Katja and Arne's travel stories

09.05.15 Chiang Mai 

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Sleeping in this morning we didn’t get up until 8:30. We booked a ride into Chiang Mai this morning to explore the city.

Last night we booked us on the shuttle to town at ten this morning. We did that in the reception. A little later they called the room and said it was unavailable, but we could get on a shuttle at 8:15. We’re good with that, but about an hour later they call again and say it’s eight sharp. Still OK. Then a half hour later it knocks on the door and a man tells us it’s moved until nine. Whatever.
It looks like there’s an Indian family going on a tour this morning and that we use their transport for the tour to the city. We get dropped off at a mall and grab as taxi the rest of the way.
We’ve looked up a cafe to have breakfast, but end up at another little nice place. Breakfast at ten is a bit late, but we manage the start of the day without snapping to hard at each other.

Breakfast, finally

We use the time after breakfast to book a hotel for a couple of days after our stay at this resort. We also found info about trekking and a motorcycle ride I wanna do.
"This is how the bike works", I think he said. But he could not speak English

“This is how the bike works”, I think he said. But he could not speak English

Next up we rented a motorbike and drove off. We started by locating a couple of restaurants where we will eat during our stay here, then we went to the park where the Acro yoga takes place. There were no-one there doing Acro, but we walked the park and checked it out. The we found a massage place. We each got an hour of foot massage. It’s under half price of the other places we’ve been in Thailand, and very good.
Time flies when you enjoy yourself and suddenly it was time to move out again. Now we checked out the hotel we’ve booked. It looked great, had a nice staff and is very centrally located. I guess we’ll rent bicycles when we’re there to explore the city further. We headed to a coffee place to relax and enjoy a good cuppa joe. It started raining while we where there and we waited til the worst had passed by before we moved on.
Then it was time for lunch. I found a free book of 55 Things to do in Chiang Mai like a local, and the first notation was of this chicken place. We had grilled chicken with side dishes and it was brilliant. We took pork to go so we have lunch for tomorrow’s trekking. More on that in tomorrow’s post. A bit late lunch as the breakfast was so late.
We stopped by the Tesco Lotus and did some shopping. My singlets smell like the backseat of a bus in India so I need to get new ones. The once they sell here are thin and probably of shitty quality, but I bought two to check out. We’ll see if it’s worth getting more of them. We got muesli and granola with milk for breakfast and fruit for evening snacks and tomorrow’s trek.
Loaded to the brim of the backpack and the space under the seat on the bike, plus bags between my legs we set course for our hotel. I guess we were almost half way when we saw something that looked like a market next to the road. We thought maybe we could get a fruit juice there, but got an experience for life.
There’s a couple on a stage singing, horribly I might add, but to great entertainment for the guests. I turn off the ignition on the bike and we take a photo or two of the performance. Then the guy on stage wave at us, and polite as we are we wave back. This causes a lot of smiles and laughter in the audience of about a hundred and people are smiling and nodding to us. We have no idea what’s going on, but you will experience more in life by smiling to strangers.
An man in his early sixties, my guess, approach us and asks where we’re from. We tell him we’re Norwegian and he asks if we’re from Oslo. Indeed we are and ask what this is all about. We’re outside of a temple and we guess it’s a sort of festival. Turns out it’s a celebration of a young monk. He’s being ordained today as a monk and everything here is in his honor.
We get invited into the temple and are presented for the kid who’s now a monk. We get to greet him, his mother and father and big sister. We make an offering of a few hundred Bath and get blessed with prayers of luck and happiness. Two things it’s hard to have to much of. Then were asked to sit and wait. We do and smile and nod to all the people coming in to give gifts and receive blessings. Our “guide” comes back and we get presented with two bracelets from the kid monk. They’re to enforce the good luck and happiness. We speak with the man who invited us in and learn that there are only three monks in this monastery. The oldest is 101 years old. We also learn that this kid is twelve and is a kid monk until he’s twenty when he will be a “big monk”.
Then we are asked if we will visit the old monk. We do indeed, and are escorted into the neighbouring building. Here we pass the third monk before we are taken into a back room. Behind a glass door it’s a hospital bed where an old man is lying. He doesn’t really seem conscious and he’s given nutrition by a probe through his nose. We’re told he’s fallen sick the last three months. There are picture of the old monk on the walls and his face is a study in peace and contentment. We give a few hundred Bath in offering to him as well, and the third monk is praying for us and blessing us with holy water. We get even more bracelets and should be pretty lucky and happy for a while.
We spend a little time talking more with the man who invited us in and meet his wife also. Turns out the middle monk is their son. He’s quite as large guy for a monk and regarding this the Thai’s have no filter. His father shows us a picture of him from five years ago and exclaim:”Now fat, before thin” accompanied by hand gestures to suggest a Michelin man. No filter, in other words.
We end the visit in the monastery and temple by exchanging addresses with the man. His wife wants to visit Norway and we ensure them we’ll show them Oslo. They’ve heard about the midnight sun and would like to see that. She’s a teacher and I guess they know more than the average Thai. We greet each other again and we step outside and go back to the bike. What an experience and by such chance.
Almost back at the hotel we stop at a small roadside restaurant and get a little fruit and water. We’re still pretty full from the chicken we had for lunch, so we’ll do it easy on dinner.
Back at the hotel Katja take an evening run while I write up the day. The restaurant at our resort is filled to the brim and there are cars everywhere here. Katja could report that the karaoke was on when she came back from her run. Luckily it’s a little distance from our room to the restaurant so I don’t think we’ll hear them. We’re to get up early tomorrow to meet up for the Sunday trek so I hope I get my beauty sleep.

“Karaoke divides humanity into two groups: those who don’t want to sing and shouldn’t be compelled, and those who do and shouldn’t be allowed.”

– Dennis Vickers, Passing through Paradise

Author: arnber

Humongen! The big guy! The man, the myth, the legend! And then theres' me. The nice guy in the house. The man without cooking skills, but with five stars on the Playstation. Boss at work, relaxed at home. What you see is what you get. Life is good. I choose it to be.

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