Monday, March 30, 2009

Back in Ranong

I left Ko Chang this afternoon on the one in the afternoon boat. It was hard to leave such a wonderful and relaxing place but because of my two week visa I need to keep moving and get closer to Cambodia. My plan is to go to Bangkok tomorrow and deal with my visa stuff for Cambodia and Laos (I decided to drop Vietnam on this trip), and then go to the big Ko Chang until my visa runs out.

I haven't really done much in the last few days on Ko Chang, which was very nice! I would just wake up in the morning and go right into the ocean. The timing seemed to be just right where when I woke up the tide was all the way in and I could go swimming almost right outside my bungalow. After the ocean I would shower and have food. Then I did a bunch of nothing. I would talk to the people around like the guy from Finland, and an older guy from Australia I met, and a British guy that was staying at the bungalows next to us. They were all good people and fun to hang out with.
looking back down the beach towards my bungalows (mid tide)
looking down the beach away from my bungalows (low tide)

One day I layed around in Paradise Bungalow all day hanging out with the owner there, and rains came in the afternoon so it was nice to stay under cover. The next day I did the internet thing. The next day I went over the hill to the south and saw another beach over there with the British guy. Then on our way back we stopped of at a guest house that has cashew and mango wine. The wine was actually really good, and strong, and cheep, a bad combination. My last day I walked south along the long beach and over another hill to another beach to the south (also with the British guy).

There's not a lot else I did. Just drinking shakes by day and beers by night, and hanging out at Paradise (which is where I'll stay when I come back). Another notable thing is that the owner of the guest house I stayed at (Swasdee Resort) was a really good cook. I tried to eat other places to spead my money around but didn't really succeed because Noi was such a good cook. The weather was also pretty good. The first two days it rained in the afternoon, covering up the sunsets, but then it all cleared up and there were good sunsets the last three nights.
First good sunset!
Sunset two days later (the day before I left)

Now its off traveling again, and back to Bangkok again. I left the island with the guy from Finland, and the British guy I met. Tomorrow they are both going over to Ko Phan-gan and I'm going to Bangkok but we will all go to the bus terminal together. We got a room together in Ranong and are planning to go to the hot springs tonight and its been fun with these guys. I'm not too excited to go back to the city and leave the beach but then I can spend some days at the big Ko Chang. I've heard good things and it should be cool to see. Then I can take a boat right from there to Cambodia but you need to have your visa first, thats why I'm getting the visa in Bangkok. Well thats all for nowand I'll make sure to get pictures on here when I'm in Bangkok, peace and love to all!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Relaxing in Ko Chang (the small one)

Ko Chang is a really nice small island, that is very relaxed and there is not a lot to do. I like that right now. I've been on islands but they have had a parties and a lot of tourists. Here there are very few tourists, even though the main buisness is tourism, and the ones that are here just love the quiet. After the group it is really nice to just lay on the beach, talk to other people (who by now I have seen for a few days), and read my book.

So, a couple days ago when I did the visa run to Myanmar it was very interesting. As expected, it was kinda hectic with a lot of people wanting some money, or trying to get money from you somehow, and a wierd procedure getting the visa. I booked a boat trip through a tourist thing at the guest house I was at, so I had a ride to and from the pier and the boat trip was paid for. I needed 10 dollars US for the Burmese government, but the bill I had was too old, so I paid 500 baht. I met a really nice guy who was staying on Ko Phan-gan (where the full moon party was) and he made me want to go back. I felt like I didn't see the island before, but just the party, so I was thinking it was a good oportunity to see it.

I spent the rest of the day contemplating what to do, stick with my plan of the laid back small Ko Chang, or go back to Phan-gan. In the end I chose Ko Chang but I changed my mind about 10 times through the day. I also went to the Ranong hot springs for the entire afternoon and evening. They were really nice, and free because they are government owned. It was all paved and tile but the pools were good temperatures (controlled by valves) and there were a lot of locals there. Some locals told me stories of how the spring water had saved peoples lives. I don't know if I believe the stories but I do believe hot springs in general have good health benefits.
The hot springs source
the soaking pools

The girl at my guest house said I shouldn't walk at night to the springs because its a little out of town and its dangerous, but I did stay until past dark. So I figured I'd test my luck, but I met some nice thai people before I left and they gave me a ride back to the guest house. It didn't seem dangerous but I guess in a boarder town there is more danger than in other parts of thailand.

