Tag Archives: Chiang Mai

Save an Elephant, Ride a Motorbike

Part 1: Monday, December 21, 2015

Today we saved some elephants. Okay not really. But we did spend the day at the Elephant Nature Park outside of Chiang Mai, which rescues injured and abused elephants and provides them with a safe and loving home to live out the rest of their days. No more working 9-5 carrying fat ass tourists through a jungle on their backs for these elephants. And thank god, because they have definitely suffered enough, as I will attempt to illustrate here.

We were picked up at 8:30am for our ride out to ENP. Bee, our adorable guide for the day, was in the car to greet us. She gave us some background and showed us a video about what they do at ENP. Basically, the place funds itself by allowing tourists to pay and come stay for a week at a time, or longer, and work as volunteers. They make the elephant food, shovel giant piles of elephant shit, etc. But they also do day tours for fly-by tourists such as myself.  And all the money goes to keep the lights on and rescue and feed more elephants. Oh, and did I mentioned they rescue dogs as well? Can you imagine anything better than dogs and elephants frolicking through the Thai countryside together? And the anticipation builds…

We arrived just in time to feed “Grandma”, the 90 year-old elephant. She is fed alone because she is on a special diet that only allows her to eat soft foods. Elephants get six sets of teeth throughout their life, and after that last set falls out they are basically fucked and walk into the jungle alone to die. But not Grandma. That bitch is still alive and kickin’ because she has tourists to peel watermelons and make rice balls for her. Then we went for a walk around the park to meet some of the various elephants and hear their stories. Many of the elephants have foot injuries from stepping on land mines. People use them for logging in illegal areas that are protected by land mines, because making an elephant drag logs through a jungle is much more stealth than using loud machines. Ass holes. A few of them just have stumps where one of their feet used to be. Some of the elephants are blind, in one eye or both. One elephant we met was blind in both eyes after her owner got mad at her and stabbed her in the eyes. Fucking prick. The elephants were very sweet and good natured, some even lean into you to nuzzle as you give them a scratch. We also saw a few babies, protected fiercely by their mother, or their adopted mother.

I have ridden an elephant before. In Bali, at a zoo. Because my guide took us to the wrong place. And it sucked. It wasn’t fun at all. I don’t even like riding horses because I feel bad for them. But looking back, I can only wonder how those elephants were being treated once visiting hours were over. How many hours of back-breaking work they are subjected to on a daily basis all so that some fat ass tourists with money, such as myself, could get a selfie on their backs? And so, I have come up with a list of some reasons that you should consider avoiding this and instead researching a more responsible form of elephant tourism such as ENP, should you ever find yourself in a part of the world where elephant-riding is big business:
1. You are fat. Should the elephants really have to suffer for your poor life choices? or,
2. You are skinny. In which case your life already rocks, so maybe just take a selfie in a bathing suit and post it on Instagram so I can dislike you more. And then eat a fucking cheeseburger.
3. You can’t even see their cute faces when you ride them! Where is the fun in that? When you pet a dog, do you just want to see the back of his head? No, you want to rub that adorable little schnoz.
4. Feeding them is way more fun than riding them. And far more enjoyable for the elephant. Because those fuckers can eat.
5. Elephants are typically poked by their mahouts with what is essentially a spear to get them to submissively trot around with you on their backs. Do you want to ride something that has to literally be abused to hang out with you? Have some self respect.

A few more interesting facts about these lovable giants. (1) The babies are raised by their mothers until they are 4-6 year-old, at which point the boys leave their mothers and bounce to do their own thing. So we can safely assume these elephants are not Jewish. (2) The girls tend to stay together in little packs. And those packs do not like to socialize with the other packs. It’s kind of like the cafeteria in high school, where everyone sits with the same group of people. And no, you can’t sit with us. (3) Each elephant at ENP has a dedicated “mahout”, who takes care of that particular elephant all day, everyday, except on his days off of course. The elephants at ENP are not assigned a Mahout, but they instead they choose who they want. You do not chose the force, the force chooses you.

