First off, we want to let everyone know that we really appreciate all the comments. It is great to know that the blog subscription service is working and there really is someone out there.
Well, we decided to try to fix our photo memory card problem when we get back to the States. We don’t really trust the computers here now and I think we may have found the main culprit in the spread of computer/internet viruses. Who knew that in Thailand, even the internet could get a “massage”? ; ) Therefore, you will have to wait for the blog posts about our travels during the “virus” time period. We feel that it is hard to explain some of the stories and sights without pictures (such as our police bribe story as we were trying to find our way to the bowling alley in Vientiane, Laos). In addition, the computers and internet speed here makes it a monumental task to post pictures and these blog posts. We plan on posting stories from our daily travel journals and more pictures when we get back to the States (the land of quick internet).
Well, travel plans change. We had thought we would spend some time in the Golden Triangle, where Laos, Thailand and Myanmar meet. We were hoping to cross the border into Myanmar to add one more country visited to our list, but bus travel would have consumed too much time. We decided to head right to Chiang Mai, which turned out to be a good idea.
Lindsey was able to get scheduled into a Thai Massage school for 4 days this next week starting on Saturday. We ended up getting into Chiang Mai late on Monday and most massage schools start their classes on Mondays. Thankfully we found one massage school that starts any day because they do private lessons. It was a challenge to get registered because the school was full, but one teacher agreed to work late and come in on her day off. So we are staying longer in Chiang Mai than originally planned in order for Lindsey to finish her course. The schedule of her classes left us a few days to sight-see in and around Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai is are really cool city. It is almost like Austin in that it has a university and it is very progressive (in terms of pop culture at least). It also brings in a lot of tourists that helps the local economy. Also, just like Austin’s Leslie, Chiang Mai has their own cross-dressing men, (locals call them “lady-boys”). The city has a neat vibe to it and it really comes alive at night.
Thailand, in general, is much more developed than its neighbors. The roadways and cities are much more orderly, with medians, good road signs, and overpasses. This was the first country where we saw fat locals. In Cambodia and Laos, the kids got sticky rice for dessert while Thai kids get ice cream. Many of the local TV channels in Cambodia and Laos originated in Thailand, so this shows the importance of the Thai culture and the fact that they have a small Hollywood-type industry. One big indicator of this development that we see as travelers from the States is the appearance of trash cans on the streets here in Thailand. A few times, we carried trash for days in the other countries in order not to litter like the locals.
By traveling like we do, we feel like we have a great opportunity to learn about the differences and similarities between people of a region like Southeast Asia where a whole country may only be as large as a single state in the US. We wish we could spend more time in each country, learning and living, but we are fortunate to have the chance to travel in the first place.
Until next time,