Flirting with Chiang Mai 

It was valentines day and the last night that our trekking group were all in Chiang Mai together, so it seemed only right to hit the pubs. After cleaning out the bar at the hostel (a simple fridge full of beer) we grabbed a taxi and the boys jumped on the roof. We started at Zoe and Yellow and danced to the Spice Girls and S-Club 7. We then moved onto a smaller bar to knock back a few rounds of tequila shots and then onto the reggae bar and watched a local band do covers of Bob Marley. The Canadian guy then decided that every girl deserves a rose on valentines day, so he bought a bunch of roses off a local and started handing them out. The night ended on the street as we munching on pad Thai and kebabs, all was well until I woke up and realized I had lost my debit card!

I spent the following day on the phone to the bank trying to organize to get them to link my debit card to my credit card which they told me would take 4 days. I was out of Thai Baht but luckily enough I had some US Dollars stashed away. I went and exchanged some money and rented a bicycle to explore the city. The city is a square so technically it should be quite simple to navigate. However I found myself lost in the city, I could not be happier, I was flirting with life and it was flirting back. I had planned on visiting a temple and speaking with a monk, it’s a way for them to practice their English and for tourists to ask monks questions about their lifestyle and help them to understand Buddhism. However, the monk chats were only open  week days and I unfortunately went on a Saturday.

I explored the Saturday night markets, a 1 km long market that is filled with music and food and beautiful handcrafted books, jewelry, clothes .. everything you could imagine. The next day I said goodbye to the incredible city and started my journey to Laos.  An eight-hour minivan to the border of Thailand, Chang Khong via Chiang Rai and the famous White Temple. I was really looking forward to the journey but little did I know that this would be such a horrific uncomfortable eight hours. I was one of the first to be picked up so I chose the slightly larger seat in the back next to where the backpacks were piling up. As more people loaded into the van, it suddenly became obvious that the ‘slightly’ larger seat was actually two seats….two very slim seats. A built English guy squeezed himself in between me and the now very high tower of backpacks. As I squish myself against the window I find I cannot put my feet on the floor as I have the wheel under my feet and the engine had made it so hot that it burns my leg when I brush up against it. Unfortunately there is no where else to put my legs so i pull them up on the seat and lean my knees against the back of the seat in front of me. As uncomfortable as the English guy is, he manages to fall asleep. As the van jumps around on the bumpy roads, so does he. We were squished so tightly together that he did not even hesitate to fall asleep on my shoulder. The leather seats and the lack of air-con did not help the situation. We finally arrived at Chiang Rai and I grabbed my camera as I wanted to get some shots of the White Temple. The driver parked about 250m away from the temple, close enough to see it but not close enough for a photo. I asked him how long we had to see the temple and he said “no white temple…same same but different, white temple later only 2 minute toilet break here”. It looked like the white Temple but I couldn’t see it properly, I questioned him but accepted what he was saying. Turns out it was the White Temple!! He just wanted to get to Chiang Khong quicker so he could get back home the cheeky bugger.  (INSERT PHOTO OF WHITE TEMPLE HERE…….)

We finally arrived at Chiang Khong at our hostel for the night. I was stoked to hear that we all got our own private rooms, I was looking forward to stretching out on my nice big comfy bed, I was exhausted. The bed was rock hard so I ditched the idea of resting and met some English girls to go have a beer with. When I got back there was so much noise outside the door, bus pick ups and drop offs, I ended up downloading movies onto my iPad and sitting up watching them all night.