After visiting with a bunch of the elephants, it was time for lunch. Lunch was absolutely amazing. There was a separate buffet for the volunteers, as they eat earlier. Our buffet was about 10 minutes away from being ready, but the guides let us know that if we were starving, we could eat from the volunteers’ food. Obviously this was given as an option just to be polite, as what kind of self-important ass hole would take them up on that? Once again, you have underestimated the egotistical and idiotic nature of about 90% of the humans in this world. Because you know there were a few douche bags who ate the volunteers’ food. As our group looked on in judgmental derision.

After lunch we “bathed” the elephants. Which is code for “throwing buckets of water onto them and coming nowhere near getting them clean”. But they just walk out of the water and throw a pile of dirt on their backs anyway. We watched as the elephants then stampeded into the water on their own and rolled around happily. We met some of the boy elephants who they keep in a separate area because they are cheeky bastards who like to throw dirt at tourists and impregnate the girl elephants. Typical. And all too soon, it was time to head back to the city, our hearts a little heavier from what we had experienced today.

We spent the evening drinking wine and sangria at our friendly neighborhood beer garden. The food cart vendors are literally starting to recognize us. We are regulars. Everyone turned in early tonight.

Part 2: Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Today Steph and Katie left us to fly home to spend Christmas with their families. They obviously did not take my blog post on the reasons you should travel over Christmas seriously.  So I bid them adieu that morning and headed off with the rest of our crew for our next adventure. And what an adventure it was….

Today we did a motorbike tour. Don’t worry, I am fully aware of the fact that I have no business on a motorbike considering I can barely drive my Mazda.  I was driven. Kim had heard about this tour from a friend of her’s who claimed it was the absolute highlight of her entire trip to Thailand. That’s high praise, because getting drunk on boats is fucking hard to beat in my book. My first response to Kim when she mentioned that they were doing this motorbike tour was “hell no”. My reasons being;
(1) I’m the shittiest driver in the world. Mercury insurance actually dropped me from my mom’s policy at one point because I’m too much of a liability.  Mercury.  That’s like Walmart refusing to serve you because you are too white trash.  I then had to go on my Dad’s car insurance because no one would insure me on my own. What a loser.
(2) I hate driving. I spent 7 years commuting an hour each way to work. I feel like I’ve paid my driving dues. I have road rage. My commute now is about 20 minutes and I flip people off about 4 times a week, on average. If I never had to drive again, it would be too soon. Add my intense desire for a driver to the list of reasons why I need a sugar daddy.
(3) I don’t know how to drive anything with two wheels. I once ate shit pedaling the half mile home from the Hermosa pier on my strand cruiser. Granted, I was highly intoxicated. I can only imagine the kind of damage I would do on a fucking motorbike.
(4) Have you seen how they drive in Asia? I don’t want to be racist here, but think about how Asians drive at home. Then multiply that by EVERYONE ON THE ROAD. Let’s then couple that with items 1-3 above and we have a recipe for disaster.

Enter option #2: have a Thai dude half my size drive me around while I sit on the back. Still not all that appealing, I know. But everyone else in the group was doing it, so basically, I jumped off the bridge because it’s what all the hippies were doing. I suffer from severe and chronic FOMO. For those of you that don’t know (do you live under a rock?) FOMO stands for “fear of missing out”. Basically, I am always worried that if I opt out of something it will end up being the best thing ever and everyone will talk nonstop about how great it was and I will be the ass hole who didn’t go. Have you have seen me turn down a party? A trip to the bar? A trip anywhere? Nope. Because I pretty much always says yes. My FOMO is so bad that my dog actually has it too. I shit you not. We call it “Beau Beau FOMO”. So apparently it’s contagious.

We were picked up at 8:30am. Both devils on my shoulders were saying “bitch, turn back now”. But I didn’t listen. We show up at the tour office and Kim and Nicole were instantly berated with questions about how much experience they have driving bikes. The guides looked very nervous for them. Carly and I started to get a little scared. So Kim and Nicole took a few bikes out for a test drive down the street. They came back terrified and we knew right away we would need a few more Thai guys as drivers. So that this point, out of all five of us, Brandon is the only one actually driving. Then they tell us that we will be riding on the motorbikes two hours out to the area where the “tour” actually starts. And then two hours home. Woof. This basically sounds like the day from hell to me, but travel Rory is trying to go with the flow.

Motorbike 2
Our biker gang

I have included below excerpts from the actual tour description online, followed by what actually happened. Keep in mind that we (foolishly) opted to substitute motorbiking instead of trekking. Because those were the only two options.

