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Up North to Chiang Mai

Day 413 – Monday 11th March

Already covered most of this day in my last entry, but just to recap; after an early wake up in Ranong I headed off on an uneventful visa run to Burma giving me yet another 2 weeks in Thailand, so I’ll be here till the 25th, at least. After my visa run, I spent a few hours wasting time in Ranong, went to a couple cafes, spent some time on the internet and then made my way to the bus station just after 4. There I picked myself up a ticket on the 8pm bus to Bangkok, which happens to go on to the North bus station after the usual Southern one. This means that I can keep my options open, at this point I was still unsure if I was going to spend a few days in Bangkok or jump straight on another 12 hour bus up to Chiang Mai where James (guy from Lombok back in September) is hanging out, plus it’s a city I quite like and its close to one of my favourite places, Pai. Once I picked up my ticket I still had a few hours to waste some more time in a café on the internet before I got on the bus at 8.

Day 414 – Tuesday 12th March

The bus made it in to the Southern bus terminal this morning around 5ish, after a very boring bus journey in which I managed very little sleep. Due to the fact that there were only 3 of us left on the bus who wanted to carry on to the North bus terminal, the driver just decided to save himself the effort and buy us each a ticket on a minibus. Due to the usual lunatic driving antics of Bangkok’s transport service we made it to the terminal pretty quickly, and not one hour I was off the bus in Bangkok I’d picked myself up a ticket on a 7am bus to Chiang Mai. The bus trip was actually quite nice, I always seem to take transport overnight, but going in the day is a much more interesting ride. I managed a bit of sleep and a lot of listening to music by the time we made it to Chiang Mai, where James came and picked me up. Spent arguably my best 3 weeks in Indo with him and Laurie back in Lombok in September, so it was fucking awesome seeing him again, and unsurprisingly he had loads of crazy stories to catch me up on. And after a lot of chatting and a shower, we went out to meet up with a few of his mates and get some dinner. I wasn’t really feeling up for going out, so after our late dinner, me and James came back to the guest house to spend a couple of hours chilling out before going to bed. Feels really good to be here in Chiang Mai, the area I’m staying in is really nice, and the guest house is also pretty special, definitely worth leaving Koh Chang for. Plus there’s unlimited electricity, hot water and wifi, how could I not be happy?

Day 415 – Wednesday 13th March

Had a well-deserved lie in this morning on my unusually soft bed which felt incredible. James came round after I got up to go get some breakfast round the corner, yet another great aspect of being in a city, great food! Since I left James back in October, he’s spent about 4 months living in Chiang Mai, so unsurprisingly this morning he was telling me about his plan to rent a shop with 3 rooms above it with a couple of other girls he hangs out with. The idea is to set up a sort of drop in café with internet and bike rental and such, very common in this area, but I guess you can never have too many, plus the price of the rent works out less than a month in a guest house so you can’t really lose. Plus the 2 girls are really nice, one is called Noi (which means small in Thai, and she really is) and the other Tamara, a Spanish gypsie. After breakfast, James and Tamara went off to a park, and as they only had one bike I stuck back and spent some more time leeching the internet and downloading as much as I could think of, and I had a nap. We all went out for dinner in the evening, but as everyone has to wake up early tomorrow for work and James for visa run, no one was in the mood to go out, so we called it a night pretty early. I decided to stay up until 5 to watch the whole of the Arsenal game, don’t really know if it was worth it, but always nice to be able to watch some football.

Day 416 – Thursday 14th March

After my late night yesterday I didn’t make it out of bed until the afternoon, by which time James had gone meaning I was completely lost in Chiang Mai. Having stayed here for almost a week last year, I should have some clue, but we spent no time in the old city and the place is a maze of tiny streets which I’ve only seen so far from the back of James’ bike. So I decided to just go on a walk and get lost and see what I find, and despite the searing heat it was actually really nice to just have a long walk around a city. You never know what you might find, saw tons of temples, a couple monuments, a park, a university, museums and eventually somewhere good to eat. I also stepped in drying cement for the first time in my life, so my footprint is now somewhere in Chiang Mai! All in all including the long lunch I was gone a good 3 hours, it felt very proactive given my usual lazy state. The drive up to the Burma border is about 4-5 hours each way, so James didn’t make it back until pretty late, meaning we had to skip dinner to get to a jazz bar in time for an hour or so of live music with the whole gang. It was a really fun night, and the first time I’ve had more than just a couple drinks in ages, don’t know if I’ve mentioned the fact that I’ve pretty much given up drinking for almost 6 months now. Not to say I’m ‘off the wagon’ now or anything, just alcohol is pretty expensive in Indo and on Koh Chang as well, nice to have the opportunity to go out with a cool group of people and get a few drinks.

