Thailand: Up Country

Chiang Mai: "Royal Flora Ratchapreuk"

Chiang Mai, Thailand

November 7, 2006

Dear Family and Friends, 

As a Native New Yorker, I freely admit I knew next to nothing about my native plants. I remember the green hedge at the entrance to my apartment building on Anderson Avenue in The Bronx. Tall leafy trees lined and shaded the next street, aptly named, Woodycrest Avenue. In my old neighborhood, a few empty, rocky, hilly lots sustained some weeds and scrawny trees that survived, I know not how.

Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang, Kamphaeng Phet: "Take Your Time!"

Chiang Mai


November 5, 2006

Dear Friends and Family,

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep sits on the very peak of Suthep Mountain.

There are two methods to reach the top: Three hundred and six steps up a staircase. Or a funicular cable car.

Is there any doubt as to how I would have ascended last year? Is there any question as to how I will transport myself this year? . . . But first . . . .

Nong Khai: Sala Kaew Ku: "Buddhas Bizarre"

March 10, 2005


Nong Khai. "More than 620km from Bangkok and 55km from Udon Thani, Nong Khai is where Highway 2 ends, at the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge over the Mekong River. Across the river is the Lao People's Democratic Republic."

Some people love it here. I hated it. Typical border-town phlegmatic attitude and apathetic behavior. So un-typical Thai. But to follow my own travel philosophy, "Be happy where you are," I decided to see the sights.

Ban Phue, Tham Erawan: Bolders Bizarre

March 9, 2005



Another day trip. This one began at 07:30. After staggering and swirling around town looking for the right bus station, on my third try, three motor bikes later, I found the 09:00 mini-bus to Ban Phue where I hop yet another motorbike to Bhu Prabat. (I may be an experienced traveler but my Thai is just good enough to get me into trouble on occasion.)

Bhu Prabat Historical Park. A peculiar mix of pre-historic cave paintings, bizarre geological formations and Buddhist shrines.

"The formations are a collection of balanced rocks, spires and whale-sized boulders with several shrines and three wat built in and around them."

Udon Thani, Chaiyaphum, Ban Phai, Ban Chiang: "Ancient Swirls"

Udon Thani


March 8, 2005

Dear Family and Friends,

I got tired of just sitting around at The Honey Inn so after a few days of R&R I hit the road again, this time heading to northeast Thailand.

It was a short but "monumental" ten day trip. Even a little bizarre.

Chaiyaphun. I thought was going to see a silk-weaving village outside of town but in the searing heat and under the penetrating and debilitating sun I lost my patience. (Another couple I met later in the day had the same problem. On the way out of town, on the bus, we saw the sign, facing the "wrong" direction.)

Nang Rong: "Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung"

Nang Rong, Buriram


November 30, 2004


Dear Family and Friends,

When I mention to Thai people that I plan to visit Isaan, they all smile. Now the Thai smile can have many meanings: Genuine friendship, well-mannered politeness, slightly restrained affection, short-lived tolerance, and perhaps, "I smile because I know what you don't know." Take your pick.