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Thursday, August 28, 2003

Trekking

Monday morning the 3days/2nights trekking started. I was with a really cool and young group of 7 people (19 - 27 years old).
First day: We visited the local market where we were advised to buy 'Crocodile Cream' to ward off all the Crocodiles we'd encounter ;-). After Lunch in a hilltribe village (Lahu tribe) we started walking. After passing through a suggar cane plantation, where our guide showed us various tracks of tigers and canibals ;-), we came into the Jungle where our way crisscrossed with a streamlet. At first everyone tried to stay dry, but we soon realised, that this was impossible and walked straight through the water. After almost 4 hours of walking, the most dangerous animals we encountered were some angry wasps and a few spiders, we came to a Karen Village where we spent the night. It was a merry and long evening.
Second Day: After breakfast we walked for close to 2 hours uphill and although we were rewarded with a very nice view, everyone was glad when the way started to descend again. We had a late Lunch at an Elephant Camp and after a short break we rode the elephants to a Dara Ang Village where we spent the night.
Third Day: After a late breakfast and a short walk, 1.5 hours over almost level ground, we came back to a paved road, it was a very strange feeling to see this road, a sign of Civilisation, after 2.5 days in the Jungle. The Truck took us to the Rafting Camp to eat Lunch. We had 2 rafts built from Bamboo sticks, it didn't look like it could carry 4 people and stay afloat at the same time. Our guide warned us to wear shoes or socks in case the raft became a submarine, now I understood him. We didn't stay dry long, first we had a water fight, with the guys on the other raft, and then the raft started to sway, partly because we were walking around it and partly because our ferryman was helping along. It was hillarious, I managed not to fall over the longest, but then the bamboo stick on which I stood gave away and I fell half into the water. Slowly but surely our raft started to fall apart, the holes between the bamboo sticks got bigger and bigger. When our raft threatened to break into two parts I went to the left-hand side, judgig that this was more stable, I was proofed wrong and fell head over heels into the water :-D. A short time later we arrived at our destination, our raft reminded me of the Titanic, with the only difference, that everyone survived ;-). On our way back to Chiang Mai we stopped at a nice waterfall to take a refreshing shower.
In the evening we went all together to a bar where Took, a local musician and great guitar player, played live with his band, it was again very late (or should I say early) untill I fell asleep.
Conclustion: It was a great experience. We had a great guide who contributed to the fantastic atmosphere we had in the group. We were all disappointed, that it was so soon over, we wouldn't have minded to stay a few more days in the jungle.

Chiang Mai and the Wats

I took the night train to Chiang Mai on Saturday, it left Bangkok at 7.40pm and arrived in Chiang Mai around 10.30am on Sunday.
The first day if spent walking through Chiang Mai visiting the different Wats (Temples), some of them where quite interesting, but I had a Sightseeing Overkill afterwards.

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Bangkok and the Movies

On Friday I spent my day wandering through Chinatowns Markets. I was amazed at what you can buy there. There were dozens of shops right next to each other selling shoes and nothing but shoes...
After a nice Indian Dinner I continued to Siam Square, the main (luxury) shopping district of Bangkok, unfortunately I didn't realise that it was Rush-Hour...
On the 6 floor in the Siam Discovery Center (a 6-storey shopping centre) was a cinema. Since I had a few hours to spare I decided to watch 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. I loved this movie. Since I liked the cinema and it was only eleven o'clock I decided to watch another movie. So I saw 'Bad Boys II', another good movie, but not as great as 'Pirates'.
An interesting fact is, that before the movie is shown, the Thai National Anthem is played and everyone stands up.
This time I had no problems finding a cab back, because I carried the address of the Hostel in Thai-script with me.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Bangkok!

