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Andy’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 25 Nov 2006

Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand

MapA SIGH IN CHIANG MAI
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Originally i had planned to beetle on back to Bangkok to meet Sam and Ruth who were flying out from blighty to meet me. I had a few days to spare however and Leila and Alice were heading up north to a city called Chiang Mai. Plus the Israeliís we had met were known to be in the vicinity. It all seemed a more promising venture than moping around the Khao San road for a third time by myself.

The travelling trio left the national park the way we entered, in the back of a pick-up truck. Despite the best efforts of the driver we reached the bus station just in time to see our next form of transport veer round a corner into the distance. After some peddle-to-the-metal we caught up, flagged down the bus and jumped on hoping we could now relax and catch up on some much needed sleep. I donít know about other people but i can sometimes find it difficult to sleep with drops of water splashing on ones head every second or third second. Equally a wet seat does not suggest to me an adequate surface to snuggle down upon. Alice is a little less demanding than me and promptly fell asleep - it would also appear she swallowed some bullfrogs during the night which refused to be quiet once her eyes closed.

So the bus to Phitsanulok was rusty and old with a leaky roof. Our next bus, from Phit-lok to Chiang Mai was a more pleasant affair and we arrived in the city rested and relaxed.

Chiang Mai is a large city of over one and a half million people.To the thai population it is a culture-filled national treasure of which they are rightly proud. Backpackers seem to love the city with equal devotion and partake in cultural pursuits like cooking, massage and meditation courses. Unforunately time constraints prevented me from undertaking any of these, but the three of us enjoyed the relaxed, bohemian air of the place and perused the many second bookshops, cafes and markets. In the evenings we chatted to local young Thaiís and the Israeliís who we Ďbumpedí into again and supped on the national beer in some excellent bars.

Our guesthouse was a pleasant affair, complete with swimming pool and according to the girls (after i had left) swarms of beetles in our room - i know nothing!

All in all little to write about. Time was pressing, i needed to be in Bangkok for Ruth and Sam. It was a shame i could not spend longer but i planned to come back and enjoy the fruits of this chilled-out city. So after some hasty goodbyes i boarded the bus for a ten hour journey on a VIP bus. I realise i vowed no more tourist buses in a previous post but after the rustbucket to Phitsanulok i thought a dry seat might be preferable on such a long journey. As it turns out the bus was luxury - we even had our own waitress who brought round cakes and soft drinks every so often (or cleaned up the cakes and soft drinks i spilled).