Travel Blog: Week 37

Thailand

Week 37: 22.07.2013 – 28.07.2013

Monday:-

As I didn’t have training this morning I had a leisurely breakfast in my room in front of the large bay window. Sitting in the sunshine watching the world go by beneath me.

This morning I wanted to check out the swimming pool at a nearby hotel. Anyone could use it for a fee. The pool was small and the fee was big so I’d have to rethink my swimming options.

Now what to do? I got onto my scooter and headed for the Airport Plaza. Big Buddha day…….the roads were pretty hectic but I made it safe. I looked around a few shops and at last found Tops supermarket. I grabbed some snacks for the film – pre prepped pomelo and rice crackers to sneak in. I saw Pacific Rim in 3D with very funky glasses. A good cheesy sci-fi movie with the usual up beat happy ending.

I was tempted to stay for another film but it was getting on and I wanted to get back in the light. I found my scooter which was drenched. It had rained – a lot. The bike started first time despite the damp and I made it back to the old town with minimal rain and by dusk. I’d just got in when the old town got its drenching.

When there was an improvement to the weather which was quite late I stepped out for a quick bite of street food. I sat at the rickety table on a little plastic stool and found myself next to Lana. A lovely American girl who, with her sister, had taken a brief course in dress designing/making in Cambodia. They were now making dresses and selling them around the world. Very inspiring. We chatted awhile before I called it a night.

Tuesday:-

Up and out early (my early) for training. The roads were thankfully quiet today – I guess the locals were taking full advantage of another public Big Buddha holiday. They have a lot of public holidays here!! The journey to the gym is a little brain workout. Talk about living in the moment. You must keep your wits about you.

My feet were killing me from skipping – I must improve my technique. It was a good workout though. This morning I met another lady who was training at the gym – Jane. She was Thai but had spent many years living in Hong Kong. Her English was excellent. We hit it off, exchanged numbers and agreed to meet up one day in the near future.

Lunch was noodle soup at what was becoming our local regular restaurant. I took a walk around the Market near the gym for fruit as it was even cheaper than the Market near me. Back to the old town. It just rained all afternoon, all night and well into the early hours. Not much to do but take cover and chill

Wednesday:-

Amazingly after all that rain the roads had all but dried as I set out for training.

It was a good session with a few little goals reached.

I had my fourth Chi Nei Tsang massage so headed back for the 2pm appointment. Much better although the areas representing my kidneys were very uncomfortable – everything else was much more comfortable and almost, I said almost, enjoyable.

I had a very healthy salad and fruit for lunch.

I hadn’t eaten all day and by now, almost 4, I was famished. The rain set in again. Taywin picked me up around 8 and we went out for food. It rained again so another close by restaurant under cover. I think the exercise and much less rice is starting to pay off.

On the way back to my room I paid for the bike for another month and managed to get more discount – bargain. I still don’t have a feel for where I’m going next so for now Chiang Mai will be home. I have until mid August before my visa ends and I have to leave.

Thursday:-

Up and out for training. Another good session. Jane was there again and we arranged to meet the next night. Be good to have another friend here. Picnic lunch with Taywin.

Back to the old town for a quick pit stop then out to the Airport Plaza. Now I knew how to get to the cinema, and was comfortable with the route (finding where to position yourself in the lanes so that you get to turn off when you want too without having to dodge too much traffic, it’s a whole different ball game on a bike. Respect to bikers!!!) there was no stopping me. I’d even sussed the parking. On the way in you are given a plastic entry card, a bit like a credit card, and then you hand it back on the way out. It’s not swiped, and there’s no charge for parking so I’m not entirely sure the point of it. But at least I know how to play the game and it gives someone a job.

Today I decided to see Red2. The first one was so funny and well worth a watch. The second, I have to say, like so many follow ups wasn’t nearly as good. Maybe it’s because last time I sat next to my lovely friend Ann and we chuckled through the film together. This time it was just me – boo! It’s still worth a watch and for 4 quid I’m happy.

