We’ve been here for a day and a half now and it feels like two weeks already. Here is our recap:
Getting here from Ayutthaya we took the night train, a 12 hour journey through the night. The train has been updated in the last few years so we got to ride in a roomy bunk that came with a blanket and pillow. We were rocked gently to sleep and awoke in the mountains in northern Thailand. (This is Tessa - Cole slept well... but I was up most of the night peering into the flooded countryside and looking at the stars... too much to see, and the sky was so bright!)
We arrived at 7:30am which was way before check in time at our hotel but they were kind enough to let us store our bags there. Because I had been Google mapping this whole trip for the past 8 months I had a pretty good idea of where things were. So we ventured out into the old city and were stunned with the number of incredible Wats and all the preparation for Yi Peng and Loi Krathong lantern festivals. After walking around a good chunk of the old city we checked into our room and showered off all the train and day sweat. Gross, but sooooo good. After a nap and some laundry we ventured out again for dinner. We stopped at a nice vegetarian restaurant/hostel and had a light meal before our massage.
We came to the Women's Massage Centre by ex - prisoners. This was after doing some research for the best Thai massage in Chiang Mai. This place wasn't anywhere on the list of massage places but what helped us choose this place was the mandate of this business. Their goal is to help these women reintegrate back into society after doing time and provide them with a job. So here we were, with our feet in these women's hands getting them washed first when I suddenly remembered that I don't like my feet touched. Well unless it's delicate nice touches. But my masseuse, Dee, is a real piece of work and saw that I was uncomfortable and would catch me off guard and tickle, scratch, or jab my feet with her reflexology stick...thing. While she worked away I was squirming and laughing, trying to keep from crying or kicking out. Tessa, lying peacefully beside me, was in heaven. Overall, I had a great experience. Would I ever do it again? NO. I will go walk around the neighborhood while Tessa gets her feet massaged next time.
After that the light veggie dinner was already wearing off so we made our way to the south end of the old city. We ordered two bowls of rice and a duck green curry but were given an extra chicken green curry. The food was very very good but we really didn't need that second dinner. As we were finishing up our dishes we realized that we were in the clubbing district. There are several outdoor clubs, all sharing the same area essentially, that were all blaring different music. We walked around the corner and found a small bar with a local Thai band that was playing American and British covers. We order a couple mojitos, which turned out to be the worst mojitos we've ever had, but it didn't matter cause these guys were so good! They played The Cure, The Beatles, Coldplay, Kings Of Leon, to name a few. The longer Tessa and I sat there the more westerners came in to check these guys out, and escape the competing dance music outside. The band didn't even look old enough to be in the bar but the lead guitarist, obviously the youngest, played incredibly while taking sips of his bucket of cocktails. An unexpectedly wonderful night.
Today started with a 30 minute hike through the north end of the old city for breakfast. Tessa was upset because it was hot and we were walking so long but I had read that this place was worth it. And it was. The Hideout. A coffee and breakfast joint catering to travellers. I had an incredible slice of inch and a quarter thick french toast, and Tessa had a tasty avocado, bacon, tomato, and egg baguette. Worth every step!
Since then we’ve ran some errands, had an amazing lunch under a tarp for $2.80, and bought tickets for our first ever live Muay Thai fight (third row!) and there is a women's match tonight Thailand vs. Portugal! We are now writing this blog post and writing the first round of wedding thank you postcards over a beer.
Stay tuned for fight highlights in Chiang Mai PART 2!