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January 29, 2005

Chiang Dao Nest: Day 2

I must apologize if my grammar was bad or my writing was aweful. I was having a combination of too many Beer Chang's, jet lag and total exhaustion. Also, the keyboard on this computer has Thai symbols - but all of the English letters have been worn off. I managed to shake off some of my exhaustion, but the jet lag remains. I crashed around 10pm just as the temperature started to drop. In the north, the weather stays relatively cool. The days are about 80 degrees and the nights drop into the 50s.

I awoke around 3am to hear a steady gonging far off in the hills. Dogs were barking (for hours), and I could hear all kinds of birds and monkeys hooting in the darkness. Shaunna reminded me that we had earplugs, so those helped... until 5am when the wierd dreams started to kick in. After a few hours of tossing and turning, I got up to a brilliant sky and chilly weather.

After a Western-style breakfast, we hiked up the road to see what we could find. This resort is located just a few blocks from a monastery, a wildlife preserve, a nature trail and a famous cave complex. We set an ambitious agenda to tackle all of the above today, but ended up visiting the monastery and then pooping out (jet lag?).

The monastery was amazing. Two temples marked the beginning of the area, and monks walked around the area tending to their chores. A long flight of stairs in the back of the entrance was flanked by two dragon statues. The stairs winded up the hill and into the jungle. The entire flight was literally hundreds of stairs. I didn't bother to count, but my legs did the math for me. Along the way were smaller temples and statues with stunning views of the valley.

At the top of the stairs was the main monastery complex, a massive cave with a museum dedicated to an elder monk, and a large temple. We removed our sandals, washed our feet and bowed to the monks outside. Inside were 20 or 30 Buddha statues along with carvings and paintings. The view from the top was incredible. I have seen Japanese and Chinese prints of abstract mountains with mist hanging in the trees and jungles vines draped all over. The view from the top was EXACTLY like the paintings. It's hard to believe that these places exist. Palms, wandering jew, vines, banana trees... the entire landscape was lush and rich. As far as we could see there was jungle and many more smaller mountains. The haze from local cooking fires covered the scenery, but it was a heck of a lot better than the smog of Bangkok (nasty shit).

After checking out the area, we climbed down and headed out to tackle the other trails. Along the way we decided it might be best to take lunch and get some more rest before our mountain climb tomorrow. It is just after 2pm here now, the sun is HOT, and the place is pretty quiet. We have yet to meet Stuart, the English owner, but his wife Wiccha is awesome. She is funny, very helpful and very accomodating.

Tomorrow we will do our mountain trek and spend the night on the peak. On Monday we climb down the mountain and move to the second area of this resort. I do not believe that they have internet there, so we will likely drop out of touch for a few days (I know I've said that before...). On Tuesday we head into Chiang Mai and stay at the Suriwongse Hotel down in the Night Bazaare area (which is particularly touristy).

Here at the resort there are alot of English and Aussies. One German couple left this morning and another Canadian group took off, too. So far, we have not met any other Americans. I understand that there aren't too many brave "Yanks" that come this way. I suppose that's something to be proud of. During a conversation with a groovy English couple, we learned that the impression most people have of Texas comes from A) the old TV show "Dallas", B) old westerns, and C) George Bush. I could only shake my head and frown. What a terrible impression. If there's anything we can hope to do while we're here, we plan on erasing this unfortunate stereotype (rich, wild and arrogant?).

Thanks to all of you for the comments. We already miss you guys. Keep the comments (and jokes) coming. We're psyched that you guys are keeping up with us. With love, Sawadee! (Good day)

Posted by coywest on January 29, 2005 02:39 PM
Category: Stumbling

Oooh, I am living vicariously through you guys right now! It sounds so wonderful! Thanks for keeping us posted. Have a Beer Chang for Henry and I! Love you!

Posted by: Christy on January 30, 2005 01:24 AM

it brings tears to my eyes imagining the honor of visiting the monastery. what a timeless gift... your words bring it to life so gorgeously... well, looks like my horse is all saddled up, so i'm headin out to get my big hair done-- gotta look good while huntin down liberal, terrorist-lovin, first amendment-sqwakin whiney babies so i can smoke em out of their jesus-hatin holes ;) Dubyah!!

Posted by: misty on January 30, 2005 01:41 AM

i can't wait to see the pics. be sure to include some pics of the local eye candy.

i got funky to rub his head on my finger but he did bite the shit out of me.

