Get the Flash Player to see the slideshow.

Bengals, Cooking Thai & Hospital Visits

We left Laos behind like a bad habit in search of a hospital that looked slightly better than a rundown motel.

Chiang Mai Cooking School - Maya Thailand’s large northern city of Chiang Mai had just what the doctor ordered (pun intended) in the regionally known international Ramkhamhaeng Hospital. We checked into a ragged hostel after a short hop flight from Luang Prabang, Laos. It had to be up there in terms of the worst digs on our fourteen month RTW adventure. Waking early, we promptly hit an internet cafe and booked alternate accommodations in a cheap hotel that was beyond comparison. Dropping our bags, we loaded up with Thai Bhat in anticipation of a large medical bill and patiently waited for Ash’s turn to see the plastic surgeon. Dr. Wongtrangkha was impressed with the healing just three days after the accident and scheduled an appointment four days later to remove the five stitches. We made our days waiting around worthwhile.

Cooking With Fire Thai Feast

Half Opened FruitLoving the authentic Thai food during our February jaunt in the southern portion of Thailand, it didn’t take much to sell us on a whole day in the cooking classroom. Maya fetched us early in the morning then did the same with three others before parking at a local outdoor food market. There, she pointed out unique fruits, farm fresh vegetables, and varying qualities of white rice. With ingredients procured, we settled into our cooking stations in Maya’s extra large alfresco kitchen. She patiently took us through the preparation of 8+ dishes including lots of curry courses, my favorite. Our last Thai cooking maneuver had us angle the skillet then add a small amount water to the stir fry. Poof! A ball of orange fire shot up like a demon from hell. Ash contained herself and the contents of her skillet. I wasn’t so lucky considering 60% of my food ended up on the preparation table. Alas, with chopsticks in hand, we gathered around a wooden table and chowed down complete with cold Chang beer. Could we prepare any of these dishes today? Not a chance, but we had one heck of a time for the invigorating exercise.

Ash with Three Month Old Tiger Cubs Cat Fight

Big Hands You Know You're The OneBeing from The Nasty Nati (Cincinnati, OH), I have been a lifelong fan of the Bengals, our less than successful NFL franchise. So an up close and personal opportunity with our mascot at the Tiger Kingdom was a no brainer. We motored through the green farmland in a tuk-tuk then approached the touristy entrance and paid our fee: Ash was to handle three month old cubs while I opted to enter the pen with two full grown Bengal tigers. Ash was on Cloud #9 with a rather large kitten splayed in her lap, another to her right. Their paws matched her hands in size and were ticklish as they slumbered the balmy afternoon away.

Greg Looking Nervous Bath Time

Din Din MorrisNext, I was eager to confront the big cats, until I stepped foot in their enclosure. The curator instructed me to avoid direct eye contact or get near their face, directions I took to heart. I was instantly entranced with their marbled white, orange, and black fur. Once acclimated to their immense size and recognizing my place in the food chain, the experience was monumental. I did as the two brother felines did; napping when they got some shut eye, relaxing when they lounged, and even helped them bathe. All the while respecting the largest cats on Earth. Safely out of the tiger’s territory, Ash and I watched adolescent tigers getting some exercise during an impromptu wrestle in a water basin. This scene made it impossibly clear that you don’t want to come across a tiger in the wild. As we were departing the Tiger Kingdom, we spied the cubs that Ashley handled, but this time they were wide awake as they made their way to a feeding of meat scraps.

Ram Hospital - Stitches Being Removed Ash's Thai Doctor

Stitches Being RemovedOne more visit to the Ramkhamhaeng Hospital for Ashley’s stitches to be removed and we were off to Pai, near the Thailand border with Myanmar (Burma). With a scalpel and forceps, Dr. Wongtrangkha expertly cut away the threads revealing a wound that would shortly disappear. Kudos to the Laos physician who bandaged her up. Though severely black and blue and still swollen, Ash and her cheek were ready for the next adventure atop an Asian elephant.

- Greg and Ash

Learn From Our Footsteps:

1) Amazing what $5 can do in SE Asia. Just 500 pennies upgraded us from a nasty hostel to a newer hotel with a slick rooftop deck. Keeping a fluid budget can make all the difference. Instead of losing sleep over roaches we were sprawling out in a queen sized bed with English television channels (English!).
2) Medical care in SE Asia compared to America is pleasantly cheap. Sure, the quality of care is not comparable, but two visits with a plastic surgeon and prescription ointment racked up a bill of $21.37. Our World Nomads insurance had a deductible of $100, so there was no point in even filing a claim.

Comments are closed.

Powered by Wordpress | Designed by Elegant Themes