Day 1: 18/19 Jan. 2011
Easy beginnings. Usually whenever Matt and I fly anywhere we end up with early flights, but this time our flight didn’t leave until 13:00 on Tuesday. We took a cab to the airport because we didn’t want to pack coats, and it was a chilly rainy morning.
Aeroflot to Moscow. About 3 hours. Food was seriously disgusting (Matt had the fish, I had the meat), but the plane was comfortable. Moscow airport was as expected: we stood in a line to show a staffer our ticket, which she confirmed was a ticket, then we stood in a line to go through passport control, then a line for security (although we’d just come off a plane with nothing but a short no-access corridor in between), then a pretty boring waiting area. I was glad I’d chosen the slightly later connecting flight, or we probably wouldn’t have made it. We heard the flight that was our best option normally leaving while we waited for passport control. Russian lines. Sigh.
Aeroflot to Bangkok. About 9 hours. Again, food rotten, otherwise fine. I took a sleeping pill and conked out. Woke up for coffee.
Bangkok airport is lovely. Shrines, gardens, smiling people who clasp their hands together like prayer to say hello or thank you. I had a little misunderstanding in the toilet, with the cleaners, but took nicole’s advice (Dutch woman who will be teaching me to do Thai massage soon) and kept on smiling, smiling, smiling. This, by the way, is completely opposite Russia, where we’ve been told not to, as it makes us look nervous and sneaky. Easy transfer procedures collecting baggage and rechecking on Bangkok Airways to Chiang Mai.
About 1 hour to Chiang Mai. We were served lunch, a quite tasty sandwich. Nice service, friendly.
We arrived around 13:30 on wednesday. At the Chiang Mai airport, a man was waiting for us from our guest house, SK House 2. He and his very tattooed cohort led us to an open-ended pickup truck with 2 benches lining the covered bed (typical transport, the thai name means 2-bench), and we climbed in for the short ride.
For a 400-baht guesthouse (10 euros), the place was pretty nice: big room with private shower/wc, free transport from airport, swimming pool, nice roof terrace, and free wifi in the cafe/lounge area downstairs. We fell asleep immediately.
We woke up around 19:00, took showers, and wandered to find dinner. First we walked a bit, then went back to the first place we’d passed, a local-looking place serving fried big noodles with pork (me), meekrob (Matt), and fruit “shakes,” which really just means fresh fruit, ice, and water blended together. Matt had lemon, I had watermelon.
Then we wandered around with criteria: we would get a massage when we passed a place with 2 people sitting visibly available, and we’d stop for a cocktail if we saw froofroo beach drinks with umbrellas.
We had to revise the cocktail plans. We saw a lot of people drinking wine with dinner. Eventually we found a cozy cafe down an alley where we had drinks, then we wandered until the massage criteria were met.
It was a wonderful massage. Even matt liked it! I was a bit surprised, because usually he likes gentle massages, more for relaxation than for therapy. Thai massage is my favorite… I like the stretching and massage combo. I’ll be studying it in a couple of weeks. In fact, one of my teachers is here now… I’m going to try and meet up with him while I’m here, but we’ll have to see.
After the massage we walked back to SK House 2 and slept. Again.
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