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Published: November 28th 2006
We were going to not go to Chiang Mai until we realized that was the best place for seeing Thai elephants and that Buz had sent an email saying that we would love it. So once again plans are altered and arrangements made. We arrived in Chiang Mai by taking a flight from Bangkok, on Air Asia, the Ryan Air/Southwest of Southeast Asia. They do not do seat assignments, as it is open boarding, it makes for a quite remarkable queuing experience. Everyone wants to be first and has no qualms about pushing and crowding. The funny thing was that we got on bus to be shuttled to the plane and the last person on the bus was actually the first person to get on the plane. We were middle of the pack which at least lets us sit together. Once on the ground we collected our luggage and headed to the cab stand. Before we could get there we were cut off by a “cab” driver who offered his services. After he gave us a price I proceeded to the cab stand to inquire on their pricing. Since the driver had given about the same price we followed him to
his car. On the way to the hotel the driver tried to sell us on excursions by showing us a book of options. We could not make heads or tails of the price list and politely declined any extra services. At the hotel we used their agency to book an elephant excursion for the next morning that included a jungle trek, visits to hill tribe villages, lunch, a stop at a waterfall and bamboo rafting. We paid a bit more ($6) than we read about in the magazine flyers but the convenience was worth it.
We used the hotel shuttle to drop us off at the night market in the center of Chiang Mai. It is a few streets closed off to cars and other streets with just the sidewalks used for hundreds of little shops/booths. It is all the tourist junk to buy, with many shops carrying the same crap …… oh, I mean original Thai clothing and artifacts. It does have a huge food court that looks busy enough to have safe food, so we decided that we will eat there another night.
One vendor yelled at Scott for looking at watches but not really wanting to buy
one. The vendor felt like Scott was wasting his time, I guess. I would think that they should expect that being a market atmosphere.
Anyone familiar with Chiang Mai, will see the lack of temple photos in our days staying in Chiang Mai. The reason is that I am “templed” out for the moment, I am beginning to feel like “If you have seen one Buddha you have seen them all”. The enjoyment is gone and it seems that we are going for the sake of going, which is the wrong reason. So I pleaded with Scott to take a break from them for a few days. Scott understood as he felt that way about churches by the time we left Scandinavia and Russia.
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