|High mountains in Mai Sai, near the boarder of China|
As soon as Ron returned from LA we decided to take a trip north to Bangkok and then on to the northern mountains of Thailand. Before leaving Bangkok we went down to the beach town of Pattaya, to check out the marina. Oceans Marina was still under construction and therefore, Ron determined it was not going to be a suitable dockage for Slow Dance. While in Pattaya we stumbled upon a cute outdoor bar called the Windy Inn, where we met Dennis, a retired Fireman from San Clemente. Dennis was a firemen for 28 years but also a surfer, who has traveled just about everywhere in the world where the surf is good. Dennis had sailed before in Costa Rica, and also drove the boat for the surf camps, so he knew his way around boats. Ron and Dennis hit it off and Ron invited him to come sailing with us for a few weeks around the islands of Krabi. We made a plan for Dennis to meet up with us in a few weeks on Slow Dance. We spent a few more days in Pattaya and then headed to the mountains.
Chiang Mai is a cool place to kick back and relax. The streets of old town are full of monks, motorcycles, and local hangouts; bookshops are more abundant then sidewalk vending stalls, which was refreshing after the insane hype found in Thailand's larger cities. The town is bounded by a moat and the remnants of a med evil -style wall, built 700 years ago to keep the Burmese invaders out. Inside the walls, lies a quite world of family run guesthouses and leafy garden restaurants. A vibrant town of cooking classes, message, and meditation. There are several awesome temples and we toured a few of the best including the white temple, which was on the way to Chiang Rai in the Golden Triangle.
|Inside the White Temple|
After touring some temples we ventured into the high mountains to visit the hill tribes. The Hill Tribe people are a minority people, who migrated from Tibet and parts of China 200 years ago, and have settled in the mountainous frontier of South East Asia's mountain belt from Burma to Vietnam. There may be up to 20 different tribes in Thailand. Chao Khao literally means mountain people in Thai.
We decided to take the mountain trek up to visit one of the villages. I thought the neck stretching was only found in African tribes, but now I see it is a popular tradition with the Hill-Tribe people as well. The brass neck rings weigh 9 pounds!
|The gold collar weighs 9 pounds and the girls start wearing a lighter version at age 4.|
|Morning Glory grows all over South East Asia. The Thai's saute it to perfection in oyster sauce with lots of garlic. I never missed eating spinach as this is delicious.|
|Ron enjoying a purple passion juice during lunch on the river Kwai. .|
|Weird ceramic heads hanging from a tree near the temple. What the significance is I do not know. It was very creepy.|
|Sign outside a forest cafe where the monks hang out. We had quite a nice chat and learned much about life inside the temple.|
|He gave me a kiss with his 2 foot tongue.|
|Ron and our driver, Poh.|
|Lunch on the River Kawi|
|Dennis and Vanessa as we head toward the beach at Koh Roi|
|On route to Rai Lei Beach|
|Captain Ron with Vanessa, me, Dennis and Nikka at Same Same bar, Koh Lanta|
|Dennis, Vanessa, and sister Nikka at Koh Phi Phi Lee|
|Ferry port at Koh Lanta|
|Walk to Same Same bar|
|These Australian folks got married on the beach and invited us to the after party.|
|We had a beach fire here one night. AWESOME!|
|The captain and the cook|
|That's the famous Maya beach behind me , where the movie "The Beach" was filmed.|
|Slow Dance at sunset as we returned in the dingy from beach on Koh Lanta.|