Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Tell me mo', bro ...

Mo in a rare reflective moment, with his mouth shut!
Boy, has this guy got a story to tell! If you come across Mo Tejani, you're in for a roller-coaster ride of stories from every part of the world, many of which he's documented in his highly acclaimed book, A Chameleon's Tale (

Mo was born in Tanzania and grew up in Uganda (although many might claim that, pushing 60, he's still growing up!)

A regular on the literary festival circuit around Asia/ Pacific, the Chiang Mai resident's hobbies include, "Dancing, drinking, and degenerate debauchery," he says, tongue sort of in cheek ... but, well not really. If there's a music festival on, he's there. If there's a microphone, he'll be singing the African anthem Malaika.

His connection with Thailand goes way, WAY back. "I came to Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1979 and was an English teacher at Phuket and Chiang Rai Teachers Colleges for two years. 

"After the Vietnam War, I worked in Panat Nikhom Refugee Camp programs for two years, resettling refugees from SE Asia to western countries." As a refugee himself, from Idi Amin's Uganda, that would've resonated strongly with Mo.

"I worked as a Country Director for a humanitarian non profit agency in Khon Kaen (Isaan) for two years and most recently I was involved in health and education programs for Burmese refugees and migrants at refugee camps along the Thai/ Myanmar border.

"I've been living in Chiang Mai for the past nine years.The food is great, the women look more stunning every day, the weather is idyllic and the artistic community here quite inspiring. The city feels like a town making it much easier to get to know people, both Thai and Expats. Lots of good music venues and great restaurants too.Living is cheap here making it affordable to have a vibrant lifestyle."

 The Chameleon's Top 5 Thailand travel tips:

Koh Gadan - who wouldn't want to snorkel here?
1/  Koh Gadan off Krabi, southern Thailand. "Beautiful beaches, great snorkling, very quiet and less touristy and very friendly people on the island." 

2/ Koh Kham: "Off the east coast of Thailand, near the Cambodian border and past Koh Chang."

3/ Mukdhahan, Isaan province: "On the Cambodian border. Wonderful sleepy town, facing the Mekong with great Northeastern food and very helpful people. Good to place to relax from the hustle bustle of Thai cities."

Phu Gradeung - worth the climb for this view.
4/ Pu Gradeung Mountain, Loei province: "Worth the strenuous hike up to the summit to catch the sunrise with beautiful views and morning fog and mist rolling in under the clouds."
5/ Surin Island, north of Phuket: "It's about 4 hours by boat. Camping in tents only, with superb beaches, turquoise blue water, great marine life and fascinating Moken Sea Gypsy villages to boot."

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