Friday, October 8, 2021

Thailand Part 3 with Diego & Ana

 The World Changes

It was Jan 2020 and I was lounging in the yacht early one morning reading the news of the world on my phone when the Covid headlines finally became too loud to ignore. There can be no safer place than a seaworthy boat during a viral pandemic. But alas, we were restless and willing to roll the dice. We bought airfare to Chang Mai and set our sights on Northern Thailand. 

Goodbye Phuket

Chang Mai

The first thing an American does when arriving for a lengthy stay in a cosmopolitan foreign city is to locate the Mexican Restaurant. It happened to be around the corner from our apartment and was always filled with other Yanks. Then I joined a gym (because – tacos!). High on Aleja’s list is finding Salsa dancing. We did that too. This place is better than I remembered from ten years ago. The temp is divine and the delicious restaurant options are plentiful. Fredrik - - -A Real Reuben Sando!!

Remnants of the ancient walls of Chiang Mai

We visited every tourist attraction

Reclining as the Buddha but completely oblivious

The attention to detail always astounds me

Childhood Meditation

Adult Meditation



This is a term of endearment for Argentines since their default setting for every other letter in Spanish is “Sh”. Diego and Ana are our Buenos Aires family. They housed us and fed us and toured with us and drove 2000 miles to visit us in Brazil. They are some of the best people I’ve ever met. They arrived one evening in time to witness us win at trivia and then we celebrated our reunion. The next day we rented scooters and buzzed around the ancient city and enjoyed the archeological ruins and each other’s company.

It's Thailand, of course we went to a drag show!

Chiang Rai & Chiang Dao

Thumbs up on Rai and thumbs down on Dao. Your results may differ. There is the “sweet-spot-o-tourism”; the narrow timeline in which a place has outgrown its dirt roads, added espresso machines & international cuisine yet still hasn’t become Bangkok. Chang Rai is in the perfect Goldie Locks zone, Chang Dao hasn’t graduated yet. We went back to Chang Mai and got in a few more nice days before the farmers started burning off their fields. The air pollution quickly became so bad it made Bangkok look appealing.  

A Week In Bangkok  

This is not my favorite city. The only reason we came was to get our visas for Indonesia. No luck for AB. They told her she would need to go back to Colombia to apply. It’s not easy traveling on a Colombian passport at times. However, there was another way: She could fly to Singapore, and hire an agent. It was the only chance we had. We bet the farm on a maybe, tried not to think of the negative potential outcomes, and left the filthy metropolis of Bangkok to return to the islands and Diego and Ana. 

Seems redundant right?

Koh Lanta For a Third Time

A couple months before this pic we were anchored with the boats in the background

We got 3 nights on this island (we’d anchored here twice before) with the Shargies and then we had to say goodbye. We got almost a month in total with these two. Diego and Ana – Argentinians are categorically wonderful and these two are a couple of the best. We miss them constantly.

Nothing wrong with Krabi!


The plan was for her to fly to Singapore, spend the night, and early the next day pay the visa agent to get everything processed and then hop a flight to Bali that evening. She was feeling guilty for all the extra costs. We kissed goodbye at the Krabi airport and she whispered, “People think they want an exotic pet but do they imagine how much more they cost?” Everything about her is worth it.

Got to party with Matt Lewis for a night. He sailed with me 10 years ago

I arrived in Bali and checked into a dump for the next 3 nights. It’s really hard to know how thin the walls are from pictures. Aleja joined me 24 hours later and the cough started the next day. We moved into a different place that was much better and then I lost my sense of smell. I’m pretty sure I’m one of many who brought Covid to the Island of The Gods.

But that’s in the next dispatch.

Your man on point,

Bobby Guling


Anonymous said...

Ahem! A real Reuben holding its own! West of the Mississippi, south of the Mason-Dixon! And although the source of the statement comes from a true authority on said subject, I would have to see it, smell it, touch it and eat it myself as I fear the long voyages sustained on curry, chicken, rice and spicy soup may have distorted his senses. Cue the micro-tape-recorder pulled from the breast-pocket: Diana, remind me to visit Butter is Better next time I am in Chiang Mai!

Fredrik Ruebenovich said...

Ahem! A real Rueben! West of the Mississippi, south of Mason-Dixon? Although the source of the statement comes from a trusted authority on said subject I will have to see it, smell it, touch it, and eat it to trust it, as I fear his senses might have become grossly distorted on the long voyages sustained on curry, chicken, rice and spicy soups. Cue pulling the micro-tape-recorder from the breast-pocket: Diana, remind me to visit Butter is Better next time I am in Chiang Mai!

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