Day 303 of 400: Chiang Mai – Thailand

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This morning I woke up with a swollen eye!  I went to bed totally fine after dinner, but something got into it between last night and this morning.  We walked over to the front desk to ask about doctors and the guy said, “things are dirty in Thailand”…and to go to the pharmacy.  We walked down the street to the pharmacy and showed my eye to them.  He grabbed an antibiotic ointment and told me to put the gel inside my eye and on top of it a few times a day…it should be gone in a few days.  He didn’t seem to be surprised or worried about it.  We decided to give it a try rather than dealing with a doctor who probably wouldn’t speak English.  I put the ointment on and then my sunglasses over my eyes so I wouldn’t scare people.  We took a tuk tuk to town to find some food.  We found a little restaurant in the center of town and sat down outside to order lunch.  We ordered a couple of beers and some noodles before walking around, stopping to shop at some of the cute boutique stores.

We found an all Thai silk shop…upstairs were the tailors and downstairs were the products, silk ties, silk purses, silk dressed, silk everything.  The prices were pretty good for the quality so we made a few purchases realizing we were now starting to accumulate  quite a few things, we are going to need to ship some things back home.

As we continued to wander through the streets, we ran into a local market.  There were various vendors displaying their goods, many fruits/veggies, durian and fresh grilled fish.  Right after the market, we saw a couple massage parlors and decided we needed one (yes need vs. want).  They placed us on simple beds next to each other and started our one hour full body massage for $10.  It is tempting not to have one every other hour for this price…more please!

After our busy day of shopping, eating and being massaged…we went back to our hotel room to relax for a bit before going to the Muay Thai fight.  The VIP tickets were about $12 each and gave us ringside seats!  We had a tuk tuk bring us to the fight, he dropped us off on a street full of bars and restaurants.  There were quite a few girls dressed in clothes too short and too tight for them, one of them greeted us and took our tickets.  She walked us inside a building which was also lined with bars and then showed us to our seats.  There was a big ring in the center with benches set up around the ring, some with little tables to place a drink.

We were early and decided to go back outside for a bit to grab some food.  We saw a little pub style table at a restaurant and ordered a burger and fries to share.  We chatted with one of the guys sitting next to us for a bit and then saw the fight was starting so paid the bill and walked back to the ring.

Muay Thai is referred to as the “art of eight limbs” because punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes are all used vs in boxing 2 points are used…fists and in kick boxing 4 points are used…hands and feet.  Muay Thai evolved from an ancient combat technique called Muay Boran which was used by Siamese soldiers in war after their weapons were taken from them.  It eventually evolved and became entertainment between two fighters being watched by spectators…Muay Thai.  As we watched the fighters, we saw that they are also organized into weight classes.  Before the fight, each fighter seemed to be doing some kind of ritual…going to each corner and then center of the mat in a praying motion, then the bell would ring and they would begin.

Giff had fun getting involved in the gambling side of the fight betting about $5.  It was very informal…a local would walk around waiving his money and saying which fighter he wanted to place his money on…if Giff wanted the opposite fighter, he would match the money and both would place it on the table until there was a winner.  After a few of the fights…it seemed like maybe these fights are set up…like they know who is going to win.  Giff ended up breaking even with the locals and winning $5 with the guy sitting next to us.

We had a great time and also enjoyed the blind fight they put on just for entertainment…they blindfolded 3 fighters and let them loose in the ring.  It was quite a spectacle watching them punch the air as they missed or realizing there were 3 fighters in the ring instead of 2.

After the fight, we went back to our place on a tuk tuk and went to bed for the evening.

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