I have arrived safely and have been investigating Chiang Mai. I haven’t been here 24 hours yet and already I can tell I’m going to like this city. I landed around 1:30pm local time and proceeded to my hostel (which is pretty well out of the city unfortunately) to pass out for a while. I had made plans to go out with a British man I met on the plane for dinner and to check out the night market, so we went and had some noodles and beer then elbowed our way though the many farang (foreigners) at the market haggling over clothes, shoes, wooden figurines, and soap carved into flowers. It was pretty cool and we wandered around a lot getting lost looking for the bar area and a sufficient restaurant. In the end we were pretty tired out and decided to call it a night around midnight.
It’s morning now (around 6:30) and I seem to have not really been affected by jetlag, at least not badly. I have encountered quite a bit of English speakers, in varying degrees, which is very lucky because I can’t read any of the signs and I feel very illiterate. I think that even if I do come to speak a bit of Thai I certainly won’t be able to read the flowery writing. Today I am going to venture over to the opposite side of town where the university is to check out the campus, program, and maybe find some housing that is closer to that area. Apparently there is a huge flower festival going on here right now and it is difficult to find accommodation, which could come to be a problem in 2 days when my booking here at the hostel runs out. I haven’t seen any particular festivaly events, but then again I have been asleep for the majority of my time here so far. Time to check things out.
I am really missing everyone from home and have discovered that traveling alone is a much different thing than I imagined. I think the reason I enjoyed last night so much is that I had someone to explore with and actually chat to. I felt much more secure and confident with someone walking around with me. It doesn’t seem particularly dangerous, but I’m still getting to know where I am and what to trust. It’s also fairly dark and not well lit in parts of the city so I will need to learn to walk briskly and where I can go alone.
In other news I’ve been following the election aftermath on the BBC in my room and it’s pretty amazing. I kind of wish I was there to discuss with everyone, but then I remember I am in Thailand and that’s pretty cool too. I should be off now, I know you all have better things to read than my babbling. Email me if you want and I will try to keep up, I’m not sure about the future of my internet connection but it seems to be fairly ubiquitous.