My first thought when I landed in Chiang Mai after spending the day flying from Hanoi to Bangkok and Bangkok to Chiang Mai was “Thank Gaga I’m here”. I was thankful to be on the ground because, as you’ll recall, I had gotten ill on my cruise on Halong Bay. On top of that, I’d forgotten to take my doxy the day before so I took it in the evening when I remembered. I then forgot I’d taken it and crawled into bed to watch “Frozen” with my good friend TN. Bad move. Another pro-tip: listen to the pharmacist and don’t, under any circumstances, take doxy and then lay down because you WILL get heartburn that keeps you up all night and you WON’T be able to eat or drink anything without it feeling like you’re swallowing battery acid. All this to say, I wasn’t feeling well and flying certainly didn’t help things.
Anyway, Chiang Mai was nice and warm, unlike Hanoi; it was sunny, unlike Hanoi; the airport was orderly, unlike in Hanoi and people smiled at me; unlike in Hanoi. MT had booked a hostel for us where the owners were very friendly and laid-back with a very cute young daughter who enjoyed playing games with us. The traffic was hectic at times but I never felt like the Thais were trying to scare/kill me. It was a totally different feel from Vietnam and one that I greatly appreciated. I guess that’s why I decided to make Chiang Mai my home base for almost two weeks!
While here, there always seemed to be something to do: visit one of the pagodas; browse through one of the day markets; wander through the night market and try to remain calm in the claustrophobic weekend night markets; zipline; bungee jump; zorb–you name it, Chiang Mai has it. Since this was my last major stop on my backpacking trip, I took full advantage and yolo’d all the way.
We visited Pai (more on that soon!), we went to a lot of pagodas, we shopped at six different markets, we went ziplining, we got a LOT of street smoothies, I went bungee jumping (everyone else was too chicken!), we met some cool people (my man, L), we met some not-so-cool people (looking at you, guy from Nova Scotia who doesn’t shower), watched Real Housewives of Melbourne, we shopped at many, many 7/11s (fun fact, you can’t go anywhere in Chiang Mai without seeing a 7/11!), we tried desperately to find the street food vendors that we liked at different markets, we watched stupid You Tube videos and we found the best deal on veggie food in all of South East Asia.
There are too many stories to tell about Chiang Mai here so, since I’m a fan of humour that has absolutely no context, I’ll leave you with some memorable quotes that I enjoyed so much in this great city.
“This is the true meaning of ‘yolo’.” (usually used just before doing something really mundane, such as watching “Friends”)
“Did you tell this guy to not get in the way of your selfie?” “No…he just stood there.”
“Do you think he thinks we changed rooms because he smelled bad?”
“She’s gone full Thailand.”
“Remember when we rolled down a hill in a giant ball?”
“I think you just got yourself a date for midnight tomorrow!”
“Do you like Thai girls? You’re handsome, you could have two girls on each arm!” “Well, this is awkward.”
“Any hole is a goal!”
“No new people in our room!” “Yes!! We don’t have to make any friends!”
“Do we want to still find somewhere for drinks?” “Why don’t we just go back to the hostel and watch ‘Friends’?”
I’ll try to upload pictures as soon as I can but, without MT and her laptop (both of whom are back in her motherland of Argentina now!), sending pictures to Drop Box is much more of a challenge here in India.
Fun fact: the queen of Holland is from Argentina, Internets.