This is Mr. Ya, a taxi driver that befriended me and showed me around
Bangkok. This is actually right outside his house -- he showed me
where he lived before he took me to Pattaya, a beach city about 100 km
south east of Bangkok. He shared an apartment about 30x15 with 3
rooms with his brother and his wife. It was a tiny little hole, and
I thought I lived in a crappy apartment.
Here we are, on the road to Pattaya -- most of Thailand that I had seen
so far was flat, so when we saw the mountains we thought it would be a
good place to take a photo.
Meow, before we arrived in Pattaya, we stopped into a Crocodile Zoo/Tiger
Park. This zoo was actually really cool, unlike the zoos in the West,
Thailand does not have an animal bill of rights, so they exist in crappy
conditions, but as a tourist, I had never gotten closer to these animals
(as you will see later). The sign outside this cage said "World
of Peace". (Notice the pig and rottweiler in the background.
I would not want to be the latter of the two... yikes!
On the streets of Pattaya with two little monkey babies. This is "Walking Street" in downtown Pattaya... probably the seediest city I have ever seen. There are bars and "go-go" clubs just about every 20 feet (separated with Indian tailor shops). Check out the sign names in the background. Believe it or not, this was the business district.
Just like Indiana Jones movies, street folks bring these cute mammals up to you and hit you up for 20 Baht (50 cents) to take a picture. These two are brother and sister. Sister (pictured right) and brother (on left). It was cute when they got together, they hugged each other and would not let go... then they took a like to me and climbed to the top of my head and would not let go -- I had to get down on a knee to let the women get them off me. Sorry, no picture of that :(
Nong Nuch Village, Pattaya
My luck with animals did not improve the next day, this "cute" little
kitty almost took my kneecap off with his teeth a few seconds before this
photo. I was nervous as poop, you might be able to see
by the look on my face. Originally, the handlers had me feeding him
milk through a bottle. As I was feeding it to him, he all the sudden
decided to become a carnivore and thought he'd prefer a human knee-steak.
The two handlers rushed over and tried to pull him off me -- the
tiger let out a surprisingly deep growl -- and I thought it was all over.
He may look cute, but he was 100x stronger than your average house-cat--
I doubt I could hold him off -- anyway, they distracted him by giving him
the bone you see here. Just before they snapped the picture, the
tiger almost dropped the bone.... and I was like, "Uh Oh, here we go again..."
Actually as I look at this picture again, I can tell you my exact thought:
"Please don't drop the bone, please don't drop the bone."
I finally found an animal that I could get along with; I guess he liked
my sense of humor. I told him the one about the monkey, the pig and the hairdryer.
These monkeys were allowed to run about their habitat chained to wires that
did not allow them to escape. Like I said before, I do not totally
approve of their living conditions, but what can you do.
Finally, here I am at the village with my rented motorbike-- you can see I stuck with my idea that transportation should be functional and simple --- and yellow :) This was a Honda-harley mock-up. It cost me 500 Baht per day.. .about $14, oh and I had to leave a $40 deposit! :) It was super cool, I had not been on a bike for years.. anyway, I was a big hit driving around town... I was told that I looked like a Hollywood guy, one woman yelled, "sexy man" when I drove by -- I thought she understated it.
Ahh.. yeah so, ah.. oh yeah, it was a great way to see the country side... I did manage to almost get in one accident going the wrong way in a circle (relax Mom, I am ok!) -- they drive on the wrong side over here.
Well that's it for Episode II. I arrived today in Phuket, a fishing/tourist
village about 600km southwest of Bangkok on the west coast. I will
send more pics soon, Phuket is supposed to be beautiful, we'll see!