Quit our jobs, sold our home, gone riding...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by lightcycle, Aug 1, 2012.

  1. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Incense sticks at Wat Lok Moli

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    Every Sunday, the streets west of Tae Phae Gate into the old city close off to vehicle traffic and stalls set up for pedestrians to walk by

    It just so happens that the bazaars during Yi Peng are absolutely packed. There is barely any room to move! A few times I lost Neda and Iva because while they perused the stands looking for bargains, my eye was glued to my camera.

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    Need shoes? You've come to the right place!

    These are Hmong embroidered shoes, mostly for kids. The Hmong are one of several ethnic hill tribes that live in Northern Thailand. Each of the hill tribes have their own dialects and style of dress.

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    In the process of knitting hats worn by the hill tribes
  2. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    These are tiny dyed soaps sculptures carved into flowers! We saw a guy making them, it was quite intricate. So small it fits in the palm of your hand.

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    These ladies are from the Karen hill tribe. They seem to wear less embroidered clothes than the Hmong.

    Some of the Karen hill tribe women wear gold rings around their necks to stretch and elongate them over time. I'd like to visit a Karen village and see this during our stay in Northern Thailand!

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    Heavy full moon traffic outside the Tae Phae Gate

    See those red covered trucks? They're the most popular mode of public transport in Chiang Mai. They're called Song Thaews, but Iva called them Fire Trucks and the name stuck with us. Having been here for a while, we also found out these Fire Trucks are the cheapest method of getting around. Only rich farang tourists take the tuk tuks, which will cost you about 50 baht ($2) to get you anywhere in the old city. By contrast, hail a Fire Truck heading in the direction you're going and it will only cost you $20 baht (less than $1). The only catch is that you share them with whoever else hails one along the way, and the Fire Truck driver will often take the least direct/most circuitous route to pick up as many passengers as possible.

    Still, it's a good deal and we feel like such locals willfully ignoring all the drivers who cluck at us as we walk by: "Tuk tuk? Tuk Tuk?"
  3. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Iva and Neda look for some scarves. Later followed by some competitive rounds of haggling...

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    So back to taking more pictures for me...

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    Thai glass sculpture
  4. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Buddha art. This is not considered very ethical by Thai people

    When we first arrived at Bangkok Airport, we saw lots of signs and posters informing us that it is disrespectful to use the imagery of Buddha, either as pictures or statues for decoration. Since it's a very religious symbol, Buddhists only use it for worship. So all of these Buddha paintings and carvings that are sold to tourists to hang on bathroom walls and used as garden sculptures are very offensive.

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    A proper use of the Buddha statue

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    Incense and bells are two of the most important objects in Buddhism. The bells signify the voice of Buddha are a call for protection by heavenly deities.

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    Colourful painted bowls. The Bazaar makes for some colourful night-time photography!
  5. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Pula Girls out for a night on the town. And clotheslining an unsuspecting local...

    I'm glad that we took a week off before Iva came to visit us in Chiang Mai. We have quite a full itinerary while she's here... But if it wasn't for her, we wouldn't see any of it!

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    Of course food plays an important part of any celebration!

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    Neda orders some fried dumplings. Mmmm...

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    Gahhhh! So many people! Is it wrong to long for Yi Peng to be over and wish them all away from our city?

    Yes, it's only been a few weeks but already we've started to think of Chiang Mai like home. But more on that later...
  6. Balanda

    Balanda Been here awhile

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    [QUOTE="lightcycle, post: 28784850,

    Yes, it's only been a few weeks but already we've started to think of Chiang Mai like home. But more on that later...
    [/QUOTE]

    Hey, this is interesting!! Who'd have thunk it. mmmmm, awaiting your revelations with interest.
  7. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique aka El Gato Loco

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    if you can bear to leave Chang Mae behind, here's a suggestion. Rent a couple of motorcycles and go north from Chang Mae and do a 2 week loop on the Myanmar border. Chang Mae, Chang Rai, Mae Sai, Mae Hong Son, Mae Sot and back is a wonderful loop on small mountain roads.
  8. Baggi'tard

    Baggi'tard If I don't answer I'm ridin' or shootin' Supporter

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    So VIBRANT! Pictures are great Gene, thanks for the update as always.
  9. shojac

    shojac Adventurer

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    Just wondering if you have cell phones and what you do for service since you travel so many places.
  10. mattsz

    mattsz moto-gurdyist

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    Love your colorful night shots!

    For the first time, I think, in... how many years? How many posts? ...I spotted... a duplicate photo! :yikes Amazing it hasn't happened sooner - there must be hundreds (thousands?) of pics posted here!
  11. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Thanks for the info!

    Normally we just use public wifi on our smartphones. Then we use Skype for any phone calls. However, since we're in Thailand for an extended period of time, I got a SIM chip for voice and text only. The chip is free and for $1.40 USD, I get almost an hour of local talk time. Not bad. There are data packages I can add on as well, 4.5GB of 4G access for 30 days, just $11 USD.

    4,825 actually. So the blog says...

    Duplicate? No! Check again! :wink:
  12. mattsz

    mattsz moto-gurdyist

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    Throw me under the bus, will you?!? Well... I'll allow it, since it means we get to see some more pics of the girls (that weren't there before...)
  13. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/275.html

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    Sawadee Kruhp!

    We've been in Thailand for just over a month and not too much has happened. Iva was only with us a for a few days longer in Chiang Mai, so the girls took a cooking class just outside of the city.

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    First stop before cooking class is a trip to the local market to pick up ingredients

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    I also took a cooking class, so there are some pictures interspersed of my trip to the market. This is our cooking instructor Phern

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  14. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Neda is getting some good tips on which are the best spices and sauces to use

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    About 45 minutes outside of Chiang Mai, our cooking school is in the middle of the farm. Cool!

