I landed in Chiang Mai bleeding profusely from the wallet but regardless of the financial damage, had a great time. All of my shopping for all of this year’s birthday and Christmas presents is complete. After accumulating a lot of photos, it’s time to cool out for a few days, play catch up, and relax. Hopefully, I can throttle back on the spending a bit.
SO MANY AIRPLANES IN SE ASIA ARE AMUSINGLY DECORATED
HUG HOSTEL ROOFTOP – This is a good place to stay in Chiang Mai for a number of reasons. It’s a medium-sized hostel that has an excellent restaurant with very good prices. There’s a rooftop bar for those who enjoy that sort of thing, and a common room for movies and computer usage.
HOSTEL RESTAURANT – The food is great and they will make it your way.
COOK WITH LOVE SUSHI BAR – This friendly Japanese restaurant serves up quality sushi at an amazing prize in a beautiful, zen decor. The softshell crab salad is cosmic, and you can get five big slices of salmon sashimi for a mere six bucks.
CHIANG MAI CANALS
GOLDEN WATS ARE UBIQUITOUS
FOLLOWERS KNEEL BEFORE THE BUDDHA AT TWILIGHT
CANALS AT NIGHT
ZOE IN YELLOW – This is supposedly the best dance club in Chiang Mai. I suppose it’s enjoyable if you like very loud, mind-numbing EDM. Frankly, the only way to cope with the vibe is the overconsumption of drink buckets or a tab of ecstasy. I neither drink nor do “E” so this place is a non-starter.
I’M OUTTA HERE!
PENTATONIC ROCKBAR – Even the Rock music was unbearable!
FOXY LADY – A BIT OF A MISNOMER – THE BURNED OUT SIGN WAS THE FIRST CLUE
Worn out from the crappy music venues, I thought I’d check out the spectacle at the highly-rated go-go bar, Foxy Lady that supposedly boasted fewer and prettier girls who evidently put more exuberance into their dancing. It seemed relatively favorable upon the first inspection. The music wasn’t blaring and there were girls dancing in bikini tops and panties. Nothing too garish or untoward. So I picked up a Diet Coke and took refuge in a corner so I could better evaluate the situation.
That’s when things started to get dodgy. Now mind you, I wasn’t there for a bit of crumpet, just to pick up some good blog fodder before the walk home. From my vantage point, the only exuberance I detected was the manner in which the girls were screaming at each other and their customers. Imagine cats in heat with Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies all thrown in a sack and beaten with a broom handle, and you’ll get the idea of just how obnoxious it was.
Most of the ladies were not particularly attractive. You encounter prettier women in the 7/11 down the street. By and large, the ladies were coarse and vulgar, and the grating sounds of their voices could kill an erection at a hundred meters backed up by a handful of Viagra. How anyone could enjoy such an environment is beyond me. The local Thai guys in my corner refuge were an absolute disgrace. They were grabbing the girls every which way from Sunday, which was what was provoking the horrendous caterwauling. One jerk yanked a woman’s panties down like he was pantsing some poor nerd in high school.
I guess the worst part of it was that it all seemed to be business as usual, and the management and dancers were not threatened by the lurid goings-on. The American president would feel right at home here. I finished taking notes, downed the last of my drink, and sought refuge in the cool, quiet, open air.
FARANG KUNT – Seen just down the road from the Foxy Lady, this misspelled tag shows the underlying disdain for foreigners. The word for foreigner is “farang.” It’s an ugly word which I really don’t care for. Much worse than the wretched “Gringo” of Mexican origin. If you’re going to use a cockamamie slur on me, better just call me a c#nt and be done with it, instead of beating around the bush. I going to assume this grafitti perpetrated by a resentful Thai man who is upset by the fact that Westerners are making off with copious quantities of their women because so many of the Thai ladies are fed up with many of their countrymen.
LE MERIDIEN HOTEL – A QUIET SANCTUARY IN WHICH TO RECOVER FROM THE CACOPHONY OF THE FOXY LADY
SHINY SCARLET ELEPHANTS
A COMPETENT ASIAN AC/DC TRIBUTE BAND
ANCIENT RUIN – I’LL FIND OUT WHAT THIS IS
A NICE ATMOSPHERIC PIECE – THESE SHOTS OF STREET ARE COME OUT SO WELL AT NIGHT
4AM – INDOOR MARKET PREPARING BREAKFAST – AT SIX THE SIDEWALKS FILL UP WITH STALLS
MY NEW GOPRO CAMERA – This is a big deal because now I can shoot footage and photos underwater. That means pictures of whale sharks in the Philippines and God knows what else in Bali, Komodo, and Sipidan islands. Actually, I have a GoPro back in the States in my storage unit, but it is buried in an unknown location and is a first generation camera. This is state of the art 4K 7th. generation with image stabilization. I’m very excited about this and am thinking of starting a YouTube channel. So much for throttling back on the shopping, but one that will serve a serious purpose.
ÉGARD PASSAGES – This is a watch, endorsed by William Shatner who was also involved in the design. It was made in a limited run of only 999 watches per style (Black, Gunmetal, and Silver) The dial is inundated with meteorite dust, and the case back bears Shatner’s signature. Having been a lifelong Star Trek fan and watch hound, I had to have one of these. Even with all of the features, cultural significance, and collectors value, the price of the watch was not insane, and it should double in value in five years.
