03 Jan 2008
3 January 2008
A new year! Very uneventful in Thailand as I was in bed by 11:30 PM!!
The Amari hotel charges all guest an additional fee for a gala dinner on New Years Eve, so as long as I was paying for it, I might as well stay for the dinner! The hotel has two pools and the larger one, was festive in decorations, with tables all around the pool. There was a buffet set-up at both ends of the pool and there was plenty of food to choose from. In addition, there was a band as well as Thai dancers and ritual performances during the band breaks. So, the additional charge was not just dinner but a floor show as well! After two beers and the lingering effects of a cold, I excused myself to return to my room and was in bed by 11:30 PM. I actually heard the midnight fireworks but I wasnt going anywhere with this headcold.
I have spent my days wandering around the walled old city of Chiang Mai, looking into food markets and shops. Actually, I feel like Andrew Zimmerin (Spelling?) traipsing through food stalls and fish markets and vegetable stands looking for weird things to eat! The reality-I havent succumbed to any temptations as I am fearful of eating anything that is washed in local water. I learned my lesson on my last trip.
The old part of the city is walled, but there are few parts of the entire wall still standing, and outside of the walls remains a moat. I prefer to use my imagination and visualize the city with the walls intact. Chiang Mai is a bit more arty than other places I have been in SE Asia, possibly with the exception of Ubud in Bali, Indonesia. The silks, the carvings, the jewelry are all over the place and how people sell the same tee-shirts. Same theme repeated over and over again throughout SE Asia.
I did go to the well-known night market and imagine thousands of stalls selling artwork, tee shirts, junk, antiques and all kinds of food. It is a collection of farangs or foreigners shopping there as I saw very few Thai natives there. I t is quite a spectacle and I am glad I went. Imagine a huge flea market at night! Kate and Amelia-remember Dad is a traveler not a tourist Tourist buy trinkets whereas Travelers collect memories-sorry about that Girls!
There are no even sidewalks or stretches of walkways that are even in this city. It reminds me of the uneven walking cobblestones in many Italian cities. I was walking along minding my own business and in an instant, I found my entire body hurling through the air toward the back of a wooden chair. I stuck out my left hand to brace myself and my chest smashed into the chair, reducing it to smithereens! My left hand was bent back-similar to a snowboard or skateboard accident and my wrist is quite sore. I have a black/blue mark, the size of a baseball on my pectoral-sagging pectorals! I scraped my knee and I am just thankful, I didnt hit the back of the chair with my windpipe or face, that would have been uglier! I am a lot more vigilant about where I walk and have taken to walking the street, rather than the uneven sidewalks.
I have spent four days walking the city and I have reached my limit in terms of my need to see anymore of this place. It is Thursday night here and I am booked to leave for Pattaya, Thailand on Saturday. Rather than return to Phuket-again, I want to see another beach area and plan to be there for a week or so. I have to fly back to Bangkok and I have a driver for the two hour trip to Pattaya. I have reserved a room at Tim Boutique in Pattaya, for anyone who wants to follow my adventures. I am reluctant to go to Laos as it really doesnt have any appeal, Myanmar as well, so I am going to head south. I still have a couple of days of other things to decide where to play.
I am still enjoying the travel as each day, each fall has its memories. I am hoping all of yo0ur travels are as eventful as well! Journey well! And Happy New Year to all!
posted Thursday January 2008