Travel Blog: Week 35

Thailand

Week 35: 08.07.2013 – 14.07.2013

Monday:-

I had a weird concoction for breakfast in my room. I had so much food in the fridge and hadn’t touched it in the last few days. The 3 day old toast (have to say I was pleasantly surprised), mashed avocado (it was so ripe it could only ever be mashed), tomato, cucumber, passion fruit, banana and banana bread was all washed down with ginger tea. Ready, steady, cook eat your heart out!

Taywin picked me up. First stop the post office swiftly followed by a trip to a tiny sports shop I’d never noticed. I bought socks to go with my ‘new’ running shoes and, yay, a new hat. All for the grand total of £3.50. Next stop was for Taywin’s bike – the spare key had been found. We drove through town only to come face to face with a police check. No crash helmets. Oops – pulled over, a stern talking to, and an on the spot fine. Woo hoo, I have a criminal record in Thailand. No, not really – just kidding about the criminal record.

We got to the place to pick up the bike only to find the bike now wouldn’t start. We’d have to come back another day. Now onto Taywin’s doctor which was waaaaaaayyyyyyy out of town. The injuries he sustained from his road accident were giving him concern especially as he had a years contract as a muay Thai instructor in Miami starting in September. It took us ages to get there and we passed through several districts I’d never seen. The dr prescribed a bag full of meds, complete rest, and a suggestion of surgery on his knee. Lots for him to consider.

We arrived back around 5:30 and watched the newbies being trained in the gym. I spoke to a Swiss girl who’d only been in Chiangmai for two days and had signed up for training. Go her!! We got chicken, sticky rice and papaya salad as take away from the market, parked up and ate it off the seat of the scooter. Never had a scooter picnic before. What crazy fun!!!!

We’d just finished eating when the heavens opened. I think the rainy season had now settled in and the evenings would always be like this. There was nothing to do but take shelter and wait.

It was well after 10 when the rain let up a little. Enough to brave the main road back into town anyway. I donned my bright blue rain poncho and we set off. The puddles were huge and so my feet were drenched when I was dropped off but it’s so warm no-one cares about a bit of water.

I have to say being a passenger on a scooter in Thailand is liberating. Everyone is cool, calm and collected on the roads and although there don’t seem to be any rules (I am so going to need to relearn the good old Highway Code when I get back) its so very easy going. The weather is fabulous and everyone smiles. I really feel content watching the world whizz by, stopping just about anywhere for food when you’re hungry or thirsty, parking wherever you want for free, and generally enjoying the simple pleasures of life at your own pace. This is how I want to feel in the future – I guess the real trick is making that happen!!!!

Tuesday:-

Woke up earlier than I have in a while so actually made it out for breakfast before noon. Stopping briefly to buy raisin buns from the corner bakery – always good to have a stash for afternoon snacks.

I wanted to do a bit of shopping today so headed out of the old town. The rain hit early today so I was stranded under the dry canopy over the bank. A sitting duck for locals trying to sell tourist trips – long neck village, butterfly farm, monkey world etc etc. After half an hour or so the sun broke through and I was released from my street corner.

I met Taywin later that afternoon once the showers had stopped. Time to pay our fine at the local police station.

  

I chuckled at the irony of Taywin riding in to the police parking lot to pay the fine for not wearing a helmet, when he still wasn’t wearing one – obviously a 200THB fine isn’t enough of a deterrent. We went to the second hand Market – there is a Market for everything and anything here and they are everywhere if you know where to look. 2 pairs of shorts and a t shirt later we were weaving through the traffic back to the gym. We stopped for take away food for another scooter picnic later. By now we had my bag of second hand clothes, Taywin’s bigger bag of second hand clothes, a big bottle of water, a coconut, a grilled fish, and two bags of khao soi on the bike. All part of the experience! Now where do I put my shoes which had been at the menders?!!

I was left to chill while Taywin trained. I was joined by a little kitten. Bold as brass and out of nowhere a cute little kitten strutted into the room meowing at the top of it’s little lungs.

  

We ended up having dinner in the kitchen area at the back of the gym, joined by the other fighters. The dogs, which were completely free to roam most of the time, bickered constantly and fought over the fish head we had in the leftovers.

As is usual it rained and rained during the evening and now that I’m wise to it I keep my book with me – needless to say I’m getting through it quickly. The rain subsided enough to make a move back into town. My blue poncho is coming in very handy. We both drove our scooters back and I managed to keep up with Taywin and make it back he direct way.

Getting an early night would be easy you’d think, but changing sleeping habits takes a while. I just don’t feel tired at 10:30. If I want to run in the morning when it’s still cool I’m going to need to get up early. So early nights are required. I think I switched lights off at 11;45.

Wednesday:-

I woke earlier but not early enough for a run. Today I was starting training at the gym. I had enough time for mediation before heading out. I was all geared up in work out clothes, or as near as I could get now I’d sent moat things home, and my newly acquired trainers only to find Waew had taken the scooter out this morning. Umh, change of plan. I got changed out of my gym stuff and decided to go for breakfast. As I got to the front door Waew turned up!!! I still had time to get to the gym so I grabbed my stuff, jumped on the bike and hit the road out of town. A quick change and into the gym. Now I get sweaty at the drop of a hat so working out in an outside gym in the middle of the day is never going to be a good look for me. It was basic stuff; sit ups, push ups, weights, step ups and skipping but after so much time since a last proper work out it was a killer.