As advertised: “Drive on a countryside road to Mae Wang district, stop for a short time to get supplies and lunch. Continue driving for 30 minutes to the waterfall where we will play in the waterfall and then start trekking.”

What actually happened: Fear for you life as you swerve through the streets of Chiang Mai. Stop at a market where your guides will get lunch while you buy the market out of beer in an effort to calm yourself for the rest of the trip. Continue driving to somewhat unimpressive waterfall and watch some people cliff jump.

Motorbike 2
Biker gang at the waterfall

As advertised: “We will trek for about two and a half hours to a real Karen hilltribe family who live in the middle of the jungle without any luxury. We will share our lunch with them and you can learn about how they live on the mountain.”

What actually happened: We will take a motorbike off-roading through the jungle, at which point one of your bikes will have a flat tire. You will then sit on the side of a country road while the guides go get a new tire and fix it. You will enjoy a delicious lunch by the picturesque side of the road where everyone will eat with their hands after fixing said tire. You will finally make it, albeit a little late, to a Karen hilltribe village. No one will offer you any explanation for what you are doing there or any information about their way of life. You will wander around aimlessly while some children beg you for money in exchange for some string braided together. You will buy some shit from them because of your white-man guilt. You will then find a family of malnourished hiltribe dogs who you will feed with your leftovers. You will feel bad for feeding the dogs instead of the people, and will make a hasty exit.

As advertised: After enjoying your time with them we will trek for another 3 hours along the river where you will see many waterfalls and we will stop at some of them for a swim.

What actually happened: After fleeing the uncomfortable hilltribe situation you will motorbike through extremely dangerous terrain that your motorbikes were not built to drive on. You will still try to hold on with one hand and catch the action on your go pro. We will then stop at a river for a swim. We will see some water cascading about five feet and call it a waterfall.

As advertised: The trekking will end at another Karen hilltribe village and we will drive from there back to the city.

What actually happened: There is no other hilltribe village. You will be grateful for that. We will then drive two and a half hour on the motorbike back to the city. It will hurt. Your ass will never be the same again. You will cry of happiness when you see the finish line.

The name of the tour company was “Something Different Tours”. And they definitely lived up to their name, that is for sure. In all honesty, we had no business being on that tour. It was our own damn fault. But hey, you can’t win ’em all. We at dinner and went to bed. It’s a few days later and my ass still hurts. The physical wounds will heal. The psychological ones will take a bit longer. I’m sure I will soon look back on today and laugh my ass off about that time I road a motorbike through the Thailand backwoods for 8 hours. But for now, you laughing your ass off at our expense will have to do.

Luck be a Ladyboy Tonight

Sunday, December 22, 2015

I woke up Monday morning with no voice. That is code for “I got drunk and screamed a lot” Sunday night. “Screamed a lot” is code for “I took shots and yelled WHOOOOOO SHOTS!’. A lot. But I’m getting ahead of myself, as usual.  Here is a teaser pic:

image

Let’s start with zip lining. The crew and I were picked up around 9am and driven about an hour outside of the city for some zip lining. We arrived to a big group of people waiting around to zip. I was cringing on the inside, because a large group of people zip lining at one time can only mean one thing – extreme inefficiency. And it only gets worse if you have a wimp in your group who cries at every platform. Luckily, all of these people were doing “package A”, which is about 4 hours of zip lining. I can’t do anything for four hours save for laying in bed watching TV and eating Panda Express while nursing a hangover. So we opted for the 2 hours course. There was only one couple doing the short course with us. They were, of course, (1) late and (2) Chinese selfie-taking fiends. Homegirl was taking selfies while they were trying to harness her up. The guides hated her immediately. I love when other people hate the same people I do. It just makes me feel validated in my bitchiness.

