|inside the foyer|
So, just a little round up really, it was busier here than I originally thought it was going to be, but not horrendous. The old city is full of 'Wats' which are temples, as I type from the foyer of the hotel, all I can see in front of me are the walls of a Wat. I say foyer, but actually it's a big open space with no windows and no door (did I feel unsafe in bed? No actually) the fan is turning and it's a really comfortable place to sit and type. It is probably what should be the restaurant if the hotel had one! That is one of the downsides to this hotel, the other is it is a little out of 'the action' but this is also one of its upsides! It wasn't our first choice - that was the Lonely Planet recommended Awana, which unsurprisingly I guess was full. It was recommended in our book and on saying we were going to stay for the full 8 days the price went from 650 baht to 550 baht, so about £13 to £11, aircon and en-suite, can't be bad really!
|out the 'window'|
I created a quick map of all the places we've been (I know it say's B did it, but it was me honest! He was impressed I knew how!) https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=206125545287839915996.0004ce498c5f02f05459f&msa=0&ll=19.16333,99.203796&spn=1.320506,2.705383
We've had a couple of good evenings out, the first one we had a good meal before walking into a bar where random musicians seemed to turn up and sing and play, from guitar to sax, all held together by one mad guitarist, very blues/folky/mellow. Despite having just come from dinner the owner pointed us at 'free snacks' I said we couldn't be proper backpackers and turn down free food so had to have a little nibble! We then came home via a jazz club we'd had recommended to us, which was very jazzy! I was quite glad we didn't live any nearer to that! How do they know when to stop?
Last night (Sunday) was 'market night'. All the inner streets of the Old City are closed to traffic and a huge market takes place, with an amazing array of stalls selling everything from clothes to street food. Its very popular, but we went to have a look, trying a few local snacks on the way. Swept along by the crowds we heard a band playing in a bar and decided to make a detour to listen, sit down and have a beer. Its not easy cutting across the moving crowd, but as we got to the entrance it looked quite busy and we didn't think we'd get a table. We were suddenly aware of being waved at and realised we were looking at Ella and Mike Beetlestone who we know from Kings Heath at home. None of us had any idea the other were there, they had only arrived in Chiang Mai that day from volunteering at the elephant sanctuary in Mai Rim and were flying out the next day, so what are the chances of meeting under those circumstances?
Anyway, it was great seeing them, we had a couple of beers and a good old chat, before heading off for something to eat. Here's proof:
|Mike and Ella with us after our chance meeting in some random bar in Chiang Mai|
So, I've stroked cats, kittens and tigers, had a good days climbing (and an average day trekking) we've had the laundry done for 80p (though that was a bit hairy as we went to collect it this morning to pack and the shop was all shut up, fortunately amongst loads of Thai was a phone number,so rang it, and gathered 3pm would be good). B has had a haircut for 60p and we've had the emergency rucksack repaired (by the spring roll lady) for 80p, almost doubling its value - well it did come from the pound shop!
Here's a few random pictures of Chiang Mai to hopefully give a flavour of the place:
|The Old City wall and moat remains|
|Jackie having one of her many 'cat moments'|
|One of the lively bars|
|Rickshaw ride anyone?|
|Or a Tuk-Tuk?|
|The Chiang Mai taxi service - 2 side facing bench seats|
|Oh look, another Wat!|
|Local delivery drivers|
|My local barber - note the price, 30Baht (60p)|
|Building construction using bamboo scaffold and 'acro-props'|
|Our friendly insect eating gecko's - we like these!|