Saturday, February 28, 2009

Caving, not Tubing

Vang Vieng

We've spent the last couple of days in Vang Vieng. It's an over-touristed town whose main drag is full of drunken yahoos guzzling Beer Lao, watching Friends or Family Guy, and making general drunken asses out of themselves. It does have some beautiful scenery, though.

On our first day we went tubing. This is supposed to be "a right of passage for backpackers in SE Asia" according to our Lonely Planet guidebook. Basically, you rent a tube, hop into the Nam Song (Song River in English), and float down it. It would be a relaxing float downstream except for the bars every hundred meters or so that blast either techno or Bob Marley. We stopped at one that was playing Bob Marley.

The Nam Song. You can see the bars n the left.

Every bar also has a rope swing on a rickety platform about 20 feet above the river, where drunk people can swing out over the river and fall in. It's actually really fun and you get a free shot of whiskey for doing it. No wonder we've seen so many casts since we got here. One place has a zip line that goes out over the river. I wouldn't recommend it. I didn't let go before it hit the end and ended up doing a double somersault and smacking face first into the river. It wasn't nearly as fun as it sounds.

Unfortunately, we couldn't get any pictures while we were tubing because we don't have a waterproof camera.

Our second (and final) day in Vang Vieng, we went caving. This was actually one of the highlights of our trip so far. We rented a scooter and rode 13 km north to a village called Ban Tham Sang, which means Elephant Cave Village. The first cave was called--you guessed it--Elephant Cave! It was a cavern in the side of a massive limestone cliff that had been converted into a temple. It features a stalagmite that looks exactly like an elephant and a Buddha footprint (although I don't think the Buddha's feet were really that big).

See. I told you it looks like an elephant.

I didn't know the Buddha went to Laos. Or that his feet were 10 ft long.

Next we went to Tham Loup. (Tham means cave in Lao. I don't know what loup means.) Here we learned the importance of having more than one light. It was daaaaaark. This cave was basically a really big dark room in the side of a cliff. We timidly tiptoed around with our one headlamp and enjoyed the fabulous acoustics until we found the secret Buddha statue in the back corner.

The secret Buddha

After that we borrowed a couple of extra flashlights from the guy selling tickets and went to Nam Hoi. Here we learned the importance of having a guide.

A little side story to help explain this story: As we left the village, this guy started following us. We know this scam well (or so we thought). He walks along with you while you go to the caves, says nothing, and then at the end calls himself your "guide" and asks for money. Being wise to this, I told him that we would go ahead by ourselves. He looked disappointed but turned around and went back. Our mistake.

Anyway, Nam Hoi is a 3 km deep cave with an underground pond at the end. For some stupid reason I thought we would definitely be able to navigate 3 km of total craggy darkness by ourselves. We made it really deep into the cave and saw the biggest spider that either of us has ever seen. It was creepy as hell, but exhilarating nonetheless. Finally, the ceiling started to get really low and the path ahead was not clear. We lost our confidence and decided to turn back.

It was actually a lot darker than it looks here.

Afterwards we talked to another couple that had kept their guide and made it all the way to the underground pond. It turns out we weren't that far away. I guess that's what you pay the guide for.

Ahhhhh. Sweet sunlight

The last cave we went to was Tham Nam, or Water Cave. This cave is totally flooded and is actually a tributary to the Nam Song (the river we tubed on). You traverse this cave in an innertube and enter it by pulling yourself along a rope course for the first couple hundred meters or so. It goes back about half a kilometer and you take the innertube the entire way. We couldn't get any pictures here either because we still don't have a waterproof camera. I wish we had though, because floating up an underground river is definitely on of the most surreal experiences of my life up until now.

Christin entering Tham Nam

Our headlamp for Tham Nam. Definitely an electrocution hazard.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Taking the slowboat to Luang Prabang

When we finally left Huey Xai, it was on the much talked about slowboat down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang. Having crossed under the Niagra Falls and across the Gulf of Nicoya by boat, I was expecting something a little bit bigger. I was pleasantly surprised by the intimacy (read: tiny wooden seats) that the slowboat afforded. It was a 2 day trip in total, with an overnight stay at the crappiest guesthouse in SE Asia.