The next day I got a boat in the afternoon to Ko Chang. It was a cool ride in a large long tail boat and I met a nice guy from Finland on the boat that I've been hanging out with. I didn't know where to stay but the guy I met knew about one place and a thai woman promoting her place was next door to the one the guy knew. We looked at both and chose the one the woman owned. At first I thought I'd spend a couple days here and then go to Ko Phayam but I like it here too much to leave so soon. Now I'm thinking I'll skip Ko Phayam and move on to other places in a few more days.

This island is what I think many people are imagining when they think about a tropical island. Not very many people a long nice beach and really nice places to relax at and get food at all along the beach. There is not much internet here so even right now I'm at a guest house down the beach and can hear the waves and see the water. One strange thing is that the island you can see in the distance are in Myanmar. I kinda like it though.
My bungalow
The view from my bungalow (high tide)

The first day I found the mellow place to hang out almost right away. Its a bungalow a couple places down the way from me with an incredibly kind thai woman as the owner. Yesterday I hung out all day and into the night and she just told me to pay later because it was late and she trusted me to pay the bill before I leave the island. That first night I went back from her place and hung out with a group of Russian people, really one Russian, one German/Russian, and one girl who is more like a europeon gypsy from Equador (she has lived all over and speaks over 5 languages). They were very cool people and I hung out with them all night until pretty late.

The following day (yesterday) I also hung out with the russians and the guy from finland. The German/Russian had some wonderful music he was listening to and that night burned me a DVD with some of the music. Also the Russian guy used to be in the Soviet army so he was very interesting to talk to. He said I was the first American he hung out with and became friends with and realized that Americans are not that different and deal with the same problems as Russians. I thought that was a really nice thing for him to tell me. The group of them actually decided to leave today and go back to Ko Phan-gan because that is their favorite place in thailand and they said this beach was too quiet for them.

Today I haven't done much besides hang out with the guy from Finland, and an older guy from Australia. Both of them walked with me to the internet place we are at right now. I think the next few days here will be really nice to get some reading done and just swim and relax on the beach. I also think I'm really meant to travel alone. The group is nice just because you get closer to your good friends and connected in a very special way, but alone I meet more new people and have more experiences that I think will stay with me forever. Its not just a holiday when your alone, but an experience to help shape my life and personality, and teach me about the world and other cultures in a way that could not happen if I was with other friends.

Anyways thats all for now, and I'll add pictures when the internet is not as expensive after I get off this island. Peace and love to all!

Monday, March 23, 2009

On Visa Run to Ranong

It is funny how after being with the group for a while I have gotten used to it. Today I left the group, which is Dharma, Gabe, Tyler and Sarah, early in the morning because I had to make it all the way to Ranong today. Tomorrow is the last day of my two month visa so I need to go to Myanmar tomorrow to renew the visa. Since the November closing of the airports they only give you 15 days so I'm basically getting this visa so I can travel to Cambodia slower. I want to see the small Ko Chang near here and Ko Panyam, they are said to be small mellow islands that are not so touristy.

I actually liked Ko Phi Phi more than I thought I would. We stayed in a nice guest house up the hill and next to a water reserviour. The manager was a really nice older thai guy from up north that I hung out with the whole first afternoon. I liked him and had fun talking. He could speak good english because he was raised in a church. I guess his family would send him to live with the church during the week from the age 5 to 17, and he is from a hill tribe. The hill tribe was nomatic moving locations and used to grow opium before the Thaksin war on drugs, now they can barely make money with vegitables.

On Phi Phi the first night we went out to the party, which happens every night. It was fun, the first bar had live thai boxing, but you had to drink if you wanted to watch. It was a funny club with boxing, pool tables, and a disco (which played all the hits from the full moon party). After the rain stopped (around midnight) we went to the beach to another club (which was also playing the full moon party hits). That was fun and we all ended up drinking too many buckets. There are so many competing bars on Phi Phi that they try to get you in with free drinks.
Partying on Phi Phi

The next day was a recovery day with some partying on the beach at night. I went to bed kinda early because I wanted to get up and see the island on my last day there. So, I woke up early and went to the viewpoint to see the main beaches at Phi Phi. That was really nice. I was the only one up and went on my own in the early morning before Ty, Sarah and I went on a boat trip to see the islands around and mostly "the Beach" beach, which is maya bay on the small Phi Phi, or Ko Phi Phi Ley.

