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Night Beer Hiking in Downtown Chiang Mai

Exactly one month ago, our family took a trip to Chiang Mai by way of daddy, Max, Mina, and the nanny hitching a ride with mommy on a business trip. Our driver was fast and polite, and since there are typically no seat belts in a Thai commuter van, we decided to leave the baby seats behind. This made for a very smooth and uneventful ride, just the way I like it.

I’ve written about other parts of the trip already, but I didn’t get around to posting (blurry) photos of one of the highlights, an impromptu night stroll from the center of downtown to our hotel. We went out as a group for dinner and to check out the night market, which was a big tourist trap / disappointment. By that time, we had joined up with Daisuke and some of his and Nam’s students… Dai had expressed a longing to drink on the grounds at Wat Chedi Luang, at the very center of town, because it was beautifully lit up at night and temples make such excellent chill out spots.

So Dai and I got dropped off at the main gate, and everybody else went back to the hotel in the van. So began our journey.

Wat Chedi Luang, former home of the Emerald Buddha

Since the front and side gates were already closed, we had to walk all the way around to find a rear way in. We found it, and weaved through various building to get to the chedi (stupa).

Apparently, UNESCO and some overeager Japanese meddlers did an awesome job of rebuilding these ruins IN THE WRONG ANCIENT STYLE!!

Unfortunately, the temple grounds were full of monks and followers walking around and looking at the illuminated stupa, just like us. We could have had beers while hidden in the shadows, but having other people around kind of killed the appeal of it. Instead, we decided to walk back to the hotel by walking out to the ring road (Chiang Mai has an inner and outer ring road, one running clockwise and the other counter-clockwise, just like Osaka’s nakakanjo and sotokanjo, but not elevated), and following it back. We made several stops at historic sites along the way, roughly fulfilling one of the main to-dos for visitors to CM: Visiting many temples.

A temple on the side of the road, name unknown. I lit joss sticks and felt very spiritual, and then some loud foreign tourists came, so we left.
Some government office with statues of unknown dudes. Oddly, there was an older Thai couple sleeping under the statue.

After leaving the heart of the historical district, we came upon the first 7-11 and eventually instated the two beer rule: Two cans of Leo per person at every 7-11 passed

We ended up at an outdoor futsal stadium with two fields. Daisuke played in the minor soccer league in Japan, so he wanted to watch for a while. I had several beers and a pork bau from a cart outside the 7-11, so I didn’t care. It started getting chilly, though, so I got up and stood watching the khao tom store across the street for ten minutes. There was a deaf guy waiting on the tables who would bring out food to the customers and communicate with them by pointing at the menu and writing things down on the pad, but the cook insisted on shouting at him when orders were ready, very loudly, twice for everything. It made for some fairly hilarious happenings which would suck to relate in writing.

A late night khao tom (aka okayu aka congee) store

Eventually, we neared the ring road.

Mysterious CD-stars pasted to lamp posts and curbs. Somebody is air peeing.
Mysterious CD-stars pasted to lamp posts and curbs. Somebody is air peeing.

We passed an open jazz bar with too many skanky farangs hanging out, and resupplied at another 7-11.

More CD-stars. They might just be used as traffic reflectors, but the placement of some of them was off the road so they might be used to ward off dogs / cats / Christians.

We ended up on the ring road near a historic gate and in dire need of a place to pee, peed on it.

The only public restroom in downtown Chiang Mai

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The rest of the night was fairly surreal. We had seafood noodles outside a car dealership. It was fairly late when I saw a red lantern way down a small street, and I was drawn to it. It turned out to be a Japanese izakaya that was closing. They initially refused to serve us, but I begged piteously and an old Japanese man drinking outside shared his bottle with us. He turned out to be just an average guy from Nagoya, who I naturally gave a lot of shit to even while partaking in his drink, just because I secretly look down on Nagoyans as a proud Osakan. The owner’s husband came around and he turned out to be an ex-coworker of Dai’s, so we extended our unwelcome at the closed bar even longer.

We eventually got home, but I don’t remember that part.

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Global House Maha Sarakham

About a month ago, Maha Sarakham received a power up in the form of a real home center – Global House. Previously, our only choices for hunting hardware in this province were a pitifully small and understocked Home Mart, and a great number of mom & pops. I’ve visited this place only once, for a quick purchase, and noted that it will take at least a couple hours to properly check out every aisle.