I had a quick trip around the Tops supermarket. Again it’s something I can find in the plaza without aimlessly walking around the huge place. I’m not saying I walked around aimlessly before – actually I did, twice. It’s the best supermarket chain I’ve found in Thailand so far so I got a few things. Groceries safely stowed on that handy little hook under the seat on the bike, helmet donned and bike started (first time) and I was off. No rain today, thankfully but it was dark. As I mentioned I know the roads now and how they drive out here. I just take my time and let those who want to go faster than me pass. I also know to check for passing traffic over both shoulders. They like cutting through on the inside here. Anyway, I made it back safely and parked up.

Out for dinner with Taywin. I was not only dry but the bar was closed tonight, so we could go a little further afield. Apparently, the government were in town doing some spot checks on the local businesses so no one was taking any chances. Rather than get involved in the checks they just closed for the night. Quite like that idea for getting through regulatory checks. We could learn something from the Thais. Dinner was lovely although its the first noodle soup I’ve had with no noodles – when was the last time you did something for the first time!!! We took a spin around the outside and then the inside of town and stopped for a cheeky mango sticky rice. My first rice for a while – oh boy it’s so good.

Eventually the rain called it a night for us and I was dropped off.

Friday:-

Up and out way before 11 today – woooo hooooo.

I made it to the gym just before the rain settled in. The workout was good and I can see I’m improving by the number of reps I can manage. I’m still not anywhere near to being fit but I feel better for the exercise and am getting used to doing it in the heat. How to they manage when it’s really hot here!!

Lunch was back in the old town. There’s only so many noodle soups you can eat. I stocked up on stuff from the market. It’s such a happy welcoming place there and for me familiarity does not bring contempt it brings comfort and a lot of smiles. I made my own lunch in the room, just the random way I like it. It’s hard to imagine how good that makes me feel to make my own meal. I kind of miss all of that from home, although this room in ‘Dream House’ is the next best thing and allows me the freedom to do my own thing.

Now, do I go out or stay in? Rain – buckets of it! Time for more meditation and the chance to catch up on my blog. I’m nearly 2 weeks behind and actually couldn’t remember a thing about one day. I’ll attempt to update daily, or at least jot down the key details, in the future. No promises mind!

Taywin and I got dinner from the fabulous Muslim food stall at the night bizarre which was handy as it was right next to the Muay Thai stadium and we were meeting Jane there tonight. I moved around this time so got to see the fights from different angles. Including sitting right behind the commentators. As before Taywin left me to do the rounds; helping with fighter prep, corner man and at one point commentator. One of the girls from Taywin’s gym, Lanna Muay Thai, had a fight which she won. Brave girl!

  

  

 

  

 

Jane found me and we moved seats again and met up with her friends. After the fights we went back to the bar. Jane friend drove – it felt was strange to be in a car, a really nice one too. It had been a while. The bar was still playing it safe and was closing early so the night out finished early.

Saturday:-

More training. A new dish for lunch – spicy rice chicken with fried egg and a side of clear soup. Today was another trip to the second hand market. We stopped for drinks – the little local guy is getting good at making fresh lemon just the way I like it, without sugar! He thinks I’m mad to drink anything that sour mind.

We took a new route to the market, Taywin taking a short cut across the grassy central reservation! Needless to say we got lost. I’m quite happy getting lost when someone else is driving and I can just look around. Once again I came away with some more t-shirts. Some of them are really good quality and it gave me an idea. They are so cheap I could buy them at the market and find an outlet to re-sell at a marked up price. An idea to store away for a while.

We stopped at another second hand market – this one sold everything and anything. I found a wonderful small brass place and got it for a snip. Even better Taywin told me it was very old and worth a lot more. Another idea to stash! On the way home we stopped at a coffee shop owned by one of Taywin’s friends. He knows so many people and it doesn’t matter how far we travel we always bump into someone he knows. As I’m not a coffee drinker and settled for chocolate ice cream!

