Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thailand Part 5 - From Chiang Mai to Laos

Monday, March 9th

Today I am eating pineapple fried rice for breakfast. I do usually just eat 3 meals a day, but timing is just as I feel like. I had dinner at 5ish last night, then dessert around 730. I got a famous Chiang Mai noodle soup for dinner, the second day in a row I've had that meal. And mango and sticky rice again, my favorite. I will be sad to say goodbye to that treat. Yes, I'm eating more noodles and rice than usual, and tons of fruit. Smoothies are like $1 USD, and soo good. Just fruit +ice. I have had 1 or 2 each day. Not as much dairy as I eat at home, but I don't really feel any different with the diet change.
Koi Soi Noodles

mango with sticky rice

Last night I went to the famous Sunday walking market. I bought a lot. Now hopefully today I can figure out how to mail everything back to the states okay. I have not had a massage yet, am going to try to do it today before my flight leaves. I walked by the place I want to go, it just wasn't open yet. So I'll head back to my guesthouse after breakfast, grab my bag, then walk back to the massage place I saw. If I have time I will also walk to the post office so I don't have to lug my bag of gifts around until the airport.

Farewell Chiang Mai
March and April in Chiang Mai is burning season, when the farms to the north and east burn off their fields for the new season. So, the air quality is pretty rough. I didn't realize how bad it was until our tour yesterday went way up on a hill overlooking the city. You could hardly see below because of the smoke. And today it is much worse, you can smell it and my eyes can feel it.

usually you can see the city from this view point
Good thing I'm leaving, as I'm sure it's bad for my lungs. And my feet aren't really better, but they are healing. I have been wearing sneakers and socks. Didn't do laundry yet, just wearing the same clothes day after day. I will probably do laundry in Laos or Cambodia, before I meet up with my friends this weekend. My shorts have dirt stains from biking and also soup stains from eating last night (oops).

fish prep at the market across the way from my guesthouse.
I leave for Luang Prabang, Laos at around 3pm today. I signed up to take a cooking class for the Tuesday that I am there (tomorrow). Hopefully I can get in, as those group tours seem to be the best way for me to meet people. I am not sure if my guesthouse will have internet either. Hard to tell from the website. Laos is supposed to be very laid back, slow paced, and friendly. If I don't get into my tour I'll just wander the city all day. There are also some caves I'd like to see with old Buddhas in them. The town is pretty small, so I should be able to see it all.
Then on Wednesday mid-day I leave for Siem Reap, Cambodia to see Angkor Wat. And on Friday I fly back to Thailand to go south and find my friends. I'm really excited to have people to talk to again!


That Night
First sunset in Laos

View from the tip of the Peninsula
Well, not to worry, made it to Laos and my guesthouse has Wi-Fi. And! A balcony! Thus, I went to the market and grabbed some dinner togo, and am chilling outside watching ppl walk by. I got a bunch of spring rolls for $1.25ish, a Lao beer, and some basil flavored potato chips. Less than $2 for the beer and chips.

Laos uses the kip, but dollars and bahts are accepted at most places too. But, to buy from a street vendor you need kip. The money is really weird, I only exchanged $40. Hope that lasts me 2 days (I have a feeling that will be too much, and I might have to buy more souvenirs, I'm told that once you have kip, nobody wants it back!)
My guesthouse overlooks a big temple on a hill/mountain, I'll walk up it tmr. It's also at the end of a busy restaurant bar/area. I'm also told Laos shuts down by 830pm, but I've seen a ton of backpackers walk by, so we'll have to see if that's true. I will venture to that area tomorrow night since it's an easy walk home.

view from my balcony
So far I really like it here. I met a solo female traveler from Argentina on the plane, and we shared a taxi downtown. She's staying in a hostel around the corner from me. She is waaay more play it by ear than me. She had no idea where her hostel was until we got to my place and she asked the desk man for directions. Also I think I've seen more white ppl here than anywhere else yet, and heard some obnoxious sounding Americans, so I'm sure I'll find more ppl to talk to. I didn't get into the cooking class, so looks like I just have to explore all day tmr. I will try and find a bike again, it's faster than walking temple to temple.

Oh, and I successfully mailed everything from Chiang Mai airport to my work address. Should arrive in about a month. I paid $22 USD. I bet the stuff in the box is worth about that... Will have to add it up when I open it. Cross your fingers it makes the journey. The box had no return address so I really hope I get it!

Oh, and I did the Thai massage this morning too. I was not a fan. The girl was really nice and I think she knew I was in pain. They stretch you and move you around, it's much different than normal ones I've had. I was so tense though i was afraid she would injure me. I think i will get another type once I go back to Thailand, maybe. More relaxing, less pain...hopefully.

Oh, and there's smoke here too! Not as bad as in Chiang Mai, but I reeeally miss blue skies! Was not expecting this at all.

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