I arrived this morning at 05.40 Thailand time after a 10 hour flight in Bangkok. I've had quite a few adventures so far. Bangkok is a very interesting city but also quite hectic, I can understand the travellers who want to get out of Bangkok as soon as possible or don't stay here at all. I'll stay 2 days before continuing North to Ayuttayah. So far I've visited Wat Pho, with the famous reclining Buddha, and the King's Palace. The weather was nice until 4pm when it started to rain quite heavily, and just stopped an hour ago, now I know why it's called the rainy season ;-).
Before I found my way back in the evening I was wandering a little lost through Bangkok, no Taxi or Tuk-Tuk Driver knew where the 'International Youth Hostel' is (that's where I'm staying), I finally managed to get 'home' by using a detour through Khaosan Road. Tomorrow I plan to visit Bangkok's Chinatown and Radio City, scince Prisca insisted that I shouldn't miss it ;-). That's it for now because I'm very tired, didn't sleep much during the flight... to be continued.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Nightwish

Nightwish (a finnish band who combines Metal with Opera Singing) played an open air concert in Pratteln last night. This was the second show they played within two days at this location, and both concerts were sold out within days. Even though it was pouring with rain the fans were thrilled by the great performance they experienced.

Oerli-Con 2003

Roughly 50 people (age 9 - 39) attended the Con to play miscellaneous (Pen & Paper) Roleplaying Games, Card Games and Board Games. It started on Friday at 6pm and ended on Sundaymorning, 9am and a few people stayed awake for the whole time. It was a huge success, everyone was very glad that they attended.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Rock Oz'Arènes

The 'Rock Oz'Arènes' Open air was held in the beautiful old city of Avenches. There were several stalls between the main stage and the second stage who sold different things from clothes to food.
The first band we saw was 'Tasteless', a local band who played a mixture of Pop-Rock and Metal.
The first band to play on the main stage, which was located in an old roman amphitheatre, was 'Granddaddy' from California. Their pop songs had some quite recognizable tunes.
Next on the main stage was 'Beck', a very versatile musician, no two songs sounded alike. The crowd broke into thunderous applause after he left the stage calling for an encore, which was promptly granted. The Band returned in white suits completely covered in lights. Their final song was a Medley from last years hits, starting with Hip-Hop ('It's hot in here') to Pop ('They're not gonna get us').
Then 'Placebo' came on stage, the reason why we made this trip, and they played a great set, which was accompanied by a fabulous light show. They started with a few of the harder songs (the Intro from their new album 'Sleeping with the Ghosts', 'Every Me, Every You' and 'The Bitter End'), went on to some of the more slower ones ('English Summer Rain', 'Plasticine, ...), to finish with 2 of their older songs. The crowd danced and clapped like mad. After 75 minutes the Band was bid goodbye by a standing ovation from the audience.
The trip was well worth it and I'm anxious to see what great bands will play in Avenches next year.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Moving Pictures!

We managed to place a Reporter near Holy Wood who will bring us the lowdown of the latest ideas floating around those hills!

Phone Booth
In the latest Joel Schuhmacher film Colin Farrell starrs as Stu Shepard a guy working in Public Relations who mainly uses lies and deceit to get things done. After calling a client from a phone booth, the phone rings and Stu answers to what he believes to be a prank call. But the caller first reveals an immense knowledge of Stu's wrongdoings and then, when Stu tries to leave the booth, that he has him pinned down with a sniper rifle. After the death of a man by the booth the police arrive and hold Stu responsible, while the caller continues with his game.

Phone Booth has a very fast pace and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the end. Although the main action takes place in the phone booth, the good use of some split screens keeps you up-to-date what is happening elsewhere. The highlights of the movie are surely Colin Farrell, who plays the desperate Stu very convincing, and the caller, who shows very convincing voice acting. Overall a very convincing movie, which I can highly recommend.

Coming Soon: The travel reports of our Reporter, who is going to Thailand (near FourEcks).

Friday, August 01, 2003

Happy Birthday!

A small Country near Lancre celebrates its Confederation Day today. Switzerland was founded 712 years ago by the Cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden. Myth says that this happened after the famous pledge at the Rütli.

 
 
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