Greetings from Chiang Mai!!! It is day three of living here and though I’ll be here for a while, the days already seem so much faster than any in Cambodia!!! So far I’ve ridden around with S. on the motorbike he rented, hung out with some of his friends (and maybe the start of my friends), gone to two art shows, eaten a lot of food, done some walking, gone to coffee shops, caught up on my internet browsing and new music listening, and taken a brief ride around town on the bike to buy gas. I’ll be renting my own scooter on Monday because it makes living here so much more convenient to get around. Even though S. is a competent driver, I feel too out of control as a passenger. Especially in the crazy drive on the left and interpretive traffic laws of Thailand, this deficiency seems stronger!!!
Chiang Mai has a classy small town feel. The center is a series of nested square streets (I call them traffic squares) surrounded by a moat and old bricks walls and massive wooden gates. It feels like a town was plopped down in the middle of a castle. There are a lot of trees everywhere and it feels very safe. It lacks the bustle and chaos of Bangkok in most places, but for daily living, I think it’s for the best. There is a variety of food and shops and traffic is pretty light. For a town this size, there is a fairly large art community composed of both Thais and ex-pats. Sure, the art isn’t Thomas Kinkade Kwality™, but then again, not much is.
The four story, 4 bedroom and three bath town house we are renting is cavernous. It is in the Northeast corner of town, along a road that leads up to a wat in the wooded mountains. The street is off the main road and very quiet and feels like a cross between Dallas and a jungle. One stretch of the road is flanked by lush and green vines and trees. It feels swampy. This type of plant growth wraps around the backside of the complex, taking over fences and other trees until it thins out into a drier forest. Our house is the last on the block where the street dead ends, sort of. There is a dirt path that runs through the woods that motorcyclists use as a shortcut. There are some Thai artists and architecture students that live down the street, but it is hard to converse with most of them.
“Suat dii krap.”
“Sewat dee crap.”
“So…my name is Nik.”
“My name Tua. Ashtuktuks as asasjh cbnabna asasd asasdd Cambodia tha that lui asas jas wwewr asmams cmwuwguids pfofdoddf.”
“So… yeah Cambodia was nice.”
Twist foot into carpet.
“Thank you for the water. Oh shit, I mean kop kun krap.”
“The toilet over there.”
The house is mostly unfurnished. My room is on the third floor with its own balcony that overlooks the front. The fourth floor contains S.’s bedroom on one half and a balcony on the other that overlooks the mountains. They feel like a greener version of those North of Altadena. Many of the storms that roll in come from over the hills and I suspect are the work of a warehouse size sputtering weather generator. Did you know that Thailand is the world’s number two producer of CIA-grade weather generators? Now you do. I need some furniture here, especially a desk. And a bed. And some Ethernet cable. And a floor. My bathroom is quite spacious, but the hot water machine was made inoperable by a storm so I have to take cold showers until it is fixed. The shower and whole bathroom drain out of one of the corners. It took some scrubbing, but the room is up to my level of sanitary evacuation. Water is pumped to the sinks and toilets from big stainless steel tanks on the back porch. The pump sounds really tiny and strained to be moving that much water around, but it seems to get the job done.
I believe a gecko makes a very weird human noise somewhere in woods behind the house. It is kind of disconcerting.
On my walk today I saw a pulse of white electricity move down a power line as it popped and started shaking. This was the largest physical manifestation of electrical power I have ever seen. I would make a horrible Tesla; I am scared on electricity now. Getting shocked by enough appliances and computers out here has taught me to not take electricity for granted.
I have met some good people so far. I have high hopes for this place. It feels so calm and so good.
I had a dream were I was talking to my grandmother (who is deceased).
Now that I’ll be in one place for a while, it’s time to get down to business. Sweet, sweet business.
View North towards the mountains on the main road by our house.
The deserted side road that leads to our neighborhood.
The street our house is on. It feels like a set.
Our tall house at the end of the street.
The field next to the house as seen from my balcony.
The front room of the house with S. upstairs at the computer.
My room. Balcony outside the doors.
My first sunset from the upstairs porch.