Chuck Hillig's Travel Blog

Well, I'm going to be doing a lot of traveling over the next 6-7 months so I thought that I'd better re-activate my travel blog. The last time I posted anything here was way back in 2006 when I was traveling through SE Asia. Feel free to read my entries back then about my earlier adventures through India,Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines and Hong Kong. This time (at least for the next six weeks), I'll be traveling through Greece and Turkey.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Last day in Chiang Mai...

On Sunday, I got together with Tom and Barbara, the European friends that I traveled with up the Mekong from Luang Prabang, Laos, into Thailand. For the last few months, they've been renting an absolutely charming place not too far from the Chiang Mai Market. After having a drink in their front yard, we walked over to the well-known Sunday Market that materializes every late Sunday afternoon. Although the tourist map indicates that it's only held on one street, the market actually spills on over into many side streets and alleys. Included in the myriad of items that are offered for sale are a wide variety of foods and drinks which are frequently prepared on the spot to suit your taste. (Naturally, edible worms and larvae are also on display.) This street market also boasts numerous local musicians singing and playing guitars, harmonicas, violins and, of course, some of the more traditional Thai instruments. I even saw someone playing something that looked like a hammer dulcimer that could have been bought in our own West Virginia. This Sunday street fair is very popular with locals and tourists alike, and I saw many new items and foods that I hadn't seen at some of the other fairs that I've wandered through. After sharing a few beers and watching the hoards of people stream on by the street in front of us, Tom and Barbara took me over to the popular Riverside Restaurant. As the name implies, this very cool place is located on the riverfront and the building is, I'm guessing, about 200' x 100'. Most of the walls have been removed so there is a feeling of openness and spaciousness to the whole place. People sit at large picnic-like tables and could choose from an extensive menu that even includes fresh sushi. They had an excellent 10-piece band that played and sang both western and Thai music. The ambiance was excellent and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves for several hours. After that, we took the same tuk-tuk back to my place and dropped me off. We planned on getting together at 6 P.M. on Monday for dinner at their place. When I awoke on Monday, I had to find a local bank, print out some things from the Internet and buy a new book. I just finished "The Lovely Bones" and was lucky to find an old copy of Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress." The weather began to cloud over by 4 P.M., and I found myself hoping that my dinner with Tom and Barbara wouldn't be rained out. I started walking in the general direction of their house and hoped that I could find it before the sky opened up. Unfortunately, I only got to the Chaing Mai Market and all hell broke loose. Lots of thunder and lightning and torrential rain. I had brought along my cell phone and called Tom to re-assess the situation. Since we were planning on a garden dinner, we decided to postpone our get-together until Tuesday night. I'm scheduled to take a 10:40 A.M. flight down to Bangkok tomorrow morning. New Plans: After hanging arond Bangkok and Pataya, I'll fly back to Cambodia to see Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) and then, 4-5 days later, take a slow boat down the Mekong to Phnom Penh. Sometime around the 25th, I'm planning to fly south to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, and maybe down to Singapore. After that, quien sabe? More later...

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