martes, 28 de septiembre de 2010

The White temple on our way to the border between Thailand and Laos. This particular temple was covered in small mirrors and it had beautiful rounded shapes. The hands by the entrance represent the evil spirits trying to reach inside the temple. We cannot describe the beauty of this building... It even had a small pond by the entrance full of shiny white goldfishes! 

Closer shot of the hands and evil faces, there were also falic forms coming out of the evils as well as deformed feet etc...

Inside the slow boat from Thailand Chang Khon border to Luang Prabang in Lao(s). This boat takes 2 days en rout through the beautiful Mekong River (or 3 depending on the weather). On our first day we were overbooked (nothing very unusual here) so we had to sit for about 8 hours in a broken wooden bench while getting soaked by the heavy rain :) Thankfully we stopped for the night in a beautiful town in the mountains a very remote place (yes! without even Internet!) The next morning after a great sleep and a deliciously strong Lao coffee (with condensate milk, yummy!!) we got in a new boat and this picture was taken, as you can see the mood was much nicer!. After another 10 hours we finally arrived to the stunning town of Luang Pra Bang.

Lao's money (KIP)  One of the amazing things that we are finding in this trip is the different currencies and their values. In Lao for example, they go by thousands, which means you suddenly find yourself talking about buying a beer for  10.000 Kip. It gets even better when you get to Vietnam and you need the cash point. Here the value of the money is double than in Laos, so you are looking at getting Millions of Dongs at a time!!. (2 million Dong is about 65 British Pounds!!) 

Man at work cleaning rice and monk in a boat by the Melong river in Luang Pra Bang and

Ready for some Kayaking in the Nagh Tran river!
The Amazing cascade, first stop with the kayak. In one simple word... Beautifulllllllllllllllll :)
Eddie's Kayaking skills, we had a double Kayak and we proved our great team skills! ou yeah!!
Happy biker in Luang Pra Bang, as you can see we actually exercised a bit, is not all about eating!

Believe it or not, the background on this picture is actually real!. We found this paradisiac hotel in our disastrous search for a cascade (which by the way we never found) and we had to cycle for about 3 hours uphill through a rocky terrain with the 'lady bikes...' This particular hotel was like heaven on earth...  
Lao houses are basic, made of bamboo and palm leaves, however almost every house has a satellite disc attached to it!. Here are some of the great children :)

sábado, 18 de septiembre de 2010

Here we are again :) This picture was taken in the train station at Ayuttayah, were the Buddha's sculptures were. We were waiting for the train to Chiang Mai, a night train were I believe I caught the awful Flu :/

Some of the decapitated Buddhas. One of the things you should never do is to put your head where Buddha's one is supposed to be... though once you know is quite tempting...
 Flower power and rasta man!

The famous cocks.

Karen Villages in Chiang Mai.  Chiang Mai is a town in northern Thailand, and its very curious as it's surrounded by water. This water was intended for protecting the city against the Burmese (yes! you can see how much Thais and Burmeses have loved each other throughout the years!) We had the big pleasure of visiting this little villages with our Couch surfing host Samart who is actually from one of those villages.

Eddie impressing the villagers with his accurate aiming skills!.
You can see the houses in the background which are built by the villagers. The roofs are made out of natural leaves and have to be changed ever 3 years, but believe it or not, it is 100% water resistant (including monsoon torrential!)

Long neck ladies. The tradition of this neck rings came from a long time ago, when villagers where attacked (probably from the Burmese!) so the ladies avoided being decapitated by wearing these rings. Nowadays is just a matter of beauty and tradition. They increase one ring every one or two years. They also wear rings under their knees!.  

Starting from an early age, here is an eight year old girl. We were told that the long neck tribes are quite 'recent'  to northern Thiland (Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai) They come as refugees from Burma and is thanks to the kindness of the Royal Family that they can have a peaceful live there. Although they have no papers, they are allowed to build their own houses and sustain themselves within restricted areas. 
This was quite an interesting experience!!

Just because they were asleep!! He he They sleep 18 hours a day!