Slowboat

The first day everyone got their own seat, and we chatted with our many neighbors. The second day we met all the same people again, plus another 50 that were crowded into the same amount of space. Everyone was disappointed at first, but it turned out to be alright as Kyle and another guy had both kept their guitars handy. Music was plentiful and we had to stop twice to refill on beer. The whole thing was a very social experience, and we've been running into friends we made on the boat ever since.

Mekong River at sunset

Luang Prabang itself is a charmingly seductive french colonial town nestled comfortably between the banks of the Mekong and the Kahn Rivers. It's filled with buddhist temples (which we didn't really visit, being gold Buddha-ed out), distinct coffee, sleepy people, and a bustling night market full of handicrafts and beautiful silks. We spent the first day getting a Lao style massage, drinking fruit shakes, and visiting the night market. At sunset, we headed up the steps to Wat Phu Si for a gorgeous view of the town, the mountains, and both rivers.

View of Luang Prabang from Wat Phu Si

The second day we met up with some friends from the slowboat and headed out to network of swimming holes and waterfalls just outside of town. The swimming was in crytal blue water replete with mini falls and rope swings. A short hike culminated in a surprisingly tall waterfall bordered by a footbridge and a picnic platform. All in all, we're pleased to say that Luang Prabang lived up to it's reputation for charm and coziness. We loved it.

Near the swimming area

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Gibbon Experience

Last week Christin and I did the only thing there is to do in Huey Xai (other than bitch about the ATM): The Gibbon Experience.

What is the Gibbon Experience? Good question. It's a three day trek through the jungles of Bokeo province, Laos. You spend the night in tree houses hundreds of feet up in the forest canopy and get around through a network of death-defying zip lines. The project is named after the black gibbons (thought extinct until 1997) that frequent the area. It's a bit pricey ($225 US), but all the proceeds go to forest conservation. And besides, c'mon, it's totally worth it.

Zip line above the tree tops.

So on day 1 we all met at the Gibbon Experience office in Huey Xai bright and early in the morning, piled into the back of a Toyota Landcruiser, and drove a couple oh hours out to the Hmong village that would be our staging point. I had thought that the kids in the village would greet us with smiles and enthusiastic waves, but instead they just kind of studied us very gravely.

We met our guides very briefly and started the three hour trek (mostly up hill) out to the first zip line. I was in the middle of a bout of traveler's sickness (my temperature the day before was 100.3), so I was dragging a bit but I did alright.

Then came the time for the first zip. Basically, you watch a safety video and then the guide checks to see that you've attached both carabiners properly the first time. That's the safety protocol. After that it's up to you.

So you take that first leap of faith. The tree tops fall away beneath you, a misty mountain range opens up to your right, and (even though you told yourself you wouldn't) you let out an enthusiastic "WHOOP!" just like a frat boy whose been offered his first ping-pong show. Then, you slow down and stop before reaching the end, meaning that you're going to have to pull yourself in the rest of the way and feel like an idiot. It takes a few more zips before you fully master the art.



Kyle's reaction to zipping


So after all the trekking and zipping we got to the first tree house. It had two stories, running water, a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains (especially from the shitter), and was so high up that you couldn't see the forest floor. Who cares if there was a bee hive in the toilet, this place was beautiful. At night some animal came hooting awfully close to where we were sleeping, maybe even onto the very ziplines themselves. Some said it was the elusive black gibbon, but I guess we'll never really know.

View from the toliet (a squatter, on the lower left)

The next morning (Day 2) my stomach took a turn for the worse. My appetite was gone. All I could eat was a little rice before our next tree hour trek. We visited a peaceful little waterfall in an ice cold stream. At lunch I was able to eat even less, and by the time we got to the tree house I was in terrible shape. My temperature shot up over 101 and my stomach (even though it was empty) felt like it wanted to burst. Due to the wonderful medicinal effects of marijuana, I was able to eat a little bit before I went to bed early.

The next morning (Day 3) was the worst yet. I woke up with no strength and no appetite. Our wonderful guide, Niang John, made me a medicinal tea out of a forest root that calmed my stomach and then carried my pack for me. I vomited halfway through breakfast (which made me feel surprisingly better) and then was only able to keep down a little bit of rice before the last three hour trek back to the Hmong village.

