The goal set last year was to be in another country for my birthday and mission accomplished! Being in Thailand has to be one of the best ways to spend your 23 birthday. We have meet some really great people in Chiang Mai and they have definitely enhanced our experience here. Our guest house is literally run by one big family, from Dang the nephew who showed us the best bar spots in town to Vincent who speaks fluent English, French and Thai and taught us tons about Thai culture and the current political and cultural state here to lovely aunt Sin who surprised me with a birthday cake and had everyone sing happy birthday to me! Our time in Chiang Mai has made for a very fond memory. It was made extra special with the addition of my cousin Sarah, a bit of a travel inspiration to me, being in Chiang Mai at the same time on her way to Mae Sot to volunteer there. Having a bit of family over here makes the whole idea of this extended travel much more manageable. On my birthday we sang and cut the cake and delivered pieces to the whole crew who worked at the guesthouse. Sarah came after work for some sang som and coca and brought me a beautiful handmade gift from the organization she's working with (www.weave-women.org) it was a hand woven royal blue scarf, excellent for traveling with and a hand stitched wallet, much more functional and fashionable than the fanny-pack she caught me sporting!
Our visas have less than two weeks left on them and we've made the decision to carry on to another town. Pai is our next stop and with a population of about 2000 it should prove to be a lot more of a quieter scene than Chiang Mai has been for us!