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Sat Jan 16 2016: Umbrella Festival

With our first Visa Run out of the way, we returned to Chiang Mai and immediately checked up on our motorcycles. *phew* Still there, right where we parked them a week ago! We were very relieved! We were feeling kinda nervous leaving them behind...

We're booked back into our amazing apartment in Nimman, and it's like we've returned home again, ready to resume our life of lounging and leisure. But this time with motorcycles! No more haggling with the tuk tuk drivers! There's still some paperwork to be done with the bikes. We're missing our ownership papers (Green Book) as well as our license plates. We're able to ride around Thailand legally by keeping a copy of the bill of sale, but we need the ownership and plates to take the bikes out of the country.

We've also extended our two month Thai Visa an additional month which gives us a total of 90 days to get our bikes sorted out. Then we're kicked out of Thailand yet again. But given our problems with getting the paperwork completed in time before our last visa expired, we decide not to delay things, and we're routinely shuttling documents between the various government offices and the Honda dealership.

In between all this administration, we take time to do our first road trip!

Welcome to Bosang!

Bosang is just east of Chiang Mai... a whopping total of 20 kms! 55555. We are starting nice and slow with these bikes. Gotta get used to the absolute lack of power and the horribly uncomfortable seat. We even got them out on the highway to really flog those tiny engines. Every time we hit 100 km/h, with the bike buzzing like angry bees underneath me, I instinctively tug up on the shifter and my toe hits resistance... nope, no seventh gear on the baby CRF.

Every single time :(

I like riding motorcycles in Thailand. At every stoplight, we filter to the front of the lineup. Even though we think we bought tiny motos, we are still some of the biggest bikes on the road - our tall dirtbikes towering amidst a sea of 110cc scooters. To make us even more conspicuous, we're the only ones outiftted in full gear. Nothing screams "farang" like ATGATT. At the Stoplight Grand Prix, while waiting for the lights to turn green, all the local scooterists eye us up and down like we are aliens. I thought we were going to blend in with these bikes. I guess not...

We are in Bo Sang for the annual umbrella festival!

Thailand is known for many things and one of them is the Thai umbrella. Bo Sang is where it all started

It's said that a monk (why is it always a monk that starts these things?) brought the technique of making paper umbrellas to the artisans in Bo Sang, and they quickly turned it into one of the iconic symbols of Thai culture.

The canopy is made from a special lightweight, durable paper called saa, native to Northern Thailand, and is oiled to make it waterproof.
The frame is made of strong bamboo.

The handmade umbrellas are also painted by hand. All over town, there were artists decorating umbrellas

Some are professional, some are beginners... :)

Umbrellas and elephants, two of Thailand's most well-known symbols

Neda the Thai-Lady says, "Sawatdee Kah!"

Everywhere you look, there are umbrellas decorating the town. Even above!

To celebrate the Umbrella Festival, a beauty pageant was held. But instead of walking down a stage, these contestants rode bicycles up and down the main street in Bosang.

Who will be crowned Miss Umbrella Festival 2016?

Wonder if these umbrella girls also work at the motorcycle races?

More handpainting

The general public is invited to handpaint their own umbrellas

Neda is loving all the vibrant, pretty colours!

This pose is called the "Closed Umbrella"

Awesome road trip! Getting ready for the long ride back home!

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