Friday, January 31, 2014

1-1-14 A Lone Explorer on New Year's Day!/Mastering The Terrible Selfie

Happy New Year! Year 2014 or 2557!

After a very tiring and disappointing New Year's celebration, Jess and I decided to make it up to ourselves to visit a Longneck Karen village (yes, if your'e thinking of gold coils around women's necks, you are thinking the right thing!). Unfortunately, Jess was quite sick and the sickness was also fighting its way into my system a bit...

The boats that would take us to the village. They promised us a
price of 900 baht or so for the ride and the admission to the village.

So we hopped on :)

Adventure awaits us!

Selfie time! I actually hate bugging people to take pictures
of me all the time, so I have to always do stuff like this...

Anyway, when we arrived at the Karen village, the guy on the boat
demanded us pay him 1000 baht. Because Jess was sick and tired (metaphorically),
and also very sick and tired (literally), she told them to turn the boat around.
We got off, walked to our motorbikes, and didn't pay them at all.
I was terrified because I thought that we should at least pay them something,
but Jess said that since they were scared of the American Embassy cracking
down on them, and they knew that they had been trying to sucker money
out of us, they were the ones in the wrong. They didn't have a right to do
what they did, and since they didn't keep their end of the bargain,
we didn't have to either.

We tried to decide if we should visit the Karen village by motorbike,
but we realized that the guards that had tried to overcharge us would
probably recognize us and try to wheedle more money from us, we
just shook our heads in disgust and decided to go back to rest.

I had this coconut treat for lunch :) It was tasty!
Little did we know, it was only sold for the New Year :(

While Jess went to eat a meal, I Skyped with Ness!

We are crazy :)
I ended up running back and forth looking for a
pharmacy for Jess, and then Skyping with Ness
and our other friends as the countdown was happening.
It was definitely a much happier New Year's than
the one I had... but then I started spiraling into depression.
(Maybe that started a little later, but it'll get to that point soon.)

Jess conked out on the bed, so I traveled on my own
for the first time. I had my handy dandy phone with 
Google Maps and I looked up all the place names before
I left, but still. I have never navigated and traveled when
I was in full possession of a vehicle before, in Thailand.
I headed toward some hot springs because I've never been to one before.

I passed it, and feeling like an idiot, I turned into a temple.
Embarrassed, I walked around and decided to take pictures of it
anyway. Sometimes, the things and places you stumble upon
are the best parts of the journey. The endpoints aren't always as great as they may seem.

Someone came up to me and actually directed me to the hot springs without me asking for them. It was even more embarrassing lol

Here we are... finally lol

But I made it!

It smelled like... rotten eggs. Sulphur? I'm not sure... but it was very pretty,
especially with the backdrop of the mountains.

(Even when you looked at it closer)
For some reason, I kept thinking "birthday cake."

Yeah, especially if they look like that!

I didn't know what to do, so I paid 50 baht to take a bath for an hour.
I felt so clueless... but I know that the water is infused with different
types of minerals from the hot springs, which are supposed to be
amazing for your skin. Sadly, I didn't have shampoo, conditioner, or
soap, so I just soaked in the water and rinsed myself off. Next time,
I'll know. Sometimes, I can be such a naive little female :( 
I felt VERY relaxed afterward though, being on my own, just soaking myself
in a warm, egg-y and sulphur-ish bath. :)

On my way back, I decided to catch the sunset on the
temple atop the hill. At night, we could see people releasing
lanterns into the sky from way up above, but we never woke up
early enough to see the sunrise, and we never made it back on
time from our day journeys to see the sun set. If we did, we were
too exhausted once we reached the guesthouse to journey back out again.

Sorry for the selfies. These are just me trying to
take pictures of my surroundings as I'm driving
along a tranquil and beautiful road.

See, you just have to rent a motorbike!
Who cares if your back rips in half like mine did?

This is dangerous though. Don't attempt.

Winding, semi-curvy roads :)

Welcome back to Mae Hon Song!

I followed my map to the bottom of the temple...

This was a different temple at the bottom.

I drove for 5-10 minutes up and around several
hairpin turns :)

And I made it to the top! I bought myself
a well-deserved Thai iced tea, but people
were blocking the view >:

Oh well, still beautiful!

I tried to capture the mountains in my photos.

Their cup was very cute! Our next destination, by the way, is Pai.

What a pretty view! :)

Overlooking the little Mae Hon Song village we were staying at and the mountains.
(I'm trying to collage, and I am very aware that it is not working lol)

I parked near this and decided to check it out. :)
Although this is a little out of order because my blog refuses
to let me put this anywhere else, here is some information about
the actual temple I was visiting.

Guanyin with a rock that details some of the 1864 curves.

The chedi that glows in the darkness of night.

People were giving offerings for the new year.

They are quite grand and majestic indeed!

Here's a better view of the city I was staying in :) So purty!

There was again no one to join me at this very romantic viewpoint :(

But it's okay because I was this high up, so I just took selfies everywhere!

I noticed the sun setting, so I made my way further up the hill...

Look at all the people. I really liked this picture because it made
me think of a chessboard.

And these must be your favorite photos: me blocking the view!

After the sun had actually sunk below the mountains, 
(and I had filled my camera AND phone with very similar photos
of the mountains and the sun), but the sky was
still reminiscent of daylight, I made my way just a little further up
just to see what I might not want to miss.

It was another temple area!

Good evening on another day :)

Bye, balloon!

Again, Happy New Year 2014/2557! :)