Adventures in Asia

by Greg & Francie

Thailand photos by Jen!

My friend Jen visited in February and took some beautiful photos in Railay, Mae Salong, Chiang Mai, and Doi Inthanon. You should definitely check them out.

Tomorrow Greg and I are off to some rustic mountain village accomodation in Chiang Dao. No electricity, no internet cafe, hence, there won’t be any posts for a few days. So tune in next week folks!

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February 28, 2007 Posted by | Photography, SE Asia, Thailand, Travel | 1 Comment

More Chiang Mai Zoo

I have added some more zoo pictures as well as a few videos.

The Zoo was very hot yesterday. There is a heat wave going on and we are approaching 100 degrees every day so we had to take it nice and easy. I think the animals were hot as well but these flamingos seemed to be having a good ol’ time in the water.

flamingo

The Chiang Mai Zoo is well funded and they are building two huge structures and a monorail (and I bet they didn’t need 3 referendums to do it-seattle joke ha ha) to transport visitors. This big hippo decides it is way to hot and is time to get back in the water (see video). The baby hippo rests his head on a ledge.

Little Hippo head so heavy

This is Chuang Chuang the male Panda. He is a big boy.

Pandas like bamboo

The two panda’s have been separated because they have been trying to breed them for three years. The zookeepers are hoping that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Panda’s mating period is a mere three days long and is coming up any day now. The zookeepers, like this guy, are keeping close tabs on their behavior and are hoping for some ‘good news’ soon. Check out this video of a Panda eating its favorite type of bamboo (best video ever) and a second video as well. Panda notetaker The zoo also had cute Koala bears, one of which was named
Coco. They had a little glass enclosure so that Francie wouldn’t grab one and hug it to death. They were pretty cute.

I am a bear-really

Here is another picture of the big guy that has the blue tongue. Francie and I were looking at him when a zookeeper came up and picked up a favorite seed pod or bark which attracted his attention.

I am tall

February 27, 2007 Posted by | Pets, SE Asia, Thailand, Travel, Wildlife | 5 Comments

Chiang Mai Zoo

Greg and I went to the Chiang Mai Zoo today (which is a surprisely good zoo) and inbetween bouts of dehydration and heat stroke, we saw some cute animals. YAY! Here are a few photos… we’ll post more later…

The giant pandas (on loan from china) are by far the highlight of the zoo. They are way cuter in person than I ever could have imagined.

panda1.jpg

This baby hippo wanted to let everyone know how tough he is. RAWWR! (actually, i think he was just yawning)

hippo.jpg

Following the example of a Thai guy, we fed this giraffe some seed pods. Check out the blue tongue action as he grabs it from Greg:

giraffe1.jpg

Holy blue tongue!

giraffe2.jpg

Good morning everyone in Seattle! Happy Monday!

February 26, 2007 Posted by | Photography, SE Asia, Thailand, Travel, Wildlife | 6 Comments

Shopping in Thailand

Greg and I had a totally normal sounding day! We went to the shopping mall and then to a movie at the “Cini-plex”. The big mall in Chiang Mai is a wonderland of cute and cheap clothes, purses and shoes. I purchased a few items but I had to work very hard for them because in Thai sizes, I am an Extra Large. Yes, XL, also called LL on some labels (stands for “Large large”). Most places do not carry such an outrageously huge size – I might as well be a hippo walking around the mall trying to find a cute outfit. The shoes are the same – biggest size is a 38 (thats a 7.5 in the US). I asked a saleslady if they had a shoe in a size 41 and she looked at me like I was insane and then laughed and shook her head. It’s frustrating because I love the clothes here so much (and the shoes). The salesladies are very funny because they’ll see me looking at a dress, take it off the rack, hold it up to me, and apologetically shake their heads and say something like “not for you”. Then they dig around the whole store and pull out the largest dress they have and sadly it is still about 3 sizes too small.

At the cini-plex we watched a Thai documentary called Final Score about a group of highschool boys trying survive their last year and get into university. In Thailand, college admissions are strongly tied to scores on standardized exams, e.g. if you score below X, you don’t get into college. Imagine the test results are released and your entire extended family crowds around the computer with you to look on the internet and find out if you’re going to be able to go to college or not. It was very interesting.

I have a cold right now and Greg has enough mosquito bites to require Benadryl so we’re “taking it easy” at the moment, just chilling and scrabbling and watching flicks, and waiting for our Lao visas to come through.

Have a nice day whoever you are out there reading this thing.

February 24, 2007 Posted by | SE Asia, Thailand, Travel | 2 Comments

Where is Waldo?

Francie and I talked about our schedule.  Thought I would share it with you. 

  • Chiang Mai through March 2nd
  • Chiang Dou (March 2-3rd)
  • Chiang Rai (March 4-5th)
  • Cross into Laos (March 6th)
  • Laos (March 7th-20th)
  • Bangkok to get Myanmar visa (March 21st-28th)
  • Myanmar (March 28th-April 18th)
  • Bangkok to get China Visa (April 18th)
  • Southern China (soon after)

February 22, 2007 Posted by | Travel | 3 Comments

Chinese New Year in Chiang Mai

Yesterday we had the unusual option of going to Chinatown for the New Year festivities, the Sunday night market or the regular ol’ tourist night market.

We decided to check out Chinatown and then go to the weekly night market near the old wall that surrounded the city in yesteryear.

Chinatown had it all.  There were little girls singing in New Year’s day contests, lots of food (dim sum, yum) and lots of red pigs.