We took the direct route back. The pollution is so bad here though. I have bought a mask I must remember to take it with me and then remember to use it. Whilst waiting at one set of lights I saw the most amazing thing. A couple were on a bike, not amazing I hear you say, but sitting on the hand of the passenger, sheltered by the back of the rider, was a budgie! It wasn’t in a cage or attached in any way and whilst we were waiting it hoisted itself up by its beak onto the shoulder of the rider just as the bike pulled away and whizzed along the highway. Told you it was amazing!

Back to old town and my room. Tried calling home but no luck.

Dinner was rice chicken and soup. The bar was closed when we got there. Joy, Taywin’s co worker, was no where to be seen. Whilst Taywin sorted getting the bar open and set up and had a foot massage at a new place called ‘Moonlight’. It was fabulous and eased my poor skipping sore feet. By the time I was done the bar was open and heaving. I chatted with B, the owner, and Jerome, one of Joy’s friends. He mentioned another possible place to rent for a month – “happy home”. He also told me that Lulu was a famous ffx character. Look her up she’s awesome! B, who is half Turkish and half Cashmere, shared stories from India. I liked the Ganesh story – here’s some culture for you…..

Ganesh is born of divine parents and is himself a divine being. According to the Hindu mythology, in the snow-capped mountains of Kailash, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi, the divine couple, live with their two divine children, Ganesh and his brother Karthik, also known as Karthik.

This is the tale of those days when both Ganesh and Karthik were very young.

Ganesh being the elder son, was full of patience and wisdom. Karthik, on the other hand, was impish and playful. But both of them were intelligent and powerful.

The two brothers had much difference in their physique. While Ganesh had a massive body with a big belly and an elephant’s head, young Karthik was a beautiful boy with strong limbs. They were kind to everybody and were loved by all.

Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi loved their two children and they in turn were devoted to their parents. The Devas (deities) were pleased with the lovely divine children and they worshipped them.

But one day, as the Devas talked about the qualities of the brothers, a doubt arose in the mind of one of them.
“Who is the wiser of the two brothers?” he asked the others “Ganesh or Karthik?”

“All right, then.” said he, “We’ll have a contest. Whoever of you goes around the world three times and returns first will get the fruit ,” he said to his children.

Hearing this, Karthik immediately mounted his vehicle, the peacock. His brother Ganesh was slow and fat. Karthik laughed to himself in glee. He was very certain that he would win.

Ganesh too, understood that his vehicle, the mouse, could not compete with the peacock’s speed. So he thought for a moment. Suddenly, he got an idea. Ganesh smiled to himself.

Karthik flew around the world stopping at all temples and sacred spots on the way and offering his prayers. To his astonishment, he found Ganesh at every major stop. Karthik was puzzled. How did Ganesh manage to be so fast?

The reason was the razor-sharp intelligence and the great wisdom of Ganesh. Back in Kailash, Ganesh remembered that his parents Shiva and Parvathi represented the entire universe. Without delay, the young elephant-headed god walked around his parents with great devotion, folding his hands.

“Why are you circling us Ganesh?” asked Lord Shiva.

“I’m your son and to me, you two make up my whole world. Why should I go further to win the contest?” replied Ganesh.

Back to my room. No training tomorrow – yee ha!

Sunday:-

No training!!

Awake fairly early for meditation then actually managed breakfast in my room. Tried Calling mum a few times but no luck so emails and movies.

Out for a walk – stopped at the Sunday market as it was being set up. I’ve never visited this early. There were less people, it was still light but the prices were higher. I think its best to buy things as they are packing up as they are less inclined to want to take them home and more inclined to strike a deal. I stopped and had dim sum in the food area then wandered around the craft shops.

I went to see guesthouse with Waew – it was terrible traffic in town which should have been a sign. The guesthouse was already taken.

Out to dinner with Taywin at market. Met his friends. I really liked Robyn and we chatted a while. we may even meet up and do a yoga class. She was interested in the Chi Nei Tsang massage and so I explained how to find Om.

I left Taywin and wandered around market. I spent more time on the outer verges which were really interesting and I will spend more time there next week. Bought Sharon fruit and a beautiful bowl. Got soaked in the rain and got back around 11:30.  Couldn’t sleep!

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