Thursday, 22 November 2012

Freewheelin’ in S.E.A - Day 19: Everything in its right place.

I awoke with my arms around my lover, she said I had been sleeping like that all night, I said I was just making up for lost time. We snoozed for a few minutes then ambled downstairs at 9.30am for our complimentary breakfast of fried egg, frankfurter, tea and toast. We packed our bags, leaving them with the front desk when we checked out and headed off in a tuk-tuk to the weekend market at Chatuchak Park which I’d visited a fortnight previously. Due to the early hour the market wasn’t as busy as the last time I’d been, but it was just as sweaty as I remembered it, squeezing down the narrow isles filled with various goods. We both grew tired after two hours or so of passing pretty much the same stuff in different locations, but left with a few bags each. We took a taxi back to Sarasinee Mansions to collect our bags and change, then hailed another to take us to Don Mueng airport for a domestic flight to Chiang Mai. An hour later our plane touched down on the northern grounds of Thailand, and we followed the recommendation of some girl I’d chatted to in Phnom Penh, asking the taxi booker to take us to the Top North. She said there was both a hotel and guesthouse by that name, so I asked which had a pool and she said it was the hotel. The driver dropped us there, and rode off with our fare before we could discover that this place was way beyond our price range, and that the guest house also had a pool. My back was killing as I lugged my heavy backpack back and forth up the road numerous times trying to find exactly where this place was, spitting angry venom at the annoyance the taxi lady had caused us, and wondering why I’d paid for the pleasure of breaking my back walking around. Sarah kept her cool, asked somebody on the street and got directions for us to follow. Five minutes later, we were there. I threw my bag down, along with 300 baht, and went up to our room. We had a decent sized bed, our own bathroom and a small balcony with a view of another guest house ten metres away. It was perfect for what we needed.

Multi-talented, some might say, but his musicianship left a lot to be desired.
Rachael and Kat had spoken highly of the Sunday market and it’s variety of street food, so I’d planned our flights to bring us here in time to go out and sample the grub and goods on offer. We hit the strip by 8pm and browsed the stalls selling handicrafts and clothing, then grabbed some dinner. I opted for a decent selection of freshly made sushi rolls, which were all priced between 5 and 10 baht each, knocked them back in record timing, then returned for the same again, whilst Sarah sat at a plastic garden table behind the stalls, eating some delicious pork shoulder and rice. I concurred that the food there was excellent, feeling the sushi buzz as we strolled around picking up nice little bits and pieces at decent prices. I was digging Chiang Mai, it’s a fairly big city, but a completely different vibe to Bangkok, more laid back, not so intensely polluted by noise, smog and dirt. We followed the crowds down Walking street, and were faced with even more market stalls. It started getting a bit too much for me, I get stressed when unable to freely move through crowds and it was starting to feel like a festival for foreign tourists all wandering around aimlessly with no sense of direction or social awareness. We ducked down a quiet side street to avoid the crowds and made our way quickly back to the main street where the market started. We stopped into a place called John’s Bar to have our first drink together. Sarah opted for a large bottle of Chang, a local beer that is 6.4% alcohol, and I went for a Mai Tai, because I was tired of drinking beer, which I don’t even like, except for Beer Lao, which for some reason I find excellent. It made for a funny photograph of us with our first drinks, me looking like a dandy whilst Sarah sipped her man-sized bottle happily. They were showing the Liverpool vs Everton derby, so we sat watching that, rooting for Everton who are by far the superior team in my opinion. It was stuck at 2-2 for most of the second half, until the dying seconds when Liverpool banged one in. The scousers there all cheered, but their celebrations were short lived as the goal was ruled offside. I laughed and we left. We returned to the Top North hopped onto our bed and back into each other’s arms, where we would stay until the roosters started crowing again.
His and Hers beverages.

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