Travel Blog: Week 62

Australia and Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand

Week 62: 13.01.2014 – 19.01.2014

My mind seemed a little free’er this week and so I was more interested in doing things…..

Monday:-

I had a huge breakfast to start the day – scrambled egg on toast and a smoothie. It’s scientifically proven that a good breakfast sets you up for the day.

I did a home workout, managing my ten full push-ups (just!!), and then a good meditation.

Today I was going to take Ange’s bike out for a spin. They’d found me a helmet, and a bike lock, and Nigel even pumped up the tyres for me. I’d intended to go as far as Burns Beach, and then onto Hilary’s which was really quite enough for my little legs which struggled to find any strength given the long break I’d had from any real cardio exercise. Oh lord, it was tough going especially against the coastal winds. I soon realised I just would not get that far so decided to call it a day and head back. Of course I got lost, and of course I took the long way back. I stopped at the little parade of shops at Beau Maris to buy fruit, and at a little park to read for a while, but then eventually found my way. I’d been out 4 hours. Enough was enough!


Nigel made dinner again, which was lovely. I made a cottage pie that evening for dinner for tomorrow.

Tuesday:-

Ange’s day off so we went out for the day.

Firstly we had a browse around Hilary’s and did the girly thing and bought almost matching earrings. Then onto the Northbridge area of Perth for dim sum. We ate there for the first time on my last visit and this trip was just as good if not better. We rolled out of there full to bursting.


As we had time on the parking ticket we walked into Northbridge.

I was in search of charity shops and a cheap jacket which I could wear on the scooter and keep warm. We found a really hip charity shop with retro clothes. I didn’t find a jacket but somehow came away with a pair of winkle-picker animal print ankle boots. The woman in the shop was very persuasive and insisted they were all the rage back in Chiang Mai. The charity shop was called Vinnies, and Ange found out the distribution centre was nearby and so that became our next stop. It was an Aladdin’s cave and we were there for a good couple of hours. I was in my element and ended up finding a jacket and a heap of tops. I also found the perfect duvet/sleeping bag to take back to Thailand. Everything was a bargain basement price and it had kept us both blissfully entertained all afternoon.

We headed home weary but happy. The cottage pie I’d made the night before was on hold for another day as neither Ange or I could eat much after our mahusive lunch.

Wednesday:-

Started the day with a Wainwright juice special!

Back to Perth and the consulate. Fingers crossed my visa would be waiting for me. It was – I was all set to return to Chiang Mai!

I did a little window shopping in Perth and also stopped off again in Joondalup before heading back.

The cottage pie got eaten today but I don’t think sitting in the fridge for 48 hours had done it any good. Anyway, it all went!

After dinner I popped out to the movies. Ange had a cinema loyalty card and there was also a discount voucher. It meant my film cost around 3 quid. I saw ‘The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty’. Not action packed, and not my usual sci-fi flick but it was quietly brilliant and well worth a watch. It made me think back to all the things I’ve done on my travels over the past 10 years of so.

I walked back. It was the most fabulous of evenings. Still in awe of the movie’s message I looked up into the night sky. Almost cloudless, with an almost full moon, and many many stars. We are just a speck on this planet! Ain’t the universe amazing!

Thursday:-

Ange had another day off today!

I tried to have a healthy breakfasts but because Ange was around she forced me to have a sausage sarnie – forced me, I tell you!

We drove around to an industrial estate and checked out a few shops – one electrical and one outdoor – I’m not sure I’ve seen anything quite like it, they were gigantic! Strictly window shopping only!

We had lunch in Kulcha in Joondalup – another huge meal. There was a pattern evolving when Ange and I ate out. It usually ended up with us hardly being able to move we ate so much!

Ange needed to get back as they were going to watch 20/20 cricket at the Scorchers but I stayed in Joondalup. Another charity shop was beckoning – Good Sammy. Not only was it a charity shop but it was having a sale. I got about 10 things for $15. That’s about £8!

I did a little grocery shop for my tea before getting the train back, passing a not so friendly parrot on the way home.

The weirdest thing happened as I walked back from the station. I had my earphones in so wasn’t totally alert, but I heard a thud and then a screech of tyres. I thought it was some idiot driver drag racing down the street but as I turned to see what was going on a large wheel sped past me followed by a Ute (utility vehicle – a kind of truck) swerving all over the road. Yup, the wheel had come off. Luckily both the wheel and the Ute missed me but only by a few feet. The truck finally came to a stop just past Ange and Nigel’s house and then the wheeled rolled back into the road having passed through their neighbours garden. The wheel nuts had just sheared off. The driver and his passenger, and me, had been lucky. Some locals came out of their houses to help and so I left them to it.

I had the place to myself tonight as the family was out. I was going to have salsa and crisps for dinner (not very healthy but salsa in Thailand is expensive and I was craving it) and settle down to watch a movie, followed by more reading. Ange had lent me a series of vampire books. Before dinner I finished the last few pages of the penultimate book and then went to the study to get the next in the series. I did not expect the scene before me. So, that wheel I told you about. Well it hadn’t gone through the neighbours garden directly, it had hit Ange and Nigel’s house first. Hit their study window to be precise. The window was smashed into a million pieces and was everywhere. The blind was also wrecked. Yikes – what to do??? I called Ange to let them know the news then set to clearing up. The glass was inside and outside the house and during the clear-up operation I found two wheel nuts. I also noticed a pick up recovery truck collecting the knackered vehicle. I nipped out took photos and got the guys details.

