Travel Blog: Week 57

Chiang Mai Week 57: 09.12.2013 – 15.12.2013 Monday:- I woke early again knowing it was the morning to move out. Breakfast was small using up the remnants from the fridge. I packed up my two main backpacks, slung one on my back the other on my front and balanced us all on the scooter. I got to Dream House in good time and surprisingly early for me. However, there was a bit of a mix up, a break down in communication.

Chiang Mai

Week 57: 09.12.2013 – 15.12.2013


I woke early again knowing it was the morning to move out.

Breakfast was small using up the remnants from the fridge. I packed up my two main backpacks, slung one on my back the other on my front and balanced us all on the scooter. I got to Dream House in good time and surprisingly early for me. However, there was a bit of a mix up, a break down in communication. I thought I’d reserved a room for a week, but when I got there I was told they were fully booked. It’s great they’re busy but it completely threw me. I was planning on dumping my stuff in a room so I could empty my backpacks and go back to Matt’s for the rest of my things. Waew phoned around her friends who also ran guesthouses – full! I just hoped Leo could save the day and put me up – she was in Qi Gong in the morning but texted me around lunchtime to say “yes” move in. I couldn’t get in straight away as the place was locked up so after a bit of hanging around and a bite to eat with the Thai’s at Dream House (not sure what they were eating but it wasn’t my thing – I politely said I’d had a big breakfast) I went back to Matt’s and managed another load of stuff. After that Odd let me in and I could get settled.




I was just wondering what to do when Marian text me – did I want to meet for a swim?? Yes, great! I managed to find my togs, goggles and towel which had cleverly not been packed together but scattered across a number of bags and I was off. The water was cold which gave us more than enough of an incentive to chat by the side of the pool in the sun. We eventually braved the water, did our lengths then went our separate ways.

By now I was really hungry. The mornings fruit and the Thai food had not been enough to keep me going. I wanted a big meal and something stodgy. I went to an Italian restaurant and ordered mozzarella bruschetta, spaghetti carbonara and a beer. It was just bliss. As I wallowed in the aftermath of the meal I got talking to a young girl who’d just arrived in Chiang Mai. We swapped a few stories and I gave her some ideas for how to fill her time here – I also warned her that the place grows on you. She may never leave!



I went back to Leo’s and spent the evening sorting out my stuff – having this many belongings had to stop. I ended up with 5 piles; keep, maybe keep, keep just for the rest of my time in Chiang Mai (then give away), send home and give away now. The sorting process had numerous breaks filled with playing with the kitten who was very interested in my little bristly nail brush and even more interested in the screwed up pieces of paper to be trashed. She’s very entertaining!

I didn’t sleep that well. New surroundings and sounds can take a bit of getting used to. Not to mention the less than considerate farang shouting at his Thai girlfriend!!


I was up and out early for qi gong today. A great class which I managed to stay present and un dizzy for the whole 90 minutes – just! It’s working on controlling your breath, maintaining a strong core, but what’s good for me is its training me to relax my shoulders and lower back. It will also help improve my posture.

I went back to Leo’s to change and have breakfast. Instead I met Gilles one of Leo’s friends. He was an interesting guy who specialised in various healing techniques including Reiki. He also gave me a croissant so I immediately warmed to him.

I changed and went for my session with Marian. It was a thought provoking assessment. My physical health was much improved but there seemed to be a blockage with my emotions. Everything at the moment seemed to be indicating my emotions were on their own little journey. Something to delve into me thinks!

By now I was starving. I stopped by at Birds Nest and had a rather late lunch with Leo. Massaman curry.

Although I was able to stay at Leo’s place until I moved to Anahit’s, Luise had offered me a room at the house where she lived too. I was interested to see what it was like so I drove out along the canal road. I knew most of the route but not the exact location. I was just about to give up looking for it when I realised I was right outside. The room was great and I’m sure very comfortable. I just couldn’t bear the thought of moving three times in a week. I stayed a while, got a full tour of the house and met Luise’s room mates. It all had a lovely vibe.

