2009 Thailand # 9: An Old Lady on a Harley Davidson and Inspector Clouseau Shopping Expedition

A very experienced umbrella maker, Chiang Mai.

A very experienced umbrella maker, Chiang Mai.

The evening after our zoo day, we had a wee party on our verandah. I had decided that a bottle of gin was in order, so I went and bought one at the 7/11 (otherwise known as a Dairy in NZ) for 260 baht (or about $12.60 NZ). Chow, Gill myself and a Phillipine girl called Lyn swanned about with a guitar, some gin and whiskey and several buckets of ice. Very civilized. Chow and Lyn put a sand lizard on the ground by my foot, thinking to scare me, which didn’t work at all, to their great disappointment. Gill suggested quietly to me that I should go and get my scorpion and do the same back, which worked a treat. When Lyn spotted it, we both jumped back and climbed on our chairs in horror (this was at night time, so the light was working in our favour) and she was totally taken in, poor thing. I think she had murderous intentions towards us for a little while after that. Chow then passed me a fancy whiskey bottle that had a cobra inside it with a large scorpion in its mouth. He was lucky I didn’t drop it! He then told us that the cobra would have been put in the bottle when small, then the scorpion dropped in once the snake was bigger, then both of them drowned in whiskey. We couldn’t believe the cruelty of it! And in a Buddhist country? But for some people, dollars speak a darn sight louder than morals. I also really hate seeing the insects set in resin or in frames at the markets. They’re pretty impressively sized bugs, but I refuse to support such a practice. Every time I see this I shake my head at the person selling them. I have to say I’ve seen a lot less of this than I saw in Bangkok in 2005. Maybe more tourists are refusing to buy them. I hope so. Continue reading

2009 Thailand #3: Songkran Begins – Ma Baker and the Hard Out Water Fight

Ma Baker lies in wait for her next victim...

Ma Baker lies in wait for her next victim…

I’m slowly getting used to this country now and slowing down on expecting cows, potholes and dirty streets, with weaving, beeping traffic. It’s quite a pleasant change really, to only have one shower a day and not have to avoid spit and streetdogs and piles of strange-looking rubbish. Even the alleyways are paved – good grief, how amazing! No clouds of flies flying up as you stroll along, or crawling down your drinking straws… Continue reading