Saturday, June 6, 2009

Chiang Mai - Pai (Thailand) 1

Tigers - before we got into the cage with the tigers, they gave us a quick briefing. No flash on the camera, no running, etc. The unassuming scrawny Thai guy, with shoulders slightly hunched, gazing up at a cloud, fiddling with a skinny bamboo branch, happened to be our trainer. Full grown Siberian tiger: 500 pounds, instincts to kill. Scrawny Thai trainer and his bamboo...ummm, time to go in the cage, lets not finish this thought.

These tigers were just as well behaved as Siegfried and Roy's, OK, bad example. They were very well behaved. The trainer put 2 fingers of pressure on the top of the tigers spine, and the tiger hunched down. 2 fingers on the mid spine and 2 on the lower spine and the tiger was reclined. Even when the tiger turned so he was staring at me from a foot away, I never felt scared, just in awe.

P.S. many other tigers in Asia are chained or drugged. Not these ones: after we left the cage they were jumping and playing and growling. I highly recommend Tiger Kingdom.

Meditation - after the tigers, Guido, the German I was traveling with did a 2 day meditation retreat. Most of the meditation was concentrating on breathing, and only breathing, or a counting scheme, and only that counting scheme. My brain has never hurt so much from thinking about so little.
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Friday, June 5, 2009

Chiang Mai - Pai (Thailand) 2

 After Chiang Mai, we spent a few days in Pai, a small hippy town set up in the mountains. We spent a day at a waterfall you could slide down, and a few more at Joey's ranch. Joey was from Bangkok, but had just bought some land he was turning it into a farm and adding bungalows. when someone said "joey, are you going to plant mango trees?" He replied in his Thai accent "Why not?". Are you going to build a zip line from this hill to that one? "Why not?" Joey, lets go into town""Why not?" Any suggestion "Why not?" Any question "Why not?". I found the most chill guy on earth.

Also, I watched game 1 of the NBA finals in Luang Nam Tha, Laos, with Chinese commentary. Game 3 in Chiang Mai in English. And in Pai, I watched the Lakers bring the title back to its rightful home, in Thai. ดำเนินความ,เสนอ,ลงมือ! 冠 军 称 号 Lakers! Lets go Lakers!

Get out some paper and write me a diagram. In February, Andrew and I met Kellan in Saigon (Vietnam), bumped into him in Hoi An, and convinced him to come on our Halong Bay cruise when we saw him in Hanoi. In April, Kellan ran into Louise and Minty (the girls Andrew and I traveled with for 6 weeks through Vietnam and China) in Darjeeling, India. In January, before Andrew met up with me, he met Karen on an island in Thailand. We ran into Karen in Hanoi and convinced her to come on our cruise as well. Karen and Kellen traveled together for a month afterwards. In May I ran into Karen in Vang Viene (Laos) and again in Pai. In Pai, Karen and I ran into our Halong Bay tour guide. Its a small world.

Yes, I learned how to do this. Yes, this is fun. No, I was not 100% sober at the time of this photo. No, I did not burn my face off.

Its nice to see familiar faces. Jason and Laura, 2 friends from Santa Barbara, met me for 4 days back in Chiang Mai. After that, they spent 5 days on an island. Laura now regrets only spending 10 days in Thailand. As soon as the Thai culture seeped through her skin and took the tension out of her muscles, it was time to go. Americans do it wrong.

Ziplining - This was fun. The last repel was over 150 feet. I decided to repel upside down. 50 feet above ground my camera slipped out of my pocket, crashed on the landing pad, bounced into a rock, then another rock, resting in the mud about a foot from the nearby stream. The metal frame was dented and scratched, the plastic piece holding the battery was broken, but other than that, it works like a gem. Not bad for a $120 camera. I highly recommend Canon cameras.

In college, the Zeta Beta Tau Amateur Engineering Department performed many experiments related to the structural integrity of many household electronics, such as televisions, computer monitors, microwaves and printers. As per standard "roof test" protocol, a lab technician released the item from a platform of 36 feet, and observed it during its decent as well as impact. If the item was not in proper working order after impact, our scientist would declare a "roof test fail" My Canon SD1100 is the first "roof test pass" observed. Of course, all necessary safety precautions were taken for all experiments.
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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chiang Mai - Pai (Thailand) 3

Bam - Are you gonna ask me to cook you Thai food when I get home?

The Muai Thai fight was as violent as I thought it was gonna be. After 6 serious fights, they put 4 blindfolded fighters in the ring (and a ref). You can guess the rest.

The ring girls for the Maui Thai fight. This pic doesn't do justice. Check out this video

Umong Temple, so relaxing. This is the UC Santa Cruz of temples.
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