Travel Blog: Week 58

Northern Thailand – Chiang Mai

Week 58: 16.12.2013 – 22.12.2013

Monday:-

It worked a treat. I’d fallen asleep reading and woke after a wonderfully deep 6 hours of sleep. I felt a new women – maybe the anti-histamine helped! I was also left alone and so didn’t get up until 8. Just an apple for breakfast as I’d finished my supplies. I headed out to town, thankfully the bike started first time – I was too far from town to get anyone out to help me. The roads were relatively quiet, but even so it took just under half an hour.

I went to Yoga Tree and did a Pilates class. It was a big class and the studio was packed so we moved to the main hall. The poses were challenging but I didn’t feel like the facilitator inspired us – I met up with Elizabeth who was taking the class.

Back to Leo’s so that I could put her now laundered sheets back on bed. More play with the kitten. I picked up my bag full of clothes to give away and walked to Free Bird. It was closed!! I walked back and stopped by to see Waew. On the way to returning my bag of clothes to Leo’s I got a call from a guy called Danny. Checking availability for possible call back to be an extra for The Coup. Wow!!

I was hungry by now – I tried a new place for lunch called Bam Boo Cafe. I waited ages for the meal and was rather disappointed when it eventually arrived – cross that one off the list! In fairness the place was quite busy and a table of 4 Brits had ordered large blow out meals and I don’t think the kitchen could cope. Even so there are so many restaurants here that you can always find somewhere else to go. I was going to treat myself to a pud there but moved on to the UN Irish pub and had choccie cake, rich choccie cake at that, and ice-cream. It totally made up for the first course!

  

I took a walk around the old town, onto the organic shop (which was till closed) and went in search of Namo, another yoga place. I walked backwards and forwards several times – I knew I was close but couldn’t find it. In the end I asked at a tattoo shop. I would never have found it!!!!

    

  

  

  

  

 

  

Following the directions I’d been given down a tiny narrow street and tucked away, there it was. I picked up their schedule checked out the facilities and then headed for Eva’s, stopping along the way to check out shipping costs at the Post Office. I still had a tonne of stuff to send home.

  

    

   

  

I’d been to Eva’s place before so knew the way. She sorted out my hair which was getting dry and lank, and we chatted the afternoon away. She gave me some great ideas for new careers – just need to consider and pursue. Funnily enough one was buying and selling items of art to dress a room, you know for interior designers to use!!! I’d thought of that myself a few times but never followed it through. She even gave me the name of someone who could set up a web site for me! I left with a bouncy disposition and even bouncier, healthy looking hair. We stopped to pick up a fresh coconut before parting ways – until the next time.

I grabbed a spoon from Dream House, so that I could scrape the yummy coconut flesh out of its shell before heading for Yoga Tree. I wanted to do the hatha yoga class. The facilitator was Gernot – lovely Willow the cat’s owner whose place I’d stayed a few months ago. The class was tough and I felt I’d worked the 90 minutes.

Onto the scooter. I was so glad I’d packed my waterproof in the seat of the scooter. It was raining but my god it was cold and the wind whistled past on those main roads. I was back by 8:30. It took an age to warm up. I had dinner and a warmish shower (really wanted it to be a piping hot one) and called it a night. The showers here leave much to be desired – you either have a strong flow of cold water or a trickle of warm water. Now, I just wanted to snuggle down under the warm duvet

Tuesday:-

I got up, had a light breakfast, donned many layers of clothes as it was chilly and set off for the old town and yoga tree. I wanted to make the Qi Gong class. I timed my journey which took just over half an hour which I think is a good time as the roads were quite quiet. I got a treat at one really busy intersection when waiting for the lights – dozens of Swallows were skipping through the traffic catching the bugs. Some flew right towards me and over my head at the last moment. No one else seemed to notice, I guess they’re used to it. I forgot to check the mileage when I arrived at yoga tree but I think it’s about 12km. I was frozen when I arrived despite all the layers I was wearing. The cold had kept the class numbers down. There were only 4 of us so we were given really great instruction and support. Lots of learning today including identifying that I have one weak knee and so don’t stand straight even though I think I am. Now I’m aware I need to keep my attention on it and ensure I strengthen it. Qi Gong is not a physical class and so by the end of it I could hardly feel my hands and feet they were so cold. Haven’t felt like this since Boston!

