Thailand – is this my last week in Chiang Mai? Week 44: 09.09.2013 – 15.09.2013 I’m not sure if its the residual dengue but my energy levels could do with a boost. The urge to sleep is so great for much of the day. Mostly I decide to give into it and the weather helps with that. The week started with rain, rain and rain. It has been a full on schedule these past few months so maybe it’s time
Thailand – is this my last week in Chiang Mai?
Week 44: 09.09.2013 – 15.09.2013
I’m not sure if its the residual dengue but my energy levels could do with a boost. The urge to sleep is so great for much of the day. Mostly I decide to give into it and the weather helps with that. The week started with rain, rain and rain. It has been a full on schedule these past few months so maybe it’s time to take it easy and put my feet up.
Breakfast was mostly in my room this week, which usually meant going out to buy a combination of fresh fruit, homemade yoghurt and bread. Having spent months avoiding bread I now find myself eating it almost everyday. There is a wide selection and the traditional rice bread is good – more importantly it is safe and gives me some comfort.
After the task of breakfast I had to crash again, more sleep then another movie, accompanied by rain. The afternoon was more productive as I found the Wororot market. I parked my scooter and investigated on foot. It was huge. I had been in this area before but only at night and now, during the day, it looked completely different. The shops were amazing and I found sound wonderful fabric for the final bedspread for dream house. I bought myself some bits and bobs – similar to the things you could buy at the night market but here it was mostly locals and so easier to browse. It also sold things that only the locals would buy – particularly on the food front. I found buckets of terrapins (are these for pets or do they eat them? Don’t answer that).
There were so many hand grafted things and the place was filled with the smell of spices. Everywhere I looked there was something else of interest. I loved that I didn’t see another Farange (foreigner) here the entire time I was browsing. This place would need another visit for sure.
At the back of one of the stores I found the entrance to a wonderfully decorated coffee shop which was up of the second floor. I ordered a ginger tea and watched the world go by.
Now all I needed to do was find where I left the scooter!!!! You’d have thought that would be simple but I can assure you scooters are everywhere and all the streets start to look the same. It’s really a good idea to get a scooter in an unusual colour or have a helmet which stands out because believe me it’s all quite baffling!
The following morning I walked to the Birds Nest restaurant – saw the cutest little kitten hiding in some plants. there are a lot of animals living on the streets. Many of them don’t fare too well. It’s rather sad. I find it astonishing to see so many dogs just sleeping at the side of the road, and quite often on the road. Cars and scooters alike just seem to drive around them. My heart fills my mouth every time I see them. I hope they keep safe!
It was quiet today (apart from briefly meeting Satchi – Leo’s Chi Kung teacher) and so I could spent time updating my blog. I tried the traditional rice porridge. Served with warm coconut milk, nuts, dried banana and local honey. It was pretty good and I knew it was healthy. Like most restaurants here the toilets are outside and set away from the restaurant. At birds nest they try and make the walk interesting with lots of designs painted on the walls. I’m never sure that it’s a good idea to take off your shoes before entering the outside toilets though!
I walked back and found the most amazing woman. I thought she was begging but actually she was just taking a rest. I asked if I could take her photograph and we had a little laugh together when I showed it to her on the camera display screen. These are the moments which take your breath away here. Even without being able to speak Thai you can make a small connection with people.
In the evening Jelena picked me up and we went to listen to the Jazz. I have to admit Jazz is not my thing but North Gate has a good vibe and it’s good to meet up with people. I met Anita, one if Jelena’s friends. We grabbed some old wooden stools and took a place at the back of the crowd – which happened to be out on the road. The traffic just moves around you and soon we weren’t the ones at the back anymore anyway. There were more rows of at least two people deep behind us. We were joined by Satchi and Fabrice. I actually know quite a few people now and am starting to feel like I have a bit of a tribe.
Wednesday was another lazy morning, but around midday I journeyed out to the Airport Plaza to meet Leo. Today we were taking a trip out of town to find the famous blind masseur. we took the scenic route – in other words we got a bit lost but Leo has an instinctive sense of direction and we got there with the help of directions from the locals (including a couple of dogs who had their paws up on the fence whilst standing and swinging on a large garden swing chair). I have to say that once you are out of the city most of the roads are scenic. It’s all very green and there are still ricy paddy fields to see in some areas.
