Imma Folch | Chiang Rai – Chiang Mai
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Chiang Rai – Chiang Mai

Chiang Rai – Chiang Mai

( Espanyol mas abajo)

Monday, January 10th /2011

It has been raining all night and when we wake up we feel the temperature is low and the air is cool. At 8 we are taking a small canoe with motor of course for 3 and a half hours through the river Mae Nam Kok.

At first is chilly and noise, but after the first 20 minutes we get used to it. Scenery is amazing, and since the motor makes a lot of noise we cant talk and that leaves us time to think. I’m trying not to connect with work, because I am on holidays, but..its a great moment to put some thoughts in order.

After an hour we stop to see a settlement of a Lahu tribe. This tribe is originally from Tibet and are animist and some catholic. They are not thailandese so they depend on investments from NGOs and from what they sell to tourist. I have to admit thought that it has been the first time that I have heard in perfect Spanish ” Lady, buy this bracelet, please”.

We leave the main road were all the shopping is and we walk around the village. The houses are made of wood and bamboo and are elevated over wood sticks. People seem nice and it’s interesting to see that each house has a black pig, with funny faces, tied somewhere to the house. Art explains us that they just kill it in special occasions, like a marriage.

We ran into a very old woman who is smoking a hand made cigar that seems like something else, and I get invited to try one. Its pure tobbaco rolled in a banana leaf and it tastes great!

Just around the corner we ran into a hungry elephant. He is tied and probably works on one of those tourist places where you can ride on an elephant. He is so cute!! We get some bananas and start feeding him. I’s amazing how gentle he is taking each banana from my hand!

After a while we go back to our boat sailing up river and trying to avoid all the rocks. We cross some buffalos on the way and even an elephant walking around with a couple of tourists on top.

Then we stop to see another settlement of the tribe Karen. We dont stop in the main one, to avoid all the touristic shopping ( thanks Art ) but instead in a much smaller one. The Karen come from Myanmar and you can see their distinct faces. What shocks me is while the previous tribe were all smiling, this ones are very serious. We ran into a little girl with a white poder all over her face which is something typical from Myanmar for women to do to look nicer.

Again in the boat and we arrive to our destination just to be picked up by the car. Three more hours left to Chiang Mai, but with a surprise – Tigers!. Ok, Tiger Kingdom, might me touristic and tigers are inside a cage…BUT…you can get IN the cage and play with them!! Well..not actually “play”, but sit by them and touch them. We get into the “baby cage”, 2 months old and about 9 kilos, and I ask one of the workers there if I can hold one. She makes me sit on the flor and gets on of them who is totally asleep on top of my stomach. He is so cute!!! I start playing around with her paws, and caressing her…and she seems comfortable. There is another one though who is very playful that ones to join the scene but the care givers will not let him. Then we go to the BIG tiger cage. Feeling there is not as  “cute” is more like..oh God, they are huge and hope they dont get angry!!. There are 4 tigers, and one of them is a bit nervous.. the other three are just lying and I am able to lye with one of them!!. The beast is only 22 months old but its HUGE.

After a long day and smelling like a tiger, we get to our hotel in Chiang Mai around 7 !

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Lunes 10 de Enero, 2011

Ha estado lloviendo toda la noche y nos despertamos notando un descenso de la temperature y fresquito. A las 8 tomamos una pequenya canoa con motor y iniciamos un recorrido de 3 horas y media per el rio Mae Nam Kok.

Al principio hacia un frio que pelaba y el motor de la barca un ruido infernal, pero a las 20 minutos ya estaba acostumbrada. Los paisajes son impresionantes, y por el ruido del motor no podemos oir si nos hablamos. Tiempo para pensar. Intento no hacerlo en el trabajo porque estoy de vacaciones pero es un gran momento para poner algunos pensamientos en orden.

Tras una hora nos paramos para visitor una tribu de Lahu. Esta tribu es originaria del Tibet, son animistas y algunos catolicos. No son tailandeses asi que dependen de ong’s y de lo que venden a los turistas. Tengo que admitir que es la primera vez en este pais que escucho en perfecto castellano “Senyora, compreme este brazalete, porfavor”.

Dejamos la carretera principal y todos los puestos de recuerdos y nos adentramos en el pueblo. Las casas son de madera y bamboo y estan alzadas sobre postes. La gente parece muy simpatica y amable, y es interesante ver como en cada casa tienen atado un cerdo negro con una cara muy graciosa. Arte nos explica que lo matan solo en alguna occasion especial para comerlo, como por ejemplo una boda.

Nos encontramos con una anciana y pequenya mujer que esta fumando algo que parece un porro gigante. Se trata de un cigarillo de tabaco puro liado en hoja de platano. Arte me pide uno y lo fumamos. Esta muy rico!

Al girar la esquina nos encontramos ante un elefante aparentemente hambirendo. Esta atado y probablemente trabaja en uno de esos sitios turisticos donde puedes montar en ellos. Es tan gracioso!! Arte nos trae dos manojos de platanos y empezamos a alimentarlo. Es increible con que suavidad alarga la trompa para envolver el platano de mi mano y meterselo en la boca…y a que velocidad se zampa todo!

Despues de un rato volvemos a la canoa, para parar posteriormente en otra tribu, esta vez los Karen, de Birmania. No paramos en el pueblo grande para evitar el “comprame, comprame” si no en un pueblito pequenyo donde viven unos 80. Se puede ver los rasgos birmanos perfectamente. Lo que me choca es que los Lahu eran super agradables, y estos sin embargo parece mas enfadados. Hay una ninya con la cara embadurnada de un polvo blanco, muy tipico de las mujeres birmanas para parecer mas guapas.

Otra vez al bote y navegacion hasta nuestro destino: la furgoneta que nos llevar durante tres horas hasta llegar a Chiang Mai…pero..sorpresa! Vamos al Tiger Kingdom. Vale, vale, es turistico, los animals estan en jaulas..PERO..puedes entrar EN la jaula y estar con los tigres!  Vamos primero a la jaula de los pequenyos , nos descalzamos, lavamos las manos y entramos a una jaula en donde hay 4 de 2 meses y peso alrededor de 9 kilos. Son monisimos!! Le pido a una cuidadora si puedo coger uno y me dice que me siente y me trae una que estaba dormidita y me la pone en el regazo. Que cucada!! La acaricio, le muevo las patitas…que ricura. Su hermana se pone pesada porque tambien quiere subirse, pero no la dejan.

Luego nos metemos en la jaula de los GRANDES…y, aqui la sensacion es mas bien de acojone que de ricura. Hay cuatro, uno de ellos algo nervioso pero los otres tres tirados. Me estiro encima de uno de ellos y no parece inmutarse.

Despues de un dia largo, y nunca mejor dicho, oliendo a Tigre, llegamos al hotel en Chiang Mai sobre las 7!

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