The Phi Phi viewpoint

The boat trip was interesting. We were in a fleet of longtail boats that do the tour. The old man at the guest house set it up so that we would be on his boat. At first I thought it was strange because there were so many tourists but soon I realized he did set something special up for me. The boat driver couldn't speak much english but invited me to smoke. We went into the longtail boats while we were at a beach and smoked out of the bamboo bong. It was cool just being me and the boat drivers haning out and smoking while everyone else layed on the beach. Then he pulled me aside again at "The Beach" beach. It made me very happy but I was a bit out of it at the end of the day.
Me on the boat with the clear water

froliking in the water with Sarah
Koh Phi Phi Don from Bamboo Island
My boat driver in Maya Bay
Sarah and Tyler on "the beach"

Today I just woke up early and took a boat to Phuket and then a bus up to Ranong. On the bus I
was the only farang which I like but getting off the bus in Ranong the hustle was strong. They know people come here for a visa so they try to get you right off the boat. I think I worked it out fine though and am at a nice guest house with nice workers there, and I set up the boat to get the visa tomorrow. I have pictures and got all the pictures from the whole group yesterday so I'll get them up here. Right now I don't have my camera though, I hope ya'll noticed that I put up old pictures from Chang Mai (from Sarah), and I'll try to get some more pictures up for everyone to enjoy. Peace and Love to all!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ton Sai to Ko Phi Phi

Since my last post I hung out in Krabitown longer than expected and then went to Ton Sai. After spending 4 days at Ton Sai I followed the group to Ko Phi Phi today. It is strange how after being in a group for a few weeks, I have gotten used to it and don't quite want to split up yet. When everyone made the decision to go to Phi Phi yesterday and I wasn't sure I finally decided to come along. I wasn't sure about it because I only have 4 days left on my visa so I need to do a visa run soon. I didn't want to rush anything but figured I could see Phi Phi island for a few days and then go north to do a visa run outside of Renong.

We stayed in Krabitown longer than expected because there is a really cool bar there called the Fu Bar. They kinda took us in. A couple guys we met showed us the place and it is connected to a tatoo shop. One of the guys we met got a tatoo from them and then Shy from our group got a tatoo. Each night at the bar was fun, we could put on our own music with our I-Pods and hang out, plus there was a chill area upstares. An Irish guy came to visit the owner because his brother lived there for a month and he wanted to see it, he ended up sleeping there (in the bar) for two nights. It was cool how they let people sleep there. We stayed an extra day because we had a barbeque of fish the last night that the owner payed for so we would stay and drink one more night. I actually went on the boat trip to a little fish farm with the owner where we bought the fish.

Inside the Fu-Bar, and the tatoo guy's

The Danish guy getting a tatoo
The chill area upstairs in the Fu Bar

Finally we left Krabitown to go to Ton Sai beach and a British girl traveling alone tagged along and ended up sharing the room with me. Ton Sai was a really nice and relaxed beach. You could hang out all day on the beach, watch people climb on the rock cliffs right there, and drink and smoke to your hearts content. Railay beach was next to it and you could walk around the point durring low tide or take some other paths over. That beach was full of resorts and had more people trying to sell you stuff on the beach. Ton Sai was nice because it was so relaxed but the sand at Railay was better. The low season has just started so we got some nice bungalows for very cheap. Also the rains have come early so every night at 5-6 a thunder storm came in.

A view of Ton Sai

Railay beach in the morning

In short the first night we went to Railay beach and hung out at a bar on Railay east (the side with not as good of a beach but cheaper bars) and then took a boat back over to Ton Sai. The next day I just layed around on the beach all day, one girl did a base jump (where you jump off a cliff with a parachut) off the cliff right above me. The next day I relaxed in the morning but then went on a kayak trip around the point towards Ao Nang with Amy (the british girl). We saw a small beach that is completely owned by a resort and then went to Ao Nang for a drink. The rain clouds came over the hill while we were there so we had to call it early and try to get back to Ton Sai before the rains came. The last 15 minute of the kayak trip it was dumping on us. Yesterday I got up early and Amy and I walked to Railay and up to a view point and to see a lagoon thing (the view point was better).

The viewpoint of Railay (close) and Ton Sai (farther)

Look closely at this cave shrine

Pictures from Padong beach, next to Railay

Today we all got up early and caught a boat to Ko Phi Phi. Its much more touristy here but its ok. I bet there will be somewhat of a party tonight and the beaches should be nice. Anyway, thats all for now, and I'll keep livin the beach life for a few more days.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ko Phan-gan to Krabi

It has been a while since I bloged due to the extreme expensiveness of the internet on Ko Phan-gan. Everything was expensive there because of the full moon party and the expensive place we were staying at, but now I'm in Krabi, the city, and things are back to normal prices. Soon we'll go to a beach near here and it will probably be back up to expensive prices. Again there are no pictures because I take less pictures with the group, I'll get some soon and get them up here.

