>LIVING in Chiang Mai!


Yeah, really living like a real person would! With an apartment, and a bed that is mine, a TV (not that I watched it) and even a closet! How cool is that!! For three weeks, I didn’t live out of a bag! (I kind of missed it though…ok maybe not.)

What did we do in that time? Well…we studied Thai of course.

Could it be true? Speaking Thai in 15 days? Kapom! Rao puut paa saa Thai dai mak mak!

Look at us, such diligent students. This was during detox week.

Detox week was a bit of a shock to our systems, considering I hadn’t stayed in one place that long since…Germany? More than a year ago. It was bizarre having constant internet access, a shower always available, and a gym to work out in. What is that?!? A g-y-…g….GYM? Jemma and I even hopped over to the mall (right next door to our apartment, score!) and picked up some workout clothes. We were good boys and girls and went to the gym every day, except when I was coming down with some nasty disease a few days before we left. We even went when we were hungover! But that wasn’t during detox week, I’m getting ahead of myself.

What else did we do? I watched a crapload of movies, caught up on all my emails and facebook messages I had been neglecting for months, and sorted my life out as much as I could (considering you have to be in Canada to renew every official document and piece of ID you own…crap!) We went to a few of the many night markets around Chiang Mai…

See? Mmmm Som Tam…

I also slept a ton, averaging well over 8 hours a night trying to catch up from all those months of drinking and partying. Which I was kinda starting to miss by the end of the week…

I had heard from a girl I met in China that you could ride ostriches in Chiang Rai, 3 hours north of Chiang Mai. “No WAY” I told her. “I don’t think you can even RIDE an ostrich, and on top of that, there ARE no ostriches in Thailand!! How preposterous!” Well I hopped on the G machine and sure enough, Wana Ostrich Farm operated out of Chiang Rai. So I sent them an email:

Dear Wana Farm,

Can you give me any information about riding an ostrich, how much it costs, how long it takes to get there, etc?


Jeff Emmett

And they sent one back:

Hello, Mr.Jeff Emmett

we are really glad to give you the information.

about the cost of riding an ostrich, it’s 70 bath [which is about $2]

you can ride it as much as you would like.

it is quite easy to ride it, you just have to balance yourself while riding


and i confirm that it is very fun.

Thank you very much and hope to see you soon

Wana Ostrich Farm.

So I checked with the roomies.
Jeff: “What do you guys think?”
Chris: “Well if you can ride ostriches and they sell beer, I’m in.”

And so our weekend was decided. Let’s book our bus to Chiang Rai!

Of course, a bus ride isn’t a bus ride without getting drunk first.

We got into some trouble on the bus speaking naughty Thai words, forgetting that everyone else on the bus knew exactly what we were saying. Oops…

First night in town I wanted to practice my Thai and ask where the bar was…well I seem to have asked the wrong Thai female and we got dragged into some kind of bar/prostitute alley. But we found a chill out rasta bar and had (more than) a few beers. Apparently I didn’t catch up on enough sleep last week!

The big day is finally here, I am ready to fulfill one of my childhood fantasies and ride a fricken ostrich. So we hop in a tuk tuk…and he takes us here:

Well that’s not an ostrich farm. But it is a very pretty temple.

We get back in the tuk tuk and explain to him where we want to go, very slowly and with some Thai to help us along. “Farm. Kun ruu Wana Farm? Ostrich. Nok Yai. Ostrich. Kow jai mai??” To this he nods….and then takes us here:

wtf? Well it’s a farm…but where are the ostriches?!

This is gonna be difficult. So finally he calls one of his relatives who can speak 3 words of English (instead of 2) and they inform me that if we want him to take us to WANA farm (which is exactly what we said all along) that it was going to cost 3 times as much. Damn you taxi man, we are in the middle of nowhere, why you gotta do that? At this point we were tired and just wanted to get there, so we shelled out. It’s been a while since I’ve been ripped off in Thailand, it had to happen sometime.

We made it! Hehehe…

Then we rode some large birds. On the right is Nok Yai, and on the left is Gaylord. Their names were decided arbitrarily.

There’s Jemma…hi Jemma!

I was born to do this.

Well, with that adventure over with, we were ready to ignore the rest of Chiang Rai and head back for something long overdue: RETOX WEEK!!

We’ve been in detox so long Chris doesn’t even recognize it anymore!

First order of business – stocking the fridge with yummy yummy Chang beer!

Now that we’re all set to have fun, what shall we do tonight? Oh yes…bar hopping!

Which bar do you think we should go to Jemma? I don’t know, why don’t you pick, Jeff?

How about the bar where the baby elephant wanders around out front! We actually saw this elephant 3 or 4 times hangin around the old city and the bars…I even learned his name! But then I forgot it. I was drunk, gimme a break.

Oh mannnnn, Sunday niiiight, we have SCHOOL in the morning…ouch! So we go out and party on Sunday night anyways, and show up the next morning in class as one haggard crew. Our teacher laughs at us and teaches us how to say “hangover” in Thai. She also teaches us a few key phrases like “poor you” and “serves you right”. She is just happy we showed up, and tells us that as long as we come to class we can be hungover, sleep, drink beer, all in the hopes that we might absorb some of what she is saying. Is this the best teacher I have ever had?? Maybe. But she’ll regret saying that! The next 5 days we proceeded to drink every night, and sleep through at least a half hour of class per day. Break time was also dubbed nap time (after snacks and coffee, at least), and there were even convenient benches outside of class where we would pass out, sometimes as a group. Did this stop us from being the best students in class? No WAY! This was also the point where we began to talk about what we did yesterday (to practice our Thai, of course). For Chris, the topic always seemed to revolve around drinking – drinking beer, drinking whiskey, drinking gin, and so on. For some reason our teacher decided that I liked ladyboys (maybe because my hair made me look like one), and so my conversations always seemed to revolve around looking at or liking them. For Jemma it revolved around not wanting to hang out with me or Chris anymore…understandably so.

So…what’s up for this weekend? How about a trip to Pai, hippie capital of Thailand and quite possibly to coolest place to chill out and relax in a hammock? Sounds good to me. I

So we get to Pai and determine that our money is best spent buying beers at the 7-11 and drinking them in the intersection before heading to the bar. Yes, that is us standing in the middle of a full on stoplighted intersection. No one even minded, except one bike driver who barked at Chris…that was bizarre. By the end of the night the intersection ‘bar’ was the most happening place in the city! No joke!!

Chris saw some Thai people wandering around earlier in the day with Panda hats and decided we should all buy them. Who were we to disagree?

Joel (the one in the mouse hat) dared me to wear my panda hat for 24 hours straight, for which he would buy me a large Chang beer. Not being one to back down from a free beer, I did as he suggested. With only a few hours left in the bet, he dared me to wear it until the December full moon party when we would meet up again – a full TWO MONTHS later. He knew from the beginning that I couldn’t turn down such a dare, and so he didn’t even have to set out terms for the completion of the bet. We eventually decided on a case of beer to be shared between us at my eventual victory…at which point he dared me to wear it another FOUR MONTHS to Thai new years in April when we would meet again. Oh JOEL, you will be the death of my healthy head of hair! Well…so far so good!

Drinking, studying, partying in intersections, ostrich riding, going to class hungover wearing panda hats…what did we NOT do in Chiang Mai?


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