Travel Blog: Week 43

Thailand Week 43: 02.09.2013 – 08.09.2013 The beginning of the week saw Waew and I making improvements to the guesthouse and installing the things we had bought at the market. We bought a selection of bed side lights not realising they needed to be assembled – time to get out the screwdriver. Haven’t done that for a while. Everything looked fabulous. With my project manger head engaged I was on a roll. I started to look for further ways to make

Thailand

Week 43: 02.09.2013 – 08.09.2013

The beginning of the week saw Waew and I making improvements to the guesthouse and installing the things we had bought at the market. We bought a selection of bed side lights not realising they needed to be assembled – time to get out the screwdriver. Haven’t done that for a while. Everything looked fabulous.

With my project manger head engaged I was on a roll. I started to look for further ways to make Waew’s business improve and grow and wandered around the old town with different eyes. The afternoon was spent browsing a local art shop I’d discovered. I’d walked past it hundreds of times but because the door is tucked around the corner I didn’t realise it was there. Once inside the door the shop was like the tardis. It was huge and rose three floors. Still can’t quite work out how it fits into the street!

The next day Woody became our chauffeur again as Waew and Art took me to an enormous market that sold all those very Thai trinkets and crafts. It was open to the tourist but was also the destination for many hoteliers looking to embellish their businesses. It was like being a child in a very big sweet shop. I think, if it hadn’t been for the overwhelming heat of the day I would have been there for hours. Waew bought a few things and so did I – they were just two good to miss!

That evening I met up with the girls, minus Irene, who had gone to the lake. We met in a large tabled courtyard which was surrounded by restaurants. This was fabulous because we could all eat together in the courtyard but choose which restaurant menu appealed to each of us. The selection of dishes on our table was a mix of traditional Thai and Italian, and the drinks cups of tea, smoothies and non alcoholic mojitos. Don’t we just sound like a bunch of party animals!!! After dinner we formed our scooter convoy and visited a nearby jazz club. It was so popular that the audience spilled out onto the street and some.

I was still managing to get up earlier and have breakfast. When I’d had my session with Herman, the Chinese medicine man, he’d emphasised the importance of breakfast and my diet. I have to admit getting up and having breakfast was easy but finding the right food to eat was a little more tricky. On this particular morning I went for croissant with scrambled egg and fruit. I’m not sure that Herman would approve but it was the best I could find. After breakfast I headed out of the old town in search of Marion’s house. She had a medical background and had offered me a consultation and check up. I found the district easily and then drove around trying to find the road. Luckily for me just as I’d pulled over to look at the map Irene, Marion’s partner, spotted me and pointed me in the right direction. The house was down a quiet cul-de-sac. Well it would have been if it wasn’t for all the construction. Once inside the house was cool and peaceful. I had my session which was a bizarre mix of reiki, kinesthesiology, osteopathy, acupuncture, and an electric pulse administered at various points of the ear. The ear part follows a similar principal as reflexology in that the ear is similar to the shape of a foetus and therefore difference parts of it relate to parts of the body (ie the ear lobe represents the head). Sounds like gobble-de-gook? Well Marion sussed me and gave me some advice to help me become healthier. What she did also say was that I still had the dengue virus inside me – my heart rate was up (if I was a coffee drinker that might have been an explanation – but I’m not) and my body was a furnace. Thankfully at least I feel well in myself. Just need to cold my body down – one way of combating this is to drink coconut water. I can do that!

Another plus for visiting Marion was to check out the house. I was up for rent. A little pricy for me but definitely worth considering. It’s was two big bedrooms, bathroom (with a bath and shower curtain – haven’t seen either since, well, since forever it feels), study, kitchen, separate eating area, and living room. All beautifully decorated and furnished. It can with a maid who would clean twice a week and a cat called ‘Norman’. If I could find someone to share with it would be fabulous. The only thing is I really don’t know how the next few months will unfold so I’ll take my chances that it will still be available if I do end up coming back to Chiang Mai after Bali.

I was in the area of the gym so I stopped by to see Taywin for a couple of hours and then headed back to Dream House – our friendship had cooled somewhat as we hadn’t seen eye to eye on a few things. Airport Plaza was the next stop – Leo, Oud, and I were going to the flicks. We ate at the Plaza which works on the voucher system. You load up a card with credit and then buy from as many of the outlets as you want. the seating is central. Today I tried a duck dish. Always a little off putting when the duck is cooked completely whole, head and all, and they slice bits off. Anyway it was delicious. We went to see White House Down – loads of action, just the right amount of cheese, and some humour thrown in for good measure. Worth a watch! No visit to the Plaza is complete without dropping into Tops, the supermarket.

Thursday was an usual day. I had breakfast relatively early and decided I would try and find another market I’d been told about. I’d only gone about a 100 yards when I was stopped and asked if there were any good guesthouses in the area. Of course, Dream House! Amazingly, for low season it was fully booked so I recommended some others and I jumped on the guys motorbike to show him the way. Now what I didn’t say was that he was a rather dishy French guy called Slim. We ended up spending most of the day together. Morning coffee (smoothie for me), lunch at an Indian restaurant (another first for a while), and then afternoon tea and cake. Not much else to do when it’s pouring. He was in the music business and was travelling to track down old vinyl records produced in Asia. He lived in Paris and had a flashy website. He was good company. We parted company late afternoon. He texted me around 11pm to go drinking with him. Well, as you’ve probably guessed by now, that’s not really my scene and if my phone hadn’t run out of credit at that very time I would have texted that to him. I should have left it at that but felt bad about not responding so I went for a walk, topped up my phone and found him in the bar to explain. How life can play games with you! I found him sitting at a table and who was standing next to him – yep, Taywin! Anyway, I spoke with both of them, separately, and made a sharp exit. I was glad I did as Slim became a little too confident and pushy for my liking and I declined his generous ‘offer’. Needless to say I didn’t hear from him again. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for night-time liaisons, but I have to like the guy enough!

