Coming Full Circle

Chiang Mai Travel Blog

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Donald with his soup
After getting ready, I decided to walk around and find breakfast rather than settling on the guest house's overpriced mediocre selection. I couldn't find anything open other than Mc Donalds or US style coffee shops and I wasn't in the mood for that. I turned on the side street and ended up in a Muslim part of town. I found a woman working at a little stand selling cheap coffee and pastries. I sat down in the modest dining room which appeared to be part of a home. She brought me a cake and a small cup of coffee that had sweetened condensed milk sitting at the bottom of it. I took a sip and to my surprise, it was excellent. I had finally learned to like gooey stuff as long as I didn't stir to much of it into the coffee.

Everyone who came in seemed to know the owners and the other patrons. A family walked in and the kids shook the hands of all the adults in the room, including mine.
I loved being there and how just around the corner from a touristy part of town, I had somehow found a great down to earth local scene.

After breakfast, I bought some fruit from a vendor on the sidewalk and then walked around town aimlessly. I spotted a temple with an incongruous assortment of wacky lawn ornaments. The most entertaining was a statue of Donald Duck eating a bowl of noodles with chopsticks.

I checked out my hotel and my tour guide, Cat, came to meet me there. The group had just arrived in Chiang Mai. We went to lunch with one of her tour guide friends at a local restaurant. She said the wonton soup there was great so that's what I ordered. It was the best wonton soup I've ever had. I wasn't into the Chiang Mai tourist experience, but I really did like the city of Chiang Mai.
There is a lot of great food to be eaten and many wonderful locals.

Back in Bangkok

It was definitely strange to be back in Bangkok and it felt completely different from when I first arrived. I remember the excitement when I arrived at the same airport a little less than a month before. The excitement was gone, but it was replaced with the pleasant feeling of newfound confidence.

There was a really long line for taxis but it went quickly when several taxis suddenly showed up out of nowhere. I bargained hard with my driver for a price that I thought was appropriate. Once we agreed on a price and took off, he asked me, "How many times have you been to Bangkok?" I took that as a compliment.
I tried to explain that I had been there a month before at the beginning of my travels, but he didn't understand. I finally gave up and told him I had been to Bangkok once.

The driver handed me a binder and told me to look through it. At first I thought he was trying to sell me tour because I had encountered previous taxi drivers who'd done that. Then I opened it up and saw that it was a collection of bills from around the world. There was an American two dollar bill in there and I thought back to the official at the Vietnam/Laos border who had asked for one. The driver was very proud of his collection.

Back at the hotel, I got in touch with The Kids, D and J who were back in Bangkok after leaving northern Vietnam. I went to visit them at their hotel in the Sukhumvit area. When I got there J was out shopping and D was in bed, sick with food poisoning or some other stomach illness.
I chatted with D for awhile until he started having to throw up every few minutes. I was starving and didn't want to loose my appetite for dinner so I left.

I turned onto the main street which started to make me nauseous. I was craving Thai noodles and all I could find there were American chain restaurants, designer knock off vendors, and hookers. After walking for awhile, I finally settled on an Italian restaurant. Afterwards, I went back to the hotel and J had returned. We chatted and I used their hotel's free internet to look up the train schedule for Ayutthaya, where I planned on going the next day.
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Donald with his soup
Donald with his soup
Chiang Mai
photo by: Stevie_Wes