Travel Blog: Week 51
28.10.2013 – 03.11.2013
Construction of the new hotel next door was relentless and consequently so was the construction orchestra which played everyday from 8am until 8pm. A couple of nights it continued into the night. My personal highlight being the hammering at 4am. Needless to say this was not my best week. Although after suffering cold showers for a few days, Marian explained about the water heater, and hey presto hot water. Result!!
I quickly learned that Norman was a true cat with nomadic tendencies, which meant she regularly went AWOL. This makes cat sitting very easy for the days she’s off doing her own thing but I wasn’t impressed with her requests to be let back in during the early hours.
It was a steady week. I made most of my meals in the small kitchen and ate at the table with Norman sitting on the chair next to me – on the days she could be bothered to grace me with her presence anyway. I managed my mini workouts most days but sadly my meditation track record was very poor! Must do better Louise!
I managed to do something most days.
On Monday I met with Leo and a Priestess called Kerri. An Aussie lady who had left her life behind and come to Chiang Mai (or maybe Bali, she hadn’t decided) to start again. Sounds a little familiar! She was going to do a reading session with each of us. Finding somewhere peaceful to do the reading proved tricky – my new place would have been perfect if not for the construction. Anyway Leo suggested a restaurant terrace in Kad Suan Keaow (the official name of my local shopping mall and home of Tops). Kerri and I found the place which was perfect or at least would have been if it had been open and they’d allowed us to stay. Plan B was the Lotus Hotel next door – we ended up sitting in the pool area. Leo needed lunch and so I had my reading first. It was a mixed reading. Some things meant nothing to me, whilst others were so close to the mark. There was much about by future but in a more spiritual sense. I found it extremely interesting and it gave me much to ponder. One strong message was that my energy was low, low, low. Kerri could help me with that and one easy thing to do was have a salt bath!!!!!! Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. It’s strange – I’d bought a rather large bag of salt a few weeks earlier, it seemed like a good idea at the time but I had wandered why such a big bag. And secondly, this place was the first I’d stayed which had a bath. The salt bath was totally possible. Anyway, I would definitely take Kerri up on her offer for further healing.
Leo was next and so I left them to it whilst I went to Tops and got lunch. By the time I’d finished it was tipping it down and so I made a dash back to the hotel. We regrouped, chatted a while and headed back to the mall. I did some shoe shopping. The last time I’d worn any kind of shoes with a heal was Australia and I was craving something a little more glamorous here too. There were a few parties coming up which made the purchase worthwhile, not that I needed an excuse. I have to admit I enjoyed the frivolous trying on of shoes and eventually found a pair at the bargain price of £6. Happy with my purchase I headed back. I’d walked here today and as the rain had lessened I decided I should walk back too. It’s only 15 mins or so and it’s good to stretch my legs. Decidedly soggy I got home – still no Norman.
I made dinner. Now some of you may cringe but I had liver and onions with potatoes. Marvelous, especially with Heinz tommy K on the side – yes, I’d treated myself to a home comfort. The rain persisted, which actually meant the construction was much reduced, and I settled down to watch a movie on my iPad.
Before bed I had my salt bath, which felt very odd in such a warm country and after nearly a year of showers. I managed to stay in for 20mins – that was more than enough. I also took my homeopathic preparations. There were 3 to take tonight as I was on a weekly cycle. I’d just settled down into a deep sleep in the blissful silence when I was woken by………Norman. In the pouring rain she’d climbed up to the window of the main bedroom, which was open, but because of the mossie screen couldn’t get in. And she was desperate to get in. I let her in and quickly scampered back to bed, closing the door firmly behind me. It took ages to get back to sleep!
On Tuesday, after a great sleep but groggy morning, Norman greeting me at the door, breakfast, chatting the best I could with Py Dtaa the cleaning lady (Tuesday was one of her days to clean the house and do laundry, my laundry – bless her), mini workout, shower and meditation, I went out.
The scooter hadn’t been used for a few days but thankfully started. I took a trip along the north wall of the moat and stopped to get some organic goodies. I was meeting Leo at the Birds Nest but had time to drop into Dream House and see Waew. The place looked great and Waew’s idea of the post office had started to become a reality. She had a second desk set up complete with laminating machine, fax, digital weighing scales and packing boxes. The place was looking very official. She’d had the training and was hoping to open up next week. The post office would be used by tourists, who like me, want to send things home or buy plane/bus tickets, but also by the locals who could get mobile phone top ups, car insurance and pay their utilities there. This could be good for them.
I left Waew and headed for Birds Nest. I met Leo along the way and we rode in tandem to the restaurant. Once again, as I was parking, the ecellerator of my bike stuck and I drove into the wall of the restaurant. Luckily the brake took some of the power and the tyre bounced off the wall. It gave the people sitting on the other side of the wall something to take note of though. I must get that fixed. We chatted the afternoon away and swapped stories of our card readings. On and off we were joined my friends old and new. I met Dan and Alex, but also Eva and Michelle dropped in to say hi.
