Doi Suthep and Malls

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Yesterday, J. and I drove up the nearby foothill to see the famous temple of Doi Suthep. The little bike struggled under the weight of two corn fed foreigners, forcing me into lowest gear on a few of the switch backs. The bike seemed to need a gear between 2 and three for optimum RPMs. Gear 2.5 would be called Doi Gear™.

The temple complex was a weird mix of sacred and shops. It wasn’t a tranquil mountain top temple complex, at least in the main areas. Tour guides, vendors, chatty people, and plumbing construction added to the noise. Some of the more hidden areas were more relaxing, but as a non Buddhist, the main attraction is the view. And thanks to the fog, that wasn’t in top form either.

Dragon stairs leading to the temple.

Detail.

Gold Buddha.

Oil and alters.

The shoe watcher digs for gold. Also, there’s some Picasso perspective issues going on in this photo.

Hazy CM.

Here lies some French bigot.

Some orchids growing on a tree.

A few of the many semi wild chickens running around.

Butterflies seemed to enjoy these purple flowers.

Before heading down the mountain, we continued along the road past Phu Phing Palace (Hilariously enough, this royal winter palace is pronounced “Poo Ping”.) and up some seriously narrow and potholed roads. A nearly one lane road led to some tribal village. We stopped at a lookout. The air was breezy and cool up there. But rain looked eminent, so we decided to head back. On the narrow road, I put the bike in neutral and killed the engine so all we could hear was bird calls through the rustling trees.

Quiet roads.

Epic view.

Awesome dude.

Shanty town in the middle of nowhere.

Lunch was good.

An electrician on a flexing bamboo ladder near the restaurant.

Tom Ka Gai, a lot of it.

After lunch I bought a cheap guitar so I wouldn’t go crazy. It was 880bht($27). It’s smaller than normal, but the sound isn’t half bad. I call it “Blackjack”.

Me and Blackjack.

Dinner was good: fried rice with egg and red curry.

For desert we had a waffle-cone tasting folded desert stuffed with chocolate, banana, sweetened condensed milk. The person after us ordered one with sausage and chicken powder with mayo. No thanks.

The batter was spread in clockwise motion using this special dessert hoe.

Today, we ate breakfast and caught up on news/correspondence via the internet. Afterward we went to Airport Mall to look at books, clothes, and eat some lunch.

Scooter parking at the mall.

Crazy drug trip kid land, abandoned.

Khao sawy kai, a flavorful curried chicken and wheat noodle dish. It’s served with onions, pickled cabbage, and lime.

Ours came from the cheap and delicious food court in the bottom of the mall. You get to sit on these little stools around a table with the cooks serving from the middle.

This evening I tried to diagnose guesthouse computer problems. I took a break for dinner, and afterward we roamed the neighborhood and got an iced coffee and fruit for desert. There are a lot of weird abandoned buildings around here. At night, you are often the only person on foot and people look at you with curiosity. There is a property near the guesthouse that has both bananas and mangoes growing on it. When ripeness comes, I’ll swoop in during the night and harvest some.

On Thursday, we should be moving into our new apartment. Until then.

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