18.03.2013 - 25.03.2013
Day 420 – Monday 18th March
Merita is off to one of those meditation course things today (3 weeks in a temple not talking and meditating a lot) so me and James had some breakfast with her before we had to see her off. James rented a scooter and drove off into the sunset with her, and I just hung out at our place writing the blog for the rest of the evening. After dinner I dropped by Tamara’s, still no sign of James which is bizarre considering this temple is only like an hour away, turned out they got very lost and it took them over 3 hours to make it. So they were forced to stay the night there as me, Tamara, Pitac (formerly known as M, Thai guy) and Noi went out on the town. Turned out to be a proper good night, we saw 3 different bands doing live music at separate places and 2 of them ended up being fucking epic, after a few beers and some dancing we all parted ways just after 1 and I came back to my lonely hostel to call it a night.
Day 421 – Tuesday 19th March
Started off the day pretty brightly with a trip down memory lane in the form of ‘The Jungle Book’ which is a great film that everyone should watch again. After a bit more lounging around my place, I went out to get some food and go meet up with Tamara and M, but they turned out to be in the middle of an argument or something so I sat outside waiting. Next thing I know, the doors closed and they’re having it off, I guess they forgot about me, rude bastards! So I went back home, Tamara did pop round a bit later and we hung out at mine for the rest of the afternoon. Turns out they did end up having an argument and he ran off back to Chiang Mai, bit of a bummer as he’d invited us all to go stay with him at his house in Chiang Rai and the turn of events might change that opportunity. James randomly turned up in the evening having spent the whole day hanging out with Merita before her course started this evening. The 3 of us then went out for some very highly regarded fried chicken, which was fucking delicious, and then came back and separated for an early night.
Day 422 – Wednesday 20th March
Spent the morning hanging out in Noi’s café today, which her French boyfriend set her up with and which is not getting any business whatsoever. Anyway yeah, we all hung out there, me and James went off on a little errand run while we still had the bike; went to a tasty veggie restaurant for takeaway, then went to get money out the ATM as James’ card is broke and then we ran out of petrol. Despite me telling him it wasn’t the best place to leave it, James lazily left it on the side of the red and white painted road, on a zebra crossing! Safe to say it didn’t turn out well, but that’s a different story for tomorrow. After ditching the bike, we all had lunch together and hung out chatting for the rest of the afternoon. Once again, the 3 of us (Tamara and James) went out for dinner, and once again we didn’t bother going out and dumped Tamara at her place then came back to work on our top secret website designing. And the only truly nutritious meal for a programmer is McDonalds, so at 1am we stole some bicycles and went there randomly bumping into Tamara on the way. Turns out she’s too cool for us and was out on the lash! She jumped on the back of James’ bike on our late night maccy d’s convoy. Loving our little family here, despite people leaving we still are getting on really well, and the last 10 days or so in Chiang Mai have flown by.
Day 423 – Thursday 21st March
Another morning spent at Noi’s little café, given the current ridiculous heat (up to 40 degrees and still smoggy as hell) anywhere with some shade and music is a great place to hang during the day. Then everything turned to shit when we went to get some petrol for the bike and drive it back home. It wasn’t there! And James’ passport is down as deposit for it with only a week left on the visa. As we didn’t check on the bike until late, the police weren’t open, but having already done this before James is pretty confident it’s been towed rather than nicked. We’ll have to find out tomorrow, still James is far too blaze in my opinion. Nothing more we could do but come back to our place and hang out with this new (fucking annoying) American guy who’s come to Thailand for some dental work, as it worked out cheaper to have a 3 week holiday and pay for it over here rather than pay in the US. And people complain that the UK taxes are too high, at least we get free healthcare! But he couldn’t stop banging on about how the surgery went and the current concoction of painkillers he was on and how cool he was to be drinking vodka (sigh!). We got stuck with him and ended up taking him round to Tamara’s where the recently illusive Candis was hanging outside her from for the first time in ages. Luckily her US connection with him kept him busy and we all had a good laugh. Carried the night on back at our place where we were joined by yet 2 more newcomers, a 6 foot something blonde Danish girl with legs up to her eyes, Corina, and a guy from Newcastle, Chris. I think that’s the main reason why I am enjoying Chiang Mai, the constant supply of like-minded same language speaking people means time just flies in conversation. Although the complete white domination in Chiang Mai is bloody disconcerting and I’m planning on getting out of here and to Chiang Rai. Hopefully it actually feels like I’m in Thailand up there.
Day 424 – Friday 22nd March
By the time I was up, Tamara was already round being proactive and dragging James off to the police station to try and sort this little dilemma of his. I spied that Chris was reading the Doors of Perception, writing by Aldous Huxley (fucking genius) about how he defines a mescaline trip. It’s also what ‘The Doors’ based their name on and I’ve been wanting to read it for a while. Chris and Corina were off being busy so I sat reading that as well as the sequel, Heaven and Hell, both very short books, and both a fucking nightmare to wrap your head around. Well Heaven and Hell certainly was a mind fuck, but Doors of Perception was still completely understandable and brilliant while still being a complete scramble. Plus I haven’t read a book since Koh Chang, and it’s always nice to have some alone time, so a very good start to the day. James made it back from the police station with bad news; they hadn’t picked it up, meaning to all intents and purposes it’s been nicked. Whether or not that means the owner caught a glimpse and decided to steal it himself and charge James we will never know. Either way, the owner came up with a quote of around 450 quid which is insane money out here for a second hand bike, but when they’ve got your passport they’ve got you well and truly by the bollocks. As James doesn’t have to get a visa until Thursday, he’s got a few days to wait for the bike to turn up before he’ll have to cough up, fingers crossed. We hung out with all the people staying at our place this afternoon, including a new German girl on top of the Danish and the 2 other English speaking guys. Luckily the American was on a bus to Bangkok by 7 so he won’t be pissing me off anytime soon. Me, Noi and Frederica (Italian chick who’s been MIA for the past 10 days as she works) decided to go to the cinema and check out the new Tarantino movie, Django. Personally I thought it was a really bad film, the concept is alright, but the whole gangster joke and just the way it’s made in general really turned me off. Haven’t seen a Tarantino movie that I like in ages, I feel that he’s just gone past the threshold of genius and insane in the last few years. By the time we got back it was pretty late and after escorting Noi home everyone was in bed. Chris stayed up a little bit chatting with me about travelling and shit as he’s only been away a few weeks and wants some advice, all I could do was force-feed him things I loved about China. In the end he seemed pretty keen on the idea, everyone is after I speak to them (as I’m obsessed with the place and not enough people go!) so China could be full of people I know by now.