Back to Leo’s. The Qi Gong and my session with Marian had zapped me so a snooze followed by a movie was in order. I played with the kitten before calling it a night


So, I woke at 7. I’m still getting used to the sounds around this part of town. I felt absolutely knackered and tried my best to raise myself in time for yoga this morning. Nope….it just wasn’t going to happen. I gave up trying and went back to sleep finally getting up around 9. I got dressed and started to head out to buy yoghurt. Leo had some in the fridge and kindly donated it which was great as it meant I didn’t have to face the world quite yet. We sat together and mulled over the meaning of life whilst chewing our respective bowls of muesli. We were of course joined by Leo’s little squeaky kitten.

I was hoping to have a semi constructive day and so walked to the post office to buy a box wide enough to pack the mask I’d got from Bali. It’s funny how tourism affects the price of things. The sub post office on a very touristy street wanted to charge me 150THB for a box. The main post office, which is tucked away and not much used by tourists, charged me 55THB!!


Anyway, I got my flat packed box and walked back to Leo’s, via Dream House – Waew was presenting the morning’s offerings to Buddha. I’d pack the box later, for now I wanted food. I found a great restaurant and pigged out on omelette, sausages and potatoes. Sooooo good. I just chilled at the restaurant a while and listened to the great music they had playing.

Next stop swimming. I tried somewhere new today. I took a drive further out of town towards the Farang farm which hosts the Saturday bakery scrumptiousness. The place was called the ‘centre of the universe’. It has resident bungalows but is also open to the public for a fee. I found it tucked away in an area surrounded by green. It was a large pool, almost twice the length of the one I’d been using, with mildly salt water. I arrived around 4:30 to find that before 5pm they charged a day fee and after 5pm a lesser fee for those who just want to do laps. I just wanted to do laps and they were kind enough to let me in for the lap fee – 80THB. I think the fact it was a cool, overcast day and there were only three people in the pool helped. The water was freezing – both the water in the shower they ask you to use before you get in and the pool itself. You really had to keep moving to keep warm. I managed 60 lengths before the cold got to me. A quick change, back on the scooter and back to the old town. The roads were surprisingly quiet for this time of day – bonus! I walked to the market to buy some fruit, stopped to get my eyelashes tinted and headed back. Taywin and I had been playing phone ping pong all day and by the time we actually got to speak he’d already eaten and I still needed to. We’d probably meet up once he was back from his next trip to China.

I just grabbed a bowl of yog and granola then settled into packing the box I’d bought earlier today. It took way longer than expected mostly due to a rather inquisitive little kitten who was into everything. She makes it easy for me to be distracted!


I’m not sure how but I dragged my body to Qi Gong this morning. The Thursday session had been recommended to me and I wanted to give it a go despite it being 2 hours – well outside my usual attention span. It was split into two sessions with a break between which made it more than doable. Leishek (hope that the correct spelling – he was the guy who had helped hold me up months ago when I passed out) lead the first half and it was much like Satchi’s session on a Tuesday. More instruction along the way though, which made it easier for me to remember to correct my posture every other minute or so. Herman (the Chinese medicine man who first gave me acupuncture) took the second half and it was more like martial arts – emphasis still on posture and breathing. It was great – really enjoyed it.

Despite being a bit sweaty I didn’t have time to shower or change if I was going to make the 11:30 showing of the Hobbit – Desolation of Smaug, with Leo at the airport plaza. I got there just in time and Leo had already got the tickets when I arrived. Wow, what a full on movie. A must see!

I wanted a proper lunch again today so we came back to the old town and stopped at the UN Irish pub. I had a burger and chips – can’t remember the last time I had a burger. It had cheese, egg and bacon. So good! There wasn’t much time before I needed to head off to have a conversational English session with Lin. I just made it to the library in time. We sat in the coffee shop and chatted away for a hour. The coffee shop is very understanding and let’s us sit there even if we don’t buy a drink.

