So we arrive in Chiang Mai and leave the train station to be greeted by about 30 Tuc Tuc & taxi drivers all shouting at us asking if we want a lift. It honestly felt like we were famous and they were the paparazzi (minus the cameras) I now know how celebrities feel. We decided to take one of them up on his offer which cost us 150 baht (£3) and took us straight to our new guesthouse (Miami Hotel) which was about a 15 minute ride. Here we were greeted by 2 old women and their daughter "Pear" who spoke great English. The room was basic but what we expected for the price of £4.50 a night each! Unfortunately the shower only had cold water and the weather wasn't great! We ventured out for a bite to eat and found a nice restaurant called "hot chilli" where Hannah found her favourite drink so far, lemon squash/shake - squeezed lemon juice with lemonade and ice! We walked around the area trying to find our bearings, got lost (yes again) and headed back to the guest house.
Later we went out for dinner and had pizza (the best food in the world!) we were a bit sick of Thai food so thought we would opt for something different. The food was good and we then found a market called "The Night Bazaar". This market was massive, much to Hannah's delight and we bought our MC Hammer trousers here after a bit of bartering and flip flops.
We then went to go for a drink and spotted a boxing ring down one of the side roads, although nobody was fighting. As we looked for a bar to drink at, a young boy comes out to box and wait for it.....a MIDGET! Yes! We watched them fight until the midget knocked the boy down with a sweet right hook to win the fight and then headed back to the hotel.
We found the temples and didn't get lost!! Yay! They were amazing and we saw a lot of monks too. We then uploaded our photos to Facebook at a local internet cafe (with the slowest internet connection since the days of dial up) had some food and a rather quiet night in looking for future accommodation due to the rain.
We walked around some more and found our next guesthouse to stay at for 3 nights which was more central to the local bars/restaurants. Rain again limits our options and in the evening we have a curry at the very English sounding "Red Lion". Hannah finds her new favourite meal of the trip - Masaman curry and I find a rather hot Panang curry.
We stop off for a drink and end up playing connect 4 with a Thai girl...easy win. Then a Thai boy (about 10) fancies his chances and beats me! Luckily only Hannah witnessed this humiliating defeat who summed up the result by saying "you just got owned". We chatted to a guy from Belgium and then stumbled in a drunk/stoned Englishman from Hayling Island called Liam. This guy was hilarious. We spoke with him for a few hours, played pool and found out that he had lived in Thailand for 8 years but had to keep moving on as he was getting banned from most bars for fighting etc. He didn't have a job but instead played poker and won between £800 - £1000 in one night each time he ran low on money. The bar owner told us that he is always drunk and a few weeks ago had a punch up with a ladyboy haha! I would have paid to watch that! Nice enough guy and even bought us an extremely strong G&T, but clearly messed up in the head as he went into detail about parallel universes and people's auras etc. We headed back and received a message from Mr Adrian Wong so facetimed him for a bit, both a little tipsy!
Wake up feeling groggy (thanks Liam) and walk with heavy backpacks to new guesthouse "Rux-Thai" in the now very hot weather. Again a basic hotel but it did have hot water! Hurray! I missed hot water so much that I think I had about 4 showers on this day! We go out for lunch, walk around and later go out for dinner. We found a pub showing the Man U Vs Crystal Palace game and have a beer & pizza (typical English). We then tried to find Anne's brothers bar called "Seven" but without any joy, oh and guess what....yep we got lost and didn't find it.
Wifi was down and we needed to book accommodation for our next destination in "Pai" so headed to the place most likely to have an Internet connection - Starbucks. Nope you had to pay for it here, not the greatest start to the day. However we did find a bar with free Wifi and sorted out our plans. There was also a Sunday market on which we looked round and visited another temple. Hannah had now taken over the map reading and we were actually going in the right direction for a change!
Later we went out for dinner and a huge rat (about the size of a rabbit) ran out in front of us, much to Hannah's delight! Luckily this was near the river before we got to the restaurant so we hope the food was safe! Raining again, we looked around the market some more and headed back to the guesthouse.
Day 10 "Our best day so far"
We had booked a cooking course as recommended by Adi and were picked up early from the guesthouse. We then walked around a Thai food market with the teacher called "Sue" to see all the local ingredients that we would be cooking with later that day. We then travelled on a mini bus to a farm. At the farm were gardens full of spices and herbs being grown which Sue let us try and gave information about. Then the cooking commenced! Hannah made chicken with cashew nuts, spring rolls, coconut soup, deep friend banana and her favourite dish from earlier, Masaman curry! I made Pad Thai (the best in Thailand), spring rolls (I admit Hannah's did look better than mine), The " famous Tom yum soup" and no I didn't spit this one over Hannah although it was extremely spicy, sticky rice with mango and a green curry. During the making of the green curry I managed to flick a chilli seed into my eye whilst grinding the curry paste (don't try this a home it stings like a b!tch). Eye incident aside, the course was great and well worth the money!
Our final day in Chaing Mai (maybe for now, maybe forever) consisted of us getting a minibus for 3 1/2 hours further up north to a place called Pai. The roads getting there were very windy and it doesn't fill you with confidence when they sell anti sickness tablets before you get on and have a few sick bags on the back of each seat. We were also sat right at the back but luckily nobody on the minibus was ill. As we approached Pai we had to go past a security gate. This led to quite a shocking experience as Thai soldiers searched and removed a man from our minibus, don't know why and don't care, at least it wasn't us! We then arrive in Pai and search for our next accommodation....