MY NEW ÉGARD “WILLIAM SHATNER” PASSAGES WRISTWATCH
The big question is, how did I even learn of this watch, how did I find one? Well, I can thank Gillette and their incredibly offensive scold of an ad campaign that essentially accused all men of being toxic and lectured us ad nauseam when all we wanted was some goddamn razor blades.
Some friends on YouTube brought it to my attention that another company had made a commercial that focused on all the horrors that men face, all of the sacrifices they make, and the nobility they display on a daily basis.
The commercial was fantastic, and since I sold watches for six years, I wanted to support a company that supports mankind. I did some googling and lo and behold I found that Shatner Watch you see above! I flipped out only to be confronted by the harsh reality that the timepiece was a limited run and was completely sold out.
Undeterred, I hit the internet, and within an hour managed to find a lone, brand new, William Shatner, Passages, Gunmetal timepiece with stainless-steel and carbon-fiber bracelet. I was elated and ordered it without hesitation. This is where things got hairy. My credit card was declined because all of a sudden CitiBank decided to get nervous. It took me a half hour to reactivate my card, and thankfully I didn’t lose the object of my affection in the process.
GILLETTE HOTNESS – This ad had a palliative effect and went a long way toward assuaging my anger at the company. Disregarding the sins of their horrible commercial, one look at this catsuit will manage to even the score regardless of Gillette’s flagrant hypocrisy and the fact that this is part of an old promotion.
So if you were upset by their commercial, follow these instructions for the cure using the photo above. Ogle, rinse, spit, repeat…And if that doesn’t do the trick cue up some old episodes of Star Trek Voyager, the ones with Seven-of-Nine (Jeri Ryan) in her skin-tight catsuit. After that, you’ll be right as rain, but make sure not to buy any Gillette products until they issue a proper Mea Culpa.
Unfortunately, I bought one of their travel-size, lime shaving creams the day before the advert aired. I did a comparison test with my Barbasol and found the Gillette foam to be quite inferior. The Barbasol was thick and creamy. I know for sure that there are plenty of good blades out there so make sure the last thing you consume from Gillette is the fetching form seen above.
A CROWD SPILLS ONTO THE STREET
NORTH GATE JAZZ CO-OP – I found this Jazz club on the walk back from dinner. Once again SE Asia comes up with another competent Jazz venue.
MAYA MALL – I went for a red filter for my GoPro camera and left with a Lamy pen.
GOVERNMENT SAVINGS BANK – This floral ensemble is basically an advertisement for the aforementioned bank. A bunch of guys have been working on this every night for the past four nights.
FRESH FLOWER DISPLAY
FLYING ELEPHANT LANDING STRIP
PIRATE PORK RIBS – This lady grills up the best ribs in Chiang Mai. Once again my pursuit of quality grilled meats has led me to the promised land. She can be found at the night food market near the Changpuak Gate.
KHUN LUANG HOSTEL
BOY BLUES BAR
GIN & WOW – These are the first people you meet upon arrival at Boy Blues Bar. Wow is Boy’s wife.
BOY’S MAGAZINE COVER PHOTO
VEGA BAND – I was wandering amongst the vast ensemble of bargain goods in the night market when I heard the haunting sounds of what sounded like a guitar/organ solo by the Doors. It was irresistible so I followed the haunting stains to a small building inside the covered market. I went up the stairs to find a chill, open-air venue with an outstanding band having their way with the Sixties. These young Thais embraced music that was written a generation before they were born. The next song they played sent me into a state of rock & roll bliss.
Next, they broke out the big guns and let loose with a rousing rendition of “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Beatles. So here I was listening to four Thai lads on a rooftop exactly 50 years after the Beatles played the same song on the top of the former Apple Corps. building in London. This would be the last time the Fab Four would ever play together as a group.
It was so gratifying to see my music appreciated by these young men, but also to have them do it justice. I returned the next night to hear them sing “Get Back” which was also on the playlist of the Beatles final performance. Rock and Roll is alive and well in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Who knew?
CHILLING WITH FOUR CANADIANS WHO LOOKED LIKE THEY WERE WITH THE SPECIAL FORCES
It turns out that one of them was a lumberjack, the others were contractors.
VEGA BAND – One of the guitarists is rocking a Rickenbacker like the one John Lennon used to play during the days of “Revolver” and “Rubber Soul.”
MY CANADIAN PALS – I WENT FULL ZEALOT ON THEM AND RECOMMENDED THEY STICK AROUND FOR THE BAND.
“BOY” – THE OWNER AND MAIN PERFORMER AT THE BOY BLUES BAR
BOY’S PORTRAIT BEHIND THE STAGE
A WACKY BAR GIRL MAKES OFF WITH MY HAT, GLASSES AND TWENTY DOLLARS
AT THE END OF THE EVENING A THOUGHTLESSLY OVERSERVED PATRON CATCHES UP ON SOME SLEEP
GALANGAL COOKING STUDIO
THOM KHA GAI SOUP
THAI CHICKEN SALAD
CHIANG MIA YELLOW CURRY