Monday, January 16, 2012

My Chiang Mai

When I heard that my friend Hayley was going back to Chiang Mai just two short weeks after our adventure there for New Years, my first reaction was to say "I can't make it".  However, it wasn't long before my brain kept thinking about everything I missed so shortly after departing the magical city. I found myself thinking "maybe" and then "I wonder if they'd let me off work early..." and finally "I don't care - I'm GOING!!!!".  This city has some odd mystical pull on my soul that I can't turn down. So here's part two of my Chiang Mai experience.

Thom and I at Wat Phra Singh

I set off from Wang Chan Thursday afternoon.  I hopped on the bus to Bangkok and was ready to be in Chiang Mai.  If I was able to choose one super power, it would undoubtedly be the ability to Teleport, no question. Filled with excitement, I rushed through the Mochit bus station to purchase my ticket to my favorite city.  I stepped up to the window and said "One for Chiang Mai please!" The attendant replied "Sold out for the next two days". My heart sank. What was I to do?! The attendant pointed out the doors.  Although I didn't know if she was trying to help or just get me away from her booth, I walked out the doors in hopes of a positive answer. I saw a second booth labeled "Chiang Mai".  Booth 2 - Sold out. Booth 3 - Sold out. Exasperated and about to go into panic sad mode I stumbled up to booth 4 labeled Chiang Mai with no spirits left in me.  "Chiang Mai?" I asked tentatively.  "8:30 bus - 518 baht" the attendant said.  My reaction may have been a little over the top but the attendant then received a very loud "THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!" Feeling my luck perk up a bit - I waited happily for my bus to come and take me away.

I arrived in Chiang Mai at 6:00am.  It was dark, the monks were walking about the streets collecting food for the day. Determined to get a little more sleep before I started my day, I walked to the Lita Guesthouse once more.  I marched up the steps and found all beds were completely filled. I creaked about the house quietly not knowing just what to do - and then decided upon the hammock outside.  Never a terrible option.  It wasn't long before Mama Thom - the wonderful host of Lita Guesthouse - found me and told me to go take her room and sleep.  Her cozy bed was incredibly welcoming after a long bus ride.

When I awoke a second time for the day - Thom and I went to breakfast and enjoyed a cup of coffee.  Then she took me for an incredible bicycle ride around Chiang Mai old city and looked at five temples.  I had not yet been in the temple for purposes other than picture taking.  This time, however, Thom and I knelt in front of the Buddha, said the prayer, and received the blessed bracelet from a monk. Most people probably say words of prayer and think of many things while in the temples - but for some reason each time I enter a temple, its as if my mind clears.  It's calming and refreshing not to constantly be thinking of everything going on in life.  I'm not sure what it is about temples in Thailand that gives me this relief, but I enjoy it incredibly.

 Phra Dhatu Chedi Luang 
Prayer at Wat Phra Singh 

For the rest of the evening, Thom, Wim from Belgium and I went into the city and saw the movie Contraband with Mark Walberg at the big cinema.  It was my first movie since I came to Thailand 3 months ago.  This I also enjoyed. Later, I of course went to the Reggae bar with Thom and danced the night away to reggae music and Sangsom rum.  I was able to see OEG teacher friends that live far too far from my down in Rayong, as well as my good friends Hayley and Marci.  I also met more fascinating people this trip: Matt from England - the nice Hi-5er, Matt from Germany, Wim from Belgium, Gitte from Germany, and my bus seat buddy back to Bangkok was an interesting fellow from the Philippines.  One great thing about Chiang Mai is that you can be alone and be perfectly happy walking around - but you'll also never get lonely.

Lita Guesthouse
My last day in Chiang Mai is always a sad one.  I finally indulged in some Mexican food and ate a scrumptious chicken burrito and guacamole!  I swung most of the day away in the Lita house hammock.  When it was time to leave, Thom saw me off in a Tuk Tuk and she gave him specific instructions on getting me to the bus station on time.  Since the princess had visited Chiang Mai that day - traffic was a bit crazy.  As the Tuk Tuk buzzed off I gave one last "Choop Choop" to Thom.  It was then that I noticed that I was in a decked out, lit up Tuk Tuk with a sound system.  The driver was listening to The Eagles "Your lying eyes".  It reminded me of home.  Whenever I'm feeling homesick, I know I can just go to Chiang Mai - it's the closest thing I've found to my real home, and it's always welcoming.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds absolutely magical!! I'm so glad you were able to return so soon! :-) Chiang Mai is definitely at the top of my bucket list, now.