Now what to do? I could not get warm despite the sunshine and so decided not to stay in town. I dropped by the market and bought fruit and veg, popped in to keep Salem (the kitten ) entertained for half an hour, revisited the organic place for coconut oil (it was closed again today) and then went in search of the RimPing grocery store that was on the main road on the way back. I found it, although as usual not taking the most direct of routes, and spent up big time. Being this far out meant I wanted a full fridge so if I wanted to stay in I could. I loaded up the scooter and made it back. It was nearly 1pm but I still felt cold – the wind chill (don’t laugh, I know its Thailand but…..) was a force to be reckoned with.

I unpacked, had lunch, tried to get the DVD player to work again (I have officially given up on that score) and then put on socks (yes socks!!!!), found a blanket and watched TV episodes on my iPad. For a while I found a sheltered spot in the sun and absorbed as much heat as possible whilst I read. There was a breeze coming off the water and in the empty plot next door the Swallows were circling and diving down to pick off the insects. Quite an aerial spectacular (look close).

  

I can’t believe how cold I’ve felt but everything here is geared up for combating the heat. The house has shutters that haven’t been closed in a long time and so the wind just whistles through. There are no curtains, no carpet, no heaters of any kind and despite a thorough search no hot water bottle. To be honest there isn’t any hot water either unless you boil the kettle. So, the socks and blanket were my new best friends.

I had a light dinner and although it was early decided to sit in bed and update my blog. At least it will be warm there.

Wednesday:-

I did not feel great today! Headache!!!!

I decided to just stay home. The wind had dropped and so I sat in the sun – first in the front and then as the sun moved around, in the back. I just observed – taking photos of the wildlife. Many birds and a little squirrel (look closer).

  

  

  

I pondered some more on the business ideas I’d talked with Eva about. A few things had been said over the past week and it got me thinking that it might be doable. So I took some action and contacted the web site guy. He was happy to meet and discuss my very vague ideas.

I did more laundry then cleared up some glass breakages. The dog constantly chased one on the cats and today the cat had lept out of the way of the charging dog. Straight over the kitchen work top which sent my bottle of balsamic vinegar flying. Also one of Anahit’s lovely glass vases became history – great, how would I explain that!!

Still feeling poorly I went to bed early.

Thursday:-

So, what is the last thing you want to do when you’re not feeling 100%. (If you’re squeamish or eating view the next picture through slightly opened fingers! – sorry) Yep, clear up a dead, and a rather scattered dead rat!!! Bless, the cats had left me a not so small present. I would clear it up later but for now I couldn’t face it.

I had breakfast sitting in the sunshine – yoghurt and fruit smoothie.

I had time for meditation, met the housekeeper who had a dizzy spell and needed some help, then off to the old town. I went to Boots to buy some drugs to beat this headache. A quick stop at Dream House, and then to Leo’s to collect my box of stuff to send home. I wanted to know how heavy it was and how much money I’d need to pay for postage. Nearly 14kg!!!!

Leo wasn’t feeling well so I stayed a while and we had a chat and played with the kitten. I then spent time with Waew to see how the business was doing. They would not only break even this month, they would actually make some profit. Things were looking up for Waew and her family!!!

Next stop was the UN (as in United Nations) Irish pub for a good meal – it was around 4pm so it would probably be my main meal of the day. I wasn’t teaching today as the student, Tass, could only do 5 and I wanted to go to yoga at 5:30. As it happened I still felt rough so went home stopping by to collect my hard drive from Marian and Irene. I had movies at last! I was also presented with a card and present from Irene – it was a gift from Sarah, the Burmese student I had spent a few hours with helping her conversational English. So thoughtful of her and really heartwarming!

Another early night.

Friday:-

I slept really well and felt so much better! Thank goodness!

I’d slept in late and sadly missed my chance to be an extra at The Coup shoot. Leo had texted me but I didn’t get the message until really late. I quickly showered and set off in the hope that I may still be able to sneak in. The roads were good, the lights were all in my favour, and I remarkably found the hotel but arrived just as everyone was coming out. God damn! (Nice car though Owen Wilson!)

