maaliskuu 18, 2004

Queen of Insects

I was having a lovely relaxed day reading my book (lord of the rings still) in our hotel room while broninski was out in the city doing his stuff.

I was about to go on our balcony for a smoke and just as I was climbing out of the window a huge insect flew straight at me. As it was very close to my face I screamed and jumped on the bed and ran to the door struck by horror.

My first thought was that it was a big cockroach and I hid in the bathroom for a good while before I got the courage to come out and meet the scary beast.

Carefully I approached the corner of the bed where it had landed and to my new horror I saw that it was not a cockroach, but an enormous fly looking monster that sat quietly. I ran back to the bathroom.

Thinking of ways to get rid of it: I thought to wait for Bron to come back and rescue me, but he would have probably ran away screaming as well, I thought of trying to catch it in a bin, but I didn't know if it was hungry for blood, so I didn't want to disturb it's peace.

I put my clothes on very carefully and slipped out the door. I went to the reception for help.

I told about this monster bug that had invaded our room and a middle aged Thai man came to my aid.

As we got in the room I pointed the creature's whereabouts to him and backed off to the door. Wearily he went to find it and when he did he made a big sigh of gladness. He grabbed it in his hand and came towards me. I escaped into the corridor and the dialogue went something like this:

me: no, no ,no! Dont bring it near me!
Him: no, no, no! Its ok, it's good, we eat it.

Of those words I calmed down a little and got the courage to approach it. Not in a hope for an evening snack, but in curiosity.

It was a greyish fly-like thing, only it was 10cm long and 3cm thick with big sturdy see through wings that made an ear breaking sound when it rubbed them together while the man was holding it. He told me that that's their call to mate and that they are quite harmless and tasty.

We had heard this loud noise before in many places coming from the trees at night, but we lived in the belief that the cause of the noise was tree frogs.

I am beginning to belive that the reason why I attract these things is that either I'm the queen of insects or was I Hitler in my past life?

Posted by carita at 07:36 PM | Comments (4)

maaliskuu 13, 2004

Tick, Tack, Tick

Another sleepless night after returning to Bangkok yesterday.
We booked into My House which felt a bit like returning home.

That night wasn't as nice though. I woke up feeling that there was something crawling all over me and after getting up and switching the light on the horror was revealed to me. Both of our beds were infested with ticks, thirsty for our blood. I woke Bron up who was fast asleep inspite of the hundreds of bedbugs and ticks swarming around him (in fact he wanted for a minute to go back to bed in spite of it all). After the shock we estimated that it was time to abandon the room.

Forced to leave in the middle of the night we chose another guest house near My House called Rambatturi Village, which is still under construction, but before we could continue our interrupted sleep there, we had to wait for the check in which started at six a clock in the morning. So we had a good few hours, which we decided to spend in one of the bars on the street.

The room we are in now is good otherwise, but the builders start early in the morning.

Today has been nice and easy, going through my bag and stuff searching for remaining little blood sucking monsters and washing all my clothes so if there were any they would drown. I also got the chance to read some of my brand new edition of Lord Of The Rings, which was nice.

Bron went to complain about the creepy crawlies back in My House and they were very apologetic about the situation and gave us our money back and Bron promised to try to talk me into returning to stay there.( Fat chance, say I!) Apparently they have had problems before and once some place gets infected with them it's almost impossible to get rid of them.

Tonight we went to bed with a light heart of the fact that this room is almost brand new and surely without any blood sucking, disease spreading, useless little bealsebubs exept for an occasional mosquito.

Surprise! After installing my earplugs and finally getting a comfortable position, on the edge of sleep I feel something trying to climb into my relaxed nostril, yes it was one of our new friends from last night. I got up with every possible Finnish swear word on my tongue, waking poor Broninski up (who is suffering from a cold) with a fright.

With poor results he tried to calm me down by telling me that it was just one which managed to sneak in, hiding in our luggage. (probably true, but it is a bit upsetting to have an insect crawl in one of the forbidden holes. Thank god I had my earplugs on!)

So here I am at four a clock in the morning, sipping my coke amongst drunken Swedes and Americans, again wide awake, unable to sleep but tired, feeling the phantom crawlies all over me and scratching my self like the scabby stray dogs, which are for some odd reason gathering around me as if they're feeling symphathetic to my ordeal, pissed off and writing my blog.


Posted by carita at 10:22 AM | Comments (3)

maaliskuu 11, 2004

Phitsanulok Youth Hostel

The prettiest place so far we have stayed in. The city doesn't seem to get many tourists because people are friendly and very trusting. If you arrive after closing time you are free to take what ever you want from the kitchen and mark it in a book and pay without supervising. The hangout area has hammocks, big tables, seats and it's surrounded by plants. In the evening it's nice to chill out there and listen to the gekkos, toads and other cretures of the dark hunting for food.

The rooms are cosy and nicely decorated with parts of old Thai houses; the bathroom outside adds a nice exotic feel to it (with the mosquitos and all).

The city itself doesn't have much to offer for many days, but it's an ideal place to make a base for visiting the historical ruins for example Sukhothai.

Posted by carita at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

maaliskuu 10, 2004

Old Sukhothai

We made a trip from Phitsanulok to Sukhothai to see the ruins of the old city. Its a UNESCO World Heritage listed site. We rented bikes, much to my disliking since the last time I rode a bike was about 5 years ago and I could already see in my mind throwing the bike in to the canal or murdering somenone unlucky that crossed paths with me. But it actually turned out to be a good idea, because the old templel ruins were spread over a wide area and I still knew how to ride a bike. (the famous last words: "look no hands!"). Also nice was that there were no "samsonite" tourists around. Some of the ruins were stunning and the temples and grounds were well taken care of. The city was founded around the 13th century and I have always felt very at peace in places where you hear the voices of the old whisper.

