November 2, 2008

The Land of Smiles...

-Many, many Buddhas at the night market in Chiang Mai.-

We had no intention of spending a lot of time in Thailand. We only wanted to use it as a staging point for our entrance into Laos. What we had planned as a four day stop-over turned into a long nine days of haggling with crooked travel agents, reluctant sight-seeing and endless waiting.

-Fleeing monk. Notice the money that he dropped. Chiang Mai.-

-Reclining Buddha. Bangkok, Thailand.-

We were so excited to get a move on to Laos that we had a hard time sitting still in one place long enough to appreciate it for what it was. Bangkok, was at least a great place to meet interesting people, get some shots of national icons and a jumping off point for our overnight train to Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai, on the other hand, was a bit more of a disappointment. We were expecting more of a mountain town, rugged, cultural and beautiful and less of a major tourist-city. So, when we arrived in town we immediately tried to get tickets out, on the slow boat to Luang Prabang, Laos. We repeatedly had run-ins with shifty agents and were eventually grudgingly forced into waiting in Chiang Mai for availability on the boat. We tried to make the best of our time there. Among our favorite activities were sitting and reading in Starbucks.

Needless to say, we were ecstatic to be on the road to the border crossing at Chiang Khong, Thailand and Huay Xai, Laos.

-Wat Po. Bangkok.-

-Fierce tiger. Bangkok.-

-Intricate glass and mirror temple roofs. Bangkok.-

-Reclining Buddha or seductive Buddha, according to Trev. Bangkok, Thailand.-

-Wat Po. Bangkok.-

-Monks on a water-taxi ride up the Chao Phraya River. Bangkok.-

-An ancient Thai painting. Bangkok.-

-Waiting for our overnight train to Chiang Mai. Bangkok National Railway Station.-
-Bangkok National Railway Station.-

-A beautiful scene near Chiang Rai.-

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