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Chiang Rai, still

Day 435 – Tuesday 2nd April

Spent the morning finishing off last week’s mammoth blog entry after being woken up by the bloody building work next door. When me and Chris got round to M’s, the whole gang (3 guys who played in the band with him Saturday; Chris, Steve and Andre) were there waiting to go to a waterfall, so they got in the car and we followed on the bike to the same waterfall as yesterday. Me and Chris (Newcastle guy I’m sharing the house with), different Chris to the one who’s just turned up (another Northerner from the band) anyway me and original Chris stopped off on the way for some food and met them there. As soon as we got to the waterfall, I went straight for the big cliff jump and completely fucked my ears diving so deep straight away into the pool. But everyone else was being too pussy to do it, so gotta show them how it’s done. We all hung out at the waterfall for a while just chilling out and left just before sunset. Me and Chris stopped off at a really random and really tacky modern temple where we met some cool child monks and had ice cream on the way home. After we got back, M’s mate turned up to get a coy fish tattoo on his shoulder, when M told me he did tattoos it got me pretty interested in getting one from him, and despite him taking forever doing this guy’s one it turned out really nice. Watch this space. But as I said it did take forever and was pretty boring to watch but it got to the point where we waited so long I just wanted to see it finished. But it meant we missed out on hanging out with the guys from earlier and instead just chilled at ours and watched a movie.

Day 436 – Wednesday 3rd April

After another free breakfast (M’s Mum is still refusing payment for food despite the fact I’ve moved out) we went round to M’s shop to get some more work done. Unfortunately it was far too hot to get anything done and so instead we just drove to a waterfall yet again to keep cool. Once again I jumped in the water way too much and fucked up my ears more than yesterday, got a sneaky feeling I might have ruptured my ear drum which is really uncomfortable and has no real quick fix, great! I’ll try and keep out of the water for the next few days. We spent pretty much the whole afternoon hanging out there, and after stopping on the way back to get a cake for his little cousin’s birthday, we got the party started. There was a ridiculous amount of different food, hot pots and lots of different drinks, not too many of them alcoholic but everyone got in the spirit and the kids and grown-ups had a good time alike. Had fun with M’s (always) drunk uncle who said he had love for both me and Chris and got offended any time we didn’t speak to him, despite the fact we don’t speak a shared language. Then M played a little gig for everyone and his other drunk relatives chimed in on the vocals, all in all a really fun time and a pretty random way to spend a Wednesday afternoon at a 10 year olds party. Once we’d all managed to stuff down enough food and the clean-up operation started; me, Chris and M headed out to a bar for the night. M was tipsy to say the least by the time we arrived and his driving was pretty suspect, but he insisted on us getting a bottle of whiskey as we sort of had to buy something just to sit at a table and watch the live music. Had an awesome time at the bar, the music was good, the whiskey was good and there were lots of beautiful (if not stuck up) girls around the place. But it all turned sour when M had had enough to drink and to cut a very long story short he tried to pick a fight with me. Can’t be bothered going in to detail but it completely ruined the night and we had to pack up and leave before he really took things out of hand. As I wasn’t in his good books, he refused to let me drive his car despite his state and despite almost killing a woman on a scooter and driving down a main road the wrong way, we somehow made it back alive. Easy to notch up his cuntish behaviour to drinking too much, but a 32 year old should really know their limits especially if they’re the designated driver and I was not happy with him to say the least. Plus the whole incident had really sobered me up and my ear was in pain so tonight was very much a sleepless night.

Day 437 – Thursday 4th April

Literally only slept a wink last night and was very happy once Chris eventually got up and we could get the day started. We went straight to M’s for breakfast and he said there was nothing to talk about last night, definitely not how I see the situation, but I guess he wants to just brush it under the rug and avoid an apology. Whatever, he’s a good guy and I know he didn’t mean all the shit he said but I still feel a bit edgy around him and wished we could’ve just cleared the air there and then but that’s not his style. Anyway hung around at his for a while, but he was just playing guitar and I didn’t feel in the mood to just sit around listening, plus a got a call from Tamara (who was having a little fling with M before, and who is at the root of M’s problem with me) and spoke it out with her which made the whole situation better. Chris was pretty hung-over so we just spent the afternoon hanging at our place as he napped and I watched a movie. After that we went for a Mcdonald’s, definitely the place to hang out on a hot day with good food and a really nice outdoor seating area. Not really anything else to report, M spent the whole day in bed pretty much and Chris wasn’t too different, a good way to cool off after last night’s drama.

