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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Chiang Mai: Not quite getting there yesterday

The other day I was reading someone's travel blog, and I realized that it was a lot more personal than mine has been. So I decided that for a week I would write a traditional, this is what I did, and this is how I felt, blog. I'm going to start with yesterday.

Yesterday was Monday, and it didn't go as I planned. It was to be an 'errand day', and I started out well.

I called Jellybean, because I had a favor to ask. I left some papers at her house and now have decided that was a mistake and I need them. Of course I decided this while she was on vacation in Florida. When she returned her mother went into the hospital. I caught her when she was getting ready to visit her brother and then go on to see her grandkids for Christmas. She's going to mail the stuff off to my brother Skip's. I need these papers because I think I'm going to look for a job teaching English. More about that some other post.

Anyway, I took my laundry in, and worked out with the laundry lady what the cheapest mix of services would be for washing a small load and ironing two blouses.

From there I walked up the street to the Same Same to have breakfast. I like the fruit salad with yogurt and muesli. At the Same Same it includes dragonfruit in addition to the standard bananas, pineapple, and watermelon. I remember when fruit salads here used to include mango and papaya, but even though they are available, they are never included any more. Just another one of those things that has changed.

I also like the Same Same because they have a small collection of books that they let me exchange on a one-for-one basis, no cash involved. I think it is because I eat there fairly regularly, whenever I drop off or pick up my laundry.

I exchanged a book yesterday, so I was doing pretty well. Three tasks completed already. The next item on my list was to go back to the place where I got my phone set up and find out why I can't make outgoing calls. This is where my downfall came. Since it is cooling off here and it wasn't overly hot, I decided to walk to the mall. It's a bit far, but I thought I could do it without any trouble, and get some good exercise.

I got out my map and chose a route that would take me down some streets I hadn't walked before. I was walking along, at a good pace for me, staying on the shady side of the street. I stepped off the curb onto the street whenever the sidewalk was blocked by signs or motorcycles or whatever. Then I saw this wat. I hadn't been there before, so I thought I'd take a look. I walked around taking pictures. It turned out to be a famous wat, with a big Buddha image. More pictures. Then another wat, and another.

By now I had been on my feet for hours, so I stopped at an internet cafe to have a Diet Coke and check my e-mail. If Jellybean couldn't find my papers, she would have e-mailed me. Only later did I remember she was going to bed right after my phone call and that it was only about 5 am there.

At this point any sensible person would have gotten in a tuktuk and shortly arrived at the mall. Not me. I continued to walk. Except I made a wrong turn, and was actually headed back toward my guesthouse. Oh, well, I wasn't going to get much more done today. Onward to the Top North.

Hunger set in, and I stopped for some fettucine in blue cheese sauce. It was good, but a bit mild for my taste. The pasta in the Italian restaurants is always freshly made and the noodles themselves are really, really good. By the time I finished eating, it was dark. Forty-five minutes later, I was in bed, curled up with my new book.

It was cold last night. I got up and put on a long-sleeved T-shirt and pulled the blanket/bedspread over my head. I need to stop using the other bed as a storage and staging area, so I can get that other bedspread and add it to my bed. And I'll have to dig out my one and only sweater, and my sole pair of long pants.

I've never been in the north this late in the year. I've been here in December twice, but I both times I went to the island of Langkawi, Malaysia for Christmas. I had to head south well before this, since, in the days before budget airlines, I was looking at long train or bus rides.

As I lay in bed, trying to get warm, I got into yet another debate with myself about what to do next. Maybe I should head south now, to places where it is warm at night.

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