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Bangkok: you either love it or you tolerate it and most people try to get out within a few days. It's hot and polluted from all the traffic (NOT typical in this picture).Evidence of the Asia stock crash a few years ago: many buildings throughout the city sit partially completed as the investors just walked away.Bangkok's Chinatown
The King's palace grounds: Busloads of tourists get off here and wander the grounds for a few hours.Note the use of gold in everything!And the detailed glass patterns -- all done by hand.
Repetition is also seen throughout the palace grounds -- again, all hand done.These are the mythological creatures that protect the groundsI think this cat was also quite bored with all the tourists...
At one of the large spirit houses near the World Trade Centre performances of Thai dance occur. People offer oranges, flowers, and wooden elephants to the spirits.The train to Chaing Mai. Get your tickets a couple days ahead and take your own food with you. The steward comes around and makes up your bed from a double seat. Due to increased concerns about nighttime robberies they now lock the cars and leave the lights on, making sleep for those in the upper bunks difficult.Chaing Mai train station. Try to find the other exit just to the left of the station to avoid the tuk-tuk and taxi drivers that will push and try to offer you rip-off fares. Take a soung-tao (red pick-up truck) to your hotel instead.
Chaing Mai's Nice Appartment, just inside Tai Pei gate (old city). A ride from the train station to here should cost no more than 10 baht each. A nice place to stay, but the resident cat takes priority over the customers. Don't ask anything about the cat or you will be handed five photo albums with pictures of the cat. One of many many markets in Chaing Mai. Note the red taxis on the left and the tuk-tuks on the right. Try to avoid the tuk-tuks as they are more dangerous, cost more, and you get to inhale all the pollution of the engine in the back seat.Canal on the east side of the old city. The canal is filled with guppies and so are all the little plant pots outside peoples houses and businesses. The guppies never get fed, so I assume they are put there to keep the bug breeding to a minimum.
Cop for a day. This local group of boy scouts got to be traffic cops for a day on this busy corner in Chaing Mai. Spirit house. All buildings in Thailand have an associated spirit house that is located somewhere on the property. Owners offer food, incense, and flowers to the spirits that live there as opposed to in the owner's house. Spirit houses can never be destroyed, even after the main house is removed. These houses are also placed in a particular location of the property to get maximum sun, etc.Above the hill in Chaing Mai there is a large sinigod, complete with tons of gold statues, plants, and bells. Dress appropriately (no shorts, no tank-tops/singlets) or you will not be admitted.
Geckos! In the evening the geckos come out and wait by the lights for flies.Chaing Mai's laundry row. Yes, people do take interesting things to get washed.Mornings at the Nice Appartment. Newspaper, cool temperatures, fresh instant coffee, and goodies from the bakery. Besides, nothing opens until 11am anyways so you might as well enjoy the sun.
All dogs in Thailand appear to be dead by early afternoon. Dead dogs were everywhere, but by early evening (when the temperatures cooled) they were alive again.This poor doggie has lost most of his fur and he learned to take full advantage of looking sad to get food from humans.The highest spot in Thailand. The sign has the elevation to four significant figures (1/100 of a cm?). My GPS unit was within 5 m. Actually the official geological marker is about 50 m behind the sign.
Hiking in the Daithong? National Park. A nice hike, but while walking through the forest there were no sounds besides your feet hitting the ground (no birds, insects, etc). Strange and eire at the same time.Back to Bangkok: a big market with over 1100 stalls and you name it, you can find it here. In the animals section you could buy tropical fish by the bag for about $1-2.More tropical fish: a little more expensive at 15 baht (about 60 cents) each.

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