Feb 24, 8am
I’m on a plane now, departing Chiangmai for Bangkok. Flight time should be about an hour. I finally got the hang of domestic air travel in Thailand. There’s no need to arrive at the airport any sooner than 45 minutes before your flight. Baggage check and security check are extremely quick.
Today will be the last full day of my trip. My flight for home leaves tomorrow at 7am. So, I must admit that although I’ve spent the last few weeks living in the moment, my thoughts yesterday turned to home. It really struck me how little time I really have left here, and that was a reality that was a long time in coming.
I would have liked to have spent more time in Chiangmai. The city and surrounding region has a lot to offer. It would have been nice to have done a three-day trek through the hills, but there simply wasn’t time. I think before I left home, and even a couple of weeks ago, I would have thought I’d have time to do a trek like that, but once on the ground, the truth set in that many things would have to wait until my next trip to Thailand.
Instead, I spent a rather casual and relaxed day in the city, sleeping in until 9:30 and then lounging around for an hour or so with a dish of mango and sticky rice that I bought from a street vendor. Afterwards, I headed to the Chiangmai Centre for Arts and Culture, which is a museum in the former city hall. The building is beautiful, designed in British colonial fashion. The museum gave an interesting overview of the Lanna region’s history, from prehistoric times until the present. I learned a few fascinating things. For instance, the ancient people who settled towns like Chiangmai considered a city to be a living thing. The “head” of the city was always oriented towards the north, and was the most important part of the city. Nothing that could bring bad fortune was allowed to enter through the northern gate. The city also had a navel, where there was usually an important temple.
I walked back to the hotel through some of the smaller streets, passing a high school. I tried to use the Internet in a cafÃ© that was advertising 15 Baht per hour, but it was jammed with high school kids playing video games on their lunch break. I stopped to have a delicious lunch of stir-fried pork, basil and chilis on rice for 20 Baht. The tiny restaurant was also packed with kids eating fried noodles and other local treats.
Walking back towards the hotel again, I ran into Sarah. That was quite a surprise, since Chiangmai isn’t exactly a small city, and I also thought Sarah had left already. Turns out she and Kubba needed another day to sort out their travel plans before heading to Cambodia. We arranged to meet for dinner.
I spent the rest of the day taking pictures around the city. I hadn’t brought my camera with me the previous day, because I wanted to explore without the extra weight. I returned to some of the spots I had scouted out at around 4pm, when the light turned that particular hazy gold that looks so good in photographs.
I met Sarah and Kubba for a quick dinner. I had Khao Soi, which is a local dish made from egg noodles and yellow chicken curry. I also had a small plate of pork sausages made with basil and garlic. We talked about how it’s impossible to see everything you want to see on trips like ours, and although we all may have different reasons for travelling, our main objective is basically the same: to just to have fun.
After saying goodbye and bon voyage to Sarah and Kubba. Their trips make mine look like a weekend getaway. Sarah is travelling for four months, and Kubba is away for eight months. However, I’m sure time will do that magical trick, both creeping and flying by for them like it has for me.
Feb 24, 2:45pm
I’m back in Bangkok, checked into the Trinity again for one last night. I am exploring the city a bit more today, mainly seeing if there’s anything worth buying and bringing back to Canada. I went to Pantip Plaza, which is nerd heaven. It’s a mall about 4 floors high with nothing but computer gear. Prices are nothing special though. Most things are about the same as we pay in Canada, which surprises me. Oh well. I don’t really need any computer stuff, but it was fun to walk through anyway.
My time is short here, so I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the computer. Maybe this will be my last journal entry before I get home? Who knows.