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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • May 26, 2006


    I'm Going to Chiang Mai... December for three weeks, then southward to Sukhothai, Lopburi, and Bangkok (then maybe a 2-nights train ride to Singapore). The second largest city, or the Rose of the North, is a keystone of any journey to Thailand. With a population of just 160000, Chiang Mai is deprived of the traffic jam and pollution that infest Bangkok. It boasts more natural forest cover than any other northern provinces. I plan to engage in biking, hiking, bird watching in addition to visiting culinary school (which offers day cooking class) and spa. More than 700 km northwest of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is the home of over 300 temples, almost as many as in Bangkok, but due to much smaller and condensed size of the municipal area, the temples constitute a circumstance that makes the city visually striking.

    Most of my friends have ended up staying in Chiang Mai longer than planned because of the high quality and low price of accommodation, food, shopping, and the cool nights, and the friendliness of the people. I was surfing the net and found Soho Bar, which (in its own word) is the smartest gay venue in the entire city. Soho has a garden bar and a lounge, but what makes it special and catches my attention is the limited accommodation it provides. I e-mailed them and a very friendly Paddy Linehan promptly attends to the inquiry about accommodation, which is a suite with a sitting room and bathroom for 950 bacht a night (about US$23). Discount is available for staying a week. It has very nice ambience and is serviced daily.

    I have a feeling that Chiang Mai will be less toursy spot than Bangkok or Phuket so my copy of Buddhist Scriptures will come in handy to prepare me for the few of the ornately decorated temples. The most famous ones include Wat Phra Singh, which houses the Sinhalese Buddha; Wat Chiang Man, the oldest temple dated c1300; Wat Chedi Luang (with an enormous ruined landmark chedi) and Wat Phan Tao (entirely constructed from teak). Wat Jet Yod and Wat Suan Dawk, a little out of town, are both over 500 years old and have fascinating histories.

    A trip to the top of the 1676m-high Doi Suithep will be the trip's highlight. The peak presides over the west of the city and is the home of Thailand's most revered temple. Increasingly popular are trips to the excavated old Chiang Mai settlement of Wiang Kum Kham, southwest of the city. These 13th century ruins were only recently re-discovered. Chiang Mai is also a good launching point for hill treks which include river rafting, elephant riding and visits to hill tribe villages. Being a free traveler I am, I hope I can do without a guide, but who knows?

    I will keep everyone up-dated with the details and mechanics of the trip. Stay tuned. Happy Memorial Day weekend to everyone!


    Blogger Robert said...

    Oh you're so lucky! I want to see all that myself, but to say the least, I'm by far not as adventurous as you are. :-) I bet you'll have the most wonderful time there.

    I just saw Globetrekker last night, they were in Singapore. Simply gorgeous with the diversity of people there. I wanna go! woooooooooo! I know you'll take plenty o' pictures, so that's good. I'm excited for you Matt!!!

    Hope you're having a great weekend, too! xoxo

    5/28/2006 10:45 AM  
    Blogger Greg said...

    That sounds incredible! Enjoy yourself. Takes lots of pictures. And don't forget to relax.

    5/28/2006 7:54 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    chiang mai has a population of 1.6 million

    6/27/2006 1:21 AM  

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