Northern Thailand (May 2004)

Tracy was already in Bangkok when I arrived to meet her. I went to the hotel she said she'd be staying at and approached the front desk. To my amazement not only was Tracy not staying there, but none of her 20+ classmates were registered there either. I waited in the lobby until about midnight and, not knowing what to do, I decided to go look for a cheap hotel. While walking outside I heard my name being called behind me. I turned around and saw a 2 people I'd never seen before. They said that Tracy had passed out and that they had changed hotels. They led me to the room where I was to find Tracy and upon arrival, sure enough, I found Tracy out cold on the bed. The picture above is the mess their room was in when I arrived. In the morning when I asked Tracy why she hadn't bothered to meet me at the original hotel, she replied "they were giving away FREE TEQUILA at the bar we were at!". How could I argue with that? =D

We took a sleep train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. It was a very nice ride.

The inside of the train.

This Wat was right beside our hotel in Chiang Mai. There was many monks there and they had no problems with being photographed.

We decided to do a packaged tour that included Elephant trekking, a hike into a few Karen Hilltribe villages, and bamboo rafting.

I was sitting on the elephants head and when I first saw his trunk come up and stare me in the face I couldn't figure out what it was doing. All of a sudden I was covered with elephant snot.

I didn't want to get sprayed again so I wrestled with his trunk every time he pointed it at me. Half way through the ride I figured out why he was spraying me. I was tickling the hair on his head and he must have though it was mosquitos or something. When you touch an elephants head you have to really dig your fingers into his skin so he knows it's you and not just annoying bugs!

By the end of the trek we were friends :)

This was our Guide for the trek to the Karen Hilltribes of northern Thailand

The bulls seemed really angry with humans all the time so we didn't get too close. I was very worried about getting charged by one!

This is one of the Karen tribes houses. There are no roads to these villages and they have only miniscule populations.

We stayed in the a Karen Tribe village that night and the kids sang songs for us around the fire. It was very neat!

Everyone was very friendly!

When all the kids went to bed we had some drinks with a guide who played guitar and made up funny words to well known songs like Hotel California.

This bull must have been REALLY camera shy because he looked like he wanted to kill me for taking this picture.

If you think YOUR school was short on supplies.. check out this one. We had no right to complain ;)

While we were leaving the village an old lady stopped out guide and asked him, in the Karen language, for some painkillers. He filled her hands with aspirin and we were on our way.

Our guide gave his toast and jam to a little girl that looked hungry. She was very happy!

Tracy hiking.

During the trek our Guide kept saying that we'd stop at the Hotel California to take showers and freshen up. We would all laugh whenever he said it but sure enough.. half way through the day we arrived at the "Hotel California" which had a small waterfall to shower in.

When we got back to Chiang Mai we found advertizements for a big Muay Thai fighting match. There was many fighters including an american and a Scottsman. The Scottsman broke the Americans leg in the first minute of the match. Muay Thai fighters are FAST. The small thais took beatings that you wouldnt believe.

On the way back across the Mekong from Laos we brought our red suitcase which we purchased in China. It looks kind of out of place on a boat such as the one we were on.

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