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Blogging for Lonely Planet

I’m not sure how many of you have seen this yet, but my first of six blog posts for the Lonely Planet site went live a few days ago. I’ve titled it Travel Magic on the Chao Phraya, and I suppose it’s a somewhat interesting read. But the truth of the matter is that I simply couldn’t do the entire story justice in the paltry 375 words allotted; Lonely Planet’s new blogging philosophy is that our fans want to log on to the site, read something very punchy and very short, and then immediately get back to their email-checking and their MySpace account managing. Sadly, I suppose that’s probably the case in a nutshell. Anyway, you can link directly to the post by clicking here. Personally though, I would suggest beginning at the top and reading through a handful of the more recent posts from other LP authors; to do so, click here.

Lonely Planet is currently sponsoring yet another of its Bluelist competitions, during which random travel fans are whisked away to a romantic capital city or port of call (Marrakesh in this case), and made to wander around town in search of charming guest houses and other travel treasures, just as a real-live LP author would. The participants are currently blogging about their adventures, and I always seem to find these dispatches quite fun to follow. As usual, my good pal (and original LP mentor) Alex Leviton is mmonitoring the gang as they maketheir way though the city. How Alex continues to get these choice Bluelist assignments is entirely beyond me, although I suspect it may have something to do with her prodigious collection of karma, much of which she earned while babysitting myself on the Italian island of Sardinia last year. (Thanks Alex! And my apologies for not ringing before my Pittsburgh departure last month; let’s catch up soon.) 

At any rate, I’ve got five more posts to bang out for LP, and I’ll be sure to mention something here when each one goes up. I’m planning on writing something about the Karen-Burmese refugee camp I visited while I was in the border town of Mae Sot, and I’m sure I’ll also have a witty comment or two about Songkran, the Thai New Year Festival during which anyone in the country who dares leave the confines of their house or hotel gets soaked by an arsenal of giant water pistols. This is all done in good fun, of course, and since Songkran takes place during the height of the hot season (mid-April), the inevitable drenching seems to be something that most everyone looks forward to. Personally, I plan to purchase the largest water gun money can buy, with which I will be drenching every single one of those horrible, rabid soi dogs I can get my paws on. And to think I used to be a canine lover! The hounds here are absolutely terrifying, especially when wild packs of them chase you down abandoned streets — something which has happened to me twice.

Speaking of Songkran, I was actually trying to convince my favorite person in the world, C, to meet me here in Thailand a week earlier than she is actually due, which would mean that we’d be spending Songkran together. I even had the perfect title for the resulting LP blog post: “Why Thailand Gets My Girlfriend Wet”. Get it? Ha! Sometimes I just absolutely kill myself.

At any rate, for those of you following my progress on your world maps, I’ll be leaving Chiang Mai tomorrow morning and heading north to the nowhere town of Chiang Rai. After researching the Golden Triangle area of the country for a few days, I’ll be heading south towards Koh Chang via overnight bus and boat, and will be spending the vast majority of my final month here on the beaches and islands in the south. To prepare, I even purchased a lovely pair of $3.00 jogging shorts at a horrible used-clothing store the other day, which means that not only am I officially ready to go body-surfing with empty beer bottles and cigarette butts in the surf off Haad Rin, but that I’ll be able to do so in clothing which is slightly more modest than my Hanes boxer briefs, which have acted as my sole swimming suit on the trip thus far. Pretty tacky, huh?

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