Day 425 – Saturday 23rd March
Last night I spoke to M about when was a good time to go up and visit, but as he was off early this morning for a whole day scooter festival I’ve put off going till tomorrow, I’m actually pretty excited to leave here. Had well and truly enough of only seeing farang (Thai for tourist) everywhere, plus M is a cool guy as well as a painter and guitarist meaning he’s sure to have a cool pad to stay. Still no results with the bike today and as usual James is disconcertingly upbeat and blaze about a potentially huge fine at a time when he doesn’t own a bank card! I hung out with the German girl (none of us remember her name), and Noi and James all afternoon. I need to take some pictures of this guest house, it’s really higgildy piggildy and a maze to get around but there are so many cool little nooks and crannies with comfy places to sit. Which makes it far too easy to get stuck here! Chris and Corina left for a trekking trip this morning, so it was just us left and other than a cheeky drop by visit from Tamara we spent the whole day and night together. Did some washing, got some takeaway food and we all hung out on the sofas watching a movie, nice chilled night in. Good time to leave Chiang Mai for a few days.
Day 426 – Sunday 24th March
Got up at 10 this morning, not a nice feeling hearing the alarm again, and after a bit of procrastinating I made it out of bed and picked up all my dry washing and packed. Got James out of bed around 12 to drop the bag off in his room and then went to get some lunch/breakfast. Bumped into Tamara on the way back, surprising given she’d told us she was off to some meditation farm retreat this morning, turns out they were full and she’s stuck here. I hung around a little bit with the 2 of them and then got on my way to the bus station just after 1. I waved down about 10 pickup truck taxis in a row, I’m sure it looked very comical with all of them turning me down as they couldn’t be fucked taking me all the way to the bus station on a Sunday for a reasonable price. Eventually one guy did agree and I got myself on the next bus leaving at 3. It took about 3 hours to get to Chiang Rai, in which time I slept a bit and listened to music enjoying all the countryside scenery flying by. Feels so nice to be out of the city! Really good to see M again waiting for me at the bus station, despite a few too many mentions of asking how Tamara is getting on and if she’s fooling around with other guys we had a really good night. His house turns out to be absolutely epic, his family own this giant chuck of land with pretty much the whole extended family living in their own little houses dotted about all over the place. The little place M built is like something out of Italy, with a veranda on top of floating stairs, leading in to his open bedroom then downstairs his art studio and his music set up with drums, mics and guitars. Plus he’s got speakers all over the place and he lives in the middle of the countryside meaning the music can be blasted out. Have a sneaky feeling I might get stuck here a bit longer than expected. Plus the family owns a little restaurant and snooker room so everything is quite literally on the doorstep. After catching up a bit and me jazzing my pants about how awesome his house is, we headed out for some food and went to a bar to meet a couple of his mates. Ended up spending the night chatting to this clueless French bird and a couple other crazy French people, and playing pool in this little reggae bar. Came back to his place and had some food and listened to music chatting for a couple hours before going to bed. Really nice night, absolutely loving the vibe of Chiang Rai (even if it is freezing at night), just looking forward to seeing more of the countryside and some of the famous temples dotted around the place here.
Day 427 – Monday 25th March
Thought I’d just update this on the day of as its already night and I doubt anything too major will happen between now and the time I go to bed. Anyway, got up bright and early this morning and had some breakfast then I played snooker with myself as he caught up with his Mum and Brother. Around 1 we headed off to Burma to do yet another bloody visa run, not before strapping an ice cream cooler on to the back of the car and driving it round to his uncle’s place, somehow without the car tipping backwards or the cooler falling off. As it’s a hot day today they felt that the uncle might get some business if it’s left at his place nearer to the main road. Once we ditched the cooler, we went round the city trying to find a bank which would exchange me baht for dollars (as you need $10 to get in to Burma) but none of the banks wanted to do it which was bloody annoying. Eventually I found one guy who would change it for me and we hit the road up North to ‘The Golden Triangle’ which is where Thailand, Laos and Burma all meet and is historically renowned for being the home of opium. Filled up the car with gas (not gasoline, gas) which is super common in Thailand, yet another thing we seem to be behind on! The drive took about an hour, and all the immigration business took about half an hour and then we were back on the road to Chiang Rai. Usual story on the Burma side, lots of people desperately clawing at you to buy something for them, all these border towns are so alike. When we got back we hung out on his balcony and had a jam session (just like the Beatles), I’m actually alright at the drums, well a couple of beats I learnt ages ago. But still it was enough and we had a good laugh. Turned in to a right hippy since coming up North, playing instrument, fire juggling and hula hooping, next I’ll have dreads. Also hung out with one of his mate from the bar last night, who’s a proper nut job but really friendly. Then we had dinner and now I’m just hanging out listening to all the wildlife on his terrace as the moon shines brightly above. Life is good, as usual!
Photos to come on next entry guys, I know I haven't taken any in a while.