Niang John making the medicine

I made it back safe but totally exhausted. We ended up staying in Huey Xai (where no one should ever stay for any period of time) for an extra two days so I could recover. All in all, I had a good experience with the Gibbon. The zip lines were thrilling, the forest was unspoiled, and the nighttime soundscape was unforgettable. Just try to see if you can reschedule if you get sick the day before.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Update

So, our Chase card didn't work. We called the bank and they said there was no problem with our account and it must be the ATM machine. We were eventually able to get a cash advance on a credit card, so we didn't languish into nothing.

We left first thing on Monday morning for the Gibbon Experience (more to come) , so we couldn't clear anything up until today. We did manage to get to get some cash today though, we had to run a credit card transaction in USD at the bank and then exchange the money into Lao kip. So here we are, alive.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day

So we're in Laos. Yay, right? Guess not. We got over here only to find that we can't get any money out of our Capital One account, so we ran out around 5:00 yesterday. No dinner, very little water. We had to wait until 8:00 am your time, which is 8:00 pm Laos time. We finally were able to call Capital One, and they informed us there's nothing they can do until their verifications department opens on Monday, which would 8:00 pm Monday our time. No money until then, and we're already out of cash with no guest house paid except for the coming night.

So then we started patting ourselves on the back for our foresight in bringing 2 bank cards attached to different accounts. No problem, we reasoned. We'll just pay a fee to pull money out of our Chase account. So we tried. No luck. By this time all the internet cafes have closed for the night so there's no way to call Chase, and besides we don't have any money for an internet cafe anyway. So much for our romantic dinner.

Around this time we got a little panicky, but then we remembered we stowed away $20 US for just such an occasion. There were no exchange places open, so we went hungry for the night and woke up early this morning to go exchange it. Luckily, $20 is more than it sounds like over here, so we at least got to eat breakfast. But of course it's 11:31 pm your time, so when we try to contact Chase, they're closed. We have to wait until 7 pm tonight before they're open. At least they do open on Sunday. So wish us luck, hopefully they'll be able to solve the problem, or we're screwed. We don't have enough money to leave the town, and we don't have enough to stay long, either. And of course no one takes credit.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Smart Plan

The other day we went and got foot massages at the Chiang Mai Women's Correctional Facility. Yup, that's right, a spa in a prison. The quality was fine and we felt perfectly safe. Some of you may be wondering, "whaa huh?!? a spa in a prison?"

Well, it works like this. A prison official realized that it's quite difficult to find a job if you're recently released from prison, and the harder it is to find a job, the harder it is to earn a legal living. The more difficult it is to earn a legal living, the harder it is to stay out of jail (duh). So they began training programs for the inmates to learn massage and cooking, then opened the spa and a cafe. The inmates gain job skills (massage is really everywhere here, it's a solid Thai profession), and the earnings they make in the shops get put towards savings for when they're released. And since it's still difficult to find a position even with skills upon release, they can continue to work at the spa and cafe after their release until they find better positions.

An elegant solution to a community problem, I think. And one that could serve as an inspiration in our own country, where we have a serious recidivism problem. The problem is especially acute in the States, because in addition to facing discrimination in hiring, recent convicts also face the prospect of earning a legal living in a society that has less and less large families. Without family to offer you a place to live or emotional support, staying clean and legal is much more difficult. Think about it: when we release many prisoners in the States, we turn them out with little hope of getting a job, little to no savings for a deposit on a place to live, and in many cases no familial support. Then we scorn those who end up back in prison and point to it as an inevitability. People have to earn money somehow, right?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I got a tattoo and chatted with some monks (but not at the same time)

Sorry Mom. I got another tattoo. So now I have bungee jumped (in Mexico) and gotten a tattoo in third world countries. What the hell am I thinking?

What a bad-ass

The tattoo runs from my left shoulder down the arm about halfway to my elbow. It depicts the hand of Buddha, palm up, holding a lotus flower.

It's still a little red. Not quite healed yet.

The inspiration for this came from my favorite story about the Buddha. It goes a little something like this:

One day all of the Buddha's disciples showed up for their daily lesson, which usually consisted of a lecture concerning enlightenment, delusion, craving, and a bunch of other stuff like that. They all gathered around him and patiently awaited his sermon.

The Buddha held out his hand and opened it. On his palm was a single lotus flower. He said nothing.

The disciples waited, but still the Buddha said nothing. So they all started looking at each other like, "What the dilly, yo?" Still the Buddha said nothing.

Finally, one of the students (let's say his name is Jack) got it. Jack cleared his mind and stared at the lotus. Suddenly, the Buddha's full message became clear and Jack was enlightened on the spot. The End.

