(DH cannot understand why I'm doing this - who on earth would want to look at my holiday snaps!?. Just tell me if you're bored and I'll probably carry on anyway. After all - noone HAS to read it!)
And tonight I'm sitting in a bar/cafe/bookshop around the corner from Eagle House Two in Down Town Chiang Mai. The Rough Guide informs me that Eagle House2 ismore modern than Eagle House One. I think it's incredible rough and basic, so God knows what Eagle House One is like. My room is spacious, but painted in a blood red gloss paint on the bottom half and stencilled roughly with what looks like a drippy smudged bamboo type pattern in bright green gloss paint over woodchip on the top half of the room. Lucky I'm only sleeping in there. And the shower IS good.
I'm listening to the Eagles sing 'Hotel California' and getting the occasional ripe whiff from the drain in the street. I also had noodles which makes a change from rice - and no chilli! It's now a toss up between a cocktail after my meal and having a massage. I've already had a foot massage today - at the airport while waiting for my connecting flight from Bangkok. It was heavenly - what a hedonist I am ay?
Had a good night out last night talking to Jerasik, Tony (from oop north of england) and two german girls called Lena and something like Madeleine. We all decided to get up early and get to the next ceremony in the Vegetarian Festival at a local Chinese temple, where the palsied guys I'd seen earlier in the evening would be indulging in a spot of body piercing in a big way.
During the parade, the participants would stop at significant locations and beat the ground with their whips and axes - lots of firecrackers and yelling fiercely. That got rid of a few tourists, let alone demons.
Ohmigod, the piercing was gross! And I felt so voyeuristic. There were TV cameras and professional photographers all over the place, who specialise in getting right in your face. It's no wonder I don't get good pics. It's not just the lack of a decent camera, it's my inability to push my way in - I try to take a picture from afar and someone is bound to walk past just as I'm waiting out the digital camera delay. I also felt like I was violating the ceremony by not dressing in white - probably invited the spirits or something - speaking of which I decided to go for the 'margarita' - in order to get into the 'spirit' of the next few days of inebriation at Interhash...
I followed the procession for a little way - firecrackers and dragons, to chase away any more demons who happened to have been missed by the bashing, and also to appease the Gods.
Every shop we passed had a special display out front with offerings...
This is just a Thai fire engine - I thought it was beautiful. And while I was hanging around - I visited the market (I adore wondering around markets - admiring displays of food, enjoying the exotic colours, smells - fantastic places).
Then I realised I'd better get a move on if I was to make it to the airport which was a good 30+miles away. As it was, I missed the airport bus by just 5minutes and they only left the bus terminal hourly - I decided to go for another moped taxi, as I might not be allowed on the airplane if I waited for the next bus. 300 baht got me a numb bum and vibrated to hell - but I made it to the airport in record time (beat the bus I'd missed!). Here is pic of the man who bravely took me all the way - hoisting my rucksack off the moped!
I also had time for that foot massage I mentioned earlier.
The rest of the day was spent in airports which are - like high streets in England - ubiquitous and all alike. Mind you, the architecture of the new airport in Bangkok, with gardens and glass and pipes like the Pompidou Centre in Paris without the colours, is pretty spectacular. It even has artworks lining the endless corridors between embarkation and baggage claims.
Several strange truncated phone calls to Eagle House do result in a free lift from the airport to the Guesthouse, and, despite the dire decoration and I'm not sure about the mattress, it does seem to have a pleasant garden to sit in and help yourself to hot water and toast type arrangement.
Couldn't get that margarita so had another beer instead - I'm beginning to sound like an alcoholic - but I don't normally drink anything like as much. I AM on holiday!
I am also admiring yet another specimen of those semi wild dogs that seem to roam Thailand - they look happy enough, with pricked ears and tail curled proudly over their backs. Even if they do scratch more than me. There are also cats. There's a very cute tigger like kitty at Eagle House - very small with a tight collar, so I hope it isn't planning on growing up. Since I was robbed of the Margarita, I went for a full body massage - heavenly and less than a fiver. Mmmmm I could do this every day.
ON ON TO INTERHASH!