Travel Blog: Week 52

Chiang Mai Week 52: 04.11.2013 – 10.11.2013 My ability to do a workout each morning was improving and I was also adding to it. I was gaining some strength back. When I was working out at Taywin’s gym I could manage ten proper push ups. I couldn’t do one a month ago. Now I could do eight. My hula skills were also better as my waistline had toughened up and was able to deal with the pounding from the hoop. And

Chiang Mai

Week 52: 04.11.2013 – 10.11.2013

My ability to do a workout each morning was improving and I was also adding to it. I was gaining some strength back. When I was working out at Taywin’s gym I could manage ten proper push ups. I couldn’t do one a month ago. Now I could do eight. My hula skills were also better as my waistline had toughened up and was able to deal with the pounding from the hoop. And finally, meditation…….getting there!

On Monday I met Matt at the agreed location. A place called Smoothie Blues. It looked great and was really busy. Somewhere to check out another time. For a moment I wondered if I would recognise Matt, but there he was sitting at an inside table. For some reason I’d assumed he lived nearby, hence the reason for walking to meet him. As it happened he didn’t live that near so trusting me to carry his backpack with his laptop inside, I rode pillion to his apartment. It probably would have been a 30 minute walk so I was glad of the lift.

The place was modern and had an IKEA feel. One double room, small living area, galley kitchen and bathroom. And……light and quiet. Sold!!! All bills were included in the rent with the additional of a weekly cleaning and laundry service. What luxury! The whole transaction took less than 15 minutes.

  

  

Matt gave me a lift back to Smoothie Blues and I walked the 5 minutes back to the house. On the way I met Anahit – her house might be my next house sit in December so we chatted about the details and exchanged numbers.

That evening I met Waew at the Mall. They were having a few issues at Dream House and she wanted to talk them through with me.

On Tuesday I wanted to check out the second hand market. I found a bundle of high quality towels which could be used at Dream House – hopefully this would resolve one of their issues. I wandered around buying some fruit. I met Leo briefly and then headed back via the organic veggie place. I couldn’t be bothered to make another stop at Tops so I parked the bike at the house and walked to a recommended store just down the road. It was called Kasem and sold all those goodies us tourist so love. It’s a bakery, deli and all round fabulous grocery store. I stocked up.

Leo came round for a chin wag, the use of the bath for a salt bath and a sandwich. I topped off the evening with making another batch of yoghurt.

I wasn’t feeling at my best on Wednesday. For some reason I’d taken a huge step backwards overnight. There was no water today either. This isn’t unusual for Chiang Mai but this outage may be part of the construction work. There was enough water in the pipes for a quick wash and I had plenty of drinking water so all was well. Fortunately Marian came round unexpectedly and was able to do a quick assessment of my health. My liver was still struggling and needed a boost – take it easy was the advice. She also reminded me that the house had a separate pump for water – she switched it on and saved the day.

I did take it easy. I was behind on my blog as I’d been doing another Internet based project for the last week, so I just stretched out if the sofa and whiled away a few hours capturing the past week or so.

I was determined to get a good night’s sleep. I don’t take sleeping tablets as a rule, so I don’t own such a thing. I do however own antihistamine tablets. When I was in Belize, living in the beach huts and being eaten by the sand flies, I took an antihistamine (thank you Pam for the very welcome donation) to calm the horrendous itching of the bites, I found I slept pretty well too. So, I took one today. It didn’t kick in until way after midnight but I did sleep.

I woke at 8, which is a major achievement, but not only that I went back to sleep until nearly 10. I felt 100 times better than yesterday. I managed a whole mini workout including the extra things Marian had suggested last week – the bouncing on my toes to unblock the lymph values and the hula. I’m actually getting quite good, I just want to learn how to control the hoop so I can hula down my legs.

I know I’ve talked much about the dengue in recent weeks (well months) but please bear it in mind its impact and how uneventful my weeks have been. I’m sure reading my updates has become quite hum drum! Well I can assure you I’m a tad pissed off to say the least. It’s been three months now which is the usual recovery time. I’m really hoping I have passed the worst and am now in a period of rebuilding. I say rebuilding as the virus has basically attacked all my vital organs. My kidneys, liver and digestion have been knocked sideways. For someone who has always enjoyed pretty good health it’s been a challenge. My liver is still in need of help and so on the advice of Marian I went in search of Artichoke Leaf tea, apparently it will help. Well bring it on! They sold it at Aden’s which was a small health food shop about half way down Nimmanhaemin Road. I looked it up on google maps and went in search. Now my track record for finding anything geographical is not good. I knew where to look but could I find it – not until after I walked into a huge deserted back street car park and then a bar, but yes I found it. It was so tucked away you really needed to know where to look. I bought the aforementioned tea and some other healthy goodies to give my liver a fighting chance and headed back.

I made a few stops along the way; to Marian and Irene’s to drop off a couple of yoga mats (they were out and the front gate locked so I scaled the gate and left the mats safely at the back of their house), to buy more natural sugar-free yoghurt, and a luxury buy of an oil burner (burning lavender oil at night may help me sleep).

