Day 171: Chiang Mai, Thailand. Today was a day of learning, research and planning – all necessary admin in amongst all the fun.
This morning Lil managed to complete another chunk of her Teaching English as a Foreign Language course, wrestling with prepositional phrases, gerunds and the present perfect progressive tense. Lots of grammar structures that are a very distant memory from our school days, and a little mind boggling to revisit at this stage in life.
Jim spent a few happy hours playing online scrabble – not exactly learning, research or planning. Though he did run up and down stairs to the laundry a few times, to get a very large pile of washing cleaned and dried. So top marks for that one.
The afternoon was spent planning the final two weeks of our stay in Thailand, and where to head after that. We’ve given up trying to pack too much into our travels, then finding ourselves having too little time in too many places and a lot of stressful shuffling in between. So we’ve agreed to focus on just three more places in Northern Thailand – Chiang Dao, Pai and Soppong. All of which are easy to get to from Chiang Mai, and appear to offer good hiking opportunities.
After a few hours of research, fuelled by 103 open browser tabs, we decided enough was enough and packed up and headed out for an early dinner. We couldn’t resist a final visit to the lovely lady in the laneway restaurant (we still don’t know what the restaurant is called and couldn’t spot the name today either). We had yellow chicken curry again, very spicy fish and beans, and beef noodles with cabbage – and once again, everything was sensational. The lady should probably be running a cooking school to share her impressive cooking skills, but then she’s probably very happy just keeping on doing what she’s doing.
The other good thing about the restaurant is there’s a market right outside, so Lil popped out to buy another ton of jack fruit while we were waiting for dinner to be cooked. All in the name of efficiency.
Afterwards we had another big evening of music – our third this week. This time a Friday evening open jam session at a cafe and bar in the old town. It was a long night and a lot of fun, and we recognised a few of the musicians from Monday night’s blues jam. We’re starting to feel like we fit in a bit too well here. 🙂
A young English couple set up the music jam seven months ago after they arrived in Chiang Mai, having thrown in their stressy jobs in the UK. They’re both musicians, have since set up online web businesses that cover the bills, and have grown the open jam night from nothing to a hugely successful event. Very impressive.
The venue was packed, with people spilling out onto the outdoor patio and pavement, and a chalk board full of musicians keen to get up and jam.
One of the ladies running the venue takes her dog to work; a super cute brown terrier called Luca who runs around the bar (when he’s not relaxing on ‘his’ seat) demanding pets and attention from everyone. A simply adorable canine, which we instantly fell in love with.
We chatted to a lovely elderly Canadian couple for a bit, who were having their after dinner ‘cawfee’. Like the Canadian couple last night, they leave Canada during the winter to spend six months of the year in Chiang Mai. We also chatted to an American guy who has had a late life career change. Having spent his previous working life in the US military, he’s now attending massage school for seven weeks in Chiang Mai before returning to the US to put his new skills into action. That’s quite a career change right there.
It was another very late night, which likely means another late start tomorrow. We’re hoping to pack in another walk around the town, a visit to a charity book sale (we don’t need any more books, but can never resist a rummage through a pile of secondhand paperbacks). Then we’ll head to stand up comedy in the old town tomorrow evening – our first comedy in over six months. And hopefully we’ll get to chat to some more interesting travellers over a beer or two.