My friend Maura worked with me at the Siberian Work Camp for a year. She has an uber-hunk of a boyfriend named Fergus who she was foolish enough to let me near a few times. (Although I was on my best behavior, because that five-foot eleven size 2 lassie could kick my ass without breaking a nail.)
Maura and Ferg are (shock of shocks), Irish through and through. Not only do they have delicious accents, they have the unique phrasing style for which Irish English is so beloved. They have been traveling through Asia recently, and I received this delightful post from Fergus recently. Hopefully you can understand the Britishisms. (Getting pissed, for example, means getting drunk.)
Greetings from Thailand! Well I arrived in Bangkok safely last Friday morning. We found a cheap but nice hotel for about E12 a night, where myself and Mo reacquainted ourselves and spent two days doing the usual sightseeing stuff and getting ripped off in the market stalls on Ko San road. Bangkok stinks but there's loads too see and do, and of course you can't go to Bangkok without getting kitted out in a hand tailored fake Armani suit. Kurt how's that skirt and blouse you got looking?
We took a 14 hour overnight train to Chiang Mai on Sunday night and after a brief respite in the guest house we headed for hills to start our 3 day jungle trek. We travelled for the first part of the journey on elephant back which was pretty cool, apart from the fact that we got landed with the hungriest elephant in the world who cost us a fortune in bananas, but thankfully revenge was sweet, well sweet and sour, because he got a dose of the shits after it!
After this we headed up the mountain, with our two guides Mr. P and Buffalo Bill, for about an hour until we reached a waterfall where we had lunch and a swim. The next part of the trek was a fairly gruelling hike up a sheer mountain path, great for working off the beer belly but if knees could scream then mine would have been hoarse after it. Thankfully it was mostly downhill from there, and we crossed some paddi fields and tried not to cross some mean looking buffalo. Around 4.30, after another uphill hike, we arrived at a Karen hill tribe village where we Mr. P cooked us a lovely red curry and a tofu dish while Buffalo Bill got pissed on rice whisky.
Only a few weeks ago these hill tribes were without power, until the Thai government intervened and introduced solar electricity to each village at no cost. It was really cool because the day we arrived coincided with the chief's purchase of a television, the only one for miles! As we sat around the fire that night, we were treated to a song and dance performance by the children of the village. It was a really moving experience, and so far removed from life back home. And as I sat there looking up at the most beautiful starlit sky I have ever seen, putting everything in the perspective I thought to myself......I'd love some garlic chips and cheese right now.
We set off the next morning passing though the rest of the village including the school, where the children are taught only until they are 12. Again it was all uphill for about 3 hours until we stopped in another village for lunch and a much needed nap. The humidity knocks the shite out of ya! We set off again at 2.30 for an hour and half until we reached our next resting place which was nestled in a ravine next to a beautiful waterfall. It was a bamboo hut owned a by a really nice tribesman called "Cannibal Man". I told him my name was Fergus but he insisted on calling me "Din Er". We had a tasty green curry while Cannibal Man tucked into his crickets and rhino beetles that he had fried in some oil, salt and sugar..........they mustn’t have been very filling because about an hour later he caught a frog and chucked him straight into the fire for a few seconds and then promptly ate him. What a legend!
This morning we bid an emotional farewell to Cannibal Man and walked for about 2 hours until we reached a farmhouse where the owner let us do some target practice with his rifle. We then taken by truck to a nearby river for the final part of our journey where we travelled by bamboo raft back to our initial starting point. I'm shattered now but it was a fantastic eye opening experience.
We're back in the relative civilisation of Chang Mai now where we'll stay tonight and then we fly to Phuket tomorrow..........from there we then head to Phi Phi, Krabbi, Ko Tao (4 day diving course), Ko Phangan (Full Moon Party) and Ko Samui before heading back to Bangkok........so watch this space!
I hope everyone is well?
Come back to the United States soon, old pals!