Travel Blog: Week 50

Chiang Mai Week 50: 21.10.2013 – 27.10.2013 A quiet week! Well, excluding the nocturnal goings on in the road which sadly meant I didn’t get a full nights sleep most nights! It was either motor bikes racing up and down in the early hours, construction starting at 5:30, yes 5:30, or Willow (who used up a few of her 9 lives this week and forfeited her ticket to sleep on the bed for our last night)! There was more rain too,

Chiang Mai

Week 50: 21.10.2013 – 27.10.2013

A quiet week!

Well, excluding the nocturnal goings on in the road which sadly meant I didn’t get a full nights sleep most nights! It was either motor bikes racing up and down in the early hours, construction starting at 5:30, yes 5:30, or Willow (who used up a few of her 9 lives this week and forfeited her ticket to sleep on the bed for our last night)!

There was more rain too, although not nearly as much as the torrential downpours of last week. Needless to say I clocked up a few more movies.

I met Leo for a couple of lunches.

One at Birds Nest where we lounged around on the floor cushions for a few hours and one at a French Restaurant. Neither of us had been there before and I think we missed the lunchtime rush as we had the place to ourselves. We were given full attention by the owner, who was French, and so delighted in flirting with Leo. Who, by the way, was going to be his next ex-wife. Or so he thought! It was a gastronomic treat and Leo, who fiercely defended that it was her idea to come here, treated us both. Leo had arrived early and was ‘Hank Marvin’, so had already ordered. A charcuterie plate starter. I was still considering the options, which were in French so needed quite a lot of consideration, when Leo’s starter arrived. IT WAS HUGE! A unanimous decision was made that we would share the starter and then follow it up with a cheese plate.

  

Oh how I have missed such deliciousness! Fine meat and cheese! There is a god! The two plates of food beat us both so a doggy bag was called for, oh and maybe just a small dessert which we shared. I haven’t felt that full in a long time and the feeling lasted pretty much until lunchtime the next day. So Chiang Mai now ticks the important boxes; cinema – check, good supermarkets and organic stores – check, great restaurants – check, and fabulous friends – check. Just need a part-time man now!!

Waew visited me a few times too. And always with something to give me – homemade yoghurt or croissants or fruit. Bless her, she has continued to keep an eye on me and send me texts. I’ve also popped in to see them at Dream House too.

I maintained my sweeping duties intermittently throughout the week, playing with Willow and also my daily mini workouts. Hopefully these would help get me back to some strength.

  

I had another session with Marian – she works with the ‘energy field’ that surrounds each of our bodies. As I understand it (Marian, please forgive my unqualified description), when you are in good health and the body is functioning well your field remains close to you but at other times it losses it’s way and strays further out. Today my field was much improved. The homeopathic treatment I’d been taking had gathered up the remaining dengue caught in my body’s tissues and dumped it in the lymph system. The next step was to flush out that system and that was this weeks challenge. Whether you believe in this type of treatment is purely a personal choice. The cold hard facts are that I am feeling better than I have in quite a while. Having said that a couple of days after starting the new preparations I woke feeling like I’d gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson. Everything ached, which was a sure sign the body was doing what it needed to. My appetite was unaffected though, so that evening I had a plate of comfort food. Beans on toast with bacon and egg (so you see it wasn’t all bad!). The feeling passed after a couple of days and I started to feel good again.

My next abode was another friend of Marian and Irene. I was going to continue my cat sitting duties – but this time with Norman. I was due to move in at the end of the week. As the new place was close by to Marian and Irene I decided to take a few things over with me when I had my treatment so I could leave them in readiness for my arrival. Easier than moving everything over in one day. I had a box of ‘stuff’ and bag of clothes which I balanced on the scooter. The Thais make scooter transportation look easy. I guess they’ve had years of practice. I, on the other hand, have not. At a precarious junction of the main road I pulled away on the scooter only to find my bag of clothes was now sitting in the middle of the junction. The traffic stopped for me while I recovered my bag and I was on my way again. I went to the new place, was given a few instructions, and introduced to Py Dtaa the housekeeper. Norman was nowhere to be seen.

Mid week I met with Taywin for lunch. He was off to China in a couple of days so it was nice to see him before he left. He picked me up on his classic scooter – he thinks its a classic anyway! First stop was the police station. Yes, once again he had to pay a fine for not wearing a helmet. And once again he turned up to pay the fine still not wearing one. You do have to admire his nerve (or stupidity). We had lunch at the Riverside restaurant where I’d been with Leo and Odd the previous week. The water level had dropped, even though we’d had more rain, and revealed the rest of the seating area.

On the way home we made a stop at the organic shop and Taywin stocked up on coconut oil, and I on veggies and proper granola. Shortly after that the heavens opened and within seconds we were drenched. We took shelter under a coffee shop awning and whiled away half an hour chatting.

