Tuesday, December 20, 2016

November 13

Before we knew it, it was morning and we were getting close to Chiang Mai. The man who had been bringing us food the night before came by with our breakfast before we were even awake, so we got up quickly and had our breakfast. We probably had about an hour left before we arrived in Chiang Mai.

Upon arrival in Chiang Mai, exiting the train station we were immediately met with a mini horde of taxi drivers. One particularly persistent driver got us after we'd headed through the throng and we decided to go with him. The taxis here were unlike the taxis in Bangkok, instead resembling trucks with covered beds and seats for passengers - and an open back to the road. These taxis are known as red taxis. He took us straight to our hotel (before taking the four other passengers wherever they were going), Khum Jao Luang Boutique Hotel, where we checked in and then headed to our rooms. Our rooms were dim, wood paneled, and ornately decorated with Kinnari laid into the glass of the windows and doors - very...perky Kinnari. They were beautiful rooms with occasional problems - like a leaky sink and AC unit. I think there might have been something else odd, but I can't remember what it was.

We popped a door or two down to drop off some much needed laundry. After relaxing for a little while in our rooms we headed off late afternoon to try and catch the Sunday market. It was supposed to start at 4:00 PM, but clearly that was more of a suggestion than a rule. So, we stepped into a restaurant nearby and grabbed a bite to eat. As we ate, Shauna got in touch with Beauty, an acquaintance made from the Disney Cruise staff from two months prior. Beauty is from Chiang Mai and was conveniently home at the same time we were there! She met us at the restaurant with her boyfriend Alfonso. 

From there they hopped on a bike and we grabbed a red taxi to drive the long way around the old city to her aunt's hotel (I swear if we'd walked it would have been a shorter distance than we'd already walked from our hotel to the city center). There we made krathong from banana leaves (and slices of the trunk, I think) along with flowers, incense sticks, and candles. We hung out there for quite awhile, chatting and catching up. 

We left around 7:00 PM and I was anxious to get back to our hotel and pick up our laundry, as the laundry place had said they closed at 8:00 PM. So, we unfortunately (in hindsight) hurried through the then bustling Sunday market to get back to our hotel. The market was packed so we made our way very slowly through the packed crowd. When we were finally free of the crowd and coming up on 8:00 PM, Brandon hurried on ahead to try and get back before 8:00 PM. We hurried behind him and it was about this time that Shauna tripped on some uneven pavement (welcome to Thailand, where no two surfaces can be the same height) and almost took a fall, but DID twist her ankle a little. Duane and I were a little ahead at this point and turned back only to catch the aftermath of this. Shauna was dizzie, her ankle hurt, and she needed to sit down.

We rested for awhile on the couch of a massage parlor before slowly making our way back towards the hotel. As we got close, Shauna decided that the massage parlor we'd stopped by (there were massage parlors everywhere in Chiang Mai) looked like a good enough place to stop and get a foot massage. I ran on to connect with Brandon and found him heading back our direction. The laundry place had been well closed and dark when he'd arrived before 8:00 PM (turns out they really close at 7:00 PM). So all the rush had been for nothing. There are only a few regrets I have about our trip, and this evening was one of them. I wish I'd been less anxious about the laundry. I wish we hadn't hurried back to the hotel (if only to prevent Shauna from twisting her ankle a little). I wish we had enjoyed the Sunday market more and made it on to the Three Kings statue and everything that was happening there. 

Instead we got some very nice Thai foot massages and headed back to the hotel. Duane and Brandon were still feeling up to some adventure so they headed out to explore the night market a little. I believe that had some delicious street food and had a lovely time.

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