The single day in Bangkok before the long overnight traveling to Ko Phan-gan was good. Sarah and I went to the Grand Palace because I hadn't done that yet, and she waited for me to get to Bangkok to go. It was really amazing. It had a large entrance fee but was well worth it. The gold work and tile work was simply amazing down to every detail. We walked around slowly and saw what we could and then relaxed at a shop at the end of the Grand Palace. Dharma and Ty came later and went through the palace really fast because of how hot it was, and met us at the shop at the end. They took a tuk tuk back to the guest house but Sarah and I walked because it wasn't that far and the heat didn't bother us.

The grand palace

That night we went to the train station to catch a bus (strange huh). It all worked out but it kinda felt like I was cattle. They put stickers on us and then moved us from one bus, to a waiting area, then onto another bus, then onto a boat. Everything was super packed with all farangs with stickers on. It really did feel like we were being moved around like cattle and everyone in the group decided we wouldn't do that again.
The view from the beach at the resort

The full moon party was cool, but I feel like I didn't really see the island at all, just the resort we were in and the huge party each night. We would catch a taxi to Hat Rin beach where the party was and then drink buckets until the early morning, dancing all night long. We went the two nights before the big full party and the night of the full moon party. The easiest way to describe it was a huge rave on the beach, that really describes it all. There were large speakers from different clubs all along the beach playing techno, some with more people than others (we gravetated towards the more packed sections of beach). The warm up parties were actually more fun because it was the same music but more room to dance, a more relaxed vibe, but still a huge rave like party. The actual full moon party had about 15-20 thousand people and was a much more intense experience.
The full moon party (Drop In Bar)

Dharma doing the fire limbo
Drinking Buckets

Some examples of the differences between the warm ups and the actual thing is that more bad stuff happened at the big party (not to us, but a lot of people). Like on the warm up nights people were not wearing shoes and dancing in the really nice fine sand. I almost felt weird wearing my sandles. But on the full moon party lots of people got cuts on their foot from glass, and no one did at the warm ups. Also a lot of stuff was stolen at the actual party. I was warned to bring nothing but some money, not a camera, not even my cell phone, so that is what I did. At the party one girl that we were hanging out with was having a good time and then lost her camera and cried for hours. And tons of people lost wallets too. It was the classic trick of cutting the bottom of people purses or bags. All the scams put a little bit of a damper on the big party and none of that stuff happened at the warm ups. Anyway, it was cool to see and I can party with the best of them so I had a blast. My friends were even surprised because I didn't want to party much before then, but since I came there to party, I gave it my all!

After a day of rest the group of us traveled over to Krabi, that was yesterday. The resort we were at was owned by some hustling british guys who couldn't be trusted at all, so we just left and went to the pier on our own. They kept saying all the boats are full but we got onto one litterally 30 minutes after we got to the pier and the boat was nicer than the tourist trap we came over on. Then after getting to Surat Tani we got a minivan to Krabi, none of which was full. The trip was pretty good but I got funny tummy from something from the resort food. Its strange I am the sickest from the resort with all the strange street food I've been eating, but I'm not too suprized.

Group dynamics are still very strange but I'm dealing with it better now though because I left and got a break and then came back knowing what I was getting into. Shy left his passport in Bangkok and needs to leave soon so I'm not sure how much longer he will be traveling with us. That should make the group dynamics better, and in a little over a week the group will be breaking up so pretty soon it will be back to solo, or a group of 2 or 3.

Well, thats another blog without too many details but I think the main things that happened came out. We are going to a beach from here to do nothing but relax for a few days. Now we are all taking care of stuff in the city of Krabi because it has good prices and is a nice town. We all needed to do laundry, check the internet, and get more money. So we may be leaving to the beaches tomorrow or the next day, depending on the Shy situation. I assume prices will be high out there so it may be more days of silence, but if there is internet for a good price I'll keep up the blog, I don't think I'll be doing much else. Peace to all!

Friday, March 6, 2009

from Mae Sot back to Bangkok

I just took the night bus from Mae Sot last night and now I am in Bangkok again. The group decided not to stay in the place I was at in Sukhothai. Maybe because they thought it wasn't going to be up to their high standard, or because they knew I needed a break. Even Sarah decided to stay with the guys and let me do my thing. With that freedom I decided to go back to Mae Sot.

