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Published: October 23rd 2011
We headed north out of the Bangkok to meet Deon and Chris, narrowly escaping the floods. The rain was UN-believable and this was before our bus journey to Chiang Mai began. Stepping off a bus that was delayed due to the rain, into warm water over our ankles, we walked over the road for a taxi. It was like getting in to a shower with our clothes on (nothing like the ‘fine stuff’ we have in the UK!). The rain didn't stop for 8 hours of the 10 hour journey and was leaking into the 'VIP' bus at one point. The motorway was flooded half way, but we finally arrived safely to Daret Guesthouse in Chiang Mai at 08:00 the next day.
The 4 of us booked on to a trek and downhill mountain biking day, with us choosing the extreme downhill as opposed to the steady trails they had planned. The trails were a combo of slippery tree roots, rocks and clay but after coming off the bike several times (clean over the handle bars) we found out that Nat and Deon were the first ladies to complete the trail which was a C4 if that means anything to
Chiang Mai seemed to be the cookery school capital of Thailand so we booked on a full day course, cooking 6 dishes between 09:30 and 16:00; very full, but awesome food! There are now no excuses for Nat not to get the pans out when we get home – her speciality now being fried fishcakes!
We said goodbye to Deon and Chris in Chiang Mai and got the bus to Chiang Rai which was a further 3 hours north. The following day we took another 3 hour bus to the border town of Chiang Khong. However, this bus was no VIP bus and we must have made about 10-15 stops, it was like catching a metro bus to Scarborough! But it was very interesting to see the true Thai culture so we weren’t complaining.
That night we stayed in a guest house on the bank of the Mekong River looking over to Laos, quite a setting. All that night and the following day we could hear thumping tunes which seemed to be coming from a bar/night club across the river. We learnt later that we had arrived for the festival at the end of Buddhist Lent (a bit like
Looking into Laos
View from guesthouse over the River Mekong from Thailand
our Easter). The Laos people are forbidden to drink, smoke or gamble for the a 40 day period and then at the end of this period, they have huge drunken street parties (four days long) where the DJ’s get paid based on how far the sound will travel from their converted vehicles. These guys get totally annihilated and some even pass out in the streets and then start drinking again as soon as they wake. This explained the music we could hear! By the time we arrived at the Laos border of Huay Xai it was the third night and things were very, very messy. One guy came passed us on a moped, clearly wasted and he proceeded to drive straight into a parked flatbed van. It made a sickening crunch only 20 meters away from us... He wasn't moving, but luckily the police were there to help him! In the space of two days we had experienced both Thai and Lao culture.....the laid back way of life and the crazy partying!
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