A few days in Thailand (Day 133)

Hey hey.  In the days since Laos I have been hanging out in Thailand.  Mostly, I have been waiting for a visa to Myanmar, which took several days.  During my visit to the embassy, everybody in the line in front of me were being offered a visa available on the same day.  Great news.  “Same-day” visas rock.  I have learned that, for visa forms and border crossings, it is not helpful for me to write “unemployed” or “ski bum” for my occupation.  Even if it is the most appropriate answer.  So, instead, I always put “engineer”.  Less questions.

The embassy guy is reading my form with his head down, as they do when they go through all this paperwork.

Embassy guy: “Write company you work for.”
I write in “Microsoft”.
Embassy guys looks at me for the first time.  “You have business card?”
Me:  “No.  I quit.  … to visit Myanmar”.  I thought this was a nice added touch on my part.
No reaction from Embassy Guy.  “You have mobile number in Bangkok?”.
Me:  “No.”
Embassy Guy:  “Write your email address.   Come back in 3 days”.
Me: “I can’t get a same-day visa?”
Embassy Guy:  “No.  Pay $25”.

End of conversation.  huh.  Now, I’m not saying I was denied the same-day visa because I worked for Microsoft.  Maybe I just look like a trouble-maker.  I’m just telling you what happened.  As turns out, I later met some other people who had to wait 3 business days for a visa, so I wasn’t so much of a special case as I thought.  Still funny, though.

So, while waiting formy visa, I went to Khao Yai National Park, supposedly Thailand’s finest. I spent a few days there camping and hiking.  It was fun to see lots of Thai people there enjoy the outdoors.  I noticed that Thai national parks are similar ones back home in many ways, except the animals are different.  In North America, they hand out literature to all visitors saying what to do in case of a bear encounter.  Here, the same thing, only for elephant encounters.  Back home, they have issues with raccoons getting into the garbage — here, it is the monkeys that are the problem.  Ha!  I went on quite a long hike by myself in the jungle.  As I mentioned in my Cambodia jungle-trekking experience, the jungle is an odd place. Compared to the forests back home, the jungle is very “alive”. There is constantly sounds I can’t recognize, probably from animals I don’t want to encounter.  Cobras?  Tigers?  Big-ass lizards?  And, you often can’t see 5 feet in front of you because it is so dense.  Next time I’m bring a machete :)

Thanks for the heads up.  I’m pretty sure I would see them coming.

This is a new one for me

Hmm… good tip. Maybe I’ll just go back the way I came…

Thailand needs to “monkey-proof” the garbage bins.  For these little guys, the current bins are a joke to get into.

These guys were camping next to me.  They invited me over for some grilled food and a guitar sing-along.  The only english songs they knew were “Hotel California” and “Have you ever seen the rain?”.  The cooked me a fish and some octopus.  Pretty good stuff.  For some reason, it’s weird for me to see a bucket full of octopus. But, it tasted just fine :)

Quick story from when I was in Chiang Mai a couple days ago:  Some friends and I went to see some Thai boxing (my second time).  They featured an “international” bout with a Canadian guy vs a local Thai fighter.  The Thai was smaller, but much faster and younger.  He unleashed vicious kicks on the Canadian time and time again.  I thought the Canadian was slowly going to get beat up and lose, but he caught the Thai with one nasty elbow to the head (Thai boxing is brutal like that).  The Thai hit the mat and did not get up.  He needed to be carried off.  In spite of myself, I jumped to my feet and starting cheering.  As did some other (obviously Canadian) people in the stadium. OK, Thai boxing is not exactly hockey, but when you are far from home and you see one of your countrymen participate in a sport he likely did not grow up playing, and end up victorious, you can’t help but get a little excited.  I wanted to find out where he was from, but didn’t get the chance.  Thai boxing is vicious, he is a brave soul.


Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Tomorrow I fly to Myanmar.  I have heard great things about this country. I go to begin my Burmese Days

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