This is just a very brief update. I’ll expand it later. I’m in Chang Mai in the north of Thailand. It’s the second largest city in the country. I got here at 6 am yesterday on an overnight bus. The trains were full. It is more relaxed than Bangkok and small enough to walk around, but the pollution is getting to me.
I saw a couple of unusual Wats yesterday–Wat Umong and Wat Chet Yot. Last night I went to a Thai Kickboxing event. It was clearly a tourist affair, but interesting nonetheless. As usual the small guys kick the heck out of each other for 5 rounds and it is decided by points. The big guys hurt each other and it’s over quickly. The last fight was between a Canadian and an Englishman. They were the only two foreigners and they were the biggest. One of them kicked the other in the left thigh hard about 20 times the first round and that was it. He was a hurting unit. For both of them it was their first fight in Thailand. I’m sure they thought it would be more dramatic. The fight before one of the Thais got kicked hard in the elbow. It happened so fast I thought he got kicked in the head and went down. There was a “doctor” there who took care of him. If you’re going to be a kick-boxer it pays to be small.
Today, I’ve hooked up with a tour group who are headed to Laos. We are traveling overland to the border where we’ll cross in to Laos at Ban Huay Sai. I don’t remember the name of the town on the Thai side. I’ll then take a boat down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang. I don’t imagine that I’ll have Internet or phone access for the next few days, so I wanted to get an update out there.
Right now it’s Christmas here and Christmas Eve at home. I hope everyone is having a merry Christmas. I’ve got more to write about the last few days, but I need to catch the van. The next update should be entertaining.