This photo-blog is designed to work either as a standard blog with images or - by clicking any image - a photo-album. To see an image in full resolution in the 2006 journey, click to the left or right of an image in blog mode.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bitten and smitten in Chiang Mai

2006-11-02 to 2006-11-06

Things have got even more exciting. We went for a motor bike ride over the river to a nice temple complex, but Christine got bitten by a dog in the temple and has had to have massive multiple shots of immunoglobulin and rabies vaccine in case it is rabid, although the monks claimed it had be compulsorily vaccinated a couple of months ago by the government and it didn't look that excitable afterward, or foam at the mouth.

The problem, as we discovered is that despite being a developed country, Thailand has near epidemic rabies, partly due to Buddhist attitudes of not killing stray animals which some people knowingly dump at temples knowing the monks will feel obliged to take them in. This means that some temples become taken over by stray canines whose vaccination status is unknown, so the government to keep rabies under control has to mount regular vaccination programs round the temples. This also means that human rabies vaccine is less expansive in Thailand because they manufacture it there under licence from Pasteur to try to keep up with the endemic threat.

Doctor and male nurse at the McCormick Hospital with verorab vaccine and favirab immunoglobulin

We were first taken to a vet which was scarcely encouraging but then took off on the motor bike to the ex-missionary hospital where they gave good quality treatment with Pasteur vaccine and horse gamma globulin antibodies although it was pretty gruesome for Christine having multiple injections of immunoglobulin every which way into her contused calf muscle.

The Honda 100 was essential for getting to the hospital,
as well as getting out to see all the sights around Chiang Mai

So now we will have to space our return through Thailand and Malaysia to secure a five vaccination series. We are hoping the monks will pay for the 6000 Baht outlay (around $285 NZ) which neatly cleaned out our Thai cash reserves, as it was their dog that attacked Christine.

Chiang Mai is otherwise pleasant. We had a good trip up here on the "sprinter" a diesel rail car day train costing 660 Baht (611 for the ticket - the rest commission for MP travel, a small Chinese-oriented back street travel agent in Khaosan Road).

A variety of temple offerings for the Kraton festival

We are staying in Sumit Hotel a bland but cheap hotel in the old moated city. 300 Baht, or around $8 US, for fan and hot water private bathroom (400 with air con but its cool enough half way up the 7 storey building to not need it).

Watch out for the pesticides in Chiang Mai hotels. This story of another Nzer has become notorious:
Mystery remains after pesticides blamed for Thailand tourist deaths

We have hired a jeep for the next two days and plan to drive up to the northern border with Burma and Laos and maybe visit a few 'golden triangle' villages.

Pre-Kraton celebrations

The Kraton festival is this weekend which is the Thai version of the end of rains festival we partly missed in Laos and Cambodia. There is supposed to be a massive release of all negative energies into floating candles and illuminated boats on the river.

The alleyway between the back-street Sumit and the main road alongside the Eastern arm of the city moat

Main road along the central moat and old city wall

Eating from the street carts at night is a great way to stay healthy
because you can watch them cook the food!

There are lots of nice restaurants which are a bit expensive, so we have been eating dinner in the street carts that come out at night as well as chocolate banana pancakes with a more up market breakfast in a funky restaurant in the lane by the hotel.

Old city wall and moat

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