Loosing it in Chiang Mai

Trip Start Jul 28, 2009
Trip End Jul 27, 2010

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Haven’t updated the ole blog for a while, and I have been to many places in Thailand so far. It only fair if I give you a little update on what I’ve been up to.
Bangkok was quite an interesting place. I have been used to dirty big cities in China, but for some reason Bangkok stuck me as a very dirty place indeed. It had no litter on the streets and the place didn’t have random whiffs of smells you’d rather not smell, but something about Bangkok was busy and dirty. Most of my time spent in Bangkok was pretty much wasted sleeping. I was extremely tired after Australia because I had such a terrible routine of going to sleep at around 4 in the morning. I visited many temples, made a German friend who wasn’t overly interesting and was disappointed by the Chinese new year there.
I had to get out of Bangkok, it was blowing a hole in my wallet. The last day was spent rather well actually, I made some Polish friend, but she worked in England. She was a little older than me, but that didn't stop us from being friends. She showed me all her pictures from down south around the islands and it looked like she had the greatest time! This makes me really want to go down south as soon as I can.
She had came with a friend, who had hired a ladyboy girlfriend for the majority of the trip. Maria showed me a few pictures of her, and I tell you what i couldn't really tell the difference in some of the pictures, i was quite amazed. That day we went shopping, because i didnt have much time before my train to Chiang Mai (in the north of Thailand) so I was happy just to tag along. 

Chiang Mai

My journey to Chiang Mai started when I got on the train. The train system is much different to that what i was used to in China, as the first thing i noticed was much less security and ticket checking to the way the trains looked totally different. I went second class sleeper which cost me 770thb (around about 14) so I was pretty happy about the cost. Like I was saying the trains were much different to what I was used to. I wanted to go to sleep straight away, but I couldn't work out where the beds were! I was wondering if i had got into the right train or not. As i was worrying the train started to leave, so I didn't have much choice. It was interesting leaving Bangkok, you could see as the wealth started to disappear as you left the centre as i started to see more shack like buildings and really dangerous looking railway stations where you could simply walk onto the track. That day shopping i bought a new sim card which allows me to call internationally very cheaply. 6 baht a minute, so I called Dad and George and completely used up all my credit, but it was well worth it.
    Anyways, the bed situation. I saw other people constructing their beds. So i was relived that i wasn't on the wrong carriage or even the wrong train. To make to bed you had to construct it out of several different pieces that were hidden under the seat. Quite annoying, but i got the assistant to do it for me as i lazily watched him do it.
    I was tired, despite the fact that I had so much sleep in Bangkok. Got a good nights sleep, but woke up fairly early. This is when i met a friend that i would travel with for the next few weeks. Her name was Sarah who lived near Munich in Germany. Lovely character and refreshingly bubbly. We agreed that we would find some accommodation together, which was good, because again i had no plan of what i was going to do in Chiang Mai. I was only going there because i heard that it was cheap!
    After walking around Chaing Mai trying to find a Lonely Planet recommended guest house called Julie’s, we found out that it was fully booked. Not surprising, because if its in the lonely planet and the cheapest, of course its going to be fully booked. We went to a place called Same Same instead.

    Let me tell you about the phrase ‘Same Same’ in Thailand. For those of you who have been to Thailand this is common knowledge, but this is only something that i found out a few days of being in Bangkok. The people say ‘Same same, but different’ instead of saying Its the same, but a little different. For example, a lady boy. ‘Same Same, but different!’ plus many other examples.

The room I had in Same Same was by far the worst room that I’ve ever had. But it was great. Littered with messages saying ‘Don’t stay here’ and ‘My stuff was stolen, I think it was the staff’, it didnt give me a great first impression. The room itself wasnt what i would descirbe as a room, but more a shack. You could move the walls, and you could easily climb into the room from the stairs because it featured no glass. But it was cheap, and i made friends with a swedish guy there called Johanas. He had a lot of charisma, and was great to talk about women to.

The days in Chiang Mai blurred into one long mess. I had done nothing in Bangkok, so i was determined to do something productive there. That productive thing turned out to be drinking lots and having a really unnatural sleep pattern. 

The Reggae bar

A good few of my nights was spent at the reggae bar. Literally the same night every time, but it was great and i loved it. The same band, the same people and the same place afterwards. Several times i walked in there and heard the familiar sound of ‘No woman, no cry’. However, every night was same same, but different, so i kept on going back.

I met a good few people there, and this is when i started trying to pull my moves on the Thai women. Unfortunately with Thailand there is a lot of sex tourism, so it is very hard to find a genuine Thai women. Saying that, i did try on this Thai women, who i cant remember her name of considering the state that i was in. It was embarrassing when i come to think about it and the next day i was desperate to find her and ask her what kind of person i was like. I met her friends and a tattooist who took me to a real local club. Drinking whisky and water at the time wasn't a cleaver idea either, so this resulted in me going home early and not getting anywhere. I saw her friend the next day and she laughed, then refused to come over and talk to me.
I met another Thai guy there, who was really cool. His name was Art, which was quite ironic considering he was an art student at the local university there. He also had an american girlfriend, but had left him a year ago. He invited me back to his with his friends for a few more beers. I loved his place, proper art student style. I arrived and his friend was playing ps2 outside the house. The porch was littered with sculptures and odd unfinished pieces of art. I felt almost privileged to be invited there. Things did go down hill when his friends started being sick all over the floor, which started to make me go the same way. I had to get out. I also felt quite sorry for him, because he was telling me about his american girlfriend and about how she had left him. He was definitely hurting from the break up, and it was still a year afterwards. All things aside, i stayed round his house and he took me home in the morning, so it was a good night out. 
On average, i was getting home at 6 in the morning every night in Chiang Mai and sleeping till 4 in the afternoon when i started to do the same thing all over again.

The one productive day i had in Chiang Mai was when i paid for a package deal trip. 
This included:

  • Elephant riding (boring)

  • Jungle trekking and swimming in a waterfall

  • White water rafting

  • Bamboo boat sailing

  • Hill tribe village visit (which i didn’t like)

I did say to myself i wouldn’t ride an elephant because i thought it was too unfair on the animal, but it was included in the trip so i did it anyway.

Other productive (evenings) were spend on the Saturday and Sunday markets there which were fantastic. I loved the chilled out feeling of wondering about with the locals and looking at stuff i wasn’t going to buy. I got my first massage in Asia there too (which is surprising because i had spent 7 months in Asia and avoided one so far). I don’t really like the feeling of spending money on my self-satisfaction. The Thai massage was rather painful if I’m honest. I was really hoping i wouldn’t get a man, but instead i got an old woman, which i was more than happy about because i felt that she would probably have some experience in the matter. Either she was very efficient, or I just don’t have a very high pain threshold, because i didn’t really like it.

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