Doi Suthep Monk

As I mentioned before, we went to a Bhudist Temple at Doi Suthep.  While there, I saw this monk blessing people by sprinkling them with water then tying a bracelet around people’s wrist:


I was looking on Google video and came across this video of the same thing (I didn’t take this second one):


Contrails while Crusing over the North Pole

I took this video while we were crusing over the north pole on Thai Airways flight 790 from JFK to BKK.  I thought it surprising I could see the contrails forming right outside my window.


Night Market

 While in Chiang Mai, we went to the Night Market (We also went to the special Sunday Night Market but I don’t have any pictures of that for some reason).  This is controlled chaos.  The sidewalks on both sides of the street are taken over by vendors selling just about anything and everything.  From silk shirts, to videos and games (illegal copies I’m sure), to knives, to baby clothes.



 While there, we ate at the Burger King (I know, I said no western food while gone).  The whopper I had was the best whopper I have ever had.  The burger tasted good, the hot part was hot while the cold stuff was cold.  If only BK could be like this in the states.



 After we ate, we went through the market.  You can haggle for price and get some really good deals.  I ended up and got Lydia a dress for 200 bhat (I think), me a silk shirt for 250 bhat, and several other souvieneers.

If you want to see some more pictures, go see the Chiang Mai Night Market Gallery

Songthaews (aka Songtows)

SongthaewWhile in Chiang Mai, I found the easiest way to get around was by Songtow (or Songthaew).  I was trying to write something about it when I found a very good article on the internet describing this mode of transportation.

From :

Songthaews [pronounced song-tao] are pickup trucks that function as taxis in Thailand.

The trucks have a large metal framed unit fitted onto the back. Ever had a neighbor with one of those things in the flatbed of his truck that makes it into a “camper”? They’re kinda like that.

The mostly-enclosed back area protects passengers from rain or, more often, from the hot Thai sun. Long pieces of tinted plastic serve as thin windows on each side. Running the length of the inside are two long cushioned benches. This is where the name comes from; songthaew is Thai for “two bench(s)”.

Passengers enter through a doorway-like opening in the very back. Where the tail-gate would normally be there is a step or two to help you get in. To the left and right of the opening on the outside there are places for people to stand and hold on if the truck’s really full. More rurally-based songthaews may also have a small luggage rack on top useful for transporting big bags of goods to and from market.

Just so you know, there are different colored trucks. These different colors give you an idea as to where the particular songthaew goes. If you’re a visitor to, say, Chiang Mai, most likely you’re going to be using the red songthaews. Reds circle around the moat, serving both the old city (that is, inside the moat) as well as popular outlaying spots (Central Airport Plaza, Kad San Kaew, maybe Tesco-Lotus). Depending on the time of day, the red ones may also swing by the airport, the bus depot, or the train station.

Yellow songthaews in Chiang Mai are the ones that head to smaller towns twenty, thirty kilometers away. These are more like your commuter trains; long straight trips with just a few stops. I don’t think they take people exactly where they want to go. Rather, they take everyone to a central place in a town and then head on to the next one.

I’ve heard tell of blue songthaews in Chiang Mai, but like Nessie, never actually seen them. It makes sense that they’d have the third primary color, but I don’t want to go telling tales outta school.

Now, when you want a taxi you usually have two choices: you can call the taxi company or you can try hailing one. Songthaews are old school offering only the latter option.

Okay, you’re standing on the sidewalk. You see a songthaew coming a block or two away. Is it the color you want? If so, extend one arm out towards the street (usually this would be your left arm). Now don’t go raising you arm all like “Taxi!”; but rather, put it down at a 45 degree angle—as if you were pointing to a crab on the ground seven feet away from you. With your palm facing down, swing your four fingers towards your palm a couple of times (kinda like how kids wave when they’re really little or Bart Simpson demonstrating the sound of one hand clapping).

The truck will pull over if he can; if traffic’s too heavy he might not be able to stop right there. Go to wherever he stops, but don’t get in yet. Walk up to the passenger window of the cab (in Thailand cars drive on the left-hand side of the street, the right-hand side of the car—like England) which will be open at least a little bit. Tell the driver where you want to go, poised more as a question. “Airport?..”

If he (I’ve yet to see a female songthaew driver, although I have seen one female tuk tuk driver) shakes his head, that’s too far out of his way or not an area he covers. If, however, you get a nod then he’ll take you there. Songthaews don’t have any sort of meter like a taxi, so (especially if you’re a farang) you’ll want to agree on a price before getting in. Fifteen baht? Ok. Once that’s sorted, get moving and get yourself into the back.


 Overall, I found thm a good mode of transportation.  They get you where you want to go and they are cheap.


Favorite Food

I had this post written while waiting in LGA; however, I messed up and it didn’t get saved.  So, this is a repost.

While we were in Chaing Mai, we ate at many places including one hole-in-the-wall/avoid-at-all-costs-if-you-are-a-tourist type restaraunt.  We are there because one of our friends suggested it and had eaten there many many times.  I’m glad we went because it was awesome.  Here are some pictures of the place:


 I ordered this dish called Cowsoy (don’t know if that is how it is spelled or not).  It turned out this was my most favorite dish of the entire trip!  I tried to order it other places; however, it wasn’t on the menu anywhere else.  Here is a picture:

It came with this plate of stuff you mixed in with it.  I ate everything except the big brown lump (it was like tofu blood or something like that.  My friend didn’t eat it either).

You then added this spice stuff to it to suit your hotness level:

Here is a picture of two ladies working there.  The one on the right made us this nice fruit slushie drink that we ordered just about every place else we went.  They were good!  She is a believer and she asked us to pray that she would know how to witness to the lady on the left.

More Information on MP3 Player

As I blogged before, on the trip over to Thailand, I dropped my mp3 player into this hole in the bulkhead beside my seat.  I took a few pictures and thought I would share them with everyone:


I didn’t say anything to anyone on board (there wasn’t alot they could do about it anyway).  While looking at the Thai Airways magazine, I found a feedback form.  I decided to complete it, explain the problem, and see what they would do.  Below are pictures of what I wrote to them:

Because I lost my mp3 player, I didn’t have any way to record podcasts from the trip.  I’m bummed it didn’t work out (I even bought a 2GB MiniSD card to make sure I had enough space).  Oh well, we’ll just see what happens.  Hopefully I hear from them and they buy me a new mp3 player.

Back in the US

We are back in the US.  We are currently sitting at NYC’s LGA airport waiting to catch a 7pm flight back to Richmond.

Plane Update

I don’t know for sure, but it looks like our plane just got here.  If this isn’t it, I’ll update later; however, fornow, I’m getting ready to depart.

Flight Delayed

Well, our flight out has been delayed.  We were supposed to leave at 1:50…now, we are leaving at 3:15.

Blogging and my Trip

I want to appologize for not getting as much time to blog while gone as I wanted.  But, after I am back in the states, I plan to spend the next few weeks updating the blog with posts and pictures about our trip.  Check back often and I’ll have new stuff up.

Thanks for thinking of us while we were gone.  We had problems (no podcasts), delays (a 16+ hour bis ride), and other problems (getting sick); however, we have been watched over greatly.  We were forced to eat some places that were “interesting” (I’ll post some more about that for sure), and spent long hours on the road.  Through it all, we have been protected very well.