It's one of the most beautiful places I have seen here so far and tomorrow we head off to Ayuthaya which is also a UNESCO listed site so I'm hoping for more peace and beauty.

Posted by carita at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

maaliskuu 09, 2004

Train ride to Phitsanulok

We were granted the worst seats in third class because second class was fully booked. There was a monk sitting opposite of us and it made things a bit uncomfortable, cause the monks aren't allowed to look or touch women and it was so tight that our knees were practically hitting against each other. So we ended up changing seats the whole way. The trip lasted about 8 hours and although we longed for the comfortable seats in the first and second class the atmosphere was nicer in the third.

On one stop we stayed a bit longer so I decided to jump off and have a smokysmoke and I saw an old guy sitting in a corridor filling his opium pipe and there was another crazy old guy smoking an opium joint next to us in the train (who knows how old they really were. They could be 30 for all I know, but maybe they have smoked a bit too many opium joints. Like our Finnish rock legends Andy Macoy and Michael Monroe from Hanoi rocks. They look to be a 100 years old as well).

I also had a taste of "thai spicy" food served in the train. It was very good, but a bit too spicy for my taste. I managed to gob down some of it, but when it started to feel like I was chewing on a poisonous snake or a beehive fighting back, I had to give up.

I literally burned my tongue and I fear now the thought of having a visit to the toilet.

Posted by carita at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

maaliskuu 08, 2004

Maesa Elephant Camp

The next day we had better luck both with the scooter and the elephants. The tickets were more expensive than lonely planet told and elephant riding was nearly 12 euros, but it was all worth it.
We walked into this small "village" where the elephants and their mahouts live. The camp had about 73 elephants of all sizes and ages and they were very well taken care of. You could get really close contact with them of course under the watchful eyes of the keepers. It was obvious that the camp was more or less founded for the tourists, but it was all on the terms of the elephants.
The elephants did a show for us showing bathing in the river and after their skills in football, harmonica playing, dancing, painting and skills of the old when the elephants were used more for working in the forest. These elephants and mahouts were much older and had probably been working in the forest industry in their younger days.

After the show we went riding an elephant! One of the highlights of the day. Our elephant aged 30, was called Mae Porntip... figures.
It was better than any rollercoaster ride I have been on and it's good that I'm "not" afraid of heights. Sometimes we got a little upset seeing our elephant rider beating the elephant with a stick to make it go faster, but after thinking about it, even if a human would hit as hard as he could, for the elephant it would still be a tap on the head.

It was remarkable how careful and agile the beast was while crossing through country with sure steps , which would be almost impossible with a horse.

Our ride ended quite quickly, but we decided to stick around even after the closing hour and the mahouts didn't seem to mind.

We found a baby elephant nursery which had a new born, only 3 month old baby with its mother ,which seemed to be a bit nervous about all the people touching its calf. There was a one year old as well for whom I gave the last of our water which she happily sprayed over me.

After a while there were only us and a few more people and as the tourists lessened the at

Posted by carita at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

maaliskuu 07, 2004

Elephant Van Trunk

We stumbled upon an elephant art exhibition in the centre of Chiang Mai. At first we thought that they had only a few paintings made by elephants, but to our great joy it turned out that there were two young elephants showing off their skills guided by their keepers. The whole point for coming to Chiang Mai was to see elephants and now my wish had been fulfilled. We found out about the elephant camp they were from and decided to go see more of them..........

Road trip the next day we rented a scooter and headed up to the mountains through the crazy city traffic with Bron's good driving, my perfect navigating and with a very old almost broken scooter. Adrenalin pumping through our veins, we managed to get to the quieter road up to the mountain alive. From there things were pleasant. At the moment here is the dry season and it's not as green as I thought but as we got higher things got more lush and the air fresher, sometimes interrupted by small forest fires. Finally we got to the elephant camp but it was closed. A bitter disappoitment, but we decided to make the most of the situation and headed still higher up the mountain.

We ended up making a tour that was about 100 km, passing hilltribe villages, a few elephants and stunning views. We also drove through a few forest fires that were just next to the road and you could feel the strong heat from the flames. I was a bit concerned about my pants which are very flammable, but things went smoothly all the way back to the city. After a long scooter ride, a nice swim in our hotel's pool was very welcome to sooth our numb butts and I "entertained" others at the pool by making various whale expressions.
"Look it's the spastic wale again, mum!", "Don't point at 'special' people, it's rude."

Posted by carita at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

maaliskuu 06, 2004

Chiang Mai

We travelled up north to Chiang Mai last Wednesday. We've been stayng in a lovely guest house named Lai Thai, the best thing about it was that it had a swimming pool. At first it felt a bit like cheating staying in a nice place like that, but I got over it quickly.

Chiang Mai is the capital of Northern Thailand and both of our guide books recommended it as one of the lovliest places to visit in Thailand. We were gravely disappointed. The second day of our stay we already were planning to get out of there.
Chiang Mai seems to be a major centre of sex tourism and almost every Western guy you see is with a young Thai girl. Most of the bars in the centre at night are more or less brothels. The city seems to be a big destination for american package tourists and it's quite a bit more expensive than Bangkok. The locals are way too friendly to be genuine and to be honest the feel you get is that it's more like a theme park for Americans. Its also a very polluted city.

Posted by carita at 05:45 PM | Comments (0)