A quick shower and change and then out to see the Land of Smiles – a fabulous musical based on a true life tale of Burmese sex workers in Thailand, in particular Chiang Mai. Leo was stage managing it and so I went in support as well as interest. As I arrived so did Satchi and Luise so we all sat together on the front row. It’s an emotional show as it documents the story of one young girl’s journey from her village to Chiang Mai. It also tells both sides of the story. This young girl was content to do this job. She was well looked after, and earnt money which she could send home to the village to help them in their own struggles. By the end of the performance the cast and some of the audience were in tears.


A quick stop at Tops then back to my room –


I was really tired today. Yesterday had worn me out and I didn’t sleep the night through again.

I stayed in bed until after 9, had breakfast with the kitten prancing around and then did my daily workout.

I was off to Anahit’s place for the key hand over. Anahit had already left Thailand but I met with her husband John. He gave me the run down again on the house as well as a few extra details. The DVD player was a bit temperamental but it worked if you knew what buttons to push on the remote. I intended to watch a few movies over the next few weeks so this was vital info.

On the way back to the old town I stopped off at Matt’s to collect the last of my stuff. Now, he said he’d leave the door to his apartment unlocked so I could get in. What he didn’t say, and I’d completely forgotten, was how I’d get in the building. I no longer had the little gismo you swipe at the main door. I sat around in the hope someone would arrive or depart. Eventually someone did and although I got a dodgy look for skipping through, I’d made it. I collected my stuff did the usual balancing trick on the scooter and set off.

Back to Leo’s for lunch. I had my marmite back! I read and snoozed a while as I’d had another invite to go to Land of Smiles. I set off and before I’d even left the old town I got a flat – another one!!!! I was lucky, just as I’d realised about the flat and had turned round I saw Waew who took me to a place to get fixed. Did I have enough time to wait and still get to the theatre – if not I’d get a red bus? Waew asked the man who was fixing the tyre and they both confirmed I’d be fine. It was going to be close! As it turned out I needed a new inner change tube which took a while. It meant I was not going to get to the theatre in time for curtain up. Once the scooter was fixed and I was on my way home, I got an invite from Luise and Jelena to go to the garden party at library. So off I went – funny how things work out!

There was a live jazz band and the three of us danced on the grass in the rain – we even got commended on our dancing!!! The music finished and we lost interest, particularly as we were all hungry.


I dropped my scooter off and shared a lift with Jelena. We went to a great Italian restaurant but not before checking out the rooftop bar next door. It was the night of the meteor shower and no doubt we would have had a great view but for the clouds. It was a modern looking place once you got to the top although you had to brave a very dodgy looking corridor and stairwell. The food took a long time to arrive but I think it was made fresh. I had gnocchi and it was superb!





Feeling very full I decided to decline the lift back and walk. I’d instinctively put on my helmet and would have walked back with it on looking like an idiot if thankfully Jelena hadn’t have said “are you walking back with your helmet on?” Doh!!

It was raining but only lightly so my pashmina kept me almost dry for the 10 minute walk.


Moving day……again!

I was planning on getting up for yoga this morning then realised the Yoga Tree was having a weekend of workshops. The first item on the agenda was at 10 but it was some drum thing which didn’t appeal. So, for the first time in a few weeks I decided to go to the bakery at Farang Farm. I didn’t want to arrive hungry though, as I buy everything, so I sat and had a healthy, leisurely breakfast with Salem the kitten.

Not too leisurely though as I wanted to buy bread for lunch and so needed to get there before they sold out. As usual the place had attracted a large crowd. People were milling around eating croissants, drinking coffee, chatting, and hula hooping. Hoola hooping!!!!! Yes, hula hooping of all the things. I joined in and got some tips for improving my hula style. It would take some practice!


I left with my bounty and enjoyed the tranquil, cool drive back across the base of the mountain. Back to Leo’s and that packing. Not before I had an early lunch though – pate and sourdough baguette from this mornings shopping trip. Absolutely gorgeous and it sated my current craving for meat.



