Thursday, 27 January 2011
LIfe's a beach living in the mountains ...
People who live up in the mountains are just that little bit closer to the sun and therefore are more strongly affected by its harmful rays.
Exhibit A: Chiang Rai Beach.
On a recent trip to that city, a friend invited me to his house, "just 300 metres from Chiang Rai beach." Sorry come again ... the line's breaking up ... I thought you said beach.
"Yes, Chiang Rai Beach," he confirmed. Woah, ease up on that medication, my friend!
A quick check of the map revealed that land-locked Chiang Rai is 1000 or so metres above sea level and approximately 800km from the nearest beach in Thailand. In fact it's probably closer to go to a beach in Burma from there, jing jing.
But no. There, on a sweeping bend of the Kok River is Chiang Rai Beach. Umbrellas, deck chairs, massage service, ice cream carts. It could be Bondi, but with less sharks and less budgie smugglers.
Some of the locals have taken the beach thing one step further and call it Pattaya Noi. Little Pattaya.
There's a cool "isn't this great?" eccentric quirkiness to the place. Making do with what they've got this far from the ocean. But in fact, if you follow the Kok River for about 130km, you'll join up with the Mekong River, then if you follow that for about 1880km more, you'll empty out from the Mekong Delta into the South China Sea.
So technically, there is a grain of truth in calling this a beach.