Tuesday, 11 January 2011

A bit bored in Chang-Rai

Tuesday 11th January 2011

MP3 track of the day: Show you how - The Killers

Weather: Cloudy and spitting. The good news is that it's been about 20 degrees all day … a perfect temperature.

I lay in for a little while before eventually emerging from my dorm around 10am. I had a pretty good nights sleep; looking at my bedding the previous evening I was a little worried about bed bugs but alas no problems to report. My plan was to eat breakfast here, at the guesthouse cafe, however that changed very quickly when I saw a rat running around under the drinks fridge the previous night. I left the premises and headed for the clock tower.

At the end of my road, about a minute walk, is a huge golden clock tower positioned right in the middle of a round-about (in fact it was the round-about). The clock tower was attraction number 'eight' on Chang-Rai's 'loop-walk around the city'. Attraction eight or not I decided to start here as it was the closest attraction to my accommodation. After photographing the golden clock for a little while I proceeded onto attraction number nine; not actually having a map with me (the 'loop-walk around the city' maps were erected on wooden boards at all nine sites) I couldn't quite work out where attraction nine actually was and I eventually ended up at attraction one … never mind I thought, I'll see number nine on my way back.

Attraction one was a statue of an old king, from this area, who must have done something really cool as this is the first statue, that I've seen of someone important within Thailand, who wasn't the king or apart of the Buddhist religion. The next six attractions consisted of a building (that wasn't very good) and five of Chang-Rai's best Buddhist temples. Now I have to say that, whilst visiting Thailand, I think I've visited around twelve temples and they are getting a little 'been there, done that' and so I quickly skipped through each of them. Five temples, one statue and a building made seven and so I was back at attraction number eight, the clock tower. I found the information board and studied it hard to find out where attraction nine was.

Attraction nine was a park - and very nice it was too - however it wasn't that big. Again it didn't take me long to photograph the place and by 1:30pm all nine of Chang-Rai's main attractions had been completed. I went to a restaurant for some lunch and pulled out a map of Chang-Rai from my back pocket hoping for inspiration. Na, the map could have been a blank piece of paper for all the use it was in giving me ideas; the problem is that I don't really like Chang-Rai and I'm a little bored of it already. As I walk through the town it's okay, it has some nice bits and the weather is spot on, the problem is that it isn't a patch on Chang-Mai and, having just left there, I found myself wishing I was back.

I made it back to my guesthouse to find the door knob to my dorm broken and two Aussie girls having just arrived in town. All my stuff was still within the dorm and the Aussie girls had no idea what had happened to the door opening device (i.e. the door knob). We chatted the usual chit-chat about where we've been, where we are going (which is starting to get a little annoying after seven months saying the same thing, however I can't stop myself from doing it) and then we got onto activities within Chang-Rai. The girls where under the same impression as I and therefore they were only staying here a night; they did tell me that they had just visited the 'Hill Tribes Museum' which they said was pretty good.

Even though I wasn't in a 'museum mood' I decided to go and have a look due to the fact that I missed the hill tribes museum within Chang-Mai and that, the more things I get done today, the quicker I can leave. I left the girls in the guesthouse and headed to the museum.

Located on the third floor of a large, rectangle white building it took me a little while to find said museum. It cost me fifty baht to enter and it was okay; the first part of the museum focused on the opium trade within the 'Golden Triangle' (the area that boarders Myanmar, Laos and Thailand) and how the hill tribes had got themselves caught up in producing the drug. After this there were smaller displays of items from each different tribe including a model of each tribes houses. The one that stuck in my mind the most was this one tribe that had many different doors for each house. They had a door for the spirits to enter and one main door for guests; it was then that the written explanation of said dwelling started to make a lot of sense. There were two other doors, one for the men of the house which lead, effectively, to the lounge and one for the women which – and I'm not making this up – lead to the kitchen. I feel British society can learn a lot from Thailand's hill tribes.

I spent about ninety minutes within the museum, which wasn't bad considering my 'non-museum mood', and then I headed back to my guesthouse to chill before tea.

I want to leave Chang-Rai as soon as possible however tomorrow I want to see temple 'Wat Rong Koom'. Now you maybe asking yourself why would I want to spend another day in Chang-Rai to see yet another temple; well the reason is that this temple is supposed to be a kind of 'designer temple'. Matt and Rachael said that it's worth visiting and so tomorrow morning will be spent, hopefully, getting a bus to this temple before returning to my guesthouse and sorting out my transport to Laos for the day after plus a thousand other things. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day, better get an early night!

Toodle Pip!

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