As with all stories about the Buddha, the moral is up to you. I know what it means to me, but unfortunately this meaning cannot be expressed with words.

This has nothing to do with this post, but isn't it cool?

Oh yeah. Speaking of words and Buddhists and whatnot, we had the good fortune to be able to talk with some real live Buddhist monks last week. Every Monday and Wednesday Wat Suon Dok in Chiang Mai hosts a "monk chat" from 5 to 7 PM. We showed up all prepared with a whole list of issues that we wanted to discuss including reincarnation, women in Buddhism, vegetarianism, how to be a Buddhist without being a monk, and a bunch of other stuff.

We ended up going beyond the two hours, and the monks finally had to go when an older monk started ringing this bell. We learned a lot, though. For example:

Monks will eat meat when it is given to them. This is because they view all food simply as fuel for their body and strive to have no desire for one food over another. Monks are fed through alms given by the lay people. They do not judge. They just eat what they are given.

Monks will not eat meat, however, if they have witnessed the animal being killed, or if they are aware that the animal has been specifically killed for them. This intentional ignorance seems to me to go against the teachings of the Buddha. But hey, what the hell do I know?

No one can give us a satisfactory explanation of reincarnation. The monks had trouble explaining the concept in English, so some lay dude came by and just said it's actually called "rebirth" and that even though there is no self everybody has something called a "life force" that is passed on to the next body. Sounds like a soul which sounds like a self to me. Then we were offered this crappy metaphor, "What happens to a camera if you take the battery out?" Pretty lame. The monks nodded in general agreement and offered nothing further.

Monks put no stock in transcendental experiences achieved while on acid. Or they've never heard of acid and didn't get the concept- they thought it was like beer, which the Buddha frowned upon. We weren't sure which.

Monks cannot touch a girl, even on accident. If a monk passes a girl on the street, he gives her a super wide berth. This is because they are trying to extinguish all of their desire, including sexual. I made the argument that this strict no touching rule can actually be counterproductive. These dudes had not touched a girl in over ten years and they were like 25! Even the slightest accidental touch would probably ignite an uncontrollable flaming lust. They agreed with this, but said that some monks who have learned to control their sexual desire can accidentally touch a girl and it's no big deal. They still avoid it if they can though.

Monks can use money. Their explanation? The world is changing and we must change with it. I love Buddhists. They could teach the Vatican a thing or two.

Towards the end we discussed the recent protests in Burma (I know the Junta wants me to call it Myanmar, but I would rather not give them the satisfaction). Turns out two of the monks were born there. They were totally forgiving of the soldiers who fired upon and killed Buddhist monks who were protesting peacefully. They explained that the soldiers were simply not seeing things clearly, and that they felt compassion for them and would do what they could to try to help them overcome their delusion. Word up.

I then asked, "What should you do if you are in that situation? Should you continue the protest? Should you stand up to the bullets knowing you will be killed? Should you be like Ghandi and suffer the casualties in order to show your enemy and the world the error of their ways?"

Their answer: "Run."

Monday, February 9, 2009

Thai Cooking Lesson #1: Curry

I began my Thai cooking course this morning with a guy named Tee at "Wok with Tee." After showing us all the different ingredients common in Thai food (some familiar, some not) we learned to make our own curry pastes.

There are 4 basic kinds of curry pastes in Thai cooking: red, green, massaman, and roasted. From the red paste, you can make 4 curries: plain red, yellow, turmeric, and panang. To make red curry, you just use plain ole' red curry paste. To make yellow, add curry powder. To make turmeric, add turmeric powder. And to make panang, add crushed roasted peanuts.

I choose to make red curry paste, and from that to make panang curry. To make red curry paste, gather the following ingredients and chop very finely:

This is quite a bit more than is called for below, but same ingredients

1 tsp. shallot
1 tbsp. lemongrass
1 tbsp. galangal (root vegetable, similar in looks to ginger but different in flavor)
1/2 tsp. coriander root
1/2 tsp. kaffir lime peel
1-5 red chiles with out without the seeds, depending on spiciness preference. I choose 1 large, 2 small, all with seeds, which yielded a mild to moderate spice level.