 China Town 2

This is Chinatown

Cooking up some big squid!

China Town Food Stall 1

Check her out.  Making that crazy Pad Thai!  Lots of it.

This lady sells you food.  You’ll get sick for a long time. jk

After that we headed over to the Sunday Night market with lots of stalls. I think I described it a few days ago as having hundreds of stalls but thousands of stalls is more accurate.

As we approach you can see the old city wall and the gate.

Sunday Night Market Gates

Stalls all decked out with colors and lights.

Night Market Walk

And here is good ol Francie shopping.  I was relieved because this year she didn’t get into any arguments while bartering (well, I guess it could happen next week).  I would love to say we got deported because Francie was arguing too much about baht.

Night Market Shop 1

Here is a great view from a top of the old city wall.

Night Market View 2

This video really shows a great view of Chiang Mai traffic on one side of the wall and some of the shopping on the other side.  Here is a cool pic of some of the traffic (if traffic can be cool).

Night Market Traffic 1

Since Jen is leaving tomorrow she did quite a bit of shopping and bought earrings, a skirt, spices, a nice box and other odds and end.  Francie and I had a brownie. 

I think this is my favorite picture from the day.  The top of an umbrella with a dragon firecracker going off above it.  These were large firecrackers that slowly got higher and higher.  Nice thing about them, besides being rather beautiful, was no noise. 

Umb and Firework

February 19, 2007 Posted by | Misc, Photography, Travel | 3 Comments

Catfish Feeding Frenzy

We rented motorbikes and drove to a Wat north of Chiang Mai.  I will post some pictures and blog about it later.  They have this large pond/small lake with a small bridge out to an island in the center. 

There are turtles and other cool things that live there.  These Thai girls started a catfish feeding frenzy by throwing popcorn and fish pellets into the water (see a crazy video).  These were all about 1 to 1.5 feet long but we saw one or two that were definitely over three feet long.  They were huge-Francie said she saw it at first and thought ‘how did a shark in here’.  Its whiskers were six inches long.  At one point it even blew us a kiss.

I like popcorn…but don’t tell the fishermen that

February 19, 2007 Posted by | Misc, Pets | Leave a comment

Congratulations to Elizabeth, Randy and Ben

Congratulations to Elizabeth and Randy who recently got engaged!!!  That is super news and Francie and I are really excited for both of you.  Yes, Coco can be the ringbearer (For those of you who don’t know Coco is at Weezie’s house until I get back).

Congratulations also to Ben–who is not getting married to Elizabeth and Randy–but instead is pulling the plug on Seattle and moving down to San Francisco.  The only good thing about this is that Francie and I have someone to hang out with when we come to town AND if Ben really strikes it startup rich then he can buy a super duper expensive house and put us up for weeks at a time.

Good luck to everyone!  I think that is ‘Choke bi’ in Thai.  Francie please correct this if I am wrong.

It is funny because Francie and I were talking about all the possible changes that could happen in Seattle while we were gone (blah blah blah), for instance, that someone could actually get pregnant and have the baby before we even got back.  That kind of blew us away.

I guess these are the first real examples that we can’t just pack up our old world and stuff it in the freezer until we get back.

February 19, 2007 Posted by | Misc | Leave a comment

For the record

Just for the record I wanted everyone to know what wonderful weather we are having here in Chiang Mai.  Francie and I have been in Thailand for about 6 weeks and it has only rained 1 day.  Isn’t that amazing?

Right now it is 84 and sunny

I happened to notice that in Seattle it is 49 degrees and raining.

February 17, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Chiang Mai!

We are now in Chiang Mai, the second largest city in Thailand.  This is where Francie and I met up last year to begin our travels.  I really like Chiang Mai because it is a livable city with a lot of culture.  There are lots of Wats (Buddhist temples) as well as a McDonalds and a movie theater!  See Greg’s cravings to the right.

Chiang Mai is also known for the night markets especially the massive Sunday night market with hundreds of stalls.  This statue of Buddha overlooks the market.

Budda at Night Market

One of my favorite Wats is Chedi Luang.  This wat is about six hundred years old and has been damaged over the years by various wars mostly with Burma.  The main part of the wat seen below has elephants protecting it–elephants are a symbol of power in Thai culture (a few years ago Thailand passed a law freeing all elephants from manual labor).  Each of the archways has a golden Buddha and each staircase is protected by dragons.

Chiang Mai Wat

One of the sites in this Wat contains an 18 foot long reclining Buddha. 

Reclining Buddha

This was a small Buddha statue that I liked a lot because of its uncharacteristic color.

Green Buddha

Chedi Luang has also started ‘Monk Chat’!  Monk chat is the opportunity to talk with monks about their lives and about Buddhism (you used to only be able to do this at a temple outside of town). 

 Monk Chat

We talked with a group of three novice monks and one older monk.  We learned a lot from the monk’s including:

  • The novice monks were 18-20 years old.
  • They had been studying Buddhism already for about 5 years.
  • They were from all over–one was from Chiang Rai.
  • The novice monks were in high school where they take classes alongside of regular students.
  • Older monks specialize in one area such as buddhism, psychology, society and something else I forgot.

Francie, the devil she is, also asked the question of whether they always wore their monk robes (for example, did they wear them to high school?) but they got in a flutter because they thought she meant do they wear them all the time such as to bed.  There was this great little moment where I was like ‘oh no, she isn’t asking anything improper’.

Tomorrow I am going to venture out and get a haircut and maybe we will talk about our first Thai lessons.

February 16, 2007 Posted by | Travel | Leave a comment