I needed a reality check, as far as talking to real people with real problems, and I also left my shorts and towel there. Some people thought that they wouldn't be there anymore, but I had called and asked the nice woman who works at the Green Guest House to hold them for me and I knew she would. When I showed up the first thing they did was pull out my towel and shorts.

I really like Mae Sot, it makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time. I did just what I wanted and had a great time talking to interesting people. After I arrived at around 1:30 pm two days ago I got some Phad Thai at this little place I know and then got some tea at the Burmese place in the Muslim area. The tea shop is cool because they have good samosas and good tea and people are always there to talk to.

First I talked to a jade and gem trader. Its just like the guide book says, a Chinese muslim who gets the stuff from black market in Burma and then sells it to China or India. He was nice and was telling me how he had been in Mae Sot for 33 years and still did not have a Thai citizen card. He said he didn't need it because he never left Mae Sot and he would go back to Burma if he situation ever got better there. He also said that he originally left Burma through Korea. I'm not sure how it works but I guess there was a war where Burmese troops were sent and then any of them fled. He made lots of jokes about Koreans killing 10 people and then 30 fleeing.

The next person I talked to was a refugee in America but left Burma in the same way. He fled the army when they were in Korea and was a refugee there for 4 years then in Bangkok for 11 years and now has been in Indiana for a few years. He was in Mae Sot to try to get his dad into America. His dad just left Buram about 1 year ago and is now a refugee outside of Mae Sot. He said America is only taking refugees for one more year so it was very important to try to get him into America. He was very sad and said it had been 20 years since his family lived together and really hoped he could reunite it. He had some meeting with the UN later that day and I wished him luck.

I left the conversation almost in tears. People have real problems out there. I wish there was something more I could do, and I have told myself I will return to be a volenteer in Mae Sot for a few months in the future. After the tea house I went to the herbal sauna that I like and that was really nice as usual. The next day I just had breakfast at this little place I like, then read and slept in the garden area of the guest house. In the afternoon I hung out with the school teacher/owner of the guest house and helped her with some english lessons for her class. Then back to the tea house for food this time, and the sauna before I caught the night bus to Bangkok.

Now I am here and had some breakfast with Sarah while the guys are still recovering from last night. Today I think we are going to the grand palace and then taking the night bus tonight to Koh Phan-gan for the full moon party. Should be interesting and for two nights I don't need to pay for a room because I am traveling at night. Thats all for now, I mostly wanted to share the lives of those people I met at the tea house. I needed that break from the group to get back to reality and why I am here in this country. Not just to party but to meet real people, absorb and learn about the culture, and see for myself what is happening around the world. Peace and love to all.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Back in Sukhothai

I split off from the group today but I think everyone is comming down to Sukhothai later tonight. I left the group this morning, Dharma and Tyler were doing a cooking class, and Gabe, Shy, and Sarah were going to walk around the city and shop and get massages. I just felt like I needed to leave. It has actually been really nice not to talk and read my book and think about stuff. I think Sarah's going to stay with me in the cheap place I stayed at last time I was here, but the guys are going to a more upscale place that SK house in Chang Mai suggested. For all I know they could all end up coming to the place I'm at, or none of them. Tomorrow they want to see the old town and I'm going to rent a motorbike and see another ruin about 50 Km outside of town.

It has been hard for me with the guys mainly because of 1 that I had never met before this trip. It has been hard to hear stareotypes about Americans for a full month and then meet up with someone who falls into all the stareotypes. I don't like it. Everyone seems to understand how I feel exept the one, who insists he does not act like an American at all. Plus the whole girl thing is driving me crazy. I've met a lot of cool girls along the trip and have had a great time but I feel like if I acted agressive and hit them, then I wouldn't have met the coolest ones I've met.

Like I said before we will be going to the full moon party together, and they will be here tonight at some point. Even this one day away has been nice. On a more possitive note, I like Sukhothai better than I did before. It is now the slow season so there are a lot less farang and I walked around a nice night market tonight before comming here. I think I agree with the advice one traveler told me, which is you can't really feel a place out unless you spend several days there, like 5-10 days. With staying two nights and one full day you can't even get to know anyone, and after a few days people open up to you. I think I will take that advice to heart in the future.