Day 438 – Friday 5th April

Finally got back to working on the shop today and got down and dirty in the garden. It’s much slower progress now than when me and M first started sorting it, but now there’s 3 of us there’s a lot getting done even if it doesn’t look so obvious. Either way it’s nice to get a sweat going and anything I can do to help out M after everything he’s given me while I’ve been staying here in Chiang Rai is nice. By 5 we’d all had enough and lost about 100 litres in sweat and so we called it a day and had a huge meal at his before a much needed shower with soap, something I haven’t got round to buying for the past 2 weeks now, fuck I really have turned into a bloody hippy! We went round to M’s in the evening, originally to help set up a website to sell his many paintings, but ended up printing off and sorting out Chris’s tattoo. After I told him about M doing tats he came up with a fucking genius tattoo which I wish was mine, it’s the words ‘chaos’ and ‘beauty’ in Thai script. 2 awesome words to describe Thailand and Asia as a whole and a really good way to sum up my travels, bud the Geordie bastard thought of it first! Quickly it became clear that it was probably best to just do it tonight rather than wait around, as the design was sorted, and so he lay down on the sofa and M got going. Once again I was pretty shocked at how slow it was, but the detail came out really nice plus Chris seems to be iron man and felt no pain despite it being on his ribs! Fucking jealous that he came up with it and not me, I’m so desperate for a tattoo as it’s been almost 3 years from my first with no additions, plus I need something to commemorate this trip and getting a Thai mate to do it would be nice. So if anyone has any mind blowing ideas keep me posted, and if anyone knows the quote ‘don’t judge a man by how much he knows but by how far he has travelled’ and who wrote it could you please leave a comment, as I can’t seem to find it on the web but I’m sure the Dali Lama came up with it. After the tattoo was over, me and Chris drove in to town to buy some cream for it and get some dinner and some snacks and came back to watch a movie.

Day 439 – Saturday 6th April

Got woken up at 10 this morning by Noi (little Thai girl from back in Chiang Mai) saying that her and Tamara might be coming up today. As they’ve told me this time and time again and they’re still not here I wasn’t very happy that such irrelevant news was my wakeup call! Once again we spent the start of the day at M’s shop but as M was off every 10 minutes to buy supplies we weren’t really sure what to do work wise so instead just pissed about with the kids and tried some good old fashioned advertising of standing in the middle of the street with an ice cream sign. Despite all the funny looks from the locals, the only customers we got were Ohm (M’s brother) and his girlfriend and me and Chris. That’s the problem with this shop, it’s on a main road and so people are only driving past and they never stop, but that doesn’t faze M and he’s going into this business venture at a sprint. He’s now got a proper burger grill and all the stuff to go with it, as well as a fridge, a sink and lights set up with loads of other things to be crammed into the little hut on the way, as well as gates on the outside to keep it all safe overnight. My ear was really acting up today, having already had ear infections I’m now certain this is different and given the way I got it I know it’s some sort of trauma to the ear drum which means a long fucking wait for it to get better, and every now and again excruciating pain where I can’t do anything other than lie down, close my eyes and go to my happy place. I waited around at the shop for as long as I could as Chris was working and M made burgers, but after that delicious treat I really had to go home and just lie down for a while. By the time Chris made it back there were 2 new arrivals; Tamara and Noi had decided to turn up! So I went round to see them and we spent the next few hours all hanging out. Bloody good to see Tamara again, she’s a proper Spanish bull who’s always feisty and a good laugh, the same can’t be said for Noi who seemed a bit down all night. Unfortunately she also has nowhere to sleep and so me and Chris are sharing for the time being and being gentlemanly and giving her her own bed. Tamara’s straight back in to bed with M!

Day 440 – Sunday 7th April

Noi decided to put an alarm on for the crack of dawn this morning and then open the curtains and turn off the fan giving me and Chris no choice but to get up as well, not fucking cool! We all hung out at M’s this morning listening to music and messing about with his spray paint as he made a big painting/ sign for cheeseburgers to try and entice some customers to the shop. Eventually we got going to the shop, as M wants all this done by next weekend we sort of need to get going, and he needs to not be distracted by Tamara, which obviously isn’t the case. As soon as we got to the shop, they were off straight away for about 2 and a half hours leaving me and Chris to take care of the kids and get to work on the garden. Luckily the Mum came round to bring us food, she seems to be a bloody mind reader, even when we’re not at her house she knows when to feed us! Managed to get quite a bit done as M kept disappearing even after they got back from the original 3 hour trip (apparently burger buns are impossible to find) and they checked every shop in the city before coming back. The girls, unsurprisingly, weren’t in the mood to get their hands dirty so even when they were there they were no help and Noi spent the whole afternoon napping. The irony of her waking all of us up early just to spend the day catching up on sleep as we work did not make me laugh! M gave us a juicy burger to reward us for the hard day’s work which made everything better. Me and Chris called it a day around half 5 and came back for showers, our scooter decided to break down on the way and so the Mum took it off me and swapped me on to a manual, couldn’t be happier I’d had well and truly enough of that gay little automatic. After some dinner we went round to M’s shop to practice some fire juggling. Despite Tamara having paid for classes for the last month and being very good at it she still hasn’t had the courage to dip her ‘poi’ into petrol and juggle fire instead of just practice. But me and M are complete beginners and feel confident enough to do it so we had a go to give her some confidence (safe to say I was amazing and didn’t burn myself) and she gave us all a really good show and all the cars driving past loved it, plus we had a few beers and big speakers so it was a proper little party. Left the shop around 12 and had a couple more drinks before a late night.