After an early breakfast, Waew and I went in search of the best value sheets and towels. (I heard that yawn from you all). For me this is an exciting time to help someone improve their business. Two up on Waew’s scooter we left the old town and went in search of the Asda of Chiang Mai – ‘Big C’. It was quite a way but on the way we found a large warehouse that sold just what we were looking for. We decided we could get some good deals here and would stop in again on the way home. Big C was disappointing and not good enough value for us. We bought our towels here but nothing else. The rest we picked up on route. It’s amazing what you can carry on a scooter; me, Waew, two bags of towels, one bag of sheets, and 8 pillows. I really don’t know how we made it back but we did – just one stop to run back to retrieve a wayward pillow that had landed in the middle of the road a few hundred yards back. It gave the locals something to laugh about! That afternoon Waew and I set up the record keeping system for the guesthouse. She didn’t have anything in place and so the project manager part of me took over. We set up a book to check in the guests and manage the availability of the rooms, and a second one to record the monthly outgoings. It felt like a worthwhile day.

The evening I was treated to dinner freshly cooked by Oud. Art, Waew, Oud and I sat down to eat together. I’m honoured to be asked to eat with them but I’m trying to eat food, at least most of the time, recommended by the two medical people I’ve seen. Eating with the Thais means you never quite know what you’re eating and my god its spicy. That’s a complete ‘no no’ if I’m to kick the dengue. Anyway, they kindly got me some ‘mai pet’ (no spicy) vegetables and chicken.

The weekend again! Up early and breakfast at Dream House with Leo and Oud. Toast and omelette – yum! We ate up then the three of us went on a mission – we were going to the hot springs. It was about 40k not perth of the old town. Probably the furthest I’ve been on my scooter. Once we cleared the old town and immediate vicinity the roads widened and emptied. The views became green and everything was right with the world (thanks to Leo for these photos taken from the moving scooter)

  

  

In some places the roads were being repaired so we had to contend with major potholes, dust or where they’d sprayed to keep the dust down mud and slippery surfaces. All part of the experience – eh, Klavdija! Today I used my mask for the first time, and was very grateful for it. I just need something to protect my eyes from the dusk. Overall I loved the journey and I soon got the feeling back in my bum once we stopped. The hot springs were natural – spouting geysers and mineral pools. We enjoyed both – although we just watched the other tourists cook baskets of eggs in the geyser. We had a foot massage. Oud, being a local, got a 60THB discount. How cheeky!

  

 

 

We had lunch there which for such a small restaurant produced really wonderful food. The little local cat thought so too – we’re all suckers for feeding a cat under the table. Before heading home we made a quick stop to buy some mineral soap, (Oud and Leo stock up whenever they make the journey out here – they bought 20 bars) and to visit the smallest room in the house. We did have 40kms to cover. It wasn’t until we were back that we realised how sunny it had been. My tan was topped up a bit, Leo was pink, and Oud, well Oud looked no different – obviously. We all, 5 of us, went out to dinner that night. I really lovely restaurant with a quirky men’s toilet – I did get permission to go in.

  

 

It’s tucked away so it took us a few attempts to get our convoy of scooters to ten right place. Well worth it though.We sat on cushions on the floor and had a huge selection of dishes presented to us. Most being the usual ‘blow your head off’ spicy. It was a really great evening and we even dodged the rain getting home.

Sunday. Hmmmm, what to do? The food from the previous evening was still sitting in my stomach so I decided to walk to the Bird Nest restaurant for a light breakfast. It’s about a mile which is better than nothing. I had fruit and homemade yoghurt with a very peppery ginger tea. Everything is wholesome and delicious here.

  

  

The place was packed too. Not many locals but loads of tourists and those who have chosen to make Chiang Mai their new home and were sitting have a drink or a meal whilst doing their business online. I ended up sitting next to Simon an ex project manager who was now a physiotherapist who specialised in analysing dreams. The freaky thing was he basically gave me a potted history of myself after chatting for 5 minutes. I felt naked! He was a very interesting guy who had travelled the world and lived in many countries. He had now decided to head back home, England, to live in London. We talked for probably 2 hours or so before being joined by another Londoner, also now living in Chiang Mai. Although they were both originally from London they were like chalk and cheese. One was ‘Oh, I say old chap’ whilst the other was ‘Cor blimey gov’. Hysterical! Sadly, I had to leave a bit sharp ish after a call from Waew. There was a problem with water at Dream House and they needed to get into my room. Oud was dispatched to come and get me on his scooter. Fortunately, the situation with the water was not from my room but was sorted and all was well. The evening was spent at the night market. Possibly my last chance to buy anything from here. Apart from a hot waffle pretty Mach everything else I bought was for dream house. I bumped into Briony and Taywin and had a brief chat. I got back to Dream House before the rain set in and watched ‘The Big Lebowski’. A cult film which had so far passed me by. It was good – not great – but good.

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