Posts/September, 2005/

The Day and the Trip

Monday, September 5th, 2005

This afternoon was the fiercest thunderstorm yet. The sky air turned green and for about fifteen minutes there was dry thunder and lightning. Downpour. Violent and percussive, falling so fast the ground didn’t know what to do. It killed the power to our street for about four hours, during which time I “practiced” guitar. I use quotes because I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, nor do I know if the instrument is even tuned properly. But I was entertained for hours, strumming halfway decent tunes that I will not share with anybody, at least soon.

Tonight I met some friends. We ate at an expansive hot pot restaurant off the super highway. There must have been seating for hundreds, all at heavy faux-wooden tables with matching benches. The place was bustling with activity, people moving back and forth between their pots and the tables of raw meat and baskets of vegetables. Live music and a large screen television with wrestling and movies completed the background. Each table is given a stacked apparatus consisting of a pot of hot coals supporting another clay pot full of boiling broth. You cook the ingredients at the table and serve yourself. We chose pork, chicken, two types of squid, two kinds of fish balls. This was supplemented by cooking them with different leaf vegetables. On the side was spicy som tam papaya salad, fried shrimp and chicken, and fried rice. Watermelon wedges for desert. This is a better version of the meal we ate many times in Vietnam. I hope my fate is different than that of C. who suffered a gruesome spell of “double dragon” food poisoning.

I miss the ocean. At the end of this week, I’m going to take brief trip go get a taste of the sights while I wait for C. and his sister to come in October.

Here are some photos of where I’m going:

My tentative itinerary:

Take a plane from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. Bus or train from Bangkok to Hua Hin to visit J. and hang out for a day at the beach.

Take a train from there to Chumphon, stay the night and catch a early morning boat to the small island of Ko Tao. Stay there a night and catch another boat to the neighboring island of Ko Pha Ngan. Stay there for two days. Catch another boat from southern part of the island to the large island of Ko Samui. Explore the northern coast for a day, stopping and sleeping. The next day catching a plane back to Chiang Mai. I’ll probably be gone about 10-11 days.

I can’t decide if I want to lug my computer with me. I will never be sleeping on the beach or leaving my things unattended to long, but I’d rather not travel with any more fragile equipment than my camera (which I imagine I’ll be using a lot).

I used to see the ocean everyday in San Francisco, and I am looking forward to seeing it again. The other night I though I heard the waves again. I think it was a fighter jet taking off from the military base.

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