So off we went on the zip lining course. It was nothing too exciting – none of the zip lines were crazy long. Just some good old harmless fun. I got some good videos on the go pro and some group selfies. You are probably wondering what is the difference between my selfie stick and Chinese tourist lady’s selfie stick, right? Well let me enlighten you. (1) Mine has a go pro at the end of it, which makes me instantly more cool and far superior than her and that cheap Samsung phone selfie stick. (2) Extreme narcism. This chick made her husband pay extra to have a professional photographer zip line with them so they would have pictures throughout the course. And she STILL used her selfie stick the entire time. Just in case the photog didn’t get enough shots of her making kissy faces at the camera. I however, use my go pro for the good of the group, and am essentially the group photographer. Sure I get a few selfies, but that’s just because if I didn’t you wouldn’t even know I was there. And (3) The sheer volume. If I had to guess, I’d say that girl walked away with about 300 shots on her phones, plus another 200 from her professional photographer. All of herself. Oh, and did I mention her husband had a go pro that we was also using to take pictures of her? I had about 100 of the entire group and I thought that was overdone. I get stressed out when my DVR gets over 30% full. I hate useless pictures and delete the crappy ones every night. Is there anything better than wifi-enabled cameras?

After our zip lining tour we had a shitty lunch at the “restaurant” and were taken back to the hotel, where we met up with Carly and Nicole. That’s right, new blog participants! Let’s do some quick introductions:

Carly
Carly and I with an elephant

Carly
Likes: Eating like a rabbit, working out a lot, ensuring she gets her daily dose of fiber while traveling, becoming the definition of “turnt up” at Yacht Week.
Dislikes: Beer (what the fuck?), meat (more of these fucking hippies – where do I even find them?), carbs.
Favorite travel memory: She said she has “too many”. That’s code for not having traveling with Rory yet. Because I will ensure that at some point you almost die and then look upon the memory fondly once the scars have healed.

Nicole
Nicole and I at a waterfall

Nicole
Likes: Breaking shit – because she is literally the clumsiest bitch I have ever met – and this is coming from the girl who rolls her ankles getting out of bed. International sign language including, but not limited to, “peace signs” and the “shaka”, which I was just informed is what the “hang lose” hand gesture is called. She also loves to curse. So we’ll get along great.
Dislikes: Walking straight, places that require you to speak in low voices (from what I can tell).
Favorite travel memory: Arriving in Rio for the world cup to find herself checking into a 16-bed hostel dorm room with 15 boys. I’ll let everyone infer why that was her favorite….just kidding. I think.

Okay, so now we are rolling 7-deep in Chiang Mai. Finally, a posse large enough to rival the Chinese tour groups! It was Sunday night, so we all headed out to the famous Chiang Mai Sunday Night Market. From here on out, it will be known as the “infamous” Sunday Night Market, because that shit was absolutely insane. I’ve seen ants march up a hill with more tact that the people in this market. It was like Disneyland Main Street on crack. We skirted the perimeter and sampled some street food. I decided once and for all that street food is just not for me. We took a peek inside the gates to the old city and our anxiety levels skyrocketed. It was a mass of people converging on to one street – and all walking in one direction. I would have rather thrown myself into the running of the bulls at Pamplona. I half expected some creepy guy in a derby hat to whisper in my ear “people go in, but they never come out”. So we turned around and made a bee line back to our neighborhood. Which is where we stumbled into the liar of the ladboys…

Night Market
Sunday Night Market Hell

This place was very similar to Yellow Bar from the other night. Just instead of gap year drunkards it was filled with ladyboys and old white guys who got picked on in high school and never got enough attention from real girls. It was a long row small bars, filled with trannies, and a big Muay Thai boxing ring at the end. Ladyboy Lane, complete with a surprise at the end, in true ladyboy fashion. We could not believe our luck. After perusing the options, we settled upon the “Marina Ladyboy Bar”. No Marina, but Ladyboys in spades. One out of two ain’t bad. We ordered a round of beers. At this point it was about 7pm and the Muay Thai fight didn’t start until 11pm. Kim, Katie, Steph and Carly decided ladyboys were not their thing and headed home, leaving myself, Brandon and Nicole to our bizarre bar crawl of questionable gender. And this is where the real fun begins.

Ladyboy Lane
Ladayboy Lane!

