Blog News

1. Comments are still disabled though I am thinking of enabling them again.

2. There are now several extra pages - Poetry Index, Travel, Education, Childish Things - accessible at the top of the page. They index entires before October 2013.

3. I will, in the next few weeks, be adding new pages with other indexes.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Thailand And Laos 1998: Day 7

Mr Tah, it turned out was quite an important man locally. He had been leading or assisting with treks for many years as the photographs all over the walls of his home could attest. I was getting the star guest treatment having once more travelled by truck with him. We had about an hour to wait before the others arrived and he was showing me his house. Even as we had driven up it was clear that he was very prosperous by hill tribe standards. It was built on the same basic principle as the huts with the main living area off the ground and reached by steps but that was as far as the resemblance went. Instead of a bamboo construction it was built mainly of wood and whereas the huts were raised about a yard this was more than double that providing what amounted to garage and shed space beneath it. It was also about six times as large as the largest hut I had seen. He invited me in and showed me the mementos of his years as a guide. The earliest showed him as a much younger man in a black T-shirt and sporting shoulder length hair.
"You used to be a hippy then." I commented.
He grinned.
"Yes. Hippy. That was me." he said happily.

All of the walls of the largest room were covered in photographs of him and his family. A couple of closed doors led off - presumably into bedrooms - and a third open one led out onto a balcony which from my brief examination seemed to be the kitchen. I went back downstairs, putting back on my shoes which I had left at the door as is the polite custom. We were only a few yards from the town and I walked down to find the others arriving. Soon everyone was there and we had transferred to minibuses to take us back to civilised lodgings in Chiang Rai.
The hotel, the Lan Kum, was large modern and comfortable and - most important of all - with a shower in every room.. The door of the room displayed a puzzling notice in Thai and eccentric English.

wellcome to Ian kum hotel quests are requested to co operate
withthe hotel's directions here under

1. please deposite the valve belongings with our hotel safty box-
2. we will not be responsible for any artesies lost or stolen ~
in the room
3. iffleage arties are not allowed in the room or within the
premises of the hotel
4. any danger caused to thehotel property during the pestrol of
stay shall be responsible by guests
5. gambling are prohibited in the room
6. please do not disturb your heighbours
7. check out time in 12 hours

thank you
I pondered for a while what an 'iffleage arty' might be, worried in case I might have inadvertently brought one into the room. If not for rule six I might have gone next door to ask the heighbours. 

Showered and changed into clean clothes I left the room, heedless of the artesies that I might lose and went down to the bar to ponder what I might have for lunch. Robert joined me and we decided to go on a quest for western food. Forty five minutes later we were back having failed spectacularly to find any. We had however seen the King Mengrai Monument. As King Mengrai is mostly known for moving his capital out of Chiang Rai and setting up in Chiang Mai it's curious that they honour him here so prominently. More curious still is the vast number of elephant statues that surround his likeness. I can only imagine that he was fond of them in life for he has at least a couple of dozen on hand filling up the end of the street where the monument is located.
Back at the hotel Robert and I decided to eat in and we discovered that they did western food of a sort. I had tomato soup - which was sort of pale pink and creamy but had no obvious tomatoes in it - and ham and eggs which was okay if a little nouvelle cuisine in its portions. Afterwards we wandered around the town fairly aimlessly before splitting up, Robert back to the hotel and me to continue my wanderings in the market. This was mainly a food market and had eggs and meat and bread as well as more esoteric dishes the only easily identifiable one being whole dried frogs. I paid a quick visit to a pharmacy where, with the aid of a note in Thai that I had had Wit write out for me earlier, I replenished the dwindling supplies in my first aid box but by now my foot was throbbing badly and a retreat to the hotel seemed in order so that's what I did and retired to my room with some painkillers and a paperback to spend the rest of the evening doing nothing at all.