Day 441 – Monday 8th April

Yet another visa run today! I managed to convince Noi not to put a fucking alarm on again and so we all slept in until about 11ready for what was to become a very long day. A couple of weeks ago I read about a place called Mae Salong, it’s right up towards the North border and has a population of only Chinese people as the Thai government let some Chinese soldiers settle here after they helped with some war or other, as soon as I heard about it I really felt like visiting and after chatting to Chris he seemed game for it so the 2 of us set off on a little road trip. First job was to go into town and exchange some Thai baht for dollars to pay for the Burma visa fee, harder said than done as they don’t stock them so that the border police can rip you off once you get there, corrupt bastards! Did manage to find the same guy who did it for me last time and after a coffee we hit the road up to Mae Sai (the border town). The drive was really nice and the weather was good today so it didn’t feel too bad cruising up on the main road and we made it pretty quickly. Then I left Chris in Thailand and hopped over to Burma and back in pretty quick time, managed to get the guy to accept my $10 without too much hassle (last time he straight up refused it for a good 10 minutes!). Got back to Thailand with another 2 weeks visa (only one more visa run to go before I come home) and after another ice coffee we got back on the bike and headed for Mae Salong. The drive was absolutely incredible, the roads were pretty steep and so windy and the views off the edge were jaw dropping, easily the best session I’ve had on a bike I think. It took a bit longer than expected to make it into town and luckily we managed to make the climb up there with barely any petrol. Felt so good to make it and fill up the bike. The highlight of this dusty little Chinese town is a temple on top of the mountain with great views of the town below, so we kept on climbing the road up to the temple. Managed to run over a chicken for the first time in my life, I’ve had a lot of close calls but this bastard was way too big to swerve around without having an accident and he didn’t want to move so all I could do was plough over him and hope the bike didn’t fall over which thankfully it didn’t. Plus none of the locals saw it and we managed to get away from the scene of the crime without any problems. Despite being a bit scary it was easy to laugh about afterwards ‘why did the chicken cross the road? To get run over’. We made it to the temple and the views were a bit impaired by all the smoke, it’s burning down the forest season; still not 100% sure why they do it but it leaves a lot of smoke in the air. Plus after all the great views we’d seen over the last 2 hours on the drive to get there nothing could really compare. It was just nice to stretch our legs for a bit. But with the sun on its way down and a good 2 hour drive back to Chiang Rai we hit the road home. Unfortunately the drive was in the dark and my headlight is shit, plus it meant all the bugs were out flying into my eyes and mouth, so the way back was more just a case of making it home rather than enjoying the drive. We got back to ours at half 8 and having left at 1 and taking into account all the waiting around and stuff it was a good 5-6 hour solo drive with a passenger on the back in the sun so I was fucking knackered! Needless to say I was very dirty as well, a shower remedied both those things and then a big dinner at M’s with everyone made everything better. We also had a good laugh at Ohm’s dog who’s just had a haircut to make it look like a lion ‘a retarded lion’ in Chris’ words it was hilarious. Watched a bit of TV at ours before an earlyish night.

Posted by travellingjoe 06:10 Archived in Thailand

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Comments

I think you've made up this quote yourself - it's a good one but nothing comes up on google. I've got my friend the wordsmith looking into it for you.

Be careful with your ear - you might really hurt it flying... :-(

Hugs m xx

by elizabethzy

Photos make all your words come to life. The shop looks grand and I'm sure it will be a success with all the enthusiasm around, If there is a Medic around you could let them have a look at your ears. Best to be sure about these things!
For one awful moment I thought you may have had a Man U tattoo.................or Millwall. (I bet there arn't many of those around!) Poor old dog didn't look too pleased with his lion look and probably felt like biting someone! Cheers GD.

by m.hurry

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