I’ve never enjoyed packing and today was no exception. At least I could settle for the next two weeks. It took me two trips with a ladened scooter to eventually move everything. The roads out to Anahit’s are busy artery roads with three lanes of traffic. You really have to be on the ball as vehicles (scooters, 4x4s, buses, cement mixers, tuk tuks you name it) come at you from all angles, they will pull over without a moments notice and equally pull into the traffic in the same way. Although they are main roads they are flanked by markets and shops and people can park anywhere – so they do. It took a few hours and by the time I’d finished my back was stiff from carrying backpacks and probably the tension of concentrating. Anyway, the best thing was I was done for the day. I unpacked and did laundry. Proper laundry in a washing machine like we have at home. I washed everything and was able to dry it in a proper tumble dryer!

The kitchen was well stocked with blender, toaster, microwave and oven and so I actually did some proper cooking. The fridge had lots of fruit and veg in it, to be fair most of it had to be thrown away (especially as Anahit and John would not be back for a month) but the rest I used to make a roasted veggie combo. I good evenings work.



I sat down to watch a movie. Well, that was the plan. I could not get the DVD player to open – John had explained it could be tricky, and tonight it just didn’t want to play ball. I eventually managed to get a disk in, but it was HD and not compatible, I managed to get a second disk in, this one worked but was Thai dubbed. Would I be lucky a third time – no! The player would just not open so the disk was there to stay! At least I could read.

Time for bed. I was joined by one of the cats and the dog. Hmmmm, I was too tired to move them tonight but me thinks the door will be closed in future. It was a fitful night – I’ve come to realise I don’t sleep well on my first night in new places when I’m remote and on my own. It also rained hard too. Having the dog and cat didn’t help – at one point at some ungodly hour the cat decided to walk all over me, and the dog wanted to go out. That door will be closed tomorrow!!


I took my time getting up. It was an overcast day so wonderfully cool. I made breakfast and sat out on the deck – the first thing I saw, apart from the water Lily flowers (and there were lots of them) was a Kingfisher. The air was full of the songs of the birds and the whispering light breeze. I sat there for some time just enjoying the peace of it all.



Then the rain set it. The temperature dropped considerably and the rain continued all day. There was nothing for it but to hunker down. I listened to music, read, fruitlessly tried the DVD player again, then watched a download movie on my iPad. In between the showers I took a few photos. It really green here and there are papaya trees growing just off the patio. There are so many fruit on the trees but they are yet to turn orange. It means I have a fresh supply if papaya leaves if I ever feels inclined to whizz a few up in a smoothie for old times sake – umh, I’ll pass, thank you!




We also had our first fatality – I think the cats were going stir crazy in the rain. Neither of them owned up to this one!

As it was a cool night and I’d had a lazy day I decided to attempt my first run in a long time – maybe 10 months! It was dark by now and I didn’t know my way around this place yet – John had warned you could easily get lost. I stayed closed to the house and did a few circuits, speeding up a little when a dog decided to chase me down the road snapping at my heels. Dogs!!!!!! I’d had enough after only 15 minutes – I probably could have done another 5 minutes but with all the standing water from today’s rain I was being eaten alive by the mossies! I was done.

Shower and bed.

I had camped out in the main bedroom again as it had an ensuite. The main bathroom was home to the cats – food, water and litter tray – so I chose to stay clear. I’d learned from last night that I needed to keep the dog and cat out so shut the bedroom door. Sadly, the dog had different ideas. He scratched and barked endlessly at the door. In the end I gave up and moved to the spare room hoping the pets just wanted to sleep on their owners bed. It eventually worked out that way but not before a testing time of them trying to get into my room. I was so very tired tonight. I hadn’t slept a full night for nearly a week now and it was taking its toll. I’m not good on broken sleep, despite my best efforts to deal with it and keep smiling there comes a point for me when I can take no more. Tonight was that time. I tried reading, deep breathing and listening to my meditation music but to no avail. I’d gone passed being tired. Feeling fed up, I went to my trusted back up plan – antihistamine!

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