We had contemplated staying on an extra night at our little guest house on the Thai side of the mighty Mekong but that was before we realised we were living next to ‘Miss Ebola 2015’. A young Swiss couple with their young child were in number 11 – we were in number 10 – with nothing between us but a cardboard wall even ‘Ikea’ would have rejected. This Alpine clan were suffering! Coughing, spluttering, sneezing, wheezing and spitting! We named them ‘The Swiss Family Gobinson’! At bedtime, as I was reading, Andrew fell asleep within three seconds (a talent he possesses that I greatly envy), he than began to snore. Like a wart-hog! I attempted to silence him with a couple of gentle punches but to no avail. I then heard a gigantic sneezing fit coming through the flimsy divide. Snort! Sneeze! Wheeze! Cough! Snort! I then heard Ms Swiss Gobinson begin to imitate Andrew’s snoring! At which moment her partner began to chastise her – he told her that she was making enough noise for the whole of Zurich! (My rudimentary German comes in handy occasionally). At this point, the baby awoke and began to scream in a dreadfully effective Teutonic manner – I thought, between all of them, they would wake the entire guest-house. Luckily, I had taken a herbal sleep remedy given to me by our lovely friend Patrizia, and I slipped into a welcome state of […]
Good grief! We are now in recovery from the journey from hell. Four hours; 702 hairpin bends; vertiginous for most of the way. The engine, equivalent to that of a ‘Morris Minor,’ coughed and spluttered her way down the mountainside emitting so much carbon as to make all the recycling we do at home completely redundant! I’m sure our beautiful planet had warmed half a degree by the time we hit the valley floor! The stereo in the van blasted out ‘Daddy Cool!’ The driver, however, was not as cool as daddy. When ”Mamma Mia’ began to play as we hit the ‘Pits Stop’ we shared the same sentiment as Agnetha & Freida! ‘My, My – Why Did We Get On This?’ Next time I’m booking the bus tickets! Andrew has a wonderful knack of getting us the worst seats with the worst possible driver! After a brief layover, we hit the road again. This time the soundtrack was ‘Queen’s’ Bohemian Rhapsody! Our driver took Freddie’s lead and,quoting another song from Mr Mercury’s back-catalogue, we travelled ‘through the sky like lady Godiva!’ There was certainly no stopping him! Now back in civilisation – still spinning and shuddering from our roller coaster ride, we’re off to the cinema to see Ms Streep and co in ‘Into The Woods. I just hope we can focus, as the tickets were fourteen quid each!
Mama Rose’s noodle soup continued to cause ructions long into the night – our concrete bathroom resembled a scene from the exorcist by morning………… – but at least I am now holding down my coffee – just! Andrew, on the other hand, looks like a Graf Zeppelin! He is filled with so much gas that I’m concerned he may take […]
It isn’t often that a human being achieves and is fortunate enough to have a truly authentic moment. Well today, with the setting, the wildlife and my beautiful travelling companion – I had one. It was most moving – but I shall not bore you with the self- indulgent detail. Suffice to say it was a glorious day. Although my ‘tuk-tuk’ driver could have ‘thighed’ a little harder! A glorious day, until, that is, I sampled ‘Mama Rose’s ‘ less than glorious noodle soup. Within three mouthfuls I felt like Sandra Bullock in ‘Gravity!’ And, without the steadying hand of George Clooney, I didn’t perform quite as well. Although, I could have won the Oscar for the best vomit in a supporting bowl! Truly dreadful!