Shower, change and out for food. I was sooo hungry. We had noodle soup at a new place. It almost looked like a proper restaurant. This was followed by fresh mango from the Market. Taywin had more training sessions today so I headed back to my place. It was lovely to walk through the markets – I knew some of the stallholders and the best place to buy particular things. I could try out my Thai numbers. On the whole I got it right which rewarded me with huge smiles. I walked round for a few hours enjoyed the not so frequent hours of sunshine. Then, oops I spoke too soon, the rain came. Time to chill in my room.

  

Dinner was at a Muslim street restaurant. Somewhere different and really tasty. Dessert was a Thai delicacy. I’m not sure what its called but its a white liquid which is cooked in little round shallow dishes. It actually tasted pretty good – a bit like marshmallows. Oh so sugary!!

  

Thursday:-

Day 2 of training – a little achy but felt surprisingly OK.

Lunch was noodle soup with a little extra ingredient – a chicken foot! I did actually considered giving it a go but then images of the chicken scratching around in the dirt hit me and I decided against the folly.

It started to rain again so we made a quick decision to go to the shopping mall. I pass it on my way to the gym and wondered what it was like. 5THB to park! It was reminiscent of the old Birmingham Bull Ring centre when I used to go in the 80s but not as classy. Nuf said!!! It was time well spent though. When we came out the roads were soaked it had really rained. A quick wipe down of the bike and we were off.

Back to Taywin’s. I collected my bike and headed back.

The evening was spent watching the traditional dancing under the cover of the central market – it was raining again. We ate in the food hall which was full of tourists. Noodle soup and eventually mango sticky rice. The stall was popular and there was a queue most of the night.

At some point the previous day I’d lost my earring stud – again! I was hoping to get a replacement but the rain continued so we didn’t brave the outdoor night market. There’s not much to do here when it rains this much so Taywin went to work and I to my room.

Friday:-

Training day 3 – same overall routine but 50 x2 of those damn step ups

Shower, change and lunch just before the rain. The restaurant had an interesting way of storing its meat – the pork was hanging from hanging basket.

A quick trip to the post office. Not for me this time. I’d actually managed to curb my spending and hadn’t bought anything to send home in a while.

We stopped for iced lemon drink (and coffee) which was freshly made and refreshing but they put sugar in everything here. If only I could remember to ask for ‘no sugar’!

  

We collected Taywin’s bike which was at last ready. It poured with rain so stood in the workshop to take cover and I watched a little squirrel thing and the birds revel in the rain. We’d gone on my bike and so now I followed Taywin back – we drove in random. I didn’t know these roads as a driver and they were busy so I needed the back of Taywin’s bike as my point of reference. He’s a steady driver so easy to follow. The roads can be a little mad so I like to take it easy. My usual speed is a max of 40 so I have plenty of time to keep an eye on what’s going on around me.

We’d just got back in time for Taywin’s training sessions so I went back to my room.

It was Friday so street food market day. It started to pour, there’s a definite pattern forming in terms of the weather, so we had a change of plan – we ended up at a Chinese restaurant which was under cover. Then we stopped at a cute little place for tea and banana pancakes – very civilised.

Back to the bar. I actually managed to stay a few hours. I think my socialising needs have changed over the years. I don’t find sitting in a smoke filled bar (the Sheesha here makes the bar a little different from the rest and draws a crowd) with drunk 20 something year olds listening to loud music (I don’t like) blaring out so you can’t have a conversation, enjoyable anymore. Am I just getting old?

I called it a night.

Saturday:-

Gym training.

Today we were going out to the lake on Taywin’s newly fixed bike – or so we thought. We got most of the way there before having to turn back due to rain. It wasn’t raining nearer to town so we just took a spin around on the bike to areas I hadn’t visited yet.

I returned to old town whilst Taywin was training. I decided to have a drive around and stopped in the market for a mango shake and there dried banana speciality. I’m not sure if it was my error or something wrong with the bike but the accelerator went into over drive and I shot off. Sadly, into the side of a truck! The bike got a bit a damage, luckily I just had a few scrapes but the truck took the brunt. There was a bit of scene as the market stall holders came to make sure I was OK and to check out the situation – they like a bit of drama like everyone else. The truck was full of tourists coming back from a trip and the driver was, understandably, not a happy chap. I called Waew to come and help. I wasn’t sure about how to deal with such a situation. The driver found an interpreter who seemed to delight in telling me they would call the police, remove my tourist visa etc etc. I thankfully found it all quite amusing. Waew turned up, we agreed a cash pay off, and all was done and dusted. Just like that.

I decided it would be safer to stay in for the rest of the afternoon so watched a movie called ‘Moon’. It’s a bit different and I would certainly recommend it.

Taywin picked me up and we went out for dinner – rice and chicken plus a new blow your head off spicy soup. I stopped at the pharmacy and bought some healing gel for my knee. This stuff is amazing.

For now I just wanted a quiet night in which is exactly what I did. Another movie – this time called ‘Mission to Larz’. Check this one out!

Sunday:-

Woke up a tad sore and achy which was a combination of the training and the little knock I had yesterday. Strangely, my feet ached the most from the skipping – who’d have guessed.

Sunday was fortunately my day off from training so I treated myself to french toast for brunch and a walk around the market.

I took the bike for a spin round town – you know what they say about getting back on the horse. Getting around this place meant you really needed to be mobile so so I wanted to feel comfortable again on the scooter. All was well and I felt better for the drive around.

My room rental was up on Friday so I needed to decide what to do next. I found out cost of keeping the room on for longer. The monthly rate was far better than the daily or weekly which was something to consider.

The rest of the afternoon I spent trying to decide how to spend the time for the rest of my trip – I concluded that I really didn’t have a burning desire to do anything so in the absence of a plan I would stay here in Chiang Mai a little longer. I also caught up on emails.

The evening was spent wandering around the Sunday market with Taywin…….in the rain!

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