I’d not been home long when Leo called and invited me to go with her to singing practice. It was just to listen as it’s a popular group with a waiting list. They sing Bulgarian folklore songs – it’s on YouTube if you want to hear what they sound like (Chiang Mai Bulgarian choir). The next intake is January. Maybe if I’m still here then I’ll see if I can get in. The practice took place in a restaurant called ‘Spirit House’ which was outside the old town to the north towards Mae Rim. I followed Leo on my scooter and we twisted through busy, dirty looking streets – not what I was expecting. However, once we stepped through the front gate of the restaurant I realised why it was called ‘Spirit House’. It was magical and mysterious.

 

  

The singing took a while to get used to the style but the sound was amazing. Sadly, I was hit by a wave of fatigue during the second half and decided to head back. It wasn’t an area I was overly familiar with so got lost a few times and had to double back. I made it in the end though. I made a quick stop off at Tops and to meet Taywin, who had kindly tracked down some more papaya leaves for me. He was off to the bar for his last night working there and they were throwing him a party. I had an invite to go but I was cream crackered. So we said our final goodbyes for a while.

I was due to move out of Marisa and Gernot’s house on Saturday evening. Py On, the housekeeper, arrived around midday on Friday and Saturday to give the house a thorough clean. She was there for hours. I felt a bit in the way (I think that Willow did too because she hid…..somewhere) so I used the time to move more of my things. I managed to stop traffic again when part of my scooter load toppled as I manoeuvred around the traffic. On one visit to the new place Marian and Matt were at the house and so there was time for a quick chat. I also met the elusive Norman. She’s a beautiful black cat who spends much of her time outside – her coarser coat and leaner fighting weight being a give away. She’s much more street wise than Willow.

The weekend was most definitely a game of two halves. Saturday was at the old place and Sunday at the new. One thing was consistent though I had 2 good nights sleep – yee ha!

My last day at Marisa and Gernot’s was spent packing away my clothes, moving my last few things and emptying the fridge of my food and topping it up with a few simple groceries for their return. I spent some time with Willow who had forgotten, and forgiven me, for locking her out of the bedroom the night before. I think she was more concerned about the hoover!

In the evening I met Leo and Odd to watch the first annual Rocky Horror movie showing in Chiang Mai. This has cult following and is so much more that just sitting quietly to watch the movie. It’s full participation with heckling, throwing of rice and toast (not at the same time), newspapers on head, slapping of rubber gloves and dancing. I’ve never quite got it but it was a very entertaining evening nonetheless.

When the show and the dancing finished I jumped on my scooter and headed back. The temperatures are dropping now and I was actually cold! On the route around the moat I had one of those breath taking moments, as above me lots of sky lanterns had been released and we floating their amber light up into the night sky. What a sight! My route took me past the source of the sky lantern celebration. I parked up and wandered into the temple grounds. Groups of people were each releasing a lantern – I’ve no idea the cause of the celebration but I enjoyed watching the fun from the side lines. Just another normal day in Chiang Mai!!

 

I stopped off to say a final farewell to Willow although the extra food I gave her seemed far more exciting that spending any last moments with me. Back on the scooter for the 5 minutes to my new temporary home. Bed! (Sorry Norman – Willow has taught me some lessons. Cats stay outside the bedroom at night)

Sunday morning and I woke up refreshed in my new room. Norman had kept quiet all night and was sitting outside the door waiting for me when I eventually surfaced. This area is being developed and so construction is everywhere. Thankfully it only started around 8. It’s close though. I looked out of the main bedroom window, I’d taken the back room, to see a construction worker (can you see him in the photo?) welding some girders less than 10ft away. Morning!

With Norman fed and happy, I took my homeopathic preparations and started to assemble breakfast. The kitchen here is much smaller and simpler but just as user friendly. The only addition are the teeny tiny ants which seem to be able to sniff out food within seconds. I’ve decided to keep everything in the fridge.

  

I took it easy and got settled into my room, unpacking my clothes and putting out some of the beautiful things I’ve accumulated along the way but decided not to send home. (Dad, while I remember I sent a big box from Bali which should be home in a month or so – I think that might be box 7). I also caught up on my blog and downloading photos. Oh, and another ‘while I remember’…….both my iPhone and iPad are heaving under the weight of stored photos to the point of bursting so, I decided to bite the bullet and get a laptop and hard drive. They are much cheaper here and it means I will be able to update my phone at last which is struggling to say the least. The laptop’s on order and so I should be able to re jiggle all my photos some time next week and have capacity to update apps. There’s no TV here either so I’ll be able to watch movies.

My new accommodation is the home of Elizabeth, who is currently travelling herself. It’s got a bohemian vibe to it and I feel very at home with all the artwork on the walls – another tree picture fanatic (woo hoo) – and comfy, cushion filled, sofas. I think it’s the first home I’ve ever been in that has a urinal – it’s a pretty sensible idea. Why hasn’t that caught on? No more arguments about putting the seat down! This could be the start of world peace!

  

   

  

I whiled away the day and thankfully the construction sounds seemed quieter. It really was a lazy day but I’m worth it!

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