6 countries, 70 days, malaria pills, and traveling college girls (41 SE Asia, 29 Europe) out for an adventure of a lifetime. No one knows where life will take us, what could happen, or what we will end up eating… all we know is that our children and grandchildren will never hear the end of these stories. Kelsey and Sami will be posting about the first part of the trip in Southeast Asia and while Kelsey goes back to the States, Sami and Kayla continue the adventure in Europe.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Golden Triangle

Reality set in this week when we realized we are nearing the end of our adventure in Thailand :( only two weeks left. But good news came with it! For one of our classes, we took the midterm in groups and our professor told us the group with the highest grade didn't have to take the final... ohhh, it was on.  After a week of hard work with multiple choice questions and composing an essay, the work finally paid off because our group got the highest grade!! Soo excited because this meant more time for adventure and less time worrying about our grades. 

Last Thursday and Friday we traveled far North to the Golden Triangle. The golden triangle was known for their mass production of Opium, but don't worry Opium is now illegal in Thailand. On the way up we stopped at a natural hot spring which looked like any other typical tourist spot. 
It was funny though because people were selling raw eggs on the side of the street and we found egg shells all over the ground with a very strong, gross egg-y smell. We finally figured it out. People were boiling their eggs in the springs and eating hard boiled eggs as a snack while they soaked their feet! Very interesting. 

After driving down more we made it to Chiang Sean. This town was on the border of Thailand on the Mekong river and mostly consisted of a couple hotels, some small markets, and the opium museum. The museum was the main attraction and the main reason why we were there. Hearing that it was an interactive museum that takes two hours got us very curious because from the outside it didn't look like anything special. Once we got in it literally felt like we were on opium. Don't mean to give it away and spoil it for the rest of you, but oh well. The entrance was the best part. We entered the museum through this 200 foot tunnel that only had purple and black lights which lit up the base of the walls. The walls looked like they were melting and had warped faces carved into them. Afterwards we watched a short film about the history of Opium trade and wars. Then the rest of the museum was so interesting. Certain exhibits would light up and talk when someone walked into the room while others contained very realistic scary waxed people that over dosed. There were so many more interesting exhibits and displays that will not make any sense if I type it out, you must go there to see it for yourself. But let me say I'm glad I didn't grow up in those days... opium was a common medicine for everything and in everything... even used to help menstrual cramps, which many women easily overdosed on... I definitely would've been one of those girls. (We weren't allowed to take any photos in the museum)

Off to the hotel we went. The hotel was of course, very nice. Thank you Cal Poly. What was so cool was that we could stand on our balcony and look out at the Mekong river and be in Thailand... but if we looked to the left of the river we saw Burma (Myanmar) and to the right of the river we got to see Laos... literally what is life. This was just the coolest. 
Unfortunately we didn't get to take a boat across the river to go to Laos or Burma because Cal Poly considered it a "high risk area". However we did get to take a boat ride on the Mekong River and travel up and down it. This was pretty funny and thrilling because on the bus ride up, we watched Rambo 4 which was filmed in the golden triangle... so we were expecting Burmese pirates to start blowing our heads off. After a long day we hung out at the hotel for a bit but with nothing much to do we all headed to bed. 

The next morning we were happily awoken to another amazing breakfast buffet. Yesterday Kelsey and I were dreaming and drooling about all the food we were going to eat when we got back to the states and the one that made us groan the most... french toast. And the God's answered our prayers because we were given french toast at the buffet. Afterwards we headed over to the food market! This was a hoot. Tables were draped with raw meat, buckets were splashing with eels and catfish, and the Thai's were laughing at all of our reactions. 
The FDA would've had a hay day. I didn't understand and still don't understand how we are told to not leave raw meat out for more than two hours or bacteria will start to grow but these people leave raw meat out all day and never refrigerate their eggs and everything is fine. I envy how they have no fear. 

We then walked down the town and came across a beautiful temple. This one has been my favorite so far. There wasn't anything special or fancy about it, but it was surrounded by Banyan trees which made it so peaceful. 
There were Thai students listening to a monk teaching them about buddhism and helping them with their meditation. After they were done, the monk blessed some of us. We received another bracelet that symbolized a bond to our wish. Then we were blessed with holy water and he chanted a beautiful prayer. We then were directed towards a Buddha statue and told to place a golden leaf on him for good luck. 

Afterwards we got on the bus and were off to the next temple. We stopped at the White Temple which was unbelievable! It was purely white and silver and sparkled in the sunlight. 

Unfortunately, we couldn't go in because a Thai movie was being filmed... Surrounding the temple were these towers of ornament-type things which people wrote blessings or wishes on and it was supposed to bring those mentioned good luck and happiness or for your wish to come true.

We made it back to Chiang Mai absolutely exhausted, but rallied and ended up going out to our fave Zoe's bar for the night. 

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