The family returned later and called their home insurance who quickly took charge and sent someone round to secure the window. Excellent service! It had been quite an evening. Enough for one day. Now, where’s that book!

Friday:-

A chilled day.

I started to sort out what I would leave in Oz so I could fit in my new (well second hand, but new to me) clothes. I did a spot of sunbathing – I’d got really burnt when I walked to Mullaloo and had peeled badly. I was trying to even up my patchy body colours.

Gareth had friends round during the afternoon so I found a quiet spot and read. I also let the builder in who had come to assess the damage to the outside wall caused when the wheel hit the house.

A quick trip to Joondalup to buy a hot water bottle. A crazy purchase in light of the temperatures here but as FB updates indicated it was still chilly in CM, I wanted to keep warm.

Ange, Nigel and I went out for dinner. They treated me to a fabulous curry! (Just loved the name of the restaurant next door!)

 

I turned in and read, had a FB messaging conversation with Leo putting in my order for the bakery which I’d collect on Sunday, then hit the sack.

Saturday:-

Leaving Perth, and Australia, had come round rather quickly. Three weeks just like that!

I had breakfast and set too on my packing. I needed to leave around 2:30 so I had plenty of time for some last minute sun bathing – although it was really hot and I only managed about half an hour – a final hit shower, lunch and then the final packing and zipping up my bags. As always is was a challenge to fit everything in. I did pretty well but only because I was leaving some things – including the fabulous shoes I’d bought in Perth last time. I was almost up to the max on my checked luggage and over on the cabin bags. My plan to roll the sleeping bag small enough to fit in the small back pack didn’t pay off – the was no way that was ever going to work. I’d just have to carry it separately. As always I prayed to the travel gods to get me through check-in.

Ange took me to the airport and we hugged before saying farewell. Once again my friends had made me feel so welcome! I found the desk and after a short wait in line was checked in by Jeffrey. He was really kind and turned a blind eye to my baggage weight, although I had to check in my extra sleeping-bag bag. I declared the juicer I had packed in my carry on and after taking out the metal mesh grater part and stuffing it in with my sleeping-bag to be checked I passed effortlessly through security. It’s always a relief to make it through to departures.

The plane left on time and I found that Jeffrey had once again been helpful – I had an empty seat next to me.

I passed the time, 5 hours, updating my blog as I had got behind again, watching movies on my iPad and listening to music. I also had just enough cash, between my remaining Aussie dollars and some Singapore dollars I found in amongst my travel documents, to buy a sandwich on the flight. Funny how they never look quite like the picture on the menu card!

We soon landed, and 20 minutes early! I have to say that despite my misgivings when I booked this budget airline, Tiger Air, I was pleasantly surprised by the excellent service I’d received every step of the way. I was last to disembark – there was no need to hurry as I had a twelve hour lay over at Singapore. I found the transit lounge, collected my boarding pass for the next flight and then had a brief wander around the airport. I still had a lot of time to kill and was tired so around midnight I checked into a budget room in the transit hotel and got some sleep

Sunday:-

It was a fitful sleep. I never seem to totally relax when I know I have to get up early at a certain time. These rooms give you six hours so I knew I had to be out by 6am. It was a lot more comfortable than the airport floor or chairs, and I could use the showers. If only it was hot water – brrr, that certainly woke me up.

I found a lovely little cafe and ordered pastrami sandwich and ginger tea. It was a little bit of luxury and absolutely delicious. The cafe was where I stayed for a while as it was an island of calm midst the hustle and bustle of the airport.

It was soon time to find the gate, but with just enough time to have a quick foot massage. I wish I’d noticed the sign first – ooooo, the pain!

I got to the gate, got my bag and juicer through security and soon boarded. The flight was empty, but they packed us all into the central rows. Once we’d taken off I moved to the front and slept across three seats. Bliss.

We landed, and after a bit of to’ing and fro’ing at immigration I was through and miraculously both bags (even the small one with the sleeping bag) were waiting for me.

Waew was there to meet me with the most beautiful bunch of flowers.

I spent a little time with Waew catching up on how business was, and what had happened over new year. We took a look at a house which was up for rent in the town (too expensive and zero furniture) then went out and had lunch together which I think was a first. A great little restaurant called ‘The Garden’, which was indeed like sitting in a garden. The food was great!

I met Leo and went to UN Irish pub together. She needed lunch and while she ate we caught up on news. Leo took me out to see a house with a room to rent. I met Fla, who currently lived there and needed someone to take the second room. I loved the place and signed up there and then to move in the next day. On the way back from Fla’s we went to see a show called ‘Space’. An almost one man show – the main actor was only from Leighton Buzzard! It was completely different from anything I’d seen before and really got the cogs going. Space will be in the line up at the Edinburgh fringe festival.

No peace for the wicked. Leo was being interviewed at the local radio station and I went with her, reading directions from her mobile phone while riding pillion. I’d had no time to arrange a scooter so was relying on Leo to get me around. The live broadcast was a great success and in between playing music requests Leo summarised her life in the theatre and what was on in Chiang Mai. It was so interesting and the great thing was I was allowed to sit in the studio and listen.


By now it was late and my stuff was all locked up in Dream House, so I crashed at Leo’s. Salem the kitten had grown in the three weeks I’d been away and now looked like a young cat rather than a kitten. She’d calmed down a little too. Did she recognise me – who knows!! I’d already been in my clothes for two days now and it looked like tomorrow would be the same until I moved into the new place, but I settled into Leo’s upstairs room under my toasty new sleeping bag.

Quite a day!!

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