We passed the most ornate Chinese temple. I didn’t take photos when we passed it going to the appointment and, sadly it was behind tall closed gates when we left. Leo had specific areas to be worked on during the massage so she saw the man who was blind. I was just along for the ride and so had my session with his very glamorous looking wife. Don’t be fooled it was two hours of pain. I knew it was helping to untangle my fixed muscles but there were times when I didn’t feel I could take anymore but I stuck it out. The women seemed concerned about the state of my body and gave me many looks of sympathy whilst holding her balled up fist up to me. She was trying to say my muscles were tense – like I didn’t know that!! Afterwards I was exhausted and quite sore. We got back in a more direct way but I stopped of at the plaza to stock up at Tops. I definitely needed a treat.
For the next few days I helped Waew with some things around Dream House. Despite being the low season the rooms were booked most days and on the odd occasion we couldn’t accommodate everyone who came by. This is really good news for Waew and Art who have struggled to meet the costs of the place during some of the slow months. I put together some guest rules which could be printed and laminated. We also got some duplicate keys cut and set up a proper guest check in system including taking a key deposit. Waew knew so much more about aspects of running a guesthouse, her customer service was totally mind blowing, but they needed some formal structure in place to protect themselves. It was starting to come together really well.
I had a second session with Marian this week. She didn’t use acupuncture today – it was more osteopathy. The good news was that she could see the heat in my body, caused from the dengue, was starting to dissipate. It would still be a few weeks but there was at least some improvement. Whether you believe in all this is totally a personal choice but I’d rather give these treatments a chance to prove themselves. After the session I met Leo and Jelena at Birds Nest whilst they were having a guitar lesson. I also met Michelle, Eva, and Yan. It was an awesome combination of very talented people. Eva showed me the place where she was staying just around the corner – another place to consider if I do end up coming back. Much cheaper but not nearly as lovely as Marian’s place. As I was leaving, another lady (who turned out to also be a Michelle) asked for my contact details as she was going to Bali and might like to contact me out there – a rather strange situation considering I didn’t know her!! That evening I met John for a quick drink. I’d met John weeks before and hadn’t been in touch. He’d bought me dinner and I felt I should at least buy him a beer before I left. We had a hour or so chatting before I met with Leo and Jelena for dinner. We were treating ourselves – dinner at a French restaurant where we shared a fondue, salad and a plate full of profiteroles! A-maz-zing!!!! There are some fabulous restaurants here if you want to take a break from the Thai street food.
I think I overdid it the day before and needed a chilled morning. I started sorting out my stuff, deciding what to take and what to leave. I packed up a post office box with the things I wanted to send home but would also want if I stayed. Once I knew whether I would return to Chiang Mai I would contact Leo and she would either hang onto the box or send it home for me. It was quiet in Dream House today as Waew’s mother had arrived from a village in the north. Sadly, she was very unwell and needed medicle treatment. Some of Waew’s family had travelled down with her but now they were all at the hospital. My last evening was spent with Jane at the trendy ‘Beer Republic’ – I also met her friends Paul and Jamie (who apparently used to be a professional footballer, like I would know!). Back on my scooter and home.
Sunday had come around quickly and it was finally time to pack. In addition to my post office box I had a pile of things to leave with Leo. If I didn’t come back she’d have a bunch of things to use or give away. The rest packed away easily into my bag. I had lunch with Leo at the UN Irish pub and then met Jane. She had kindly offered to take me to the airport. I said my goodbyes at Dream House. Waew and I had become good friends and bless her she was in tears.
My flight was delayed but for less than an hour. With a few movies downloaded on my tablet I had plenty to keep me busy. It was an easy flight of just under 3 hours and thankfully a tasty meal was served. We arrived at Singapore about 30 minutes later than scheduled but that didn’t matter. I had a 9 hour stopover to kill. I had a browse around the airport and splashed out on some face creams (Tammy believe it or not I have now worked my way through all the free samples I brought with me). This is true luxury and is more than I’ve spent in one transaction for quite some time. As the ad says ‘because I’m worth it’! My spending didn’t stop there. I treated myself to a six hour stay in a transit room. I love Singapore airport (Changi). It makes travelling that much easier and more comfortable. I could have a shower, watch a bit of TV and put my head down for a few hours in a clean bed. There was too much going on with people arriving and departing throughout the night to get a proper sleep but I did get some shut eye and it beat trying to get comfortable on airport seats. I must be getting a bit soft in my old age.