Picnic in the lake with Samart and the guys!. Samart is sitting nest to me and cooking one of his many delicious Thai specialities. About Samart, well we can only say is a next door Buddha!, a guy with a massive hurt who will share anything and everything with you and ask for nothing in exchange.Thanks a lot Joe!!

Closer picture!

My hospital card. Now check out the left hand top corner, and yes! we are now in 2553 no 2010!! This is because in Thailand the Years started to count when Buddha died, and this was 2553 years ago! And about the VIP, well I guess being a foreigner in a hospital here was a big plus as I was treated better than in the Hilton! I managed to get over the flu in about 2 days :)

In the hospital bed, as you can see it wasn't that bad! :) Thanks to Chiang Mai Ram hospital staff!

One of the many examples of Samarts' kindness!. He came to pick us up from hospital and drove us to an amazing Bungalow surrounded by rice fields and waterfalls with other couch suffers. I could not yhink of a better way of recovering than this one!. Here we are with a British and Polish couple and a girl form Canada, out travel companions for the next couple of days!.   
The kitchen bungalow with Samart preparing dinner for all of us.

Ok! We will continue soon, for now Sbadee from the beautiful lands of Laos :)

jueves, 9 de septiembre de 2010

Waiting for the plane from Khatmandu via New Dehli to Bangkok. As we were travelling Menuka's dad decided to put some Tikka blessings in our foreheads for protection and good luck. This Tikka had also some rice grains included!!.

Ok! As requested... here is the first glimpse of Eddie's rastas!
And here is the final result :) And the hair band has been done by us with loads of patience and hours of waiting (remember the wool we bought and my netting skills??) So! Eddie has become a Rastafarian man ;)
Welcome Bangkok! Now, we have to admit that coming form India and Nepal, we were very pleased with the high standards of this great city. We found a cheap bungalow near Khao San road (the backpackers destination) and we enjoyed the good vibes of the city with the beautiful street shops and the delicious street food.
Having a beer in a chill out bar parallel to Khao San.
Leo brother! We've found your beer :) Chok Dee or Cheers to you!
Ok, this is a very FREAK picture!!. Who do you think is cooking in this picture??  Well, if you though it was Ali, then I'm afraid you've got it wrong!!. We found this picture in a leaflet and I can only thing I have found my twin sister... Mum!! explain!!
Here we are after a night of Thai 'bucket drinking'. Imagine a little bucket for children when they go to the beach to build sand castles, well, then you fill it up with whisky/or vodka and a mixer and the rest.. up to you!!! So, after the binging night we got up at 7 am and went to the floating market. Here we are in the little canoe :)
 View from inside the boat. You are then driven around and you can stop at any point and bargain for some goods.
Artist's impression of the floating market.
Trying to avoid the sun! Here is the ground market, because of course the floating market has become a very touristic thing to do. So, you are driven with a group and show around, but the main aspect is of course spending some Thai Baths wherever you are...
 The elephant park. This was a very creative show in which they explained the history of Thai elephants, how they were first used to hunt, and then to fight other countries, such as the wars with their Burmese neighbours. After the history lesson, elephants did a small football demonstration, and here is their own version of Torres!

Eddie getting close to a very big one!
A very little Dumbo!. This tiny baby was such a lovely elephant!. We bought some sugar cane and were able to feed him and his mum. Great experience :)
Here are the scary crocodiles... As well as the crocodile show, they kept many different species and ages of crocodiles in captivity.
Crazy stuff... This picture is quite amazing, but believe us, seen it in reality is not so nice... The crocodile was actually quite upset and grumpy, and still the guy had to do the show for the tourists...
But of course, when Eduardo caught the beast, was a child's play! My G-MAN!
 Feeling the artistic blow in this hand made bench... I can tell my Yoga classes helped with this posse :)

Ayuttayah. This little town north from Bangkok is a beautiful place with lots of religious influences. It had many important temples build up for Buddhists but many of the remains were destroyed when the Burmese came to Thailand. Here is a very famous Buddha head carved on the tree.