Down Town

We are back by ourselves in the hotel after the German invasion. Yesterday I was out flanked by them by over sleeping and by the time I was up every pool lounger not only had a towel on but a fraulein as well. Of course 11 loungers and a group of 24 germans doesn’t compute either so the guys were on the grass.

Lunchtime we make our play I said to Geraldine but not a soul moved. I was positioned behind some trees thinking any time they will head off but instead they all ordered Thai massage and that kept them and the bed chairs occupied all day. One thing is for sure this hotel and groups don’t work, there isn’t the space if most are sun worshippers.

Today the weather turned positively chilly and so it was time to take a look in town but first let me just finish on the school I went to yesterday. One thing I hadn’t really thought of but should have done given that in Puglia there are loads of dialects that bear no relationship at all to Italian. It is true here too with the different peoples who make up the local population. Therefore not only do they have an English room

English Class Room

but they also have to teach most of the kids Thai as well in the Thai room

Thai Class Room

Now I’m sure something that has been on your mind for sometime whilst reading all this is what is the crop rotation used up here in Northern Thailand. Well I wasn’t out with an ex geography teacher for nothing team. We drove back alongside acres of paddy field and so I can now tell you. It is rice, then garlic, then herbs, then corn and back to rice. So there’s something to enliven conversation in your pub or bar this week.

The local town is called Thaton and it is on the River Kok one kilometre from the hotel. Visits are not encouraged by the hotel which is strange. They charge an eye watering 400 baht ( £8)  each way by taxi and so you walk. Route 1089 is not however some pleasant country road . It has bloody great trucks thundering up and down it as well as a varied assortment of flat bed trucks. It seems everyone in the area must own at least one and spend all day thrashing up and down to Thaton. So the walk is not for the faint hearted and colourful clothing is essential. I am amazed at how few Thais up here wear glasses whereas in Bangkok loads do. The taxi drivers we had in Chiang Mai always had trouble reading the addresses in Thai and both receptionists at the Grand Napat couldn’t read the print ( in Thai) on my iPhone, too small they kept saying. So those squinting drivers hurtling towards you in an old pick up truck aren’t worrying about the sun they are trying to figure out what the blob is in front of them and the blob is me !

Like so many Thai small towns the entrance is gloriously understated

Entrance to Thaton

The local council are especially pleased with their bus terminus which boasts a fine restaurant

bus station

However the town has no less than five yes five coffee shops of which the Sunshine cafe is the largest and the place we gave our custom too. They serve ” Italian Coffee ” but the milk is canned so we plumped for expresso .

Espresso in thaton Chiang Rai

No disrespect to the lovely if toothless lady owner but it was truly the most awful coffee I have ever had and once her back was turned it went out over the balcony. Maybe when they get an expresso machine things might look up.

I did however meet a lovely Dutch lady who lives in Thaton and has done for 8 years. There are eight expats in the little town and they must lead a very quiet life though she seemed totally happy here and loved her large rented house with it’s completely open plan and cool winds. Today I would have thought she was very cold.

The place boasts the ubiquitous 7/11 store as does every town and village almost in Thailand. They are useful especially for tourists as the everything is priced.

I bought water from the local guy

The local store

After a bit of head scratching he came up with 20 baht a bottle. Same stuff in 7/11 14 baht, so much for supporting the local guy !! Mind you his bananas as 10 baht (20p) a kilo were good.

Behind the town on a hill are 6 temples that are placed going up the steep road to the top of the hill 300 metres up. So dear reader knowing you would want a picture from the top with no concern for my own safety and well being up I went and here it is

Thaton From the Hill

I didn’t bother taking photos of all the temples as to be fair I am now templed out and am rather wanting to get back on a beach but that must wait for another 6 days unfortunately.

Oh and It wasn’t a Spitfire beer ad it was a Carling Black Label beer ad with the towel

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