OK so its been a little while, and I’ve been settling in and getting my bearings here in lovely Chiang Mai.
This won’t be a very entertaining post as I’ve just been feeling my way around slowly . Ive been staying in a guest house in one of the trendy areas but my housesitting gig starts on Sunday so I’ll be moving out into a quieter area near the mountain soon. It’ll be good to get out of the city.
So whats been happening? Not much and yet a lot. Emotionally its settling down as SE Asia seems to make it easy for me to find my centre. Still up and down from all of the recent events but its calming down slowly but surely. No booze, no cigarettes, decent food makes things easier for sure. Hard this week as its J’s birthday next week and I’m torn about sending something. Thats what you do, right? Or not…don’t know..Anyway…
Reconnecting with my yoga buddy CB has been great and she’s been amazing in getting me familiar with this place in a short amount of time. It’s not a very walkable city (at least until I get used to the humidity) so having my arse glued to the back of a scooter for a while has been nice. But yesterday was spent wandering around town.
One of the first things that I’ve realised is that I’m spelling it wrong – CHIANG MAI and not Chaing Mai. apologies t’all.
Its been a while since I’ve visited Thailand. 2001 was the last time I was here.
What really surprised me was how easy I got in. Thailand’s has always been an easy get, but now its virtually borderless, well at last for an Australian it is. Just booked a one way ticket in and arrived, no visa, didn’t even have to pay for one on arrival. 10 minutes in a queue at Chiang Mai immigration, passport stamp and BAM I was in for 30 days. Extend again at the airport, BAM another 30 days. Fly to Laos for the weekend, fly back and BAM, another 30 days. And so on.
First impressions were basically “where are all the people?”. Its not like Bangkok at all, much more laid back and nowhere near as crazy. Bordered on one side by beautiful mountains and steamy tropical forests, Chiang Mai is laid back and lovely. There is an amazing arts community here and helping my friend CB write op-ed pieces for a Thai magazine has made it very clear that the arts scene in Chaing Mai is booming.
The single biggest WTF moment for me is that hardly anyone smokes any more, well at least in the areas of the city I’ve been haunting the past few days. I’m sure that will change but its nice to see. Someone explained to me that there was a big antismoking push a while back – the King said don’t smoke and people just stopped. Fascinating.
Had a first twinge of “uh oh” on a long walk yesterday but luckily that was my body purging all of the Sydney crap food I’d been eating over the past week. Emergency averted thanks to a nearby Starbucks but a timely reminder to not get to cocky eating street food and fresh fruit here. I’ll get sick eventually but I’ll deal with that when it comes. No need to make it easy.
And I have no excuses now either – healthy eating options abound here, vegetarian and vegan places everywhere ( I can get a good healthy meal for about $2 or 50 baht) , coffee is amazing most places, not a lot of Aussie tourists (yay), shit-ton of Chinese tourists (boo) and the weather is relatively mild for this part of the world. Well I’m sweating my arse off as I write this and am drinking about 4 litres of water a day but my skin is absolutely glowing, darling. Byebye Dubbo desiccation.
I can get a First Class (Gold Class back home) movie ticket for $15 that includes food, drinks, electric recliner and a blanket. I’m in heaven so I’d better damn well enjoy it. And I did yesterday, for a brief 2 hour window where i laughed at the tacky but cosy First Class blanket for no real reason and felt good. Baby steps I guess but at least there seems to be a gap in the clouds occasionally.
Tomorrow is the weekend so after I hire my Scoopy today I’ll be mobile. So expect lots of boring Temples and misty mountain posts shortly. I need to figure out how to post pictures on each post.
Oh and under no circumstances go and see the new Independence Day movie. Its shamelessly terrible.