To this add 2-3 small cloves garlic, crushed.
1/4 or so tsp. salt

Then toast the following whole spices in a pan until they pop and add to the above:

1/2 tsp. peppercorns
1/2 tsp. coriender seeds
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds

Grind the whole spices to a powder with a mortar and pestal (or a food processor if you prefer), then add the remaining ingredients and mash to a paste. Voila! Red Curry Paste. It's also quite possible to make a much bigger batch, cover it in neutral vegetable oil and store in the fridge for up to 3 mo. You can also buy it pre-made. But where's the fun in that?

Red Curry Paste (more than the above recipe actually makes)

To make Panang Curry (delicious!), I've included the following recipe. The proteins and vegetables are pretty much interchangeable with any others and you can substitute with whatever you have around. The only trick is to make sure to add long cooking vegetables sooner than short cooking ones:

3 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. red curry paste
5 tbsp. crushed roasted peanuts
3/4 c. coconut milk
3/4 c. (roughly) protein (I used tofu. also possible: chicken, pork, beef, seafood, etc.)
1 large potato or equal amount pumpkin (either should be pre-boiled) cut into large chunks
1/2 eggplant, cut into thin half-moons
3 tbsp. fish sauce (less or more depending on how salty you like)
1 tbsp. palm sugar (honey or turbinado sugar would work as well. If you use refined sugar, use less)
3-4 sprigs Thai basil
a big pinch of lemongrass top chiffonade (for garnish)

Before you begin, combine the fish sauce and the palm sugar in a small bowl.

1. Heat wok to medium heat. Add oil, then curry paste and peanuts, stirring often. Be sure that the curry paste doesn't burn. If at anytime during cooking it starts to dry out, add some of the coconut milk.

2. Add protein (excluding seafood) and cook until it changes color, stirring often. (Don't forget to add coconut milk if necessary!)

3. Add vegetables and cook for 30 seconds, stirring often.

4. Add the rest of the coconut milk, stir until generally mixed, and then let sit a few minutes until it begins to bubble in the center.

5. Add fish sauce mixture and stir.

6. Add seafood at this point, if you're using it. Follow with any quick-cooking vegetables you may use. (none in this particular recipe)

7. Taste the curry, and adjust the saltiness or sweetness to your taste by adding more palm sugar or fish sauce.

8. Turn off the heat and stir in about half the basil. Put in a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining basil and the lemongrass chiffonade. Serve with rice. Enjoy!

Some of the veggies in this photo are different but the curry color and consistency should be similar

I could come up with so many lame titles for a blog about Pai... hmmm... here goes... I've got Pai all over my face! Damn it. That was too lame.

Us in Pai

For the last four days we have been in Pai, a beautiful little hippy town nestled in a snug little valley in Northern Thailand. Totally a farang-town. Not much in the way of traditional Thai culture here. We've done a lot, so this will be a quick recap of events thus far:

We have been couchsurfing with Lek, who has a beautiful home just outside of town. He is a beautiful, generous person and the third gay pagan I have met in my life. If you ever meet him, I strongly encourage having a conversation about metaphysics and the universe. He runs a little vegetarian cafe/coffee shop called the Witching Well. The food is delicious, they have magic potions on the menu, and the well in the restaurant flows from an underground spring. Eat here if you ever have the chance.


The view from Lek's back porch

On our second day here, we climbed the 353 steps to Wat Pra That Mae Yen (The Temple on the Hill). It is a modest little temple with a panoramic view of Pai and the surrounding valley. Both of the temples feature their Buddha statues underneath a painting of the bodhi tree and inside one is a gruesome illustration of what I can only assume is one of the Buddhist hells.


The top of the steps

Buddhas under bodhi tree

This is why you avoid bad karma

After that, we went to Tha Pai Hot Springs. Don't tell anybody, but we unwittingly managed to get in without paying the outrageous farang price of 200 bhat per person. I glad we didn't, because the bathing area was basically a dirty little knee-deep stream. The water was nice and hot though. Higher up the hill, where the water bubbles up out of the ground, the water is 80 degrees Celsius, too hot for bathing. It is just hot enough, however, to boil some eggs.

Next door is the magical pool where only monks are allowed to boil eggs

Yesterday we went to Santichon. It is a mountainside village just outside of town populated by Chinese Nationalists who were stranded across the border in Thailand after the communist revolution in China. It was very beautiful, especially at dusk. There was a very nice tourist area with immaculately clean huts that were clearly built just for show. Christin and I walked past this into the real village, which looked much different, and were turned back when some little boys started throwing rocks at us.

