This post originally appeared on the 22 October 2011 on Tuk-tuks, chicken bouquets and bicycle bells @ kerrytolsontravels.com
I was excited to be in the region of the Golden Triangle, famous in the past for opium poppy growing and drug lords, back then it was not a place for the traveller to get lost in or wander off the beaten track lest you never returned. Today the poppy fields are gone and the hill tribes who cultivated the opium are encouraged to engage in other activities, yet two days prior to us arriving in Chiang Rai, the Bangkok News carried a story in which a Chinese boat was hijacked in the area, the thirteen crew members killed and after the recapture of the boat, an enormous load of drugs was recovered. The badlands of the Golden Triangle might be in the past, but the area was still being used as a runners route. With this news story fresh in our minds, we hire a car for two days and took to the hills flanking the Laos/Myanmar/Thai boarder.
This post originally appeared on the 17 October 2011 on Tuk-tuks, chicken bouquets and bicycle bells @ kerrytolsontravels.com
The desire of traveling is sometimes fuelled by the images we see on telly or in print and of course by the stories our friends tell us. Stories of sun-kissed beaches, idyllic wanderings, or adventure packed experiences, like lunching at a head-hunters village after rowing up crocodile infested waters. When we hear these stories and see the images, oh how we hanker for a bit of that life.
How many times have we seen in the movies a woman in some far off country, on holiday, a life changing experience, wandering through a market place, a cane carry-all hanging casually from her shoulder, her ethnic print skirt swirling around bare brown legs, her white top - pristine, her hair glossy and carefree, the sun kissing her gently as she banters with the stall holders and haggles with a dazzling smile. No, the movies would never let on to you that her shirt hasn’t been washed for a couple of days and smells of BO, that her hair isn’t greasy and frizzy because she can’t find decent conditioner or that the ‘freckles’ on her legs are really the love bites of jet-fighter mozzies with undetectable stealth bomber capabilities, that she’s hanging on for dear life to her carry-all after passing umpteenth signs declaring a vigilance against bag snatchers and that showing even the slightest bit of interest in a trinket is an invitation for hoards of touts to descend. Or for that matter, the sun is actually burning her to a crisp and it’s so muggy she’s really a puddle of mush….and of course if she was your friend, she wouldn’t tell you any of this either, after all, she’s on holidays, having the adventure of a lifetime.
This post originally appeared on 4th October 2011 on Tuk-tuks, chicken bouquets and bicycle bells @ kerrytolsontravels.com
Its feeling all very exotic, if not a little luxurious, and as the train pulls away from the station, letting off a high whistle, a clunk of wheels on the track and we are thrown back by a harsh jolt, a surge of thrillness jolts through me. We’ve lashed out and brought an overnight first- class private- sleeper- cabin train ticket to travel the southern length of Thailand to Bangkok. It’s not quite the Eastern & Oriental Express; granted the diesel Engine looks about 500years old and the cabins could do with a good lick of paint and padding but it certainly has the mysterious feel of the Orient Express, especially when a crazed Irishman runs up and down the first class corridor yelling “V.J…. V.J… where are you?” with much knocking on private cabin doors and opening and shutting. We receive a knock on ours and a polite “Ahem” from the first class purser and his assistant. “You V.J” he asked. Before we can answer the Irishman yells to them, “He looks like me. Big and white, like me”. We reply politely to the Purser and his worried looking assistant, “No, not V.J” but the purser is a diligent chap, motions to the Irishman to take a look for himself and verify we’re not his V.J. (Maybe V.J is hiding on purpose from his mate) I almost expect Hercule Poirot with his cute little moustache or Miss Marple with knitting bag in tow to suddenly appear. We have no idea whether the wayward V.J ever appeared or what happen to him and the last we heard of the Irishman was his leaving the First Class for the Second Class and beyond, his crazed voice echoing out “V.J… where the fook are ya man ”.
Thailand Blog posts
This blog originally appeared on my blog: Tuk-tuks, chicken bouquets and bicycle bells at kerrytolsontravels.com in 2011.
Hello! I'm Kerry
. . . a plan-nothing, have no idea where I'm going travelholic.
A daughter of the gypsies and the wife of a workaholic, I'm forever wondering 'What's over there?' and devising ways to squeeze through the barbed-wire fence of small-business ownership responsibilities and every-day life tangles to discover it.
and this is my book.