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Beyond Our Conestoga

Timeline Caphooey.

THAILAND | Friday, 5 February 2010 | Views [464] | Comments [1]

Ok. So I am so backed up in writing about up until now, I am just going to throw timeline to the wind and write a few things. We are currently in CHang Mai, THailand and heading to Laos on Monday. This is much further along on our travels than anticipated. As our time traveling lengthens, more and more experiences are happening that fall into the category of, "You know you've been traveling in SOutheast Asia, if..."

1. Things never go as planned. SO we sped through Malaysia (2 weeks), knowing we would have a month in Thailand. 30 day Visa on arrival. Cranky from constantly on the go and ready for some slow time in THailand where we have the time to chill (especially on the beaches) we come to the border. Both Eric and I are stamped Visa on arrival for Thailand, but for 15 days! Argh. What just happened? What did we do or say wrong? Turns out from other people we talked to, that people are getting stamped 15 days now that arrive by land. Even though the consulate office says otherwise. We go to the immigration office hoping to extend our Visas, and sure we could, but for more money and only for 7 more days. We could leave the country and come back and get another 15 days. If we flew, we would get 3o days. THey tell us that this is how they are treating all land arrivals now. Very new. So we check into our options of changing our trip plans, coming and going into THailand. We had been trying to squeeze our schedule a bit to find more time in Laos and decided that the Thai government just found it for us. Frustrating, but I hope we are happy once we are in Laos. It just means, instead of a week on the beaches, I got a day and a half. Instead of meandering our way north, we took night trains and buses. Instead of exploring the Northern CHang Mai provincial hill tribe areas, we will explore those in Laos. ANd most importantly right now, is that we still rushed north. So, after feeling like I needed a vacation just from the planning for our trip, we rushed through 2 weeks of Malaysia, leading to needing a vacation on the beaches of Thailand (oh how I longed for those days), but now it has been a month of go go go and now I don't know when it will come. I have a feeling Laos will be a harder go of traveling (language, slowness of older things, less comforts of modern accomodations, food--I don't know). Here's hoping.

2. You've experienced a pack of wild dogs. Walking from the train station in Ayuthya (sp?), Thailand North of Bangkok we go through a small street in the completely opposite direction to where all the tourists and touts are headed. As we stroll down this sleepy street, dogs start barking. No big deal, right? Out of the corner of my eye I catch this one dog. Running fast. and hard. and barking. and growling. At this point, it was like a focus zoom and all my attention was on him, even though I kept walking and facing foward. "Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God." I tense, I walk. Do I run? No, only would instigate him. All the other dogs don't seem to matter at this point. SOmeone yells. THe owner? Something in Thai, I don't understand. Just keep walking. Just keep walking. One nip. A test. Right on my ass.  THe voice, comes with a stick yelling. We walk on, the dog running circles around me. WIll he try again? Eric, walking so straight forward walks into a dead-end. I am only following. A small Thai woman points one direction. We turn and the dogs drift off. It's ok. It's ok. It's ok. Another 100 yards away...we check. Just enough to leave a mark, But not enough to break the skin, with thanks to my thick shorts.

3. Traveler's Diarhea. Yes. That is right. It finally came. And to me no less. Luckily, my body although it showed signs a day before, only let the hatches loose once we were in a solid place, with a private bath. Thank you. Two and a half days on still mosing about, but constantly keeping a check on where a bathroom is every second.

4. You've braved the motorbike with the locals. Today, we rented a motorbike. Now for a little perspective. Neither of us have driven motorcycles before. The roadways are 'british' style here, aka you drive on the left. Motorbikes here, they don't seem to follow any rules of the road. THey go anywhere and everywhere. What lanes? What roads? How many people, things can you fit on the bike? YOu don't know the city, following a map. Roads aren't labeled. And if there is a sign, probably in sanscript. And with all the horror stories, we did ok. No Crashes. Maybe a few scratches. Eric did great. A little squirly at first and a few tense moments for me on back and one real hairy u turn. but ok.



Planes, trains, motorbikes and dogs ... looks like you're having a perfect backpacking trip in Asia! Next we want elephants, water buffaloes and snakes!

  Rick Feb 6, 2010 8:48 PM

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