We’ve made it to Chiang Rai! I’ve been excited about visiting Chiang Rai for a long time, but never made it when I lived in Thailand. Most of the things we are looking at are out of the city, so after getting a bit of a look around today Liz and I are plotting our targets for the next couple of days in terms of sights we are hoping to see, things we are hoping to do and what the best transportation options are for getting it all done.
Something that has been incredibly interesting to me on this trip and has been highlighted this evening is just how omnipresent wifi is (guesthouses, coffee-shops, restaurants, shoe stores, etc). It is a little strange to be someplace completely new for both of us and still have wifi connections at every corner that can provide massive amounts of very specific information and connect us to all sorts of information/entertainment from home. What really highlighted it here is that our Guest House wifi is really flakey and I am embarrassed that my first thought was, “Let’s move to a new guest house tomorrow. We’ve got blogging and pictures and all sorts of other things to do online!” It is interesting to think of the active steps needed to really disconnect from all of those information connections; and the additional social ramifications now that connectivity is so ubiquitous. It is interesting to me how we (globally) are treating internet as a societal necessity/utility for larger and larger portions of the population. There are surely some big positives and negatives in that.
Steering back from that Chris rant, we’re looking forward to a bit more exploring in Northern Thailand and then probably taking the slow boat down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang. Really looking forward to spending that much time on the Mekong. It ranks second globally in terms of biodiversity (to the Amazon Basin) with many species undocumented. Much like the Amazon basin, development is changing the river (primarily with dams, pollution and shore development) so quickly that the effects won’t really be known for years/decades. The last time I was hanging out on the shores of the Mekong I nearly wet myself when I saw a giant head surface right next to where my feet were dangling in the water and thought it must be an escaped hippopotamus until I saw the ‘whiskers’. Those Giant Mekong catfish are amazing and I hope Liz and I get a chance to see one on this trip.
More to come from Chiang Rai and another photo album soon!