What a strange confection this little town is. A real ‘mash-up’ – Aussies, Israelis , Brits, Swedes, tons of Thais, oh yes, and a number of our American cousins too. A very large number! I have often been perplexed by the much reported fact that less than half of American citizens own passports – this morning I was just pleased! Admittedly, the type of Americans we encountered on this day were fresh out of High School – only ‘high’ and not so fresh! Brash, bolshy and boisterous (obviously too many wheatgrass shakes) and with no consideration for the odd geriatric hippy making an attempt at some semblance of a meditative break-fast. Andrew and I couldn’t hear ourselves think! There was nothing for it but an A.M. Chang – just to take the edge off. We took the road less travelled (on foot at least, we were the only pedestrian traffic), out of Pai and upwards. We then stumbled upon a wonderful wat. With four hundred steps to climb! Anything to escape the tofu brigade! This temple was both life affirming and leg firming. The original architect had signed his name at the beginning of the ascent. t I doubt he would have signed-off in the same manner by the time he’d reached the summit. It was calm, clear and, even better – ‘Yankee-doodle -band-free!’ […]
We’ve arrived in Pai – a little ‘Pai -Eyed’ and not so bushy tailed! The Driver; four hours of hairpin bends at break-neck speed; gear- manouvering worthy of Mr Magoo; and the heaviest brake pedalling I have ever witnessed: In fact, he was a bit of a ‘James Hunt!’ At the forty- seventh bend I knocked into this wonderfully serene senior monk reading his newspaper – elbowing him hard in the face. – for the second time. A moment that gives the phrase ‘Bashing The Bishop’ a whole new meaning. And, ‘a la Rosa Parks,’ we were made to sit at the back of the bus! Trapped between two young lovers batting for ‘Our’ team, if you catch my drift. I would love to say it was the first time I’ve been squashed between three homos on the back- seat… But let’s not go into that. There was at least some respite – a brief ‘Pits’ Stop!’ Penelope would certainly not have approved – the khazies were kamikaze! Mercifully, we have now reached our destination of Pai. Both still swaying from side to side as though we’ve just disembarked from a dodgy cruise. I guess we just haven’t found our ‘Charabanc Legs’ yet!
After all the culture we’ve had we thought it was only correct to sample some of the less salubrious parts of town. So, with much research, we ended up in a club entitled ‘Adam’s Apple’! Not quite as biblical as the title suggests! The first act consisted of a striptease artiste – only without the strip or any of the tease. Our poor beautiful heterosexual mate Dave had to endure a large penis, ready to ‘love him long time’ , nearer his face than he could ever have imagined! The second act, ‘Batman’ – the caped crusader – well almost …. ‘Holy erection Robin!’ And then……. ‘The Cop’ with a truncheon that had a life of it’s own. None of it particularly arresting though……. The whole night was rather odd, especially the ‘Pat Butcher’ oriental Madame who was running the joint. She looked rather familiar and terribly stern. Then we realised she’d been at the women’s prison yesterday – pummelling Andrew! And – when she asked me how I made my living and I explained it was in a rather similar way to ‘herself’ – she thawed! In fact – she gave us a discount!
As we arrived at the women’s prison today to read the massage menu, Michelle looked a little concerned when she noticed the last treatment on the list. “I’m not sure I fancy an ‘intimate’ massage” she whispered. I did have to point out that it read ‘Inmate’ massage, which definitely eased her nerves and so we went inside and were fingered today by the female prisoners of Chiang Mai. What a marvellous idea. In order to earn a little cash for some extra snout, the ladies on parole are given a job in their own massage parlour. Perhaps it wouldn’t work in Holloway but here it seems to fit the vibe. Andrew had ‘YumYum’, a not totally accurate description, although I’m quite sure she’d made a meal of someone in the past! My jailbird was less effective however. Three foot tall with the hands of a toddler – I felt nothing. In fact Dave and Michelle who were being pummelled on the opposite side of the room told me afterwards that I had fallen asleep and was snoring (gently,I might add) throughout the whole process, much to the amusement of all the ‘Bad Girls’ present. When I awoke it was as if nothing had happened. She was probably only inside for shop-lifting. I think if one is to achieve the most effective outcome at times like these, then choose the butchest, ‘Top-Dog’ looking one you can find; a girl who knows […]
Half a bottle of Thai Whisky and a herbal cigarette and I’m anyone’s – I also usually do anything! So a haircut seemed a really good idea at 4am this morning. I must say I did rather well, Eat your heart out Vidal Sassoon. Those nail scissors really ain’t half bad!
Dirty minds all of you! Forgot to mention with all the back-packing ahead of us and the fact that I have had more wildlife struggling to free itself from my bouffant than I care to remember. A bat, a cock-roach, something Andrew kindly assured me it was best I didn’t know what it was, etc….. At some times it has resembled both an ant hill and a maori’s hut! A bouffant is not conducive to adventure – so it just had to go.