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Downtown Chiang Mai.

Downtown Chiang Mai.

This is Part II of my visit to Pai Hot Springs and Chiang Mai. I posted mostly photographs of my Pai visit in Part I. As I indicated earlier, my camera isn’t working due to my lagoon water accident. I keep hoping that it will miraculously come to life, but it is looking doubtful. I almost left it at my Pai Hot Springs resort hotel, but changed my mind at the last-minute. I am looking at it right now and wondering again, if I should leave it here in Chiang Mai or bring it with me to Bangkok later today. An old grade and high school friend of mine, Tom Hopkins, owned a late 1950s Ford Thunderbird, where he had a sticker on the glove compartment that read, “ASS, GRASS, OR CASH . . . NO ONE RIDES FOR FREE.” Quite appropriate back in the early 1970’s while we were in high school, since the oil crisis was in full swing. Consequently, as I look at my camera, I am about to kick the “freeloader” to the curb, unless it begins to take photos again. Ha.

Chiang Mai market place, which was relatively close to my Porn Ping hotel (no, it isn't what you think, just a funny name for a hotel).

Chiang Mai market place, which was relatively close to my Porn Ping hotel (no, it isn’t what you think, just a funny name for a hotel). Entertainment was occurring at this outdoor restaurant venue.

So, while I decide my camera’s fate, I am extremely pleased to report that my trip to the Northern mountains of Thailand have been quite interesting and enjoyable. Even the mountain trek excursion, while not fun, was beneficial insofar as learning about how the Thai mountain people go about theirย day-to-day business of living. Their culture is fascinating. I didn’t mention this in my last post, but I hired a personal driver when I took the one day tour of Pai and the surrounding area. His name was Songdach Dejsuwan or “Mr. Jane” as he prefers to be called. Grin. He was quite informative about all the places we visited, especially the Buddhist temples. I told him he would be in my blog and he was quite happy about that. I also loved Mr. Jane’s vehicle, a new SUV with awesome air conditioning.

Mr. Jane and I at the Coffee In Love Restaurant, which overlooks the beautiful Pai valley.

Mr. Jane and I at the Coffee In Love Restaurant, which overlooks the beautiful Pai valley.

I have told my friend, Paul Sorenson, that I will almost definitely be back to visit him next year. However, I want to visit his home in Vietnam and perhaps stay for an extended time in the Southeast Asia region, exploring Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and also, coming back to Thailand. Paul and I belong to a San Francisco Giants baseball blog, run by our mutual friend, Craig,, also known as “Flav, Flavor, or Big Flavor.” Flav’s baseball blog has a couple of dozen regulars and many, many, many visitors from all over the world.

Thai Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai. I saw this in the evening and the gates were closed, so I don't know the name of it.

Thai Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai. I saw this in the evening and the gates were closed, so I don’t know the name of it.

Paul and I have been discussing a Flapalooza being held in Southeast Asia, which I am down with. If we can convince some or all of the Flap regulars (doubtful, especially for the married Flapsters) to attend, that would be fantastic . . . and outrageous good fun! We are sort of crazy Giants fanatics and Thailand might be equal to the task of taming us (grin). We have had 3 Flapaloozas that I am aware of. I attended the one in the SF bay area late last year. Not too many Flapsters attended that one, but it was a blast nevertheless. It was great being able to see Ted, Willie, Ewisco (Eric), and Flav (I know I am missing someone else who attended). We also Skyped with Bozo, Pawlie and I think Ed from jolly Great Britain joined in as well. Anywho, both Paul and I will meet again next year and hopefully, other Flapsters will be able to make the trip. If not we will Skype with some of them.

Chiang Mai at night.

Chiang Mai at night.

I am also going to attend the Flapalooza scheduled for a Giants game in San Francisco in early September. That one will be well attended, since most Flapsters live in the bay area. I am really looking forward to that event, as the SF Giants defend their 2012 World Series Championship this year.

I love the colorful night scene in Chiang Pai.

I love the colorful night scene in Chiang Pai.

OK, I know all this baseball talk is a bit congruent with Thailand, but that’s how I roll. I still haven’t found a Thai local or even a foreign tourist with a San Francisco Giants baseball hat or other memorabilia gear. However, I have been able to spot quite a few Thai people with Dallas Cowboy hats. What’s up with that? The Dallas Cowboys have been irrelevant for years. Grrrrrrrrr . . .

In a few hours, I will catch a plane to Bangkok. Almost packed and ready to leave. These are some more photographs of my visit to Pai and Chiang Mai. Enjoy!

Thai dancer performing a traditional Thai dance at the restaurant I went to, which had entertainment while I was eating dinner.

Thai dancer performing a traditional Thai dance at the restaurant I went to, which had entertainment while I was eating dinner.

Traditional Thai dancing.

Traditional Thai dancing.

Fruit and vegetable stand. Thai open air produce markets are excellent.

Fruit and vegetable stand and restaurant. Thai open air produce markets are excellent. I had a banana, watermelon, mango, papaya fruit smoothie. Yummy!

Whimsical elephants.

Whimsical elephants.

Chiang Mai bridge. Notice the fisherman to the right.

Chiang Mai bridge. Notice the fisherman to the right.

Drum at Mae Yen Temple in Pai.

Drum at Mae Yen Temple in Pai. Of course, I had to try beating it . . . umm, no one complained.

Gong at the same Mae Yen Temple. Yes, I had to hit that a couple of times too.

Gong at the same Mae Yen Temple. Yes, I had to hit that a couple of times too.

Scary statue at Mae Yen Buddhist Temple. It was located near these stairs that went down the mountain. I can only imagine that the statues (there were two) "guard" the entrance into the temple.

Scary statue at Mae Yen Buddhist Temple. It was located near these stairs that went down the mountain. I can only imagine that the statues (there were two) “guard” the entrance into the temple.

Steep stairs I mentioned in the last photo. For whatever reason, I keep on thinking of Father Damien being thrown down the stairs by the Devil in the movie, "The Exorcist."

Steep stairs I mentioned in the last photo. For whatever reason, I keep on thinking of Father Damien being thrown down the stairs by the Devil in the movie, “The Exorcist.”

Door wood carving in Mae Yen Temple.

Door wood carving in Mae Yen Temple.

Strange drawings inside the Mae Yen Temple in Pai.

Strange drawings inside the Mae Yen Temple in Pai.

Another drawing I found interesting in the Mae Yen Temple.

Another drawing I found interesting in the Mae Yen Temple.

Mr. Jane making friends with a kitten at Coffee In Love restaurant.

Mr. Jane making friends with a kitten at Coffee In Love restaurant.

Serene setting at hot springs in Pai.

Serene setting at hot springs in Pai.

Elephant at Pai sanctuary.

Elephant at Pai sanctuary.

This is Stefan Becker and he is selling organic jam and preserves from this small kiosk. He is from Germany or Austria I believe and married a Thai woman (Nuania-o). Notice my shirt - I bought this in Chiang Mai a few days before.

This is Stefan Becker and he is selling organic jam and preserves from this small kiosk. He is from Germany or Austria I believe and married a Thai woman (Nuania-o). Notice my shirt – I bought this in Chiang Mai a few days before.

I bought a jade leather bracelet at this kiosk in Chiang Mai.

I bought a jade leather bracelet at this kiosk in Chiang Mai.

Elephants with riders traveling down the Pai river. Photo taken while I was walking around my hotel resort. Very beautiful area.

Elephants with riders traveling down the Pai river. Photo taken while I was walking around my hotel resort. Very beautiful area.

Mae Yen Temple statues.

Mae Yen Temple statues.

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