Monday, February 9, 2009

I love Hot Springs

My adventure to see the hot springs that are not in the guide book went great. It is hard to explain how much I enjoy hot springs. I feel a connection to the earth and some sort of spiritual connection. My body relaxes and I can feel the stress or pressures of life just fade away. Plus it gets me out into the world and seeing things I wouldn't see otherwize.

I woke up later than expected this morning and I didn't feel great, maybe too many beers with the British girls last night. But I eventually got out of my room and had some breakfast alone because all the friends I had yesterday are gone today. After breakfast, which I had around noon, I rented a motorbike. I figured I would get the manual because its cheaper and since it was my first time ever on a motorbike might as well learn on the cheaper one. It worked out because there is no clutch so its basically like changing the speed on a bike, and I felt more connected with the motorbike.

It was funny at first because it was my first time and the guy I was renting the bike from barely spoke english. I understood what all the peddles and stuff did but when I hit the gas it went faster than I thought. I could see the worry on the guy's face. I just said I needed to practice and went up and down the little streat practicing changing gears. There were some Thai people watching and they would say "gear up", and when I changed the gear they cheered. It may have been my first time but in 5 minutes I figured I was as good as I was going to get so I went off down the road.

After getting gas I was on my way to the hot spring on the highway. I just kept the speed at around 60 kph and was pretty comfortable driving the thing in no time (with a sore butt though). It was about 60 Km down the highway and then another 10 or so on smaller roads. There were good signs telling me where to go, which is how I saw it in the first place, so I wasn't worried about finding it. As I expected when I got there I was the only farang and everyone seemed to notice that.

The hot springs were pretty developed like the other ones but it was maintained on a donation basis. There was a center area (in full sun) with lots of different temp deep smaller pools, and then shallower pools around them. It didn't look like they were ever cleaned though, so at first I thought I might not be able to soak. Then I found another pool near a small man made lake that kids were riding little swan paddleboats on. That was the maintained soaking pool! It was about 103-104 and had umbrellas around for shade, and wooden planks to sit on. The source was next to it in a little raised pool that older thai women were filling up drinking water from. It seemed like a lot of people just came to fill up waters, soak there feet for a few minutes and then leave.

the un-maintained smaller pools in full sun

the maintained pool when I had it to myself
I soaked for a while, and was the only one that completely submerged my body, it was shallow so I had to lay down. Then I would get into the little man made lake. After a little soak, I read, and then soaked again. I couldn't really talk to anyone because they were all thai people that didn't speak english but people just let me do my thing. I saw several groups of people come and go while I was hanging out by the pool. A lot of them seemed like Thai tourists because they would take pictures of there family in the pool.

Eventually I got hungry so I left the pool to look for food and donated 20B. I couldn't find any food there, and I knew the closest town was pretty far away so I decided to leave and not do the night soak. It was a good decision I think because I drove back to Sukhothai during sun set and was a bit cold. When I got to town there was another chinese parade going on. This one was huge, it made the one from yesterday look really small. Also all the buisnesses had little shrines with candles in front of the stores and then the dragon would come up and bow, and these kids would run around with little sticks saying stuff. The nice kid at the guest house I'm at that can speak some english said it was a chinese new year celebration and the shrines were to wish the buisness prosperity, he said the kids were chanting "make money" or something like that. It was a neat specticle to come back to town and see. Plus it showed that I knew how to ride the motorbike because I had to weave though a lot of traffic and not hit anyone in the crowded streets.

After watching the parade I just walked down to the night market (always the cheapest place for food) and had some noodles. Now I am doing this, and am not sure what else I'm going to do. I'm alone again so if I want some company I need to be outgoing and I'm not sure if I feel like it. Plus tomorrow I'm moving on to Mae Sot so it might not be worth it to go through the effort of getting to know another person. It sounds bad when I say that but thats kinda how I feel. It is work to get to know people and if I'm just leaving tomorrow, so the friend I make, I won't even see again, then I might as well just read and go to bed early. I think the Dutch girl will be in Mae Sot tomorrow and I know her number so I can just call her when I get there, so hopefully I'll have a friend tomorrow. Anyway, thats all for now, and so far I have not seen any textiles, just jewelry, but I heard there is local silk somewhere. Peace to all!

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