I don't know what else to write besides some more about what I left out before. Like Sarah and I walked around Chang Mai and looked at wats. They were the coolest ones I've seen so far. It was a cool mix of new wats and really old ones write next to each other. There was also one wat with all these old signs that had cool sayings and advice. Also we went to a music place at night for food. I expected something different but it was still good and all the guys came later to eat also. The band was a cover band that played a lot of pop hits and stuff. They were good but not what I expected. I thought it would be more like Pai with lots of rock and roll, and blues with good solos and stuff, but it was still fun. Then Dharma, Richard (a Polish guy from the trek) and I went to a club just to see what it was like. It was interesting.

Last night I hung out with Nina who is the trek organizer at SK house. She actually came out to the jungle the second night because the family that takes care of the place was sick and she wanted to go. At first I thought she was a pushy sales person, who cracks a lot of jokes, but whenever it was just me and her hanging out she would talk about serious stuff and tell me her opinions about life, Thailand, and America. The guide did that also. But whenever the group was around she would just crack jokes. I like her a lot, and last night she bought all the beers and said she wanted to hang out. The day before she bought some beer for everyone, but yesterday she just did for me and I hung out all night as the guys came and went. Sarah hung out for a while also after she did internet stuff.

Well thats enough for now. I can still promise nothing about how much I can do this. Obviously when I am alone it is easier but with the group it is harder. Peace to all!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

In Chang Mai

Its been a long time since I posted so I don't think I can do a blow by blow at all. It is strange how after a few days of not looking at a screen its easy to not want to spend time looking at a screen. Plus I met up with Dharma, Gabe, Sarah, Tyler, and Shy, all about at the same time in Chang Mai. So having the friends around made it easier to not write.

I didn't really like Pai at first because it seemed kind of like a fake touristy place, but after a few days it grew on me. I met up with Chris who is the springer I met down in Um Phang and he showed me some cool springs that not many other people could have showed me. We went to one, one day, and another the second day. The first one was really hot and usually mixed with a cold stream. But now it is the dry season (the dryest in years) and the cold stream is basically dry and all the the pools didn't have water because the water was diverted to the crops next to the spring. We walked down the hot steam until it was cool enough to get in and was deep enough to soak, it was nice. Then we went back to drink Chai at this place that many of the local farang hang out at. The next day we went to a warm pool out in the national forest nearby a hill tribe. Then went to the chai house again.

At night I went to this place that had live music and good musicians. I met up with the San Fran guy and he showed me this place and some people he met earlier that day. I ended up hanging out with the band because they were friends with the people I was hanging out with. So it was a late nite of seeing live music and I went to this one place that basically stays open all night. The next day was similar but after the live music I went to a guest house, outside of town a little and with bungalows, and hung out around a fire with a couple thai people, including the owner of the guest house, and an Austrian girl. Again it was a late night.

Then I came to Chang Mai to meet up with everyone. The guys got a room at SK house so I went there. Its a nice place, with nice people working here. Sarah arrived about 2-3 hours after I did. We hung out in Chang Mai for a day recovering from traveling and whatnot, and then did a 3 day trek.

Kickin it in Chang Mai
The SK house view from our room

The trek was cool. Two nights with hill tribes, basically hanging out with the poeple, who were all friends of the guide we had. It was nice because there were no other tour groups, and it was nice and green. All over the place, at least where I have been, its pretty dry and people are burning everywhere. Here there wasn't too much smoke and it was green and kinda lush. The last day of the trek was ok, we just hiked out and then did the elephant riding (which was short but cool) and rafted down the river.
On the trek

The place we stayed the first night
Passed out after the first day's trek

Singa, our guide cooking for us
The place we stayed the second night

The waterfall we went to

riding on the elephants

The last couple days have been hanging out in Chang Mai. There are some strange group dynamics. I don't really know how to put it but basically different people seem to be traveling for different reasons. I like partying and hanging out with girls, but that is not my focus. I enjoy the mellow days too, where I read, see some stuff, and go to bed early. I think most people are taking it easy tonight and during the day but I'm not sure. I need to split off for a couple days and then we made plans today to meet up in Bangkok and go to Kho Phan-gan for the full moon party. Then we will see from there. Other people would deffinately like to split off also but the four guys are trying to stay together for this month, and that should be interesting to see if that happens. I'm guessing not with the drama that has already occured, but maybe.
Temples in Chang Mai

Interesting signs around one of the Wats
I can't write anymore, sorry for hardly any details. I don't know if I can keep this up as detailed as I have been, but we'll see. And there aren't any pictures because I forgot my camera but also because people are camera happy. With all the flashes and stuff I figure there should be plent of pictures to go around. I think I took 3 pictures all trek. I'm just not that much of a picture person, actually about 50-70% of the pictures I have taken are on this blog.