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The day I got crushed by an elephant.

Mina is fearless, and I have photos that prove it.

I need to get more photos up from our recent exploits. Alas, I will be away this weekend for what I hope is the last road trip for a while…

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much lulz

Golden Globes Awards 2011 – Ricky Gervais Opening Monologue

Never thought I’d willingly watch any part of that show.

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The Thinker

Max has the funniest dreams about food. Sometimes he wakes up asking for roast pork skewers, and sometimes for pastries. We are used to it now and keep a stash in the fridge, along with at least one bag of sticky rice for Mina.

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Death Metal Pengo

For my sister, keeper of Pengo and friends.

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Alt + Tab Power Up for Win 7

If you’re running Windows 7, try holding the Windows key and press Tab for a cool window switching effect.

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FM tribute

My second-favorite moron of the week is the commenter on the clip above who called Annie Lennox a “Gaga wannabe.” Holy crap, kids today!

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Self-taught

Seen on a popular teaching web forum: “…at least I got a descent education in my country!

This was, of course, some western douche trying to insult a Thai posting in English.

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Back Home Again, No Time Again

It’s still quite cool during the days in Maha Sarakham and actually cold at night. Last year we only had a week or two of this weather, so it’s been great to have it continue for almost two whole months.

These past two months, I’ve been all over on family trips to Phimai, Chiang Mai, and Surin, and for work to Nam Nao, Saraburi, Trat, and Koh Chang. Next weekend I’m taking my Master’s class to Wang Nam Keaw for a weekend survey. Then hopefully, I can take a break from too much traveling for a while. The babies miss me when I’m gone (or so I like to think), and I miss them too.

The photos above were taken with my Galaxy 5 phone on one of our neighborhood walks – the open areas in our development are fast disappearing, so we are getting in as many dirt road rambles with the babies as we can.

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Work experience visit

Our two students at the resort in Saraburi are doing well… Or at least one is pulling the other along. That’s just how it is sometimes.

The 5 we are visiting in this tiny harbor village in Trat, however, seem to have it a lot harder. They are working at a Tourist Authority of Thailand office here which seems an improbable situation at the least, since there isn’t even a 7-11 in town (a primary indicator that you are in the middle of nowhere in Thailand). Anyhow, we will visit them at the office in an official capacity first thing in the morning.

As a sidenote, we entertained ourselves this evening by catching little crabs at low tide on the rocks our bungalows overlook. They look just like the one I used for bait fishing for sheepshead at Catalina with my dad when I was an Indian Scout.

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Minholio

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Why Android is the best for now

Two words: Google Maps

Yes, I know you have it on the iCrap, too, but Google will never make it as good for you. Fact.

I’m heading off on a trip to visit some 3rd year students interning in Saraburi, Trat, and Koh Chang for a few days. Leaving at 5AM tomorrow, so I’m starring destinations and saving route info (toll and non-toll, with different ferry options to the island)  in Google Maps on my PC. Tomorrow, I’ll be able to access it all from my phone. This is the kind of techno-wienery I’ve been dreaming about since I was 7.

Day 1: Maha Sarakham to Saraburi and Trat (city)

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Day 2: Trat (city) to Koh Chang Destinations

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The other half

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Ruins at Phimai – Favorite Shot of 2010

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To Surin

Donna and Keilie are rolling with us to see M&M’s great grandmother and visit the big elephant village in Surin province.

As a sidenote, it’s always great to come home to my trusty rainhead shower and flash water heater. 220V FTW.

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Mountains of earthenware jars

The entire lot is covered with pottery shards… What are these jars for? Where do they go? Will they be used for something, or stay here forever to be found by archaeologists who will be convinced that Chiang Mai was a center of pottery?

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Lavender Lanna Hotel (formerly the Tokyo Sri Hotel), Chiang Mai

We are in, according to one internet review, the “premeire gay hotel of Asia.” First impressions: Gay. But very nice and clean. Maybe not the best place to wander back to drunk off your ass…

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Beer gardenesque @ Lavender Sky Bar, Chiang Mai

Feels like Nara or Kyoto. Cool breeze, too.

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Merry

Told you once I won’t tell you again it’s a bad way…