We all went to Free Bird – everyone else had had breakfast really early so were ready for lunch, I on the other hand had only just eaten so just had a juice. We met Lisa, the owner, and were treated to a tour of the cafe and were updated on the causes it supports, what they do and work to achieve. It’s amazing! The floors above the cafe are used to process all the second hand clothes donated (some go out to the villages, and some are sold in the cafe to make extra revenue – I saw the running shoes I donated!), teach English and also sewing skills.

  

  

 

Later I stopped at the Italian restaurant for lunch. I me Anita there and we had a good chat. She was inspiring and boosted my hopes of travelling for a little longer. I had pasta, sat in the sunshine and waited for 4pm to tick around.

At 4 I wandered around to Wawee Coffee Shop. I was meeting Dennis. An American who had lived in Chiang Mai for many years. So, what’s special about Dennis I hear you say? Well, Dennis reads hands, not just palms, but hands. I found him drinking his obligatory strong black coffee and settled at the table next to him. I had an hour and a half with him. Dennis doesn’t tell you your future, he doesn’t tell you your past per say, but he tells you want sort of person you are, your characteristics and perhaps the areas you could do with working on to truly balance your outlook. I have to say, he was spot on. It was better than looking in a mirror. His words hit home and really made me look at myself, consider my fears and resolve to address them. In 90 minutes he changed my mood, removed the funk I’d been in, and suddenly made the immediate future clear to me. Not bad for 8 quid! At this point I realised Chiang Mai is where I should be if I am to confront certain areas in my life, let go of some fears and grow, really GROW!

  

  

The evening was spent surrounded by the French at Odds birthday party at Rama guesthouse. More food and singing. I stayed longer than I thought before kitting up for the cold journey home.

I took to the bed to warm up and consider last few hours. My best day for a while. I felt like I had more purpose today!

Saturday:-

Bakery day! It would be my last for a while so I skipped the yoga option and headed for Farang Farm. I got there a little late and so was lucky to grab one of the last almond croissants – a croissant I would add that was consumed before I even made it to the till. I also ate a slice of pizza before I got to the till. The food here is outstanding and just delicious, the the juice drinks (which had sold out so thank you to Richard for sharing his) oh so healthy. There was quite a crowd today and the atmosphere was fabulous.

  

 

I was really starting to feel part of the social circle here and that I was amongst friends. We sat and talked for hours and I met more people. In the end Leo, Satchi and I were the only ones left.

  

  

The three of us convoyed to Luise’s house. She’d not made it home to meet us so I stashed her ‘pain au chocolate’ (h-hem hope I’ve got that terminology right Leo!) in a safe place outside the front door and left. We’d meet up another day for sure.

On the way home I stopped at RimPing grocery store and bought a few essentials. I spied a knuckle bone in the meat section and decided to buy it for Coco. If we were going to be friends maybe I should present a peace offering!! Well, the bone, which was waaayyyy to big for such a small dog, was initially dragged off into the centre of the garden but was then abandoned – can you get vegetarian dogs! OK, so that idea didn’t work.

I spent the afternoon sitting in the sun with coconut oil in my hair. Then a spot of meditation.

Dinner, movie then bed. Tonight I was woken scratching mosquito bites – how had they snuck into my room!

Sunday:-

A peaceful morning. Breakfast, including the health, but not very tasty papaya juice mix. Laundry.

One of the cats was not around this morning. Hmmhhhh, I hope she’s OK. Hours and hours past and I was beginning to formulate the message I’d send to Anahit, breaking the news about her missing cat. Then, like they do, the cat arrived! Phew!

I did a workout, showered and changed and headed out. Today I was meeting Tom – the web site guy. Tom gave me the address of a coffee shop and I crossed my fingers, when I set off, that I’d find it. I had to do a second circuit but I found it tucked away down a side street and covered in vines. It was a beautiful little place. And there was Tom. We chatted for hours about my business idea, the things I would need to carefully consider and what the web site might look like. We also shared travel stories and what we thought of life in Chiang Mai. Tom had lived here for a number of years and had found his niche. He gave me all the web site advice for free, which he said gave him more joy in his work. I’m sure we’d meet again.

It was Sunday, and I hadn’t been to the Sunday market for weeks. It was still quite early which hopefully meant there would only be a few people browsing. How wrong I was!

  

  

It was manic and just too much for me. I bought some food from one of the food areas , stopped by at Dream House, had a quick chat with Taywin on the phone and then called time on the old town. Back to the house for a dinner and movie night tucked up in bed to keep warm.

  

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