15/2/2009 – Back in Chiang Mai
Oh, how I love Chiang Mai dearly. It`s like a favourite acquaintance that you want to know more about and spend more quality time with.
I was woken up by the faint murmur of fellow passengers stirring and noticed through the metal shutter by my bunk that the sun was coming up over the rice fields. I had my bed put away and curled up on the large faux-leather seat and watched the landscape pass me by. There was something really warming about going somewhere familiar but still foreign.
We pulled into Chiang Mai station and as I clambered off the train I saw groups of backpackers gathered about looking bewildered and I enjoyed the smugness that comes with knowing what to do. I marched past the touts inside the station and out onto the forecourt. There some cheeky taxi drivers attempted to rip me off and laughed and told them I`d been here before and no I wasn`t going to pay their inflated prices. One of them got the message and offered me a tuk tuk to myself for a reasonable price, so I took up the offer – tuk tuk`s are so much more fun than a songtaew anyway.
I arrived at Spicythai just after 8 in the morning and was greeted out the front by Noom. After big hugs he carried my backpack inside and sent me towards the breakfast table. Lots of backpackers were up and about, and I engaged in chit-chat over breakfast but really I wanted to sleep, after 24 hours of non-stop travelling. Instead I made use of the comfy living room and settled down with a dvd – The Motorcycle Diaries – with a nice cup of tea. Bliss.
That afternoon I helped Noom with a new sign for the hostel and we caught up on all the latest gossip. It was good to see nothing had changed, he`s still just as bossy and takes the piss.
Late in the afternoon Pong arrived from Laos. It was so lovely to see him and I think it was a surprise for him to see me. He knew I was coming at some point but I managed to beat him there. We chatted for a while and caught up on his gossip.
My main reason for coming on this particular Sunday was to attend the Sunday Market. This is a Chiang Mai ritual and I knew that some great bargains and lovely things were to be had and as this was near the end of my travels it was an ideal place to get some presents for loved ones back home.
I went along for the Chiang Mai history talk, which I think was my 4th, but this time it was on the city wall which was a nice change. We were then dropped off at the top and I went about my mission. It was pretty hardcore and painful. I wanted to buy so many beautiful things but my backpack just wouldn`t take it all. I did, however get to eat some yummy street food, including the awesome mini fried eggs with soy sauce.
After several hours of hardcore shopping I was laden with bags and ready to drop. I jumped in a Songtaew and headed home to Spicythai where I celebrated my shopping prowess with a bottle of Sangsom.