We decided to try out another bar down the Lane and settled into some bar stools. It was like the Special Olympics of people watching. It took about 4 minutes for us to decide that we needed shots if we had any chance of making it out of Ladyboy Lane alive. We taught the bartender how to put the booze in a shaker so it’s chilled, and before we knew it, we had a group of new ladyboy friends. The way these bars work is that about 10 ladyboys work at each one, and the unloved white men come in and buy themselves a beer and then a round of shots for all the ladyboys. And then they all dance around him. And he finds this appealing. These white dudes obviously went through the “big D”…and I don’t mean Dallas. They are broken, shattered men looking for love in all the wrong places. One woman, who I think was actually a real woman, was about 40 years old and dancing around on anyone who would have her and some people who wouldn’t. She was obviously on some kind of drugs trying to turn a trick to satisfy her next hit of god knows what. Perhaps a hallucinogen that made her think she was Beyonce. I took it upon myself to teach the women and ladyboys at the bar how to “drop it like it’s hot”. It’s a lesson I teach often. You may remember the time I gave the entire Stray Bus a lesson in Raglan. Big mistake. Because once I revealed myself to be the Mr. Miagi of “getting low”, the old crazy trick proceeded to attempt to grind on me and feel me up. It got so bad that we had to leave the bar. We sought refuge back at good old Marina ladyboy bar. And this is where shit really gets weird. No, we are not at weird yet.

Oh, the Marina Ladyboy Bar sans the Marina. How we have missed you. Apparently if you sit at the actual bar, you can watch the fight without buying a ticket – what a deal! So we posted up at the bar, and the beers and shots started flowing. The next few hours consisted of us getting to know our new ladyboy friends a little too well. The HLIC (head ladyboy in charge) was a large (wo)man with huge fake tits and sky-high platform hooker heels. She looked like Lady Marmalade meets Jaba the Hut. Her voice sounded like Kermit the Fong with emphysema. She was awesome. We started buying rounds of shots for our Ladyboys and basically everything was uphill from there. The HLIC kept giving us a great deal – “you buy us 5, I buy you 3”. We were the Ladyboy Jameson fairy god mothers of that Muay Thai fight. Apparently shots make these ladies crazy, because Jaba the Hut kept pulling down her shirt to shake her giant fake boobs at everyone. Even when we begged her to stop. You would turn around and TITTIES IN YO FACE!. It’s hard to look at first, but you get used to it after a while. Kind of like an uncircumcised penis. I took it too far again, didn’t I?

The fight itself was pretty uneventful, especially the women’s matches. I’m all for equality, but there are some things men just do so much better. And beating the shit out of each other is definitely one of them. The chicks just dance around the ring trying to outsmart eachother. They overthink think it. Just punch a bitch! I’ve taken more drunken swings at girls on a Saturday night than these girls did in the ring. My favorite part was when they put four fighters in the ring and blindfolded them. They were swinging at eachother like pinatas on Cinco de Mayo. All in all, we considered the fight background noise. I think it’s pretty clear that they ladyboys were the main event.

I woke up to some pretty interesting pictures on my phone. But I’ve attempted to keep it PG-13 for the blog. Up next on the blog: elephants and motor bikes!

The Basics of Bargaining in Chiang Mai

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Today we were picked up at our hotel by a lovely man named Tuan who owns a beautiful cooking school outside of Chiang Mai. When looking into cooking classes, I was originally interested in a cooking school on a farm, but that one lasted all day. I like to cook, but an entire day of pretty much anything is overkill. The optimal amount of time for any activity while on vacation is 2 hours. I specify “on vacation” here, because back at home I’ve had boozy brunches that last longer than an entire day. So I hunted down a half day cooking class with a beautiful setting to rival that of the farm. Enter: Pantawan Cooking School. Upon pickup he also casually mentioned that there would be no other people in the cooking class, only us. Now that’s great for us, because there is nothing I love more than private activities. However, that also means there are no self absorbed dolts to talk shit about. We can’t have it all.

The first stop was a local market where Tuan showed us some regional delicacies and the ingredients we would be using during our class. There was a very unfortunate “meat room” in the market that looked like a place Jeffrey Dahmer would go to get off. Tuan pointed at a large bowl and we all turned to find about 40 live frogs blinking up at us. I thought Kim was gonna go all Free Willy on us and release them. Not exactly my kind of “meat market”.

