Chillin’ Out Maxin’ Relaxin’ All Cool

Sometimes I crack myself up with my blog titles and this title is certainly no exception. If you get the reference, then you definitely grew up in the ’90s.

It’s almost been a full week since I landed in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Since I’ve been to Chiang Mai in the past, there wasn’t anything on my agenda of things to do or see.

Elephants? Check. Tigers? Check. Bamboo rafting, zip-lining, jungle trekking? Check, check, check.

Instead, I’ve been using this time to relax, read, eat as much Thai food as possible, get $8 massages, and decompress. I really needed this down time, especially after all those train and bus rides in India.

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Pool time is the best time

Unfortunately, my sleep schedule has been really thrown off since I left India. My flight was originally scheduled for just after 11pm, but we didn’t take off until close to midnight. Add in the time change, sleeping under the stairs at the Kuala Lumpur airport, and sleeping on my flight into Chiang Mai, and I can officially say that my internal clock is very confused.

Otherwise, Chiang Mai has been good to me. I find myself being truly happy and grateful for this incredible experience. As cheesy as this sounds, I often catch myself just smiling just for the sake of being happy.

I’m staying in a small, 4-person, female dorm. Most of the time, I have the room to myself. There is no AC and it’s crazy hot here, averaging 100 degrees Fahrenheit every day. Sometimes it’s hard to go to sleep (like my first night where I was up until 6am) and it’s always hard to sleep in. I wake up covered in sweat with my thin sheet crumpled up at the end of the bed. Two showers a day are a necessity.

My favorite part about waking up is knowing that I’ll be able to eat soon. Honestly, the food here is that good… or maybe I’m that much of a little fatty.

It’s been a nice change from Indian food, where I was mostly eating “veg” (how they refer to “vegetarian” food) most of the time out of concerns for food safety but mostly because meat just wasn’t offered.

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Khao soi gai, a famous dish in northern Thailand

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I asked the waiter to make his favorite dish and this is what he brought (it was delicious but difficult to eat because of all the bones)

I rented a bicycle for $1.42 USD per day. Most people get motorbikes, but I like the exercise and the less hurried, more deliberate path that a bicycle takes. Plus, I’m kinda cheap. I have the freedom to go where I want, when I want, and I don’t have to worry about finding a tuktuk or taking a long time to walk there.

I found this amazing shared workspace called CAMP (Creative And Meeting Place) in a mall that’s about 3.5 km away from my hostel. When I come here to work, I feel like I’m back in college at the student union. There’s a treehouse, standing desks, insanely fast wifi, and no shortage of power outlets (which is always my biggest problem when I work at coffee shops).

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Working at CAMP

When I was riding home the other night, I made a wrong turn and passed by some kids (can I call university students “kids” now?) that were playing futsal. I immediately pulled my bicycle over and asked one of them if I could play. Once the other kids saw 1) a foreigner 2) a woman, talking to their friend, they quickly stopped playing and crowded around to see what was going on.

After only a little bit of convincing, they agreed to let me play with them.

I rode back to the hostel, changed into some sneakers, pulled my hair back into a ponytail braid (my teammates from Oregon know the one!) and went back to the field.

They were so much fun to play with and after I scored my first goal, they gave me their seal of approval to come back and play with them again.

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Tomorrow, I think I’ll ride out to a place called the Grand Canyon, where you can cliff jump into deep water. It’s about 15km away and will be a difficult ride because of the distance (I’m a slow bicyclist) and also because of the heat. Here’s to hoping that I don’t die of heat exhaustion.

Grand Canyon

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