Big Question Marks

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

3 Nations, 2 Travelers, 1 Lawyer.

Since arriving in Chiang Rai 4 days ago, it’s been non-stop. We had the good fortune of coming when the Saturday market was happening, and the night bazaar too.

Thirsting for adventure we jumped the first bus to Chiang Saen (yes, there are about 5 Chiang ‘somethings’ in the area), which was an hour and a half away. Chiang Saen is a moderate small town but smattered with old ruins from ages ago. It’s pretty wild to see a 7-11 with an 1000 year old chedi for a neighbour!
We rented a bike at Gin’s guesthouse and with a full tank we set off for the Golden Triangle, the place where the 3 nations of Burma, Laos, and Thailand meet at the Mae Kong River. It used to be a big hotspot for the opium trade, but Thailand has since stopped its production (mostly). The Golden Triangle is pretty hard to miss, a giant golden Buddha surrounded by elephants is the first hint you’re there. Yeah, it was a trap but we like our corny pictures, and Adrian got to pose with a semi-nude mermaid.

Next stop was North in Mae Sai; the Northern most tip of Thailand – also the border crossing for Burma. We had a great look across the border and now our travel interest in Burma is totally buzzing. Naturally there were all the border town characteristics: begging children, soldiers, crap souvenirs, and a bit of uneasiness in the air - but it was our first glimpse of Burmese men’s fashion – the sarong. Maybe there’s an office furniture shortage in Burma, but there were these women who’d prop the heaviest looking metal tables on their heads and cart them back across the border on foot.

Along the way back to Chiang Saen we had a whole 4 lane highway to ourselves, and eerie feeling. So what a great place for Dayle to learn a new skill: motorbike driver. She was excellent (we’ll post video soon), Dayle not only mastered the ‘leaning’ basics, she took us 25 km before we drove by a huge scrub burn off and she got some crap in her eye. Well done, Hell’s Angels look out!

Since we’d missed the last bus we were fortunate to catch a ride back with the actual Gin of Gin’s guesthouse. He’s also a Provincial lawyer, and we had a great and colourful conversation with him and his wife Julie. He even invited us to his house in Chiang Rai and played us a song on his piano, see lawyers aren’t all bad (mostly).

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