Upon our arrival at Pantawan we were instantly transported out of Chiang Mai and into a garden oasis with an amazing teak wood open-air structure that would be our kitchen for the next few hours. This place was awesome. Brandon found the garden and was in irrigation bliss (I told you they were hippies). Words don’t really do this place justice but you can see for yourself in the pics. The way the class worked is that you watched the chef do a demonstration of each course and then each person goes to their individual station and cooks each dish for themselves. This is useful because cooking for one is completely applicable to my life at home. It was like “Thai cooking for spinsters 101”. We made an amazing massaman curry, spring rolls, cashew nut chicken, and pad thai. And we did almost all of it in a wok. God I fucking love woks. They are just so much better than all other cooking vessels. They get crazy hot and cook food super fast, so they are basically god’s culinary gift of efficiency. And you all know about my passionate love for efficiency that borders on crazy. They also make you look like a bad ass chef. Or a Panda Express chef. Not that there is a difference in my book.

Our vegetarian hippies were catered to for each course – another reason those individual cooking stations come in handy. The highlight was when we made pad thai in the wok and learned to wrap the egg around the noodles in a little bundle and then flip it and slide it onto the plate. That’s the closest thing I’m gonna get to making a bundle of joy any time in the near future. Kim actually kicked ass at that part. Which shocked me, because when we lived together the extent of her culinary repertoire was baked potatoes and spaghetti. And I’m pretty sure she thought wine counted as an appetizer. And dessert. And still does. Once we finished our four dishes it was time to feast while overlooking the garden. Okay maybe I lied, eating was obviously the highlight.

Pantawan 1
My finished product

After our cooking class we were taken back to the hotel. I dragged Steph and Katie to some tour shops to haggle down the price of a zipline tour for tomorrow. I’m still unhappy with the final price, but they kept letting me walk out when they wouldn’t go lower, so apparently my expectations were not realistic. Kim took a nap. Brandon took a walk and found his first ladyboy. It has been brought to my attention that I have not actually explained what a lady boy is. So for those of you that don’t know, a ladyboy is what they call transvestites in Thailand. They dress super slutty and some can be a bit aggressive…ly awesome. Some of them really do look like chicks. Some of them look like an asian Gary Busey in skanky women’s clothing. Oh, and a lot of them have tits. I’m not sure if they go all out and chop it off downstairs. I would imagine it varies. And don’t you worry, because I have one hell of a ladyboy story in the blog pipeline. The things I do for you people!

That night we all hit up the night bazaar. Which is basically a giant swap meet where everything is negotiable. And negotiate I did. I negotiated the shit out of that bazaar. I’m the girl who drives 40 minutes to the swap meet in Irvine because they sell my moisturizer for $10 cheaper than target and I can get my hair cut for $14. I love swap meets. And I love a good deal. But you wanna know who does not love a good deal? Kimberly fucking Ortloff. She tried to stifle my bargaining flow at every turn. Why, you ask? Because she is the poster child for bleeding hearts. And so she went on a mission to make sure every “adorable” Thai person in the place made a sale. To her. Anyone who told her she was their “first sale of the night” got an automatic purchase out of Kim out of pure sympathy. She was making it rain baht like crazy up in that market. And when I would try to negotiate on her behalf she would say “Rory! Jeeez. No no, that price is fine. I’ll take three. Make that four. Wrap it up. Brandon, pay the man”. Her rationale was that when everything costs a couple bucks, who really cares? Me, that’s who. I am a shiesty Jew who gains immense pleasure from haggling. My mother used to literally send me into places to practice negotiating as a child. It’s been ingrained in me from a very early age. It is a sport. And I am the MVP. Finally…MVP of something. Steph and Katie have traveled with me extensively and so they know the drill. If you find something you like, you tell me. Then I negotiate it for you. This way the girls get to shop, and I get to bargain and every wins.

