Northern Thailand – Chiang Mai Week 63: 20.01.2014 – 26.01.2014 Monday:- I was up early and breakfast was just the almond croissant Leo had got me from the bakery on Saturday. I dropped into Dream House and rented a scooter. I took over 2 loads of stuff on the scooter to my new place – even remembered the way fortunately. I unpacked and sorted the room how I wanted it – after all I’d be here for 3 months. I
Northern Thailand – Chiang Mai
Week 63: 20.01.2014 – 26.01.2014
I was up early and breakfast was just the almond croissant Leo had got me from the bakery on Saturday.
I dropped into Dream House and rented a scooter. I took over 2 loads of stuff on the scooter to my new place – even remembered the way fortunately. I unpacked and sorted the room how I wanted it – after all I’d be here for 3 months.
I eventually got round to showering around 4 – bliss to be clean and in fresh clothes. I jumped on the scooter and went back into town to do some shopping at the market. I had no food in at all. I met Leo and went to UN Irish pub for dinner. We met Richard, Dennis and Honor there and we all tucked into fab food whilst watching American football on the big screens. Onto Boy Blues Bar – Oliver was jamming, and it gave me the chance to have a good chat with Honor who I had only met once before briefly.
As it turned out we left at the same time and as she didn’t have a scooter I dropped her off at her hotel, it was on the way anyway. As it turned out I was supposed to collect my shopping from Leo’s, but had forgotten, so went back getting phone and gas top ups on the way. It was late when I got back and the main gate squeaked. It also rolled on its own so I had to put one of my sandals under the wheel to keep it steady and so walked the scooter in with one bare foot – hope there aren’t any bugs around!
I slept well but there were some rather weird wildlife noises all around!
I had a really lazy day at the house. I just pottered around my lovely new room (there was a spare desk in one of the rooms so I moved that in), caught up on emails and my blog, and got to know Fla, my housemate. We got on well and I was really starting to like the place and feel at home. It felt really great to be here!
Luckily I’d done some shopping yesterday and decided it was worth driving back to Leo’s to get them so I had enough food around and could just stay in.
Not the most of fun packed days but I was content
After the usual morning events and a hot, cold, hot, cold, hot shower (it’s a little temperamental) I headed into the old town. I needed some more coat hangers and I’d bought loads when I stayed at Dream House so I was hoping I could have some of them back . I had lunch with Waew again – her treat!
I had a walk around the old town.
The nights were still really cold and I wanted something warm to wear first thing in the morning when I got up. A second hand shop had opened up near Dream House and I found a cheap and cheerful red snoopy hoodie for a snip. I also picked up my last remaining things from Leo – the ones I wanted to use anyway. Little Salem was there of course – as cute as ever!
On to the organic veg place to spend a fortune and then a couple of stops to buy bananas. I so love that you can stop almost anywhere along a road and find exactly what you’re looking for!
Back to the house and a relaxed evening
Wawee coffee shop was the morning destination after a workout and meditation. Dennis was doing a hand reading for Mally, a lovely lady would had joined our little Chiang Mai community whilst on her travels. A number of people had decided to meet up there and I was one of them. Once the hand reading was done we toddled along Nimmanhaeman road to Salad Concept for lunch. We were all being healthy apart from the double side order of fried potato and cheese croquettes! Bloody good though!
After a leisurely lunch we went in convoy to the opening if the new Maya shopping mall. We parked our scooters on the pavement across the road, dodged the traffic and stepped through the main entrance. A very swanky looking place with 4 ridiculously plus floors. As it was the opening day all sorts of things were going on. There was some kind of dim screening in the foyer, locals dressed as Hollywood characters, and by the looks of the hoards of screaming Thai girls there must have been a male popstar. We saw who we thought the minor celeb was but I had no idea just how famous he was – how many Thai pop stars do you know????
Although the building wasn’t finished we managed to get up onto the roof. This had been set out like a park and had fantastic views of the surrounding area. After a few carefully posed photos we explored the rest of the place before crossing back to our bikes.
I’d picked up a balloon from inside the mall and while crossing the road handed it to a little girl who was sitting in the back of a passing truck. She was a little confused but eventually took it. Priceless moment!
The rest of the afternoon was spent sitting in the sunshine in the park. Only in Chiang Mai would park goers be practicing yoga positions and learning tight rope skills!
I stopped at Tops to stock up on groceries, including precious marmite, before dumping them and heading back to the old town and jam night at Tea Tree cafe. It’s a great little venue with graffiti style designs on the floor, walls and ceiling. It’s jam night every Thursday so it’s built up a reputation and there were loads of us tonight. The people here are so talented and so spontaneous singing and playing of instruments breaks out. I absolutely loved it. Sometimes these events just make me feel like I could burst! Ocean had made some ginger probiotic for someone and it was passed around. It’s non alcoholic but might as well be as it is pretty potent and gives you a kind of buzz, whilst being uber good for you.
Ocean, Leo and I were almost last to leave and after drooping off Leo, Ocean and I headed out along the Canal Road and then on to our respective homes.
