Nov 272009
 
The Results of the Level 1 Massage Exam...

When the director of your Thai massage school tells you that you have to walk two miles Friday morning to arrive in time for 8:30 am Tai Chi/Qi Gong in the far Southwestern park of Chiang Mai, you grumble profusely.

Once you’re stretching your arms high above your head in the fresh morning air, however, and once you hear the birds singing in the bright green palm trees, all is made clear.

And [...Read More!]

Nov 262009
 
How Thai Massage Class is Like Boston Public

Today is Thanksgiving, though you wouldn’t know it in Northern Thailand.

Geckos are squeaking, the breeze gusts warm, and there ain’t a turkey in sight.

But wherever we are, even kooky Canada with its October Thanksgiving, it’s still that time of year to say thanks!

And this year’s thanks goes out to the students and staff of Boston Public Schools. Everything during this year around the world is making me think of you. [...Read More!]

Nov 252009
 
A Chiang Mai Food Scene Sonata in Four Parts

Part 1: The Blind Food Gamble.

Look at the menu pictured to the left. What would you order from it??

For week one in Chiang Mai, I resided in the heart of tourist world, and thus browsed menus and ordered food with ease. Now, however, I’m in the far North of town by the massage school, and words I can read are few and far between.

And just like that, we [...Read More!]

Nov 242009
 
Thai Massage's Sexy Reputation

“A question, please,” said my classmate Olivia shyly. “In Brazil we don’t have this idea, but I hear that in America and Europe, Thai massage sometimes is, um… well… how you say…” “Linked with prostitution?” I asked. Olivia’s face lit up and then flushed bright red. “Um, yes.” “Oh absolutely!” I said, thinking of all the joke emails from friends I currently have in my Inbox in reaction to the news that [...Read More!]

Nov 222009
 
An Ode to Me-Cation Hermit Time

“We’d take a last embrace, she whispering to me, “Jesus, what am I going to do now?” …But the moment I left her my head cleared. It was another kind of music, not so croony but good just the same.”(p. 170 in Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer“)

  Partially in celebration of Miller’s wise words, and partly because I really freaking needed it after three months of hardcore travel, I have been a [...Read More!]
Nov 212009
 
Budget Travel Tip: Uber-Expensive Hotels

A gloriously counter-intuitive budget travel secret: crazy expensive hotels are your friends!

Have you ever woken up in your perfectly comfortable but not exactly luxurious $7 hotel room (pictured, right) and thought, “Geez, man, I could stand to feel bit more like a Prince/Princess today.”? Of course you have.

(Okay, literally, as I was just sitting on my $7 bed writing that last paragraph, an ant crawled up the mattress and onto [...Read More!]

Nov 202009
 
Chuckle-ish Signs from Chiang Mai

It’s fun to mish and mush the English language and see what happens! For language-twisting lovers, it is a particular delight to ponder signs in foreign countries.

I was strolling in Chiang Mai’s hot sun for too long today, and after a while the local signposts began to conjure up hilarious scenes in my head. See if you giggle as much as I did at these examples, or if I [...Read More!]

Nov 192009
 
...And Then the British Lass Stole his Passport

(Note: This is a seedy, spicy, shocking story that happened a few weeks ago in Laos, which I am only now at liberty to recount. Be assured, though, that the end comes with a wholesome lesson. The accompanying photos are utterly unrelated (sorry, but I couldn’t really have photos of the folks in this sketchy story!), and were taken tonight at the gorgeous Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai, Thailand: my current [...Read More!]

Nov 172009
 
Recession Hideout? Moats and Disco Ball Walls in Chiang Mai!

Several folks have written with the following query:

“I’ve been laid off and am looking for an inexpensive, enjoyable place to weather the recession abroad. Got any thoughts?” Indeed I do, though it’s just a humble suggestion from four days here paired with numerous raves from other travelers: Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Why? Though not as postcard gorgeous and tranquil as Luang Prabang, Laos, and though not as crackling with energy [...Read More!]