Day 417 – Friday 15th March

Luckily no one was feeling too hung-over this morning, and so I got a breakfast call from James at a reasonable time and we went out to get some smoothies. And these weren’t just any smoothies, the woman who owns the place tries the craziest combinations with every fruit you could think of, and they’re so bloody delicious and filling. As per usual it was very hot today, so after a little snack we were forced to come back to the safety of our guest house where we hung out with this new Russian guy for a couple of hours. Went round to the girl’s place in the evening to all have dinner together, but due to indecision on where we should go, we had to order in meaning pizza hut! Then our little gang just hung out on the balcony for the rest of the night, the girls are all really nice and super fun, plus there are always a couple new people to meet milling about. I’m definitely enjoying having a social aspect back in my life again, plus I actually met a guy who gave me a potential business opportunity, I can’t really say too more. But if anyone has any experience in making websites, your expertise would be very much appreciated as me and James are in the midst of setting something up. I’m not being hush hush on purpose, just can’t really be arsed explaining. After a few hours hanging out there, chatting on and on about what options with have with this new money making idea, we all went our separate ways, and I had a nice convo on Skype with the family for the first time in ages. Then we went out for an early morning McDonald’s, just so hard to avoid eating Western food when it’s so good!

Day 418 – Saturday 16th March

Had a new arrival to the gang this morning, Merita, fresh from a whistle-stop 2 week tour in Laos, she’s back in Chiang Mai. So everyone knew her from when she was here before, I got to know he over breakfast with James, another really nice girl who’s from Kosovo, very interesting. The 3 of us went to our usual hang out at Tamara’s guest house, where I spent the afternoon being taught how to do poi, fire juggling! It’s actually a hell of a lot harder than it looks to spin the balls round in the cool way, but I eventually got it and it’s pretty therapeutic, plus there’s so much more to learn and I’m very tempted to get addicted to it. I also learnt how to do the hula hoop thing, I’ve turned in to a right hippy seemingly! So after a free loving afternoon, I went off to go watch the City game, can’t emphasize enough how fucking nice it is to watch football, especially when all the results went so well today. After dinner, we all met up again, currently the group is changing; not only have we got this new Merita, but the cute Thai girl Noi has gone to some meditation thing and she’s been replaced by Tamara’s current Thai boyfriend ‘M’ and we still have Candis, girl from San Diego. As usual we just spent the evening all hanging out knocking back a few beers and shooting the shit.

Day 419 – Sunday 17th March

Had a pretty rushed breakfast this morning as we had this brilliant plan to drive out to a waterfall as it’s just so god dam hot! Unfortunately trying to organise all 6 of us to leave promptly was impossible, but we did all eventually get going and we piled in to the back of M’s truck. The walk up to the waterfall was pretty horrendous, due to it being a Sunday it was pretty busy and so we had to keep going up another level on the mountain to find a more quiet pool to hang by. In the end we arrived at a really nice spot where I jumped straight in, so refreshing! Spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out up there playing cards and listening to music, it was a really good idea to go. Writing about it now just seems so ridiculous; ‘oh we were hot so we just went to a waterfall in the jungle at the top of a mountain’ life is good. We made it back to Chiang Mai around sunset and had some dinner together, then me and James hung out at our place for a bit and went round to theirs a bit later. Usual evening of chilling out on the terrace, had a good chat with M, who’s headed back up to Chiang Rai (his home) sometime this week and so we might all take a road trip up North and check out the area. We were all a bit tired and in no mood for getting involved in the sloppy St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, so we called it a night a bit earlier than usual. Came back home and James was locked out of his room, so after an hour of trying to get in through the window, then breaking a key in the lock, eventually pulling it out and then trying a succession of about 100 keys, he eventually made it in and I went off to bed.

Posted by travellingjoe 02:55 Archived in Thailand

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That really sounds like exciting stuff and meeting so many people from different parts of the globe must be stimulating. The premiership football has lost some of its appeal with the runaway team at the top but good that more london clubs are making an extra effort this year. Weather here is terrible so you are certainly in the right place. Snow next w/e again! Happy hunting. GD.

by m.hurry

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