Another fun packed day!
I woke up much later and stayed in bed – wow, it was cold today. The huge sleeping bag I bought in Australia was worth its weight in gold!!
A relaxed morning (the only kind I have these days) of chatting and meditation then out to the fabulous Pun Pun veggie restaurant on the Suthep Road for lunch. I met up with Leo and Clare, and even Adam made a brief appearance. Clare had been to the restaurant many times and knew all the best dishes so we just let her order a load and then all tucked in. Delicious!
So, today the three of us were going on an adventure – me, Clare and Leo that is. We were off to see the cherry blossoms on the other side of the Doi Suthep mountain. I’d never been that far on a scooter before so after filling up with gas we were off. Doi Suthep is the magnificent temple which sits on the top of the mountain to the north west of the old town. It’s a dominant part of the Chiang Mai skyline and a good way to orient yourself. It’s a fair trek to the top with many many twists and turns. On a scooter it’s amazing but you have to keep your eyes open. We passed the temple and then started to drop down on the other side, starting to see the odd flowering cherry tree along the way. The stopped for a quick break, to check out the view and consider what extra layers we needed as the air was getting much colder before heading on.
The road began to narrow to just one lane, which gave rise to a quick ‘beep’ at each corner. Then the tarmac surface started to change into something more organic. As a novice scooter driver it was a challenge and at one point on a rather steep, gravel covered part the bike started to slide, the back wheel coming level with the front so I was moving sideways and rather worryingly towards the edge of the road which dropped away. I decided to tip the bike over and hopefully bring it to a stop. I got a couple of bruises and was covered in dust but so many people rushed to my assistance and I was soon up and on my way. Successfully making it down the rest of the hill.
At last after more twists and turns through the trees we made it to the Chiang Mai agricultural university and the cherry trees. They lined the road and as we dismounted from our trusty steeds and looked up into the branches it snowed cherry blossom petals onto us.
What a magical moment! We walked around the gardens with more cherry trees and stopped for a quick drink before setting off again. We’d only travelled 25km but it had taken getting on for 2 hours. After my unexpected tumble earlier I was a little apprehensive thinking about the mostly downward trip back. As it turned out it was wonderful and such fun. We got back in about 75 minutes.
I just had time to get back to house, shower to get rid of the dust, grab some food before heading back out again to meet the guys at Maya to try out the new cinema. The traffic was manic and even on my scooter the 15 journey took over double that – I found the underground parking which was just a sea of scooters – and pegged it up the escalators to the cinema. Oliver had treated us all to tickets to see ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ and they were just waiting for me before going in. Well, it’s quite a movie! If you’ve heard the hype about the language it’s all true. It’s weird though you soon get used to the profanities and stop noticing after a while. It’s worth a watch but at least 30 minutes too long.
It’s a long movie and so we all headed home once we managed to find the parking lot again!
Up early for Chez Nico – the Farang farm bakery. A great crowd had gathered and because the food was late the numbers were swelling. The truck eventually arrived and I helped unload.
Once everything was laid out I dived for the trays of flans and croissants. I had my own list and Leo had always asked me to pick up some things. My success with grabbing the croissants meant that when I turned around to find the bread I was at the end of a very long line. I decided to stop queuing and just mingle. I did however keep my spirits up with a slice of oh-so-good pizza. Eventually the queue subsided and thankfully there was still bread and pate left. I picked up both and paid for my haul. I also bought 5 bottles of healthy juice which is made by a guy called Ezi. Not just any juice, they are secret recipes and are supa supa healthy. 1 papaya leaf juice, 1 khowtong, 1 ginger, 1 Chinese gooseberry vitamin C blast, and 1 turmeric. Wow, my insides were going to be squeaky clean!
Everyone was in a chatty mood and as the group consisted of many astrologists the conversation turned to star signs and charts. Only in Chiang Mai do conversations about rising moons not relate to dropping your trousers and showing the world your bum!!! I met Sheeva – a 60 something year old, six foot and some, American man. He was larger than life and into astrology like many others. He looked at my chart and we were soon in deep conversation about what it revealed about me – most interesting. He was most interesting but one of those men you need to carefully keep at arms length!! It was way after 1pm when the last of us stragglers left the place which has to be a record for a quick morning catch up at the bakery.
I met Leo for a pasta lunch in the old town, and dropped in briefly to Waew before heading to Airport Plaza to see the Chiang Mai photography exhibition. One of the ladies in our Chiang Mai group had been sucessfully selected to show a couple of her photos – much kudos to her! It was a wonderful selection of photos and it also gave me the chance to catch up with a few friends.
We ended up having another movie night – gravity followed by Captain Phillips. Both good and very different movies.
It had been a long and fun packed day!
It was a day of being lazy at the house. Although I did hoover the place – thai styleeeee!
I had a big breakfast which kept me going for most of the day, caught up on my blog and emails, tried to drink as much as I could of the papaya leaf juice (it is revolting) and did laundry. And not much else!
Isn’t that what Sundays are all about!?