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    Fresh ingredients are picked from the garden just outside

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    The class is set up so that all the ingredients are brought to you and all the pots and pans are washed after you're done with them.
    We should go to cooking school every day! 55555!


    Oh yeah, I also picked up some Thai Internet lingo. The number "5" is pronounced "ha".... so "55555" = "hahahahaha" :)
  15. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Neda's cooking up some delicious Tom Yum Soup.

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    I'm only attending cooking class for all the eating at the end. And because I look so good in an apron...

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    Before this class, I had no idea what went into green curry. Basically you pound a bunch of ingreendients and you end up with a paste. Neat!

    My green curry paste is on the right, Neda's is on the left. Mine's smoother... 555. The only thing I'm better at cooking than Neda is brute force mortaring and pestling.

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    The format of the class is that for each dish, our instructor shows us what to do and then we are off to our individual stations to make magic

    I found out that there are just a handful of ingredients that you use for Thai cooking: coconut milk, lime, fish sauce, palm sugar, garlic, shallots and basil. It's the combination and amounts you use to come up with a variety of dishes.
  16. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    My favorite dessert is Mango Sticky Rice. Basically it's coconut milk, palm sugar and rice. The purple colour comes from a flower called Butterfly Pea

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    The girls had a great time cooking. I had a great time eating!

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    Iva and Neda spend their few hours just hanging out and having fun

    It was a sad day when Iva had to leave us to head back to Bangkok and catch her flight back to Croatia. We've been surrounded by friends for over the last two months solid, and now we were left alone to ourselves. While it was amazing to be so social, what we really needed was to properly focus on recuperating from our travel fatigue. The last couple of weeks, we've just stayed inside our cool apartment. Neda experimented with some Thai cooking at home, and we ventured out a few times a week to eat out.

    After a Skype session with some friends back home, I noticed how much weight I was gaining. Time to cut back on all the good Thai food... Is there a Thai number for Fat? ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ :(
    SmilinJoe and Photowriter like this.
  17. lightcycle

    lightcycle Nomad

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    Lining up to extend our visa (exemption)

    Our Thai visa ran out after a month. It's actually not a proper visa, but a visa exemption - since Thailand has an agreement with a lot of first-world countries that allows you to enter the country without having to obtain a visa beforehand. This exemption gives you a 30-day stay in Thailand, but you either have to leave and come back, or you are allowed to extend the exemption once for an additional 30 days while you are in the country for a fee.

    We would like to stay longer. A lot longer. Because we've fallen in love with Chiang Mai.

    The northern mountain weather is dryer and cooler than the rest of the country. Outside of Yi Peng, there aren't a lot of attractions in the city - no beaches, no big temples - so not as much tourist traffic as a Bangkok or Phuket. Despite it being one of the cheapest places to live in Thailand, it's a very middle-class city with plenty of amenities all centrally located. We've not felt this at home in a city since we stayed in La Paz, Mexico and Medellin, Colombia.

    The cost of living here is about 25% of the cost of living in Toronto, with all things being equal. We left a very comfortable lifestyle back in Canada, spending most of the last three and a half years living in a tent and sleeping on friends' couches. Now that we are able to afford the same standard of living that we left behind, that kind of luxury is seductive. We originally came to Thailand not just to escape the European winter, but also to figure out what we want to do with our travels and our lives moving forward. What we're feeling right now is that we are very burnt out and it doesn't look like a few months will solve that. We haven't experienced what Chiang Mai is like all year round, but we are now seriously talking about settling here full-time as ex-pats.

    It's such a stereotype - the western ex-pat in Thailand. But once you get here, stuff just starts to make sense: The weather, the friendly people, the low cost of living, the high standard of living you are able to afford... And to think, just a month and a half ago, we weren't even planning on coming here!

    There are a number of things we still have to research and figure out. What do we do with our big bikes in Croatia? Do we ride them from Croatia to Thailand? What are the route/carnet/visa issues involved with that? If we do that, we'll only have a window of time in the spring/summer/fall of 2016. Just talking about planning and doing that ride down here is stressing us out, with all its timelines and schedules. Can't we just ship the bikes here? Are we even allowed to import them into Thailand? And how do we stay full time in our newly chosen home?

    So much research to do.

    Also, we are getting sick of haggling with the Fire Truck drivers. We were thinking about renting scooters. However, after our 30-day visa exemption extension expires, we cannot extend it again and will have to leave the country to either come in on another 30-day visa exemption or apply for a proper 60-day tourist visa outside of Thailand. We looked at renting bigger motorcycles and riding out and back into Thailand, but the rental companies don't allow you to leave the country on their rentals.

    So the plan right now is to buy a couple of cheap, used motorcycles. I've found a bunch of on-line classifieds and also put the word out that we're looking for bikes. We've got a month before we have to leave the country so that should be plenty of time to find two-wheeled transport.

    Putting the "Ride" back into RideDOT.com!
    CowboyFatBob, forgorin, gfh and 9 others like this.
  18. nameless

    nameless 100% recyclable

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    What a great ride so far :) about the bikes, talk with "TheFlyingDutchman" he bought a bike in Thailand and even registered in his name without living there...so he's probably able to help you guys with some pointers :). SEA is really a great place to live and travel, the prices are amazing and the people are mostly very nice. When i was there i also came back with that thought in my mind, "why not just move here and enjoy life" heheh
  19. Max Wedge

    Max Wedge ADVenture mowing

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    Wow! Big things are happening! Nice cliff-hanger. I am staying tuned and hitting the refresh button every 5 minutes now.
  20. motocopter

    motocopter Long timer

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    It's the blue food doing this! :lol3