It was getting near to dusk as we left. Norman seemed pleased to see me and we both settled down to our respective dinners. I had a fabulous steak and spinach combo – trying to boost that iron. Feeling full I took a stroll around the area. Even though it was nearly 9 many shops were still open, and of course the bars and restaurants were. This is a busy, trendy tourist area and there was definitely a Chinese presence. Many stores had big reductions as they scraped their way to the end of the low season. Better times were ahead as the high season was almost upon us.
On Wednesday I met with Leo again. She wanted to check out a new restaurant called Magical Garden. It was tucked down a side street and magically we both managed to find it at exactly the same time. No so magical was the fact it was closed. It was however, “guarded” by the cutest dogs. They were at least half a dozen and all quite similar. They were so friendly so we stayed a while with them. Lunch was rerouted to another nearby restaurant, DinDee, and we were joined by Luise. She was a friend of Leo’s and she too had stayed in Chiang Mai longer than expected. The food was vegetarian and fabulous. Not to mention the cakes!
Thursday’s excursion was a trip out to the second hand market. I had a Halloween party to go to the following day and needed something spookyish to wear. The party had been bought forward a day as the weekend was an election weekend and there was a alcohol ban – I guess they only want sober people voting. So the party was moved from Saturday to Friday to allow the “fruit punch” to flow. I didn’t find a costume as such but a found a top which I could put with things I already had and kind of look a bit spooky.
I had two great achievements this week and the first happened on Thursday night. In true WI (Women’s Institute) fashion I stayed home and made yoghurt. I was getting through gallons of it so decided to make my own. I emailed Mum for her tried and tested recipe, you know the one that as a child I ran a million miles away from, and followed it to the letter. Which didn’t take long as there are only 2 ingredients. Oh, the second great achievement, not that I should really share it with you, is that I stopped using toilet paper and went Thai. Yes, I’ve started using the little shower attachment you find next to each and every toilet here. I told you I shouldn’t have shared!
Friday was a full on day and I nearly got stressed! I did all my morning stuff and then walked to the Mall. My laptop was ready for collection. I paid and left it with them as they offered to format it and set up all the applications. Next stop Marian’s, for a further treatment. There had been much improvement so Marian suggested I come off all the homeopathic stuff and go cold turkey to see how strong my body really was. I was given some recommended exercises though. After my session I got a call that my laptop was fired up and ready to go. Another walk back to the Mall.
It left me loads of time to get ready for the party. Or so I thought. I had decided to treat myself and get my hair straightened for the occasion but had completely miscalculated my appointment time. I went an hour early hoping they could fit me in – they couldn’t! I decided to try somewhere else but it was a bit of a walk. They could see me right away even though it was double the price. The girl at the salon did an amazing job – I hardly recognised myself. I now pegged it back and got ready. I almost had to rush!
I jumped on my scooter and headed out to the Spirit House. No one battered an eyelid at my freaky makeup and creepy clothes. Not even when I stopped for gas. All just another night in Chiang Mai! I arrived fashionable late, not that anyone noticed or cared. Everything just flows here and time is all relative. It was a great night. Leo’s choir sang, there was food, devilish punch (I stayed away from that as my liver needs all the help it can get), Kerri was doing card readings, and a piñata – a home made, nothing can destroy me, piñata. After several attempts to break it open following the blind fold rule, people were given carte blanche to beat the living day lights out of it. Eventually, it gave in and spewed its bounty. All in all it was quite the event. How lovely to be amongst a group of people I know!
The weekend was a bit flat after the excitement of the party. On Saturday I returned the keys to Willow’s owners – Marisa and Gernot. At last I got to meet them, although it was a brief stop as they were trying to entertain two guests whilst keeping their two children occupied. I did say a quick hello to Willow too.
One of the exercises Marian gave me required a hula hoop – or so I thought, to make it more interesting. I searched a number of places and eventually found one at Central – it’s a department store. Walking home with it I was passed by a Thai man who said “it’s a bit small’ – what a wag I thought. Then I realised he was probably right, it was quite small. I saw the same man 5 minutes later and asked if he was joking about it being small. Turns out he was an expert hula hooper and exercised with one for 30 minutes every day. Who’d have thought! Anyway, I had bought a child’s hoop. I couldn’t be bothered to walk back again that day but was able to change it on Sunday. For a really big one, and it was heavy. I realised later it was filled with water. Anyway, the larger one was better (no jokes about size matters please!) and I could actually hula with it, although the weight of it and the slight bruising it caused would take some getting used to.
The rest of the weekend passed swiftly. I met with Leo again on Sunday. We had lunch at Free Bird. There I met Matt – another, different Matt. It turned out Matt was going home for Thanksgiving and so his apartment was available for a month. He gave me first dibs. We arranged to meet the following day so I could go have a look and decide if I wanted to move in for a while. It wasn’t a freebie but it was reasonable. I didn’t know our planned meeting place so I decided to take an evening stroll to find it. Easy peasy, it was only 5 minutes away. On my return, a little highlight for the day. A small toad took sanctuary in the porch way!