Sunday, October 28, 2007

Back, and better than ever

From a world that many of us have never traveled to, and for me it is one that I'd always dreamed of...the world of a completely sustainable organic farm....

More on that in a bit. I've experienced so much in the past 5 days, that I have to split it up into two blogs. Before I get to my favorite part of my trip thus far, let me tell you a little bit about what I did to get there.

In my last post, I was on my way from Kanchanaburi to Ayuthya. Ayuthya was really cool. Met back up with another friend who I met in BKK named Mick (another Aussie), completely randomly. Dylan was sitting in the common area downstairs finishing his beer and I had just come back from the bathroom at my guest house, and there he was! Kind of divine intervention, because he would be the one I would travel with for the next week or so.

Dylan, Mick and I traveled together to Ayuthya, the old capital of Thailand to visit some amazing temples. We rented cycles and rode all around town, quite a beautiful ride through a park in the middle of town and to three Temples. We had a bunch of laughs as well. It was really sad to see the destruction of the Buddhist temples. Years ago, the Burmese came in and raided the old king's dwelling and stole all the gold off the large Buddha and decapitated all the smaller ones. When they were finished with the mass religious homicide, they burnt the city down, leaving it in ruins, which remain today. It was quite impressive and disappointing to see. How could someone ruin something so beautiful? The Buddhas had been reconstructed, but there was just this erie sense of bad energy there that I simply cannot explain. On the contrary, it was actually somewhat peaceful...

The next day, the three of us parted ways. Dylan and Mick went a bit east, and I north to Chiang Mai. I had a few hours to kill before getting on the sleeper train (which was soooo awesome) so I grabbed a cocktail at a local pub. I was the only patron. I looked behind me only to find a complete instrument set up just collecting dust waiting for someone to play it. Naturally, I asked to play it! I played guitar and drums for a bit, and then had a game of pool with a Thai woman...that's the good old bar girl in me I guess! At 9:30pm, I jumped in an overcrowded sangthaew (a truck with bench seats in the back) and headed to the train to Chiang Mai.

What a great way to travel. You get your own little pull down bed and a curtain(I got top bunk!), and you just sleep on the train! It's your moving guest house for the night! I had this crazy-eyed German guy across from me, so I pretty much crawled right into bed as soon as I got on board, read for a bit and passed out. I woke up at 8 am and had a couple of hours of taking in the sights from the train window. We had begun winding through the mountains, and I had eye fulls of rice patties and green rolling hills, a sight I embraced whole-heatedly after being in the city and flat lands for a week. This was more up my alley.

Upon my arrival in Chiang Mai, I immediately rented a motorbike and started cruising around town. IT's amazing. In Thailand, you can rent a motorbike for 200 baht or less, which in dollars equals out to about 6 dollars or so...for 24 hours! IT's a hard deal to pass up, and having a motorbike really allows you the freedom to do and go as you please, and believe me, I did! I loved the feeling of being on a motorbike. The breeze on your face, and the power of the machine were enough to give me perma-grin all day. I drove around the moat that circles the downtown area for hours sussing out my new surroundings. I found a guest house for 100 baht ($3), set my stuff down, and went back out to paint the town red!

Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand, except for the exhaust and traffic, it doesn't really feel like it, except when you go to the Night Bazzar. It's just loads and loads of merchants on the side of a closed road that sell everything you could imagine. If you were a shop-a-holic, you'd be in big trouble here, because everything is sooo cheap. I had to try really hard to resist buying anything. I'd told myself that I would rather get things at the end of my trip so I don't have to carry them around for the next 6 weeks...I did buy one small thing.

The next morning I woke up and decided that I'd had enough of the city life and that I would look into heading up to the Organic Farm that I'd heard about. The girl who invited me, Peggy, had sent me an email with the directions and timing on when I needed to be where in order to catch the truck 2 hours north to the farm. As I read through the directions, I realized that If I wanted to make it to the farm that day, that I needed to meet the driver at 12pm, and it was already 11:30. I still had to get my laundry, return my motorbike, and check out of the guest house...and arrange transportation to meet at the rendezvous spot, but I knew that if I hustled, I could do it...