For those of you who don’t know, there are some rules to haggling efficiently and respectfully. Let me enlighten you so that you don’t look like a fucking amateur:
1. Don’t be an ass hole. They know its a game. You know it’s a game. Have fun with it. Smile. Be good natured. Everyone should come out a winner. Especially you.
2. Decide what you want to pay before you start. Not going in with a price in mind is like going to a shooting range blindfolded. You need to know what general price people are charging for the same item. Do some reconnaissance. Ask around and see what people are charging for the same general item. Then cut it in half and that’s a good place to shoot for. If you are white they automatically double the price anyway.
3. Never take the first offer. Or the second. Maybe the third. It’s a chess game. Even Bobby Fisher needs a few moves.
4. If you are buying more than one, get a discount for it. Buying in bulk saves you money at Costco…why not when buying tank tops with elephants on them? Like when Steph, Katie and Kim bought ten fucking pairs of those ugly ass parachute pants at the bazaar. I was practically foaming at the mouth as they picked out pairs of pants because I knew that meant a better price.
5. Ask for the “pretty girl” discount. I know, it sounds ridiculous. I don’t use this one too much anymore. Because (1) it doesn’t really work in Asia where I am bigger than most men and (2) father time seems hell bent on taking this option away. But in Marrakech that shit worked like a charm in the souk. They don’t call me Fatima Couscous for nothin’.
6. WALK AWAY. At least take a few steps. If they don’t come after you, you know their floor. This is useful information for when you get to the next booth where they are selling the exact same shit.
7. If it is actually unique and you really want it, swallow your pride and just get it. I know, it’s tough. But you’ll kick yourself later. Trust me.

After a marathon shopping run, we hit up our favorite beer garden and settled in for an evening of live music, beers and food. Kim sniffed out the wine bar cart within about 12 seconds of entering. Katie and I pondered over the Mexican food cart but wimped out once again. Steph ate another big ass fish.

You do not want to miss tomorrow’s blog. Spoiler alert: ladyboys like WHOA.  I leave you with a throwback to the “Headshots du Jour”:

New Places, New Faces, Same Ugly Pants

Friday, December 18, 2015

Today we woke up to pouring rain in Rosarito. I mean Chaweng. But we had a 10am flight to Chiang Mai, so later losers! More free airport popcorn, courtesy of our favorite “boutique airline”, Bangkok Airways. Nothing says “class act” like a courtesy popcorn machine. Jorgie found a cookbook she liked in the airport called “Cooking with Poo”. Yum! And with that, we bid adieu to the Gulf Islands.

Our flight only had 26 passengers. I know this because I counted them on my way to the bathroom (and yes, I counted the guy in the other bathroom). Because I’m a freak who cannot fully enjoy an empty plane until I know exactly how empty it is. Once in Chiang Mai, we hopped in a taxi with a lovely Thai woman and just like that, we were at our hotel. We headed down the street and had some awesome noodle soup for lunch. It was too damn hot for soup in the south, so I had a craving. Yes, it is still possible to crave things even when you consume as much food as I do. Smart asses. A few hours after our plane touched down we were picked up for our pre-booked spa day at the fancy schmancy spa. A $9 massage on the beach is great and all, but sometimes a gal needs 3 hours of pampering in plush surroundings. I know, my life is so rough. Jorgie and I had a shared room…so we basically did a three hour couples massage. #whatelseisnew? But don’t worry, I wasn’t completely selfish – I got a picture of the sexy massage outfits I was telling you about the other day. Apparently we have been putting them on backwards the entire trip. But we still look like escapees from the women’s correctional facility regardless of how we wear them.

Now, the part you’ve all been waiting for. The blog’s biggest fan has arrived!! We met Kim and Brandon at the hotel after our massages. Reunion in Thailand! Let’s take a pause and meet the happy couple:

Kim and B
These Knuckleheads…

Kim
Likes: Awkward storytelling, Kathi Griffin (weird, I know), regular bowel movements, being a fucking hippy, eating hippy vegan food, doing hippy yoga shit, saying “thank you” about twelve thousand times a day.
Dislikes: Negotiating, getting roofied (there was a possible double roofie incident may years ago….either that or we just got waaaaaaaaaaaay too drunk. Both scenarios are equally possible).
How we met: Over a few bowls of mint chip ice cream at the tender age of five years old. Because that is how I made friends as a kid. I bribed them with ice cream.
Favorite travel memory: She felt the need to make her “favorite travel memory” getting engaged on the beach in Bali so that you would all go, “awwwwww”. But I think we can all agree this is not that kind of blog. So I asked for another one. Something about picking up sand dollars on the beach somewhere. I gave up after that, since apparently she is incapable of giving me a travel memory that doesn’t make me roll my eyes in cynical disgust.
Note: If she comes home having sponsored about 14 Thai families because she thinks they are “just too cute”, let the record show I attempted to stop her.

