|Nov. 28: Tak: Shake, rattle & roll off to Tak we go - 1 1/2hr bus trip. The scenery from Bangkok to Sukhothai has been very flat, fertile farmland....miles & miles of rice paddies....the farther we go the more variety of crops - sugar cane, bananas, papaya, gorgeous wild flowers, lush semi tropical trees, bushes and weeds. Our first guest house in Tak left a little to be desired but after paying, we went walk about & found a spot a little more up market - let the first place keep our $3.50 & moved. Our reject was the Mae Ping and the much cleaner & larger hotel was Sa-Nguan Thai. That little glitch having passed, we must say this is one of the cleanest towns we have yet to visit. It is situated on the Mae Nam Tak river, which lends itself to a lovely ambience for the Night Markets (always a favorite place for a good meal). Aided by a brochure from the Tourist Office (friendly but little to no English - imagine that in Thailand) we explored a little of the city. King Maha Taksin Shrine was impressive and different. It was surrounded by a variety of colourful sculpted animals of all sizes from life size to miniture. The favorite was the horse. These were given to the shrine as offerings. Wat Botmani Sibunruang, just across the street was very interesting. It combines to different styles of worship in one building.
Nov. 29: Kheuan Phumiphon & Bhumibol Dam: on the bus again 1 1/2hrs from Tak. We made the mistake of having some expectations of this spot and were a little disappointed. This is not a backpacker destination, more an upmarket resort for Thai's who either drive or fly in by helicopter. The setting is in a beautiful mountain valley with a multitude of manicured gardens....BUT....there is tourist office (signs but no office yet), very very little English spoken, no local transport, no motorcycle or bicycle rentals and a 5mile uphill trek and no tours to the Dam. The largest is Asia and the 8th largest in the world. They do have a wonderful looking golf course (or as the English sign says Golf Court. We really did need proper shoes so just took a look. We had very nice accomodation but were the obvious talk of the day. It took 3 trips to our reception desk and much gesturing and laughter before Loz convinced them we really wanted to see the dam and really did not want to walk. Loz out gestured (politely) and out laughed and we got a hotel security guard to give us the tour. It seemed to be the biggest hoorah of the day - they thought it absolutely hilareous as we climbed into the back of the pick up (sawngthaew - sp?).
Nov. 30: Lampang: 2 1/2hr bus trip. Leaving the dam, from a patch of gravel behind the school, we assumed was the bus station, and we hoped the local bus was heading back to the main hwy...we had a wonderful tour thru the countryside but do not have a clue where we went...it did take 4 time longer going than it did coming but we did get to our destination. After last nights first class room, tonight we have a bit of grunge. Laurie swept and washed the bathroom floor before settling in. After a little exploring we found a great place for a Cantonese Sukiyaki dinner. The place was called Texas Sukiyaki....what we saved on accomodation we spent on dinner. A little excitement before hitting the sheets (not X rated)- Laurie lifted the plug from the bathroom sink and touching the edge of the wash basin....the whole sink crashed to the floor in a dozen pieces....fortunately he was only nicked with one of the shards....he cleaned up the mess and I found the proprietor. He came, he looked, he ooo'd, he ahhh'd, he left and we went to bed. Just another night in Lampang. Today, we have found another place which is lovely and anticipate staying a few days.