Yesterday was a LONG travel day. Five hour bus ride from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. Tuk tuk ride from the city center to the airport. Flight from Phnom Penh to Bangkok. Another flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Since I had no iPhone to fill my ears with music or let me play Sudoku on for hours on end, Nate loaned me “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” I actually had Stieg Larsson’s trilogy on my phone, and planned to read it while I was out here, so this was a perfect loan. I definitely couldn’t put it down. (Still can’t.) I get the hype. Anyway, we got into our hotel in Chiang Mai pretty late, and, despite a VERY hard bed, we pretty much passed out.
So if you’ve seen my Facebook page, the cat’s already out of the bag about our day. (Pun intended.) We took our time getting ready and eventually made our way over to the Tiger Lounge to grab a quick breakfast before we started our day. We’re staying in the Old City, so our plan was to walk around the Old City and check out some more wats. Once at the restaurant, we saw all these ads for Tiger Kingdom. Actually, we saw pictures all over this place of people hanging out with tigers. You can literally pet and cuddle with tigers! We agreed we were “watted out,” and instead decided Tiger Kingdom was the first thing on our agenda.
It only took a half-hour tuk tuk ride to get to Tiger Kingdom. (Did I mention how much I LOVE tuk tuks? I even fell asleep on one today for a few minutes while on the way back.) I have to say, it was so friggin awesome. We could choose which size of tiger we wanted to hang with. The baby tigers were right up our alley. Once led into the social area, we were instructed to approach them from behind, and when we finally did pet them, we needed to touch them firmly. We did as told. Boy, were they CUTE. And soft, and cuddly. I took a few pictures with them — hugging them, feeding them a bottle, resting my head on them. Did I say how cool it was? These tigers were only about two months old, and they were really playful. One of them kept swatting my butt, which I at first thought was funny. Then I heard the handler saying, “No!” I froze, but he quickly reassured me things were fine. Riiiiight. A couple other ones were weaving in and out of my legs. They were about the size of my dog in height, but definitely heavier. When I fed one a bottle, I was surprised how much effort I had to put into it. I was instructed to firmly grab the back of its head (I felt like I had a death grip on it), and then basically force the bottle in its mouth. It definitely wanted the bottle, so I just went with it. I’m so glad we did that!
We then went to a market this gal recommended. Neither of us were really impressed with it. But I did get some Thai tea and Thai chili sauce, both of which I love. Coincidentally, it was starting to get hot and we were getting thirsty, so we decided to stop at this Rastafarian joint to grab some beers. And some of the owner’s “home brew” whiskey. We definitely got pretty drunk. And it was only about 3:00 p.m. We planned to go to the Sunday Market later in the night, so we knew we had to get some food in our stomachs, or we’d never make it. Nate says I only thought the food was so good because I was drunk, but I’m telling you, the soup I got was by far the best meal I’ve had out here yet. I don’t know what the name of it was. (It only had a description of what was in it in English — the name of it was in Thai.) It was a curry-based soup that had these awesome noodles and a bunch of vegetables in it. After getting our grub on, we started making our way through the Sunday Market. It was much more what we were looking for. But we knew we had to sober up a bit, so we went back to the hotel to just chill.
After resting, we headed over to Sunday Market. There was a lot of cool stuff. I got a tank top I’d been wanting, along with two necklaces. Actually, they’re Buddhist praying beads, but many wear them as necklaces. I bought two: one is petrified wood beads and the other is carved jade. I also got this purple blanket, which I plan to turn into a window treatment for my basement when I get home.
Tomorrow, we’re going on an all-day tour to hang with elephants. We get to feed them, ride them, bathe them, and who knows what else. I’m feeling pretty certain it’s going to be pretty damn awesome. Nate heads back to Korea in about 40 hours, so tomorrow night is his last night on the trip. Per him, some debauchery will be in store. Muahahahaha…