Back in the Magic Kingdom

Trip Start Dec 31, 2004
1
29
71
Trip End Apr 22, 2005


Loading Map
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of Thailand  ,
Thursday, February 3, 2005

After all the fretting last week on whether or not to stay in Luang Prabang longer and shorten my time in Chiang Mai I wonder if ever I've made a more sagacious decision. Now that I'm in Chaing Mai I wish I were still in Luang Prabang. That will hopefully change once I get the lay of the land. The decision to fly here was a solid one, as well. Not 20 minutes into the flight did the captain announce that we were crossing into Thailand. Had I chosen to travel by boat that would have taken me two days.

Jeff, Margaret and I caught one of those weird Lao mini-truck tuk-tuks to the airport after breakfast for our flight. If I'd gone to the airport alone I'd surely have gotten wistful about leaving Lao even though it was time to leave. I'll be back someday. Jeff and Margaret are already planning their return.

The Thai Airways flight here was as lovely as a 72 person turbo prop plane with a lopsided descent could be. The service was lovely for the little over an hour flight. It was a bit bumpy as we were ascending but nothing really out of the ordinary. I had thought of getting a Valium for the flight since the pharmacies dole out whatever you want in Lao but I didn't want to be out of it after I landed. I did however yank the cork out of the bottle of rice wine that I bought off a sand barge on the Mekong and had a little gulp to calm my nerves. They even served a nice little lunch that was about as delicious as airline food on a fancy crop duster can be. The best part about the meal was that chewing diverted my attention momentarily from the odd alarm sound coming from the rear of the aircraft. Eyes darted. When I looked back a skinny male member of the flight crew -- I have no idea of his position because he was wearing a pilot's uniform not a flight attendant's costume. He looked a bit wide-eyed as he was frantically wiping something down and then a flight attendant kept opening the restroom door curiously. I didn't know what was going on so I asked. I was told it was the coffee maker. I hoped that was the case. To say the decent was rocky would be sugar-coating it: It was jarring and terrifying. It was still a success however because I had a pulse and walked upright after we landed.

I emailed several hotels and none of them had written back with confirmation. Then just as we got out of customs there was a Lai Thai Guesthouse driver with my name on the placard. Let me tell you something right now. There are some very little things in this world that really brighten me up. Seeing a man holding up my name on a sign and knowing that I'll be whisked away without any hassle is one of life's little gems. I was on a high. Then he took me to the hotel.

The room was pitch dark and had those Godawful frosted louvered windows. I deflated. The man who brought me to my room actually snickered when he heard me register disgust. "Oh, no this is too dark." Then I saw the bathroom, "Uh! No way -- let's go back to the desk if you don't mind." I got a better room but she didn't understand since the room I wanted had two beds and I was only one person. The new room was flooded with light and the bathroom was much better. I prefer an extra bed for my suitcase, plus I enjoy the extra pillow and towels. What in God's name is up with those hideous frosted glass louvered windows? I think they're called jalousie windows or something like that. I have no idea why that comes to mind because God knows I've tried to forget that those things exist beyond the borders of Pensecola. I can rough it but that's seriously asking a bit much. The hotel has a website if you're curious (www.laithai.com) but I feel pretty certain that the photgraphs were taking during the Nixon administration.

I have a pool! Unfortunatly so do families with screaming children and leathered octogenarians with their bloated prunes encased in Speedos. I do however have a television just in time to wretch during the State of the Union address. I couldn't take it so I headed out and away from the guesthouse.

It's a bit early to make a decision of whether or not I like Chiang Mai. I found an interesting little area inside the old part of town where you can order a cocktail and then get street food and eat at one of their outdoor tables. I had two gin and tonics ($1.50 each) and a plate of roasted pork in a curried coconut sauce with rice that was only fifty-five cents and it was delicious. That part I love. The night bazaar is something everyone talks about. While it's huge that's about all I can say about it. The quality of the merchandise at the night market in Luang Prabang was vastly superior. For me the best part was a tasty banana pancake -- extra crispy and drizzled in condensed milk. The old hats and ex-pats of Thailand can roll their eyes at the farangs knoshing on the ubiquitous banana pancakes but until you can show me a tastier treat for fifty cents I suggest you shut your trap.

On the way back to the hotel I passed five bars all crammed with western men with several Thai prostitutes hanging off each of them. They reminded me of bee keepers covered black with honey bees that with the slightest movement clump to the ground. Welcome back to Thailand!

Chaing Mai seems a bit like Bangkok only smaller but seedier but that's only my first impression. There's beauty here I know but I have not seen any of it. There'll be plenty of things to do here though to keep me occupied. I'll go elephant trekking and maybe rafting a bit and I can't wait to take a Thai cooking course.

Tomorrow is the start of the three day flower festival and a parade is supposed to go by my hotel in the morning. I knew about the flower festival and that's why I decided to come to Chiang Mai at this time. That, too was a good decision. If nothing else their beauty and scent could do much to mask a multitude of sins.

Cheers!
Christina
Slideshow Report as Spam

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: