Sunday, January 08, 2006

New Years in Chang Mai

After buying yet another pair of flip flops (they keep disappearing)we all meet up at the travel agent to catch our bus to Chang Mai. There I was supposed to receive my Laos 30 day visa, but as it turns out the embassy was closed so I'll have to settle for a 15 day visa at the border.

The bus was supposed to leave at 6:30pm, but we all wound up sitting on the side of the road until about 8pm because there was some problem with the driver. We suspected he was drunk. It was a decent bus, but had very little legroom. Kirk who is fairly tall was sitting behind me so I was nice and didn't recline, but that cost me another night's sleep. But by being awake I did get to witness a Thai custom of the driver pulling over in the middle of nowhere to purchase a few wreaths of flowers for good luck.

After driving all night we finally made our crawl thru the Chang Mai mountains at a snails pace. In town we pulled into a bus station where we transferred to local pick up truck transport. Piling out the of the truck Minesh led us to the guesthouse he stayed at previously, but they were full so we settled into The S.K. Guesthouse on Soi #9. Less than $4each for a decent fan room with ensuite and a pool. We checked in and went next door to the English owned "The Local" for some breakfast. Jody and Kirk got the Big English breakfast which included the biggest fattest sausages I've ever seen. What kind of sausage it was is still up for debate. I caught up on my lost sleep all afternoon. Then awoke to have a tasty Indian dinner of Marsala Dosas and Pakoras.
After dinner we went back to warm up for the evening at The Local where finally my pool game came together and I managed to go undefeated. Next stop was to Roots, Rock, Reggae to ring in the New Year. The band was just getting started and we ordered a bucket of Red Bull/Vodka which lasted about 2 minutes before it was dry.
It was the beginning of a really great drunken night. I brought an Austrian girl into the mix cause she was on her own and we all played with the Thai children selling roses. Lots of dancing, lots of buckets, lots of hugs and kisses to ring in the New Year.It must have been around 3am when we left in a drunken stupor back to The Local where things were way too quiet. That didn't last too long though as we quickly got things livened up by turning up the music, stripping our shirts off and getting up for some table and bar top dancing. Unfortunatley from this point on I really don't remember anything. Not even the chick fight that happened. But I'm assured it was all a great time. As overkill we took some liter beers back to our room and passed around Kirk's bottle of single malt scotch. Of course, drinking single malt at that stage is nothing but alcohol abuse for which I do appologize. Went to bed just before sunrise. One of the funnest New Year's ever!
Awoke around noon still very intoxicated and had some breakfast before heading back to bed. Awaking later we all went to dinner @ "Jerusalem Falafel" and I got an eggplant Mousakka, but it just didn't have that Thai authenticity :) Walked back thru a very large and very crowded New Year's day market which really wasn't fun in our condition, but interesting.
That evening I caught a cold and spent most of the night awake because I couldn't breathe. At 6am I went walking around the still sleeping town. This whole trip I have been craving bagels and cream cheese of which there are none to be found. But I got excited when I came across the Bagel Cafe. Unfortunately they were closed all day. That's OK. I've waited 10 months, I can wait another day. Later that day we went back to The Local to piece together the previous evening, play pool and catch some Premier League Football.

Then we were off to check out some local Thai Boxing. We learned that many of the Thai beers have Formaldihyde in them so we switched to Heinekins and asked our Chinese hostess to sit a couple of ladies in the remaining two seats at our table. And she did. A couple of Danish coeds. With ringside seats we watched the fighters go thru their dance like rituals and bless each corner while Thai music blarred thru the PA. Altogether we watched around 10 fights with fighters between 90 and 165lbs all literally kicking the crap out of each other while the locals made bets and cheered. Incidently, the kicks are brutal but the knee and elbow strikes are the knockout moves.
We also played a couple of games of pool with the Danishes and things were going well until the very end of the evening when Minesh had some kind of brain seizure and decided to jump ship and hit on a French girl. Foolish, very foolish! Of course the girls were rightfully offended and quickly made there exit. Disgusted we too made our exit and left Minesh to learn his lesson. Along the way home we stopped so Kirk and Jody could get some street vendor soup, congratulated a boxer who happened to be there and went back to the Local for a beer.
It wasn't long before Minesh showed up: Head hanging, tail between his legs and profusely appologetic. He took the frog to a bar where she promptly left him for a friend. Live and Learn.

In the morning I finally got my bagel and cream cheese. For our last dinner together we went to The Salsa Kitchen for some nice Mexican food. As there 6pm bus to Bangkok arrived I made plans to catch up with Jody and Kirk in a few days and wished Minesh good luck with the rest of his trip to China and India. As for me, I'm off to the sleepy little town of Pai in search of.......