Chiang Mai is a very interesting city, quite different to Bangkok in that it is more laid back and it caters for those who are looking for more adventurous pursuits such as whitewater rafting, trekking and visiting local tribes. As mentioned before, we chose not to do these things just yet, there are cheaper alternatives in the other countries we are visiting. Instead, we decided to get tattoos.
As we walked through the streets of Chiang Mai we came across a tattoo shop called Buffalo, had a look through their design book, thought ‘why not?’ and walked right in. Before us sat two young Thai’s called Tawan and Mike (yeah, this isn’t his real name) with their tattoos dotted around their bodies they could quite possibly have been an intimidating pair but within seconds we could tell they were both good guys.
Gareth went first, telling them he wanted something, but not sure what, but he definitely wanted it to go with the tattoo of Veni Vidi Vici he already had on his right arm.
I (Jen) have never had a tattoo before. I’ve waited a while before getting one as I want my first to mean something to me. I love lilies and roses and those two flowers mean something very special to me. My middle name, Susan, also comes from the Hebrew for Lily. While Gareth was trying to decide exactly what he wanted I just waded in and said ‘I want a rose and a lily on my left side please’.
Gareth was still trying to work out what would look best, maybe a wing or a cloud effect, I sat there looking helpful by going through the heap of tattoo magazines strewn on the coffee table but really I was fascinated by the scope of designs, and the places people actually tattoo!! (Did you know that you can tattoo inside your nose?!) I came across a photo of a woman with huge wings tattooed down her back, it was beautiful. I showed it to Gareth and his mind was made up. Working with Tawan, they both came up with a design that was truly magnificent. The wings represent the roman eagle and work well with his Julius Caeser quote.
I had the pleasure of being tattooed first, and being a woman I can handle pain. It is what we are made for! But Oh My God, what I didn’t expect was to feel like a knife was slicing through my body for 4 long hours. And my hip, my poor poor hip. Throughout the ordeal Gareth was there wiping my face, stroking my arm and distracting me with Italian verb conjugations.
Here are some photos of the most agonising 4 hours of my life.
|My design. The rose was made a little smaller|
|Halfway there and I’m exhausted and a quivering wreck|
The next day I got to witness Gareth’s 6 hour trauma. In the end I just wanted to hold him close to my bosom, stroking his pretty face and tell him that everything was going to be alright. But he was a brave Englishman and told me, in want of a better phrase, to please go away.
And here now is Gareth’s 6 hour ordeal.
|Tawan’s design. The wings were moved to opposite ends of the border|
|Smiling and optimistic|
|The 6th hour|
We left Chiang Mai today and entered Laos by longboat across the Mekong. That was fascinating to say the least even though the journey was less than 2 minutes long. Tomorrow we will begin to make our way to Luang Prabang by taking a slowboat for two days along the Mekong River.