Chiang Mai

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OK so I said I wouldn’t blog…..but it’s early and the hostel is great and has FREE internet, so….

Day 1

The boss has me racing to catch skytrain to get to the river so we can go up and down get off get on…etc.
Her first scheduled stop was some palace but the place is crawling with tourists who are only out numbered by the scamartists offering to get you in privately if you pay now but meet them later. Luckily we had been forewarned.

We find the official entrance but they stop me because I’m wearing shorts and say no problem just go in ‘there’ and you can borrow long pants. ‘There’ is a small building with a very long queue trailing out of it and it is 200 degrees and 400% humidity. I couldn’t get my pants off if Angelina was trying, everything is just stuck to me.

So I say forget it – what’s next and Deb pouts but on this occasion I win and we grumble back to the boat.

‘Next’ was a flower market but I wasn’t the only flower melting in the now midday heat. So a “short” walk to Chinatown ended up being the rest of the day with a walk down a mile of market stalls not wide enough for an aussie bloke to get down without turning sideways….and they are all selling shite!

Deb wisely senses that I am not enjoying myself and decides to head me back to the hostel. On the way back she points out some skyscraper dominating the skyline and says “oh by the way that’s where we are going for dinner tonight”. I snap a pic ’cause it looks like a fairly decent place, but in my present mood I’m thinking “oh yeah another revolving restaurant”

Well a few hours and a cool shower roll by and we are in the elvator on our way to the 64th floor. I was starting to get sus when we walked thru this swish lobby and all these monkeys in carnival outfits are bowing to us as we walk by….that and the fact that Deb doesn’t do anything over 10 floors unless there’s a business deal on top of it. We pop out on cloud 9 and more outfits and more bowing as we are ushered thru another swish lobby to what looks like a small bare terrace outside with a band playing on the far end at what looks like the edge of the building. “Strange” I think “the bands outside and where are all the tables?”

Just then a door is opened for us and we are led outside onto the terrace and after a few steps I see that the “edge” actually overlooks a larger terrace a story below accessed from where we were by a grand staircase along which stood more outfits bowing as you float by. I say float ’cause at this stage I feel like I’m on a film set of what heaven is supposed to look like. The staircase decends down and leads to another larger terrace where the diners actually sit and in one corner of the rooftop sticking out into space is the “skybar”. It was so surreal. The smile of disbelief didn’t leave me until the next morning when we were on our way to Chiang-Mei. Needless to say the service and the food were superb and obscenely expensive, but the view is to die for, especially at sunset. This is definately one of those evenings that we will never forget.

Day 2

We arrive in Chiang-Mei fairly early and after checking in we want to walk around to check out a few tour operators and compare packages for the things Deb’s got in mind. But as is so often the case we get grabbed by a guy at the corner who offers us a good deal to drive us around for the day to various points of interest. These points of interest all happened to be various facilities that showed you how things were made but then after a quick factory tour you were ushered in to a grand showroom where you were expected to buy. These places included a gemstone & jewellery factory, a handicrafts factory, a kashmir turkish rug factory (excellent salesman, very smooth, nearly had us on a $6500 rug we were only saved by the fact that we didn’t have the money), an umbrella factory, a Thai silk factory and a leather factrory.

We were very proud of the fact that we managed to get thru the entire tour without spending any money…well almost. The artist that was handpainting the umbrellas offered to paint a design on an item of apparrel and showed us a selection which were very good. We only wearing stuff that we probably wouldn’t keep so I suggested Deb get one done on her backpack. It was so good I started looking for something that I could have done and I came up with the back of my mobile phone. They were amazing, fast and cheap. We spent 150 baht for the 3 (AUD$5).

Day 3

Today we went to cooking school. Had a blast..the guy was amazing, we didn’t stop cooking and eating all day. Very reasy & very tasty. We will look forward to cooking a meal or 3 for some of you when we get home.

Stay tuned more to come.

Day 4

Well day 4 has been adventuresome. I have to live up to my reputation so as usual I pushed poor Mikey to the limit. Day started with 8.15am pickup then an hour’s drive to what I told Mike was a very short “easy” walk through the jungle to a waterfall.
The walk to the waterfall was over an hour but not too strenuous. We stripped off and took a swim in the waterfall which was wonderful. My darling husband was gawking at two dutch girls swimming in their underwear. He exclaimed “its been a long time since I have seen young girls like you in their knickers”
Joke was on him – a bit later in the day they “came out” arm in arm etc etc
Next up the hill…..Short…NOT Easy also ….NOT… the poor bugger huffed and puffed. But I am proud to say he made it. One poor Korean woman collapsed but Mr Mikey made it!

Onward bound and on to 2 village visits, not too different from what we saw in Guatemala – same same but different

Next came the elephants, we ventured on a 1 hour ride on a beast with 2 very cheeky babies in tow.

Last but not least was rafting down the river, lovely, cooling and lots of fun. It was really the cheat’s way with a person steering us, but hay it was still fun.

Pictures will be added later for this one.

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