If you have read my SG-entry posted last year, this is the “separate entry” I was talking about.
I know I’m supposed to be writing about my Chiang Mai weekend with my backpacking buddies, Pocklan and Maxie, however things became more interesting as the trip progressed. Let’s just say I saw a Panda, which I’ve been dreaming of everytime I see one being documented on Animal Planet, and my favorite male celebrity, VJ Utt.
I think I lost track of time, but I can specifically point out that my tween years were spent watching MTV Most Wanted and MTV Asia Hitlist. Just watching these figures speak fluent English, crack up jokes, introduce the latest music videos, interview celebrities, host roadshows and events, mesmerized me. They were good-looking, classy, stylish, charming and entertaining. Their faces were on billboards in the Metro, pages in the magazines and newspapers, and TV ads. I wanted to be one for some reason –perhaps, because I wanted to be famous.
So I tuned-in to MTV as much as I could, practiced the way they moved and spoke. The brush I was holding in front of the mirror wasn’t for singing, it was for mimicking their pronunciation and antics. I wrote requests for Most Wanted as well, but I guess, they weren’t cool enough to be aired.
In 2003, I got my 15 minutes of fame on MTV Asia, where my brother and I joined MTV Start –a high-end version of Most Wanted where viewers can send in their most creative requests using Flash Animation, Animated GIF, etc. Since my brother is a genius and he thought the entries we’ve been seeing were “ugly”, I challenged him to send an entry. And he did. And he won. That Sony MiniDisc will always be more special than any of my Apple products. I tried taping the audio of that episode (sorry it was 2003, I wasn’t as savvy as today), but I think that cassette tape got lost in the middle of “spring cleanings” and typhoons. Even the copy of that request is gone, too. However, I will never forget how VJ Utt said my name for the first time. It was amazing.
So, you know, obviously, my heart stopped when I read this:
It was because my friends and I were also going to Chiang Mai for the weekend!
On-the-Road to Chiang Mai
I’ve always wanted to visit Chiang Mai because of the good things I heard about this place. For we are backpackers, we immediately took the next bus-ride to Chiang Mai for only THB400. Of course, it wasn’t all luxurious and comfortable but for that price, you get the most of it. We left Vientiane around 7PM and we were on the road for what seemed like forever. Around 6AM, we finally found a guesthouse in the town proper. It’s interesting how the rooms were priced. It’s like you will pay for the amenities in your-room-to-be. We paid THB350/night because our room is in the 4th floor, with hot water and towels. Go figure.
After taking a nap, we can’t afford to waste any time. My friends immediately hailed the red taxi, bargained for the fare, and started our journey up to Doi Suthep and visited Wat Phrathat. It was gorgeous. Although, you can bet it’s a main attraction for it was teeming with tourists. I actually heard some tour guides speak in Spanish!
After spending two hours going around the temple, taking pictures and watching the locals dance, we descended the mountains and ate at the stalls in the parking area. Delish! While eating, because I got amazing DTAC, I read this:
And thank God, my friends were actually up for it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t know what to do. Imagine, I was in the same area where VJ Utt is. It’s been 12 years since I’ve been a fan of MTV, VJ Utt, for that matter. For every opportunity to watch him host an event, it’s either I wasn’t allowed to watch him or it was just bad-timing. He hosted Ms Earth in 2007 held in the UP Theatre in Diliman and I was at home, eyes glued to the screen. I’ve been visiting Bangkok for a couple of times and the most I’ve seen of him was on that huge-ass billboard for Epson Printers, the last episode of his Thai drama, and several magazines at 7-Eleven I took home with me.
As it turns out, 7ooth Anniversary Sports Stadium is far from the town. When we arrived in the scene, we can’t hear anything. My friends were teasing me that it was cancelled because of the rain, but when I finally heard booming speakers and screaming fans –and VJ Utt speaking in Thai –heckyeah!
That was a misleading post you know because when we arrived, people had tickets. But I guess it was just fate, we got in for free and they even stamped our arms “VIP”. We found our way to the rest of the crowd for MTV Exit. We watched Thaitanium, Slot Machine, Kate Miller-Heidke perform (we missed ETC’s perf) and the night’s highlight, where screaming fans painstakingly stood in the rain just to catch, Super Junior M.
Everytime Utt comes out, I gush and try to sneak a photo from where I stood. It was my first photo of Utt from my own camera! People around just glance at me whenever I scream ‘I Love You Utt’. I couldn’t care less. They just have to understand I waited 10 years for that moment.
Drenched and tired, we decided to go home, but I am never going to forget that day. That day I knew, dreams do come true.
Chiang Mai Day Two
We had to check-out at 12. Max decided to get out tickets back to Vientiane and get some more photography books, while PockLan and I decided to visit the Royal Park Rajapruek also known as the Flower Garden!
This temple looked familiar from afar; when we were walking towards it, I realized it was the pit-stop of The Amazing Race Asia (TARA) where Paula Taylor was dressed in full Thai regalia, saying “Sawasdee ka, Welcome to Chiang Mai”. Then PockLan and I had this outrageous idea that she should join TARA and for the first time, represent Lao PDR!
Around 6PM, we were on the bus to Vientiane. For some reason, I had this stabbing lower back pain that made the trip excruciating. It went away when we arrived at Nongkhai at 6AM –too little, too late now! We were off to the border and finally, home.
Backpacking with PockLan and Max–one of the highlights of my Vientiane adventure. Let’s do this again der!