A Night in Chiang Mai

Posted: December 13, 2011 in Blog

I do not write many blogs as evident here. But after seeing Juste’s blog, I feel why not share a little (people deserve to know what’s actually going on in my head… and it is nice to have a written record of these random thoughts).

So… It is 7:30pm in Chiang Mai, I am biking back to my sweet hotel (the Eco Resort). I am exhausted after my first ever power yoga class, which literally kicked my ass. I was sweating so much that I was slipping on my mat in downward dog (well, what can you expect when these guys crank up the heat in the studio).

The gym is located at the Central Airport Plaza (a multi-storied Western-styled mall) and it claims to be part of the world’s biggest fitness club. (Is that really so? I have never heard of a California Wow Xperience before. Have you?) I wanted to try the gym out (group fitness and yoga classes were what I was after) and saw on their website that there was a 7-day free pass. Sweet! I am here for the next 6 days. This works out perfectly. God is kind. Well, it turned out to be a bit of hustle. Upon arrival, I was directed to wait for the sales people. Despite the club’s trendy/hip look, the staff had difficulty speaking English. After a few rounds of back-and-forth, I was sent home under the direction that I needed to have printed the voucher and that they couldn’t do it there without it. OK. Not much I can do. When I returned an hour later, I realized that the staff had all been changed. I was welcomed at the reception by Fanta and Cute (yes… these were the actual names on their employee tags) and like before I was asked to sit and wait for a sales staff. This is where Nicky came into my life. Nicky spoke little to no English and was trying to convince me that the offer was only meant for Thai national. Yah right. She kept asking me how long I would stay in Chiang Mai, as if that was a condition for the offer. I mean I understand where she is coming from but there is just nothing (not even in fine print) on this voucher. She made me give her a fictitious cell number (she even wrote down hers and made me say her name five times) and told me that she will be offering me a special one-year membership, for 9,999 baht. OK, Nicky. Let’s chat in a week’s time.

Anyhow, so I am slow pedaling into the night. I am starving. So once I hit the old city wall and locked my bike, I was on the prowl for food. I realized instantly that I have been here once before in September, but it was so short that time (only a day), I definitely did not have any sense of orientation as to where I was. Amazingly, I think I found the same food cart to eat at. I ordered a mixed vegetable with chicken which I chowed down quickly. Knowing by now that these Thai portions do not fill me, I started to walk along the street and hoping to find new things to try. The choices are plenty but without knowing Thai, I had no clue what some of these carts offered. When I spotted some nicely barbecued drumsticks, I decided to inquire about the price. 20 baht… not cheap for something I already know the taste of… but crap, she had already picked it up and started to put it into a plastic bag… OK… I guess I will just have to save room to try for new things next meal. I decided that I wanted more (I wanted total satisfaction). I walked more and saw a lady selling Thai sweets. I bought two different pieces of what may be describe as mini-cakes and they turned out to be quite good. That concluded my little food binge and it was time to get back on the bike.

Two reccuring thoughts kept seeping back through my head (both had direct stimuli enter through my vision) as I continued pedaling.

  1. Why is every single white man I see with a Thai girl (and of course, the older guys are accompanied by girls half their age)? I mean do they pair people up when they clear the custom? Did I missed a check point at the airport or something?
  2. Why do people stare/look at me so much here? I do not believe that I look that different from an average Thai. I admit that maybe riding a sky blue beach cruiser that probably says “FOR RENT” in Thai on the basket is not the best way to avoid attention. But still why here in Thailand, out of all the places I have been in the world? (I decided that I love the extra attention… and giggled.)

I continue to ride up North along the moat. Then all the sudden, a gorgeous girl waves at me from her bar table (with a couple of friends I guess). I was completely caught off guard, having been spending time in my head. So I instinctively waved back. But wait… Do I know her?… probably not… no… definitely not. Should I keep on riding or head back?… But head back for what?… well, for one, she was GORGEOUS… mmm… Nah… maybe next time when I am looking for some fun… I felt somewhat rude for turning her down. Why is that? But what the heck. I make the turn and hit a new part of the town that I have not visited before. This is probably the bar area / night bazaar. Bars after bars, foreigners on the street, massage places with Thai girls sitting out at the doors. Yup, if there was ever a night district in Chiang Mai, this would be it (which reminds me of the times in Phuket three years ago).

It didn’t take long before I was out of all the noises and light. After crossing the Ping River, I was very close to home and tranquility set back in quickly. Riding my beach cruiser all over Chiang Mai has become my favorite thing to do here. The night temperature is perfect and the breeze in the air is wickedly refreshing. A full moon hangs just over the dim lights of the river-side restaurants. Chiang Mai is such a chill city!


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