I also treated myself to lunch out. Most of my meals are now prepared by my own fair hand but today my mood was lifted and I wanted decadence. I stopped at Smoothie Blues. It was healthy and ‘liver friendly’, I think, but that and an energy boosting juice drink was totally delicious. As a went to pay I noticed their fresh bread and cakes, so in a moment of total recklessness I bought a bagel and a cake (a bit like a Belgium bun – or is it Chelsea bun, whichever is the one with the icing on).

 

I took the scenic route back as I wanted to have a better look around this area. I also wanted to get a feel for other accommodation options.

  

  

I dropped off my goodies and collected my new laptop. Off to get the quirks fixed. I’d copied Leo’s hard drive so had a huge assortment of movies to keep me occupied. The only problem was my laptop didn’t recognise AVI files. Anyway, the young lad at the shop who was a technical whizz and probably about 12 years old sorted it in no time. I was a happy bunny today.

My lunch kept me full for the rest of the day but my cake was calling and in all fairness it just wouldn’t be nice tomorrow. So dinner was cake, banana and yoghurt.

Friday saw Waew and I head out of town to buy some more sheets for Dream House. Now the guesthouse was getting busy they didn’t really have enough of the basics to change the sheets in every room, every day. A one day turnaround at the laundry was pretty demanding. You can buy cheap bedding out here if you want sparks flying up from the sheets every time your move your legs – the nylon content is high and doesn’t make for a comfortable sleep. Cotton is available but at a premium. We bought some mid price sets and bargained a good deal. Getting them home was much easier than our previous shopping expedition with 8 pillows.

I walked to Free Bird for lunch – it’s really just around the corner, although most Thais would jump on a scooter for than kind of distance. I met Clare there. The lady who runs the Bulgarian choir which Leo attended. I’ve never really spoken to her but we whiled away a number of hours and shared our stories of how we ended up in Chiang Mai. We had a fair amount in common although Clare had a very good position with the Beeb in her previous life.

I knew I was on the mend. Saturday was the most fun packed day I’d had in a while and I enjoyed every minute of it, and more to the point had energy for every minute of it. I was up early, by my standards anyway, and met Leo and Shelly on Huay Kaew road at around 9. We were off in search of the Farang Village and the infamous French bakery. It was out of town to the west and we passed by Taywin’s gym so I knew this neck of the woods a little. Further on the views got greener, the air cooler and our anticipation bigger. We snaked through the roads and after asking a fellow Farang who had obviously already got his fix of baked products, found what we were looking for. The smell of coffee and fresh bread wafted through the trees and there in the middle of nowhere was a group of truly international people queuing for great food. It was pretty surreal. I met familiar faces and some new ones too. Many of these people are very creative and so super duper cameras were clicking away to document the occasion.

  

I had the best breakfast. Chicken and mushroom pie, followed by a slice of meat pizza. Oh yes! I bought a croissant, bread, and homemade granola. A good mornings work I think. We soon said our goodbyes and rode off in search of the Chiang Mai Garden Festival. A charity event a bit like a summer fete. There were stalls of homemade goodies, paintings, second hand items, food, food and more food (although I couldn’t eat a thing after that breakfast), some Brits had a stall selling poppies for remembrance (lest we forget!), and there was music and dancing. It was a hot afternoon and we took shade under the trees to sit and listen to the singing. Performed by some of Leo’s theatrical friends.

  

  

  

Next stop the Airport Plaza. Drooling, the three of us spent the late afternoon and early evening watching Thor 2. In 3D, just to ensure those muscles stood out from the screen! Bit cheesy in places but well worth the watch. How do you find a man like that, by the way?

A quick stop at Tops. The heavy breakfast was just wearing off and I would need something for tea. We said our farewells and headed home. A great start to the weekend.

Sunday was a slightly lighter pace. I was due to move out tomorrow so I started to move some of my things across to Matt’s -SD condos. I wouldn’t be able to move in until Thursday but rather than cart all of my things around to Leo’s (my temporary home for a few days) then back to Matt’s I could leave them at his.

 

After a couple of trips I called it a day – at least I’d moved most of the awkward stuff. There was a cookery book launch at Birds Nest cafe today and I’d been invited. Oh, another cookery book, just what the world needs, I hear you say. This one is different. The couple who set up the cafe did so after first running their family organic farm, which in Chiang Mai is rather uncommon, the organ bit I mean. They wanted to find ways of making good, wholesome food using the most natural ingredients which are free of chemicals. They champion their beliefs and encourage and support other local people to grow organic and sell direct to restaurants cutting out the need for packaging. This is all wrapped up in their ‘throw it all together’ recipes. These are not new issues for most of us but in Thailand, a world of building trash piles and chemical pesticides, this couple are ahead of their time. This is a country which still has to learn the effects of trash, and re-learn that it’s important to respect the land. Old traditions which, I think have sadly been forgotten in the wake of tourism. The event was inspiring. This Thai couple spoke to a large group of people in English, their second language, and shared their passion and dreams. Good on them! The cookery book was beautiful. They’d produced it themselves on recycled paper and it was hand bound by a local lady who was struggling to keep up with the demand. There was free, fantastic vegetarian food available, non alcoholic drinks and live music. Big respect to these people who have overcome many obstacles to do what is in their heart and what they think is right.

  

  

  

Such great inspiration to ponder on for the night. I scooted home, hung up my helmet for the day and bed

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