These are for the farangs

We didn't take many pictures, but this gives you an idea of what the real village looked like

That night we witnessed some impressive fire dancing outside of a reggae bar. (That really narrows it down. Every other bar in Pai [and every other touristy tropical place I've ever been to] is a reggae bar.)

Wow. She was really fast

Today, during the break in Christin's Thai cooking class, we went to Mo Paeng waterfall. Not shit compared to Niagara, but nice to see anyway. We just relaxed and watched some kids play. Then some European dude broke out his Speedo and we had to go.


Kids playing at Mo Paeng waterfall

Tomorrow we head back to Chiang Mai. I will miss Pai. Definitely one of the better places we have visited.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

!!!

On our last night in Chiang Mai (for now) we were walking home from the internet cafe at 1:00 AM (post fisherman pants blog) when we spotted a thing most miraculous and fantastic walking through the empty streets: an elephant!

!! an elephant at a bar!!

I kid you not, this little dude (little by elephant standards) walked right to up a bar and started grooving to Black Magic Woman. He was swaying to the beat and swinging his back leg just like a born hippie. If I hadn't already believed in the general underestimation of animal intelligence by humans (elephants can paint better watercolor landscapes than I can!), then this little guy convinced me.



His human guardian was selling bags of fruit, so for 20 baht we fed an elephant. We held up a piece of what appeared to be pineapple core, and he snatched it right out of our hands. No hesitation. His skin felt thick and scratchy, but his trunk was agile. I'm not so sure about the ethics behind selling an elephant's food on the streets of a small city, but he looked healthy enough. And when life unexpectedly hands you the chance to feed an elephant in the dead of night, you take it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How to Wear Fisherman Pants

As you may assume, it's pretty hot in Thailand. As you may also assume, there are tons of mosquitoes here. Since the best way to avoid being eaten is to cover up, the two don't always mix.

A few Thai mosquito facts:

1. Unlike skeeters in the States which are attracted to the smell of your breath, the mosies (British term. say: mah-sy) here in Thailand are attracted to the smell of your feet. In other words, they don't often bite your neck, shoulders, face, etc. but they do attack your feet, ankles, and legs.

2. Most mosquitoes here don't come out until dusk and stay out for the night.

Thais have invented a most elegant and comfy solution to the skeeter quandary: fisherman pants. They're quite airy so they don't get hot, but they still cover the skin and keep pesky skeetos at bay. Plus, as you will soon see, they're mad stylin'. So when the sun starts to dip, don a pair and you'll look as smart as we do.

Instructions:

First, don't freak out. He didn't lose that much weight at Jenny Craig.























Grab the front left corner with your right hand and pull it out as far as you can.
























With your left index finger, pull the front of the pants tight to your left side.























Fold your right hand across your front.























Holding the pants tightly in place, pull the strings around to the front and tie them in a tight double-knot.






















Fold the excess waist material over and look like the shiznit.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Buttload of Buddhas

Today we went to Old Sukhothai on the recommendation of a bartender in Phuket. Well worth it. Sukhothai is the ancient capital of Thailand (then called Siam {I think?}). It's full of ancient, crumbling brick wats (temples) and buddhas of every imaginable posture. We rented some bikes and rode around taking pictures. Here they are.

Wat Maha That

Standing Buddha

Sitting Buddha

Chedis

They still give offerings to the ancient buddhas

There are many more pictures on our picasa site. Just follow the link to the left.

The coolest thing about this park is that most of the tourists were Thai. After farang-town Phuket, it was quite a relief. (If you don't know farang yet, then you need to follow the blog more closely.)

Montezuma's Revenge

The past few days I've been dealing with my first bout of traveler's sickness and it's been miserable. It started with an awful headache. I mean severe awful headache. It felt like there were pulses of electricity buzzing all through my cranium. And I felt really tired and hot. So I took my temp: 101.7. My healthy temp is 97.1.

Then came the diarrhea. It was awful: sudden and painful. Like I was going to explode every 2 mins. Luckily, we came prepared with Cipro, an anti-biotic for just such occasions. So 4 pills, 2 days, and 24 hours of sleep later, I finally feel better. My stomach still has little battles every time I eat anything, but they're no longer epic. And my fever is gone. I'm just relieved the Cipro worked and I don't have to see a doctor.