Posted by: bobby-jo on January 30, 2005 02:00 AM

I think there are places that have an energy that you can only feel--and it is almost impossible to translate into words. It sounds from your descriptions that the monastary was such a place. It also struck me how interesting it was that the monks made you wash your feet before you entered. Muslims do the same before entering a mosque, and for the same reasons I'm sure; purity, cleansing the body to cleanse the spirit, etc. Its always in the small things that you see the sameness in humanity. Keep on walking and's so great to hear of your travels...keep up the postings...I am so happy for you both to be having such an incredible adventure.

Posted by: Nork on January 30, 2005 03:23 AM

Coy, I just wanted to let you know that I'm loving your blog. Keep it up! I was totally planning on going to your going-to-thailand party at Nasty's, but I came down with the flu that day! I'm finally almost well. You're a great writer. Stay safe and keep the blog updated for us! Much love, Alx

Posted by: alex ferrier on January 30, 2005 03:33 AM

oh, haha! hey, i just found a device called "natures platform". You use it to turn your western toilet into an eastern toilet! haha! Maybe I'll buy one before my first trip to asia so I can master the technique. I sure would hate to accidentally take a crap on the back of my shoe or ankle, so maybe this could really help me build the confidence i need to squeeze out a big stinky with style and finesse. check it out:

Here's another question. If you don't have toilet paper, do you just get a bucket of water and scrub your bunghole with your hand? Once you've gotten the crap off, do you just remain squatting while you drip-dry until the amount of water on your bum is at an acceptable amount which can be absorbed by your boxers? what if there's no sink or soap to wash the shit off your hand? Though it makes sense, I'm still perplexed. I'm going to see if I can find a good website on the whole procedure. much love, alx

Posted by: alex ferrier on January 30, 2005 03:47 AM

ok! here's the article i was looking for:

Posted by: alex ferrier on January 30, 2005 03:59 AM

Haha! I just found an article on "the art of stealing toilet paper":

So to steal a roll of Toilet paper
and not make it obvious:
You beat the roll of toilet paper until the cardboard core is loose, and then you remove it.
You remove the cardboard core.
You leave the cardboard core in the toilet. You take just the paper.

awesome! alx

Posted by: alex ferrier on January 30, 2005 04:16 AM

oh god, i'm having to much fun. watch this informative slideshow on the proper technique of using the eastern toilet! i love the engrish.

Posted by: alex ferrier on January 30, 2005 04:28 AM

ok, i finally got the no-nonsense version i was looking for at you'll need to scroll down past the garbage characters at the top. here is what i was interested in:

Step number four (water users): pour water over the fingers of your left hand into the toilet bowl. Enough to wet them is fine. Now, work those same fingers around your anus to scrub the shit away. You'll find this strange at first, but it is natural, eco, reliable and just what Gandhi (Mahatma, Rajiv and Indira) did. Soon, you will discover your own scrubbing style. Periodically, pour more water over the fingers to rinse them. Some people recommend splashing the anal area with water from the left hand, but I think this gets everything too wet, and mark this style "for advanced users only." Keep scrubbing and pouring until you're squeaky clean (I think this must be where the term originated - can anybody verify this?). You may need to refill the jug.
Toilets two and three are clones on the "village thunder box" you'll encounter anywhere away from piped water. An earthenware pot contains the water, and this may need to be filled from outside the toilet. So plan in advance in these toilets! Even purist water users find it helpful to finish the anal cleaning process with one sheet of toilet paper... this keeps you from blotting through your pants.

Posted by: alex ferrier on January 30, 2005 04:40 AM

Ah! Sounds like a very wonderful trek. Can't wait to see all the pictures and hear about the adventures again. Great writing, but you were always good at that!!

Posted by: MOM on January 30, 2005 07:32 AM

I love you and miss you!

Posted by: wendy on January 31, 2005 12:50 AM

this blog rules - glad you're doing it and we're all wishing you the best. one question,

at the monostary, did any of the monks exhibit any kind of super powers or engage in any ass martial arts ass kicking?? :)

*goes back to work*
*envious of coy*

Posted by: waxmatik on February 1, 2005 05:27 AM

be sure to snap a pic of some monks throwing the far east side gang sign.

Posted by: bobby-jo on February 1, 2005 06:31 AM
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