A Travellerspoint blog

Chiang Mai

Thailand

sunny 23 °C

Greetings from Thailand!

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1,239 miles

We are having a wonderful time in Thailand's second largest city. Chiang Mai bustles with activity all day long with tuk-tuks, food carts, motorbikes, pedestrians, and us streaming along every street in a chaotic, almost choreographed, scene that, amazingly seems to work terrifically. How we haven't seen a Thai family on a scooter (yes, the entire family - Mom, Dad, and children on a scooter) run over by a "sawngthaew" (that's a pick-up truck taxi) absolutely amazes me. The only downfall that I have seen to this constant traffic is very poor air quality.

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We have been seeing a lot of the city with Eric, Ying, and her family. Our main objective for each day has been to eat 5 meals a day! There is no way we would have made it a lot of these little places without their local knowledge. The food is amazing - phad thai, khao soi, tom yum, etc. Every dish is bursting with flavor.

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We had dinner last night at The Riverside on the Ping River, great views, food, and a live band.
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Amber and I stayed at the bar afterwards and listened to the Thai band play local favorites (I assume they were favorites b/c everyone else was singing them) and unusual American covers, from Desperado, to Black-eyed Peas, Bee Gees, Tracy Chapman, The Beatles, Bob Marley, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jet, and A-Ha to name a few. All the songs had a slightly punk/ska edge to them, and the singers sang in perfect English (American accent and all). Pretty good stuff.

Today we toured several Wats (Buddhist Temples) and even got blessed by a monk. "Happiness and protection for our travels". It was really interesting.

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To top it all of we had a massage the other day. Full body, 2 hours, a whopping $6 (US) each!!!! We'll be back there.

Thank you for the comments and go Gator Basketball 12-0!!!

Justin & Amber

Posted by rebmamber 02:34 Archived in Thailand Comments (3)

More Anything?

More Everything!

semi-overcast 32 °C

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10,667 miles

The Gods must have been smiling upon us on this day, because we were upgraded to first class! We have now been spoiled!

I should start off by saying that our flight to Chicago was fine, and we met up with our friend Eric there. We did, however, have a little bit of excitement when we didn't get seats on the first flight to Japan. No biggie as there was a second one leaving an hour later, the only problem was that the second flight would most likely get us to Tokyo too late to make our Singapore connection. The upside was, all four of us scored 1st class for the 13.5 hour jaunt from Chicago to Tokyo. It was wonderful, and I'm sure you can see the excitement in my face in this picture (notice the free champagne!)
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As legend has it, the seats do actually recline into a bed! Five course meals, your choice of movies, it was definitely an experience. We luckily arrived in Tokyo 45 minutes early, so we did make our connection to Singapore, now let's hope our bags do the same (don't worry, they did). On the 7.5 hour trip from Tokyo to Singapore we were unfortunately reduced to Business class and it was a let down. It is going to be hard to go back to economy!

We spent two nights in Singapore which does live up to it's reputation as the world's cleanest city. Everything was very lush and tropical, even in the middle of the city. Singapore is very "cosmopolitan" and modern.
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The first day we walked around town to check things out. We walked from our hotel to the Singapore Botanic Gardens. s-graden.JPG

The fragrant V. Mimi Palmer Orchid, my new favorite!
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I might add that it was pretty hot considering this is winter in Singapore - I'd guess around 90 deg. - but, I suppose that's what you'd expect from a place that is 1 deg. North of the equator! I (Amber) quite enjoyed the hot, humid weather.

The famous Raffles Hotel where we enjoyed some overpriced Singapore Slings and the singing of the Singaporean Rick James!s-raffles.JPG

More our speed, beers the size of my head at a little backpacker bar in Little India.
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A bicyle taxi waiting for a ride on a quiet Singapore morning.
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We have arrived in Thailand, speaking of which, I think I better be off to explore...more on that later!

Posted by rebmamber 18:11 Archived in Singapore Comments (5)

How do you fit four months in a bag??

Actually, things are going pretty well on this last day before we leave. We are (more or less) packed and ready to go. It did take us a couple of goes, as the first time we packed, we realized we overestimated the size of our bags. So, throw out a couple pairs of undies, socks, some shirts, and pack it up again. Of course, my bag (Amber) is half-packed with photo taking accessories, but I feel it will be worth wearing the same shirt for 2 weeks straight as long as there is room for my film!

We left our home in Naples a few days earlier, which was the first time I was struck by the fact that we are actually leaving the country for four months. Below is a picture of us just before our departure.

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We get to spend one last evening with everyone, and then we are off to the unknown. It has been difficult to say goodbye to friends and family, but knowing that we will be able to share our stories and adventures when we return keeps us looking forward.

We wish you all a wonderful New Year and hope that everyone is happy, healthy and safe when we return (and we'll try to promise the same!)

Posted by rebmamber 12:06 Tagged preparation Comments (1)

Two Weeks...

...and counting

It is getting down to the last couple of weeks. It seems absolutely surreal, or unreal, right now. Life is going on as it normally would - jobs, chores, etc. I can't believe that two weeks from now I could be on a 36-hour+ journey to Thailand (via Chicago, Tokyo, Singapore, Chiang Mai). We'll be drinking Singapore Slings in no time!

We're just in the last planning stages, mainly focusing on getting our house ready and tying up any loose ends while were gone (anyone interested in mowing our lawn?!?) We found out good news this morning that we should have the house rented for the 4-months that we are gone. That is such a relief and will give us less to worry about while we're away (not that I would worry while on an island in Thailand!)

Stay tuned for any last minute craziness before our departure (that's inevitable, right?) and I may try to post a couple of pictures so I know how to do it when I'm over there. Until then...

Posted by rebmamber 21:00 Tagged preparation Comments (2)

Goodbye Jobs!

....are we nuts!!

Well, Justin and I informed our jobs this week. That means we're officially on! Kind of scary, but also exciting.

For now, our plans are to go to Thailand for Eric's wedding, then travel around a bit, and find some sort of volunteer work while we're over there. We'll probably spend about a month in Thailand, then on to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. If all goes well and Nepal is safe, we may swing by there and northern India. If further things go well (i.e. we still have $$$), we plan to continue our trip westerly to southern Europe to spend some time with our neighbors from Bavaria and hopefully hook up with a couple of our European friends.

All in all, we plan to be gone for about 4 months - however, the house is yet to be rented which could throw a small wrench into this whole endeavor.

I'll keep you posted.

Posted by rebmamber 15:18 Tagged preparation Comments (0)

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