Another Day in Paradise

My one and only free day has been wonderful. Ahhhhh. As I write this, my feet are soaking, before my herbal foot spa, which I imagine is basically a spa pedicure. Works for me. My feet have seen better days.

I put my earplugs in last night, and woke up around 8. Well, truthfully, I still heard the host family in the kitchen, but it was muted and only woke me up a couple of times.

I met up with Pepijn, Pear & Navin at 9:30, and we drove first to Mae Sa waterfalls, which were a nice break from the city. On the way to meet them, I passed a marriage equality demonstration, hurray! (Psst… Yes that’s P, P & N standing together there watching the other family play.)

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After the falls, we drove up up up, and enjoyed a beautiful view over the hills.

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On the way down, I got motion sickness, as I did last time I was here as well. But we finished our trip with lunch at a lovely garden cafe somewhere just north of Chiang Mai, and I felt better.

After they dropped me off, I picked up a Kawasaki Ninja 250 at Tony’s Big Bikes, where I had stopped in to chat on my first or second day. Nice English guys, really friendly. They gave me a discount on a week rental as well as a full face helmet for free (usually 50 baht/day) and a bungee to borrow.

I spent about 2 hours riding around. First I just drove around the city walls, to get a feeling for traffic, then I aimed out in the random direction of Pichet’s school. Since I hadn’t actually taken the correct route, I got slightly lost, but I was still able to locate myself on the map, and corrected it.

Pichet’s house is located only 20 minutes from my guesthouse, according to Google. It took me over an hour. I almost turned around, but then saw a sign pointing to the Night Safari, which I’d seen on my map. I knew I had to go much further than there, so I continued until I saw, as promised, the American Standard sign on the right, then the woodworker’s, then the small road. And, as luck would have it, there was a very tiny, very smiley old man walking on that road. I greeted him and asked him for Ajahn Pichet. “Yes! Ajahn Pichet!” He pointed down the road. Yay!! I smiled and went that way, hoping it was obvious.

It was. In fact, there was no way to surreptitiously check location and flee, as students were leaving, so I got off the bike and went in to say hello. Now I knew where it was, I drove back to my guesthouse directly. Even in light traffic, it took me nearly 45 minutes, so I will plan accordingly.

I checked with my hosts how they want me to park, then I drove off again in search of gloves. Tony’s only had one pair, too big for me, but although I found a store (the one with guitars and helmets), they only had one size, also too big, and 3x the price for poorer quality. When I declined, the woman asked me how much I’d pay, and I said that for the quality, I’d pay half the price of the ones at Tony’s, but that made her angry, so I laughed and left. Making friends, you know.

It felt so good to be back on a bike. It’s so much easier to navigate traffic while in it, rather than walking. Still, I parked it, showered, and walked to Chiang Mai gate for market food before coming here for a pedicure.

Here’s my new friend for the next 7 days.

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By the way, today is a public holiday, the day of Buddha’s enlightenment. There is lots of activity in the wats. I also saw lanterns floating up to the sky all over. Here’s one wat’s decorations.

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And here’s the Chiang Mai gate market, where I eat often.

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