Hello from the North of Thailand, (no need to say who's writing)Â after spending the majority of time in the paradise that is the south of Thailand - after a long long long bus journey, we are in Chiang Mai! The bus left the bustle of Khao San Road on Friday night at about 6, after booking our bus with atravel agent who assured us he was also from Chiang Mai and could provide us insightful treks and cheap accomodation. After turning down his convincing offers, it was upon leaving that Jonny (laughing) told us that the same man, when booking his bus to Koh Tao two weeks ago had also said he was from Koh Tao and that he knew the island very well, and tried to get him to sign up to Crystal - another dive company, who according to some are the best...Easy Divers all the way!
Anyway, after leaving our Irish companion Derek, we boarded a bus and settled ourselves in for a 12 hours journey...Upon waking up at roughly 8am - the boys informed me that we had infact broken down several times, and had been driving in second gear for the last three or four hours. Luckily I slept right through, with Jonny's shoulder a welcome pillow! Finally arriving in the city centre, we side stepped another attempt to sell 'the best trek in Chiang Mai' and began walking around a city we had never been before, with rucksacks in tow and hopes of an answer quickly. We got lost. Never trust a man to direct, stubborn boys who won't admitt they are wrong, both determined that their direction is correct, each direction however - the opposite way. We doubled back on ourselves, with sweat pouring and tempers rising, before a welcomed English guy guessed our troubled from the other side of the road, and pointed us the right way. We shortly found Deret's, a Lonely Planet recommended guest house that bought the first room where we all shared a room. It reminded me of the dorm beds in Madeline, very cosy - but perfectly cheap at only 260thb a night and in a prime position for the market, shops, bars, and a lovely view of the 1km square mote that runs around the centre of the city. Yesterday afternoon, after a morning of general laziness and catching 40winks we went for an actual planned wander, and discovered a culinary shop where tomorrow the three of us are reliving Food Tech and learning to cook Thai food. We're all really excited, Jonny surprisingly so! It starts at 9, and we learn how to make Green Curry (mum no more M&S from a pot!!)
After we signed up for the course, and some lunch I persuaded the boys to have a traditional Thai massage, as neither had experienced one when I had already on Koh Phan Nang. They loved them, with J Rae asking for a really strong one - and Jonny's masseuse (no idea on that sp?) taking extra time on his apparently knotted back. They both want another one tonight... Then, afterÂ a relaxing hour - we opted, with Jonny adamant about the dinner choice, for a very Western evening. The Airport Plaza, Chiang Mai's answer to Bluewater, where we ate, I'm ashamed to admit, Pizza Hut. Two guesses who's idea that was. Throughout the entirety of the meal Jonny constantly compared the Thais version to his own masterpieces, with J Rae and I looking amused the whole time. After our stuffed crusts and salad bars, we watched Spiderman 3! Upon leaving the plaza at about twenty to one am, we realised there were no tuk tuks, or taxis - so reliving the Ban Khai to Hadrin experience, we walked. This time, thankfully for the boys throats, we didn't get lost - and made it home safely, but not before walking past Ladyboy prostitute after Ladyboy prostitue. It was shocking!
Today was 'Animal Sunday' so we hired another TukÂ TukÂ and went to a monkey centre, to watch a show, a Snake Farm - with cobras, pythons, watersnakes and other slimy creatures and finally, the Elephant Camp! It was lovely, there were so many elephants of all shapes and sizes, we fed them entire bunches of bananas, recieved hugs from a very hairy one and watched a show, where they played football, danced, through darts and by far the best- painted! We learnt afterwards that there had been a Guiness world record attempt where 8 elephants had painted a picture, that was far better then anything I could ever have done!Â We also went to Chiang MaiÂ Zoo, which is exceptionally vast and takes a lot of effort and sweat to walk around. But we saw aÂ White Bengal Tiger, a Jaguar, Leopard, Giraffes, aÂ very sweet Koala Bear and three very big Hippos, as well as a beautiful view down ones mouth! I, and hopefully those who know me well , even walked through an aviary!Â Not without jumping at the smallest bird call, but I did it!Â Tonight is the Sunday night market, where I fear my bank balance is suddenly going to disappear, as it is reknown for cheap and uniqueÂ finds. Very exciting!
Tomorrow, as mentioned earlier is the cooking course, and Tuesday we are trekking around the mountains, where we walk to a magnificent waterfall, RIDE an Elephant (to answer everyone's question) white water rapids and a bamboo raft! So, an update can be expected after our next couple of adventures. But for now, I've some shopping to do! Hope everyones checked out the photos by now, there are some more to comeÂ - but it takes a while to uploadÂ so I'm afraid they will tend to come out in dribs and drabs!
Hope everyone in all their individual places are ok, lots of love Sophie...and I'm sure Jonny and J Rae x x x