So the first day was spent in airport, sitting for 7 hours on the same bench. It went surprisingly quickly but did feel like a complete waste of a day. Although, sitting around in Bangkok airport was much more fun than sitting around in a random train station, which we did fairly often in Europe!
We arrived in Chiang Mai at night and didn't really do much other than check in, get some food, try a bit of local beer and go to sleep. The next day we walked around the town for a bit, until it got too hot and we had to go back to the hostel and chill out! After the craziness of Hanoi, Chiang Mai seems really quiet, everyone adheres to normal traffic rules and there aren't any many people running after you trying to get you to buy their rubbish. There are a lot of temples here, I can definitely see myself being 'templed out' very soon! That night we went to the irish bar (there really is one in every town, everywhere!) and did a pub quiz. Luckily we recruited two Australian guys who new a lot more than we did and instead of coming last we came 11th out of 15.
Today we went to see some elephants! We went to the Mae Taeng Elephant Park, and started off the day by floating down a (dirty) river on a wooden raft. To make this seem just that bit more tourist-y we then got back into the minibus on the other side and driven back to the start for the next part of the excursion- the elephant show. While we waited we could feed the elephants bananas or just generally watch them. Some did tricks like take a hat off of someone and put it onto another person, but when this happened to me I apparently ducked so the elephant was a bit put off... We saw the elephants having a bath in the river and then there was a bit of a show. This included them 'dancing' to music (bobbing their heads up and down) and generallyj parading around the arena (if you can call it that). There were two elephants that were ridiculously impressive. One could draw. Properly paint, better than I could. And another could play football, again, better than I could. It's something when an elephant can do typically human things better than me... It was then lunchtime- a buffet, as travellers on a budget we destroyed it. 3 plates each, piled up far too high :) The afternoon itinery kicked off with an elephant ride. This should have been a highlight of the day but our 'driver' was a complete idiot, ran ahead so we had less time on the elephant and wouldn't take any pictures for us, whereas everyone else went at a leisurely pace and got a load of awesome pictures. We then had an ox-drawn cart ride back to the meeting point- this driver was a lot nicer and took some pictures for us, although an ox-drawn cart is not half as cool as an elephant. We spent a bit of time in a butterfly farm and then back home. I've just woken up from an afternoon nap (regardless of where you are in the world an afternoon nap is always necessary) and we'll now probably go find some food. Here, it's so hard to find thai food amongst the ridiculous amount of western restaurants, and the ratio of tourists to thais seems to be 3:2 which doesn't seem right.
We're here until Sunday when we head back down south to Bangkok, where the original travel itinery, back when we first booked our flights, actually begins!