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Monday, November 13, 2006

Chiang Mai: What Comes Next?

Maybe it is time I wrote about what I am doing here, and what the plan is for the coming year. Not that I feel in any way impelled to stick to the plan.

Last year I spent six weeks in Miraflores, Peru, a suburb of Lima. I didn't do much of anything, but I just couldn't get myself to move on. I was, horror of horrors, tired of traveling. Not necessarily tired of being in a different country, but tired of moving, of packing, of learning where things are in a town and leaving three days later, of hunting for a place to stay, and a place to eat, and figuring out which bus to take. I was burned out.

Then I had another awful summer. When I started to feel better, and a bit more rational, I started thinking about what to do next. My plan had been to look for work teaching in China. After exchanging e-mails with some people already teaching there, I decided it wouldn't work for me. A country that thinks elevators are unnecessary for the first eight floors is not a good place for my arthritic knees. Nor am I fit enough to routinely climb a lot of stairs. I also got an unexpected look at myself in a mirror one day and thought, would I hire me? Answer, "No."

So I made this plan to come to South East Asia and stay for two or three months at a time in one place. Staying put would give me a different perspective on the towns and countries I visited. It would cost less than moving around. After six months in the States, that was important.

Chiang Mai was first on my list. I had been meaning to come back ever since my first visit in 1989. Here was my chance.

My other plans include Penang, in Malaysia, and both Lake Toba (Sumatra) and Ubud (Bali) in Indonesia. Working my schedule to avoid rainy season as much as possible, I end up with three months in Thailand, a month or two in Penang, two to four months at Lake Toba, and two to four months in Bali. Lake Toba is the only place on my list that I haven't visited before.

Somewhere in there I might do two weeks in Laos or spend a little time on Phuket or in Krabi. I need some tropical beach time, Krabi sounds really good. Phuket is supposed to be beautiful, but relatively expensive. However, it's not outrageous.

Right now I have a reservation to fly to the US on September 2, 20007. But now, at the beginning of the trip, I'm considering October. I started the trip on October 25th, so I have to use my return ticket by October 24th.
None of which I have to worry about for a while. My next big deadline is in December, when I'll be applying for a thirty day visa extension.

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