Thailand day 9, hanging out in Chiang Mai

Day 9. 27 Jan. 2011. Trying to chill.

Finally, we had a day scheduled for doing nothing. Obviously, we couldn’t do “nothing,” exactly. But we did wake up at noon, which felt like heaven. Then we went to Dada Kafe, recommended by Don and Paola, for smoothies and coffee. It was great to NOT eat gigantic quantities of food, for once.

I stayed there for quite a while, drinking coffee and hanging out, while Matt went next door to Gecko used books. He came back with a Thai phrasebook and a selection of crappy scifi, then we headed out to explore a little. We decided to walk in the direction of the train station, east of the city, while we talked over the options for getting back to Bangkok.

About halfway there, we realized that if we took the train back, we wouldn’t have time to meet up with Nik again, post-Mae Hong Son trip. That seemed rude, since he was paying for it, so we decided to fly.

From a street-side flower market, we passed through a Chinese temple and into the Watorot market. The temple was quite different from the Thai wats, and I really liked the figures on clouds along one wall facing the main entrance. We didn’t go inside.

Watorot market is a huge sprawling market, covered mostly, with 3 levels that I’m sure I saw. We were hunting for knives, directed there by Pon, but we never found any. Eventually we got tired of looking and headed into the streets around it.

After some time, we ended up in another wat, this one surrounded by animal figures, both realistic and fantastic, as well as some purely fictional, like Donald Duck. As I petted a cat sunning itself outside, a man walked up and asked how I liked Thai cats. We had a brief conversation with him during which we learned a couple of things: we were in Chinatown; and elderly Chinese people brought their pets here when they couldn’t care for them. We asked him if he lived nearby, and he explained that he was one of the architects renovating this wat. Very interesting!

We continued to wander, and then it was time to pick up the laundry we’d dropped off early in the day. There, the man asked us where we came from. We’ve learned over time that it’s much easier simply to tell people where we live, so that we only have one answer, which is therefore Amsterdam (vs. explaining that we are Americans from Minnesota and Washington State who live now in the Netherlands). This answer prompted him to switch to speaking Dutch with us, as it turns out that he is quite proficient in it, and travels regularly to the Netherlands. Fancy that! Matt decided to have him make him a suit, and was deliberating on that when the phone rang.

It was Don. He wanted to know if we wanted to join them for drinks and/or dinner. We had planned on calling them with the same offer, so we finished up the measurements and headed back to the Sparrow’s Nest. I needed a shower first, then we set out.

We ended up at a Tex-Mex place that had free popcorn. Don is apparently addicted to popcorn, so it was perfect. We started with some margaritas, and everyone had a little to eat. Then, walking a bit further, we passed a cocktail bike-wagon like the beer wagons I’ve seen in both Amsterdam and Minneapolis, except that this one wasn’t moving. We stopped and had more drinks, but left when we realized it was doubling as a gay pickup point and we didn’t really fit in. We headed to El Toro, which Paola and Don really liked, but then Don pointed out that Number One Bar was nearby, and had been recommended by our friend Pepijn, who was friendly with the staff. We ordered drinks and chatted with Toon and Ricy, both of whom remembered Pepijn and were glad to hear the relayed hello.

After a drink there, we drunkenly made our way over to El Toro, where Matt and Don bought drinks while Paola and I bought banana roti with chocolate and condensed milk from the stand outside. We got to the table to find they’d bought 2 bottles of SangSom Thai rum and a bottle of coke.

We finished it. Then staggered drunkenly and very much like obnoxious tourists back to the Sparrow’s Nest.

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