Jan 9 Want to buy a baby albino turtle? An arcade pinball machine? A complete 17th century European milk maid’s costume? Would you like to see a cock-fight? Eat a small roasted bird – beak, toes, eyeballs and all? Head to Bangkok’s Chatuchak market, all day every Saturday and Sunday.
Jan 11 Last night I spent the better part of the night waking from fits of restless sleep, paranoid I’d find someone had broken into our room and was hovering over me trying to brainwash me into the Red Shirt Brigade.
We arrived in Chiang Mai yesterday, Sunday, with no room booked. After wandering around with our packs for quite some time looking for vacancies, we stumbled into the Warorot Grand. The place may have in fact been grand, circa 1982. But clearly it had no one had passed beyond the lobby at any time since. But at $20/night for a room, it was available and affordable, so we took it. The place could not have been creepier.
The lobby was home to the Red Shirt Restaurant. It’s walls were covered in wall-size prints of rallies thousands strong of people in red shirts. The tv in the lobby looped non-stop footage of political speeches and marches (of people clad in red, of course). All the employees wore red shirts. All the decor was red. Outside the hotel we massive speakers broadcasting their message to the streets. We had wandered into some kind of twilight zone. I am fairly certain we were the only people staying there. After one restless night we checked out. Luckily there were more vacancies in town on Monday.
Jan 13 Inspired by a friend’s Facebook photo, we visited the Tiger Kingdom when we were in Chiang Mai. I was unsure about it, because I don’t really like zoos. But, when else in your life can you play with a tiger? I couldn’t pass it up.
Though I felt that they should have more room to run, the place was seemed very well-run. The tigers are born in captivity, so are accostomed to human contact from birth. They are never drugged or sedated; they are not de-clawed. And they are HUGE. Even the babies are big. A six month old tiger is the size of a large dog.
In a perfect world they would have lots more space to roam, or better yet, run wild. But with only several hundred Indochinese tigers surviving in the wild today, for now, Tiger Kingdom is keeping the species alive in captivity.