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Loy Krathong..... and then on our way home

USA | Thursday, 13 November 2008 | Views [1224]

Ryan (left) and Felicia's (right) krathongs. Handmade by us! We added Somyot's banana leaf fishes to personalize/customize our krathongs.

Ryan (left) and Felicia's (right) krathongs. Handmade by us! We added Somyot's banana leaf fishes to personalize/customize our krathongs.

Thursday, November 13       6:36 am Thailand / 4:36 pm US

(We are sitting in the Chiang Mai airport waiting for our flight to Bangkok, which was booked yesterday evening.... more on that to come).

Yesterday we headed out and toured a couple more temples. Ond of the temples we visited was Phong's old stomping grounds where he lived for 3 years while he was in monkhood. He even got to meet one of the dogs that he used to take care of. His name was Pui and was described by Phong as a "lion" dog because of the shape of his hair (he was a hairy golden retriever). I reached out my hand to pet him, but Phong quickly yelled at me not to touch him because "he's a naughty, dangerous dog and bites everyone, including tourists!" Yikes!

We then headed to lunch where we had curry soup noodels and satay. Now Felicia and I know the proper way to eat satay. We're supposed to mix in the cucumbers and chili peppers that they give us into the peanutty/vinegary/coconutty sauce. Then, we're supposed to eat the meat with cucumbers and sauce all together. Felicia always wondered what the cucumbers were there for. We liked the new way a lot better!

After lunch we hit Chinatown (one of 2 in Chiang Mai)! This was more fo the same stuff, but this was also the place where we saw ROASTED BUGS! We saw huge flying ants, bamboo worms that looked like maggots, poisonous ants and their "honeycomb"-looking homes; and crickets. Umm... we didn't try them out though. Felicia chickened out after seeing them in person. We also met some random dude from LA who just started talking to us. He told us that his brother lives in Saratoga and, when he was in the States recently, he had blood work done and something was wrong. He then returned to Thailand and, after eating the foods in Thailand, he had his blood work done again and nothing was wrong. Must be all the organic foods and fruits and all the walking!

We were then supposed to head off to Nui's (tour company manager) house but she wasn't home so me and Felicia went and got another Thai massage. This time for one hour. For this massage, we had to change into PJs-type clothers. The only problem was that my pants were like XXXL and they had a waist-string thing which I incorrectly tied in the front. My knot was about the size of a tennis ball. So the massage starts with us lying on our backs and all is going well until the second part, where I flip onto my stomach. Remember that tennis-ball sized know? I'll just say it was uncomfortable! Did I also mention that I was chewing gum during the massage? Well I was, and chewing gum produces lots of saliva so I spent 50% of my energy trying to relax and the other 50% trying not to drool! The rest of the massage went well, though. Those 2 little old ladies sure know how to twist us and poke us and stretch us out! And the massage costed us 380 baht total including tip so that's a little over $10 for each of us!

(We just boarded the plane for Nok Airlines, a domestic airline, and the flight attendants look good!!)

After our massage, we arrive at Nui's house to make krathongs, which are boats made of banana leaves and are supposed to look like lotuses. They are used by the Thai people to wish for good luck and prosperity and to apologize to the river spirits for any evils done to the river. The process of making one involves decorating a circular piece of banana tree trunk (about 6 - 8 inches in diameter and about 2 inches in height) with banana leaves and some flowers, and A LOT of folding. This is a big deal for the Thai people and it quickly became a big party at the house as more people/friends arrived, including our Bangkok tour guide, Nok, and her current client, Michael from Florida. It was nice to see her again and she brought us pictures of us from Bangkok!

Now the "suay" party begins! In Thai, "suay" (pronounced SOH - WAY, not SWAY, which means unlucky) means beautiful. Everybody was commenting on each other's krathong's saying "suay" to each other. They probably were just being kind to me and Felicia's krathongs. If you have ever seen "Finding Nemo", then you probably remember the scene with the seagulls repeating, "Mine, mine, mine." Just replace "mine" with "suay" and you get the picture at the party!

After finishing making our krathongs (mine looked like an artichoke and Felicia's looked like a cake), we asked to confirm our flight back to Bangkok and Nui's response was, "You no have ticket?" At first, we thought she was just joking, but she really didn't know of the ticket/confirmation (even though we had asked Phong before and he said she'd know). Both Nui and Ning (another tour guide/manager) and Somyot (we found out the correct spelling of his name!) headed into the house, making calls to the airlines. PARTY OVER! Oops! Me and Felicia hung out outside, eating pork rinds with chili paste, which is their version of chips and salsa. Ning does find an open flight so we're off to purchase our tickets at ........... 7-11! WTF?! 7-11 really does have everything out here! They let us know that, after landing in the airport at Bangkok, we'd have to take a taxi to the International airport about an hour away. Uh okay.... grrrreeeaaatttt.

The last stop was at the Ping River to float away our krathongs. The streets were packed with people and vendors and difficult to get through. It was like New Year's Eve in Times Square! Absolutely crazy mayhem! Fireworks (from regular kids and people... not part of a show!) were firing off often and everywhere! We eventually get to the river, lit our candles and incense (after several attempts), wished for good luck and health, and floated away our krathongs simultaneously. Phong had said that, if a couple floats their krathongs away at the same time, they'll have eternal love.

We returned back to our hotel and packed for an hour. Wake-up time will be 5 am. At least that's better than the 8-hour car ride to Bangkok if we couldn't get a flight! Needless to say, it was difficult to sleep because fireworks were exploding throughout the whole night and could be seen and heard through our windows. Felicia had to pull out her ear plugs and eye mask to sleep.... and it worked for her!

Thursday, November 13        10:26 am Thailand / 8:26 pm US

(We have safely arrived at the Bangkok International Airport and now I'm finishing our log.)

The 5 am alarm went off and it's time to get up. Felicia asked for 10 more minutes, as usual for early wake-ups and every workday. After, we got up and double-checked our bags and checked out at 5:50 am. Sure enough, Phong and Somyot were already waiting outside and looking freezing cold, like at the Karen village. Somyot, though, was wearing a fleece beanie instead of his towel. Hmm... did I do that? The airport was 15 minutes away so, before checking in, we got Somyot's business card and Phong's phone number. Then we said good-bye to Somyot and thanked him for driving us away. Phong helped us check-in and then we thanked him for making our tour fun. We'll miss the both of them.

Now we're just hanging out at the airport. It's such a contrast to the cities we've visited. It's so open, bright, and sterile, whereas all the cities have all the grit, dirt, crowdedness, people, smells (good or bad). I feel back in my comfort zone and more at ease as I hear more people speaking English. In Bangkok or Chiang Mai, I was always wondering what people were saying or thinking and always guarding my backpack. Only 8000 miles still we're back home!

[All typed in the Taipei Internet stop.... LOL we've come a full circle to our 1st online journal entry!]

Tags: airport, bangkok international airport, chiang mai, chiang mai, fireworks, loi krathong, loy krathong, suvarnabhumi, thai massage, thailand


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