Playing Catch-Up

So, a lot has happened since I left India, and this is a brief overview to get caught up to today.

I left India a week earlier than I had planned and flew back to Bangkok – mostly because things had gone sour in Delhi (can’t stand the place), and then I missed my train out of Delhi. At that point it was too late to get another train ticket, so I just cut my losses and bumped my flight up a week. I had one month to kill before flying back to the US for my brothers wedding. During that month, I mostly just hung out with Por and her friends over on the East side of BKK. The central part of the city was closed down, and the sky train (BTS) wasn’t running, due to the situation with the Red Shirts, so there wasn’t much to do in the city.

Por and took a trip up north to Chiang Mai, where we rented a motorcycle and rode up to Doi Inthanon National Park, home of the highest point in Thailand – 2565 meters. After a few days in Chiang Mai, we went took trip over to Pai, or as I like to call it, Khaosan City. It’s a nice little town, but the westerners, aka “farang”, probably outnumber the Thai people by 3 to 1 – sort of like Khaosan Road here in Bangkok. It’s not exactly an “authentic Thai experience”, but it was fun. We had a really nice bungalow on the river that flows through town, and one day we rented a scooter to go see the sites around the area, which was pretty much a bunch of dried up waterfalls, an old WWII bridge, and a bunch of elephants – domesticated and chained up along the road for tourists to see and take rides on.

Then it was back to BKK, where the Red Shirt situation had deteriorated. On May 19, I flew out of BKK, on my way back to the States. On that same day the government troops stormed the Red Shirt encampments downtown. 5 people were killed that day, and the total number appears to be around 80 since the protests began.

I was now on a two week vacation from my “vacation”. First stop was Seattle for my brother Nathan’s wedding. Seattle was cold and wet – a fantastic change after five months of hot & dry in Thailand and India. Technically Thailand wasn’t really dry, but it was hot & humid with very little rain while I was there. Cold rain in Seattle felt great!

The wedding was fun, and it was great to see family again, as well as meet new family . I was glad that so many of my aunts and uncles came out to Washington for the wedding, and it was great to see my dad and brothers again, and to catch up.

Next it was off to San Francisco to visit friends and go to Goa Gil’s Memorial Meltdown up in the northern California hills. Oh yes, and it was my chance to stuff myself with Mexican food before heading back to Asia, where good Mexican is almost impossible to find (I say almost because there is at least one good Mexican restaurant in Bangkok). The food was great, seeing my peeps again was so so great. Gil wasn’t so great, but oh well, two outta three ain’t bad… I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder after Gil was rude to me in India, so perhaps that had something to do with it. Anyway, great food and great friends made the trip worth while.

Now I’m back in Thailand. Oh how I love this place…. I suppose I could go into my “reverse culture shock” experience, but that’s better left to a post all its own, and this post is too long already. I’m writing this while waiting for an overnight bus to Chomporn, where I’ll hop on a boat to Koh Tao – the same island I spent New Years Eve on. While there I’ll be taking SCUBA courses to get my open water certification, which will allow me to dive anywhere in the world. It’s a 4 day course, on a great tropical island. I just hope the weather cooperates whilst I’m there – it’s starting to rain, at least here in Bangkok.

For now, signing off from BKK – the “paradise city, where the grass is green, and the girls are pretty” (G’n’R had to be singing about this place)