Saturday, February 04, 2012

Cold Lampang

January 2010

...spent a couple of days in Lampang. The teak houses on both sides of the river were lovely, their old faded bodies raised off the ground on pilings. We made an attempt to visit a few wats, but they weren't where they were supposed to be. The maps were a world away from the reality, nothing at all corresponding. It was like a town designed by Dali. We got lost easily, miles up a highway. After two months of being pestered by tuk-tuk drivers, naturally we didn't see a single one when we actually needed it. Later, we were hoping to relieve the accumulated stress and frustratiion with a massage, but after visiting 5 places, found not a single masseuse on hand. Then the impossibility of finding a cold beer. Still, our room was nice, with our own private patio on which to sit and watch the river...

...the next day, we rented a motorcycle. But the frustrations continued. A cop stopped me for going the wrong way up a one-way street, and the bike stalled. It took a while to figure out the gears, not having ridden a manual in many years. It was 18 km down a fast and busy highway. hardly worth the effort, we were thinking, until we saw the temple. Totally gorgeous, an old wooden Lanna masterpiece. In an adjoining hall, a group of art students were seated o the floor, listening to their teacher lecture on the 14th Century murals. The male students had a uniform of long hair and piercings. One guy's T-shirt reminded me how popular Vespas are at the moment.

Back in town, read in a hammock riverside until the heat left, then took a horse drawn carriage ride around town. I had hoped to see another foreigner so I could do the cupped hand Royal wave, but no luck.

Night train to Bangkok. An hour early, only farang on the platform. The locals turned up 10 minutes before. A group of English students interview me with a video camera, then we board...

On the turntable: Lynyrd Skynyrd, "One More From the Road"

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