Brandon
Likes: Apparently he really likes that hippy Kim, because he married her, speaking in fake German accents at random intervals throughout his life for weeks at a time, surfing (he likes this one a lot, like, maybe more than he likes that first one), being the proud benefactor behind Kim’s new $3 Thai parachute pants (that’s code for ugly hippy pants).
Dislikes: Much like myself, he has a instinctive hatred for stupid people. So between the two of us, Yacht Week should be interesting. Come to think of it, there isn’t much this hippy couple doesn’t like. Hard to fathom, I know.
How we met: Through Kimmy. But I would later take the rap for his many cigarette butts outside my apartment when Kim and I lived together and our landlord took a shining to counting cigarette butts and then berating his tenants about them. So basically, I’ve taken a bullet for this guy.
Favorite travel memory: Seeing his first ladyboy yesterday. It was a mixture of excitement, intense curiosity and disappointment that they didn’t look more like ladies and less like boys. He is currently rethinking his plans for a ladyboy show. Shall we talk him back into it for the sake of the blog?

Ok, back to the story. Kim and Brandon were found, shockingly, at the hotel bar, where they had made friends with a interesting Asian woman who made me wonder if Brandon had already stumbled upon his first ladyboy within an hour of touching down. But alas, we met her child so I’m pretty sure there are lady parts down there. This woman is hard to describe. She’s kind of a cross between Margret Cho (looks) and Kanye West (personality). When we ordered a few beers she asked if we could buy her one too. I think that’s all I really have to say, but just to make myself clear, she is a fucking weirdo.

After a few beers at the hotel, Kim was fading fast from her 24 hours of travel (read: Xanax), so she hit the hay. But Brandon was the fucking energizer bunny. So Steph, Katie, Brandon and I headed down to the night market to see what all the fuss was about. We quickly stumbled upon a Thai food truck/beer garden oasis. It was like my inner white trash alter ego and my current Thai life had finally come together in perfect harmony. As if things couldn’t get better than three bar stalls and a mixed drink cart, I found a Japanese guy with a potsticker cart. And these potstickers kicked Costco Ling Ling’s ass. If this bitch makes it to heaven, this is what I want to see when I get there. Actually, as long as requests are being taken, I want heaven to be this place in the middle of Whitehaven beach in Australia. We drank beers and dined on food stall delicacies while listening to live music. The band’s lead singer sounded like Adele and one of the chicks from the nail salon had a musically inclined child. Rory was happy.

After more potstickers than I care to admit and quite a few beers, we hailed a tuk tuk driver and got a ride. My general rule of thumb when choosing between the plentiful men and their tuk tuks is to choose the the cutest oldest guy I can find. Then a simple tuk tuk ride becomes a motorbike driven carriage by my fairy Thai godfather. As usual, I have visual aids of my toothless Prince Charming and I below. No one can say that guy isn’t fucking adorable. Oh, and did I mention I sat on the little seat in front with him because we had four people? It was essentially like riding in a sidecar. So life can only go downhill from here.

Tuk Tuk
My tuk tuk boo!

We dropped Steph and Katie off at the hotel and Brandon and I headed to “Yellow Bar”. We just asked the young Thai guys where to go and they all started shouting “Yellow Bar!!”. Good enough for me! What awaited us was beyond my wildest dreams. This wasn’t a bar. It was more like a giant Thai block party with bars everywhere. Is it possible that I have hit the jackpot twice in one night, or is Chiang Mai really just this awesome? It’s just that awesome. Brandon and I got some drinks and walked around doing some people watching. And by “people” I mean “old white dudes with Thai prostitutes”. It was either that or watch the frat boys try to spit game girls in those ugly short shorts that look like labia. At one point I thought a fight was going to break out amongst the hooker ranks over a guy that looked like a retired postal worker from West Virginia. Talk about living the dream. You do you, homie.

I negotiated a tuk tuk home once we were ready to leave. But not before getting some shwarma for the ride home. I’ve put down quite a few drunk gyros in my day all over the world and I can honestly say this one was exceptionally mediocre. Better stick with drunk pad thai from here on out.

Tuk Tuk2
Shwarma on the tuk tuk

Tune in tomorrow when we learn how to cook (sans poo) and then Kim buys out the night market!