind of rooster-off. Who can piss the humans off the most? And they all win.

So there I was, cold, back-pained, and driven mad by roosterdom. And then? 6:45 rolled around. Wife and I got up, angry ghosts of our former selves. Hair mussed, hungry, but very confused. You know that kind of confused--that "I'm so drowsy I forgot who I am" confused? That was me.

And then Arree greeted us.

She had breakfast ready, and what was it? Well, new, sweet breads. Fairly yummy, I'd say. Also, some coffee. Thank God. And ... stew? OK. I mean, it wasn't new stew--it was the two soups we had last night and mixed together. And there was a lot of rice. And fried eggs, on white bread. And fruits! It was actually a lot of breakfast, now that I think about it.

To thank her, I wanted to say, "that was delicious." So I took out my Thai phrase book and looked that up. I found it, but I had no idea how to say it. So I gave the book to her, pointing to the phrase I wanted her to understand. In other words, I wanted her to read, "that was delicious" and then say to me and wife, "you're welcome. Sorry about the roosters."

Now, there's a funny thing about communication; there's a lot of shared principles that enable even rudimentary versions of it. For instance, if I don't know how to say "I want something to drink", I'll point to me and make a drinking motion. People always understand this. But what if they didn't? What if they though I was saying there was something wrong with my arm? Nothing rules that out. So, when I give someone who's never spoken a word of English a Thai phrase book and point her to the word I want her to read, what does she do? She points to her eye and closes it.


She points to her and closes it, and then opens it, and finally wife says, "oh! She can't see well enough to read!" Sure enough this was right. So I gave her my glasses. She took them and put them in front of her face, sort of. They were actually diagonal across her face, because she was 4'10". And then what does she do? She starts reading, out loud, all the words in the book. So, when I pointed her to a word and asked her to read it, she pronounced it and every other word.

Oh well.

The rest of the day was devoted to white-water rafting and a trek to a waterfall. White-water rafting was a lot of fun--the most fun part of the honeymoon, up to that point. We travelled, once again, with the Dutch family. But travelling with us was also Ian Williams, the chief Asia correspondent for NBC. It's not often you get to meet the such a person. But when you do, you know by hearing him that you needed to hear about many more world events from him. I would listen to him read the weather.

There's not much to say about the white-water rafting, alas. I felt as though my rowing skills improved, that I saw neat parts of Thailand, and that it was good that I re-learned how to swim in August. And as for the waterfall: eh. It's a waterfall.

So ends the Chiang Mai adventure. Next up: the food of Thailand!


  • sounds awful. sorry about that but I am strictly NOT a third world person. I hope that you are going to have some better food in store for you and Shawn. And those roosters. Too much. though I really like the cock a doodle do songs. Do be careful you two. Keep the blogs and the emails coming. Are you going to be in a comfortable hotel again? Much love to you both, mom

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:05 AM  

  • gavagai.

    By Blogger kmosser, at 4:47 PM  

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