Where do I even begin? It feels great to be back in chiang mai! I basically skipped off the plane I was that happy to be back. Immediately, the old vibes of the city came back to me and I embraced them with open arms. I really do love chiang mai it’s such a good city because it has everything there you want (minus family, of course)—good food, music, shopping, people—the list goes on and on.
So what did I do for ten days in Chiang Mai? Saw some friends, ate good food, went out most nights, did some yoga, hm am I forgetting something…oh right shopped. Chiang Mai has awesome thrift stores and tribal craft shops, there’s plenty of damage to be done in ten days. Living here for almost four months last year, I pretty much explored every nook and cranny of the city, so when I came back this time, I knew exactly where to go…when it came to everything. First lunch was at my favorite restaurant pun pun, second night was at the beloved jazz bar, third day, July 4th, was in need of celebrating so my friend threw a house party and people set off fireworks. Each day and night I managed to fill my time with fun things to do/see. This was also the first time I was on my own traveling, no more buddy by my side. No worries though, being the friendly person that I am, I managed to make a few friends from my guesthouse to share drinks/meals with when my chiang mai friends weren’t around.
However, all good things must come to an end, right? By my last day in chiang mai I was ready to head out…or find a job. But with the later not happening, I was ready to get on a plane and hop back down to Bangkok for my flight to the holy land.
Can’t wait to put the age old question to the test: who is crazier—Israelis or Indians?? Time to find out!
Oh right, I’m definitely not in India anymore. As I exited the plane, I glanced down one row to see trash covering the floor. The concept of a trash can, even on an airplane where the flight attendants go up and down with one, is still a foreign concept to some Indians. And I loved when half the plane got out of their seats and started taking down their overhead luggage before the plane came to a stop at the gate. The flight attendants had to say three times to remain seated, one had to leave her seat and tell people to sit down. As soon as we stepped off the plane, I could feel immediately I was in a totally different place. Many times India felt as though she was still in the 1970s, or something of that era: the way the average man styled himself (typically, bell bottoms, button up pattern shirts, mustaches) to the way their train system worked (when we’d ask if our ticket got off the waitlist they would look through this gigantic stack of old school computer paper. Member the paper with the perforated edges and holes along the sides? Yeah, that paper). Thailand, believe it or not, felt normal to me.
Once we landed at midnight, we made a b-line for the 7-11 to ogle at a real convenience store and to buy water/food. Oh 7-11 how I’ve missed you! Next, we headed to the other airport in Bangkok to take a 6am flight down to the islands. The flight went smoothly enough, and we headed to the ferry which took us to Koh Tao. The ferry was packed with young people (my guess, British 19 year olds, heading to the full moon party). My friend and I went straight to a more calm beach in the southern point of the island known as Chalok Bay. Bet you’re wondering, when did she sleep?! Right, no sleep ‘til Brooklyn or in this case Koh Tao!
The island is beautiful, with white sandy beaches and crystal clear water. Postcard perfect. This is the first time I’ve been here and I’d definitely recommend it to people. Being a bit too touristy, for my liking, was the one downside. The differences between here and an Indian beach is astronomical. It actually feels like I’m on vacation. Where as in India, even on a beach, you still weren’t completely relaxed. There was still a cow about to run you over while sunbathing, or a group of drunk Indian men you wanted to avoid at all costs. Here though, there’s no worries. The only worries one might have is whether the nutella pancake truck man will show up tonight or not.
Snorkeling is the major daytime event for me. We would visit a different beach everyday, share the set of snorkel gear we bought and look at beautiful fish and other sea creatures. It didn’t take much to see cool fish, a mere five to twenty feet walk off the shoreline and there they were, swimming about in the reefs. Snorkeling is a new favorite hobby of mine, if only Margate, NJ had some good reefs and tropical fish, it’d be perfect.
Unfortunately, my friend came down with a bad virus the last couple days there, so that wasn’t too fun (he’s okay now!). But majority of my time on Koh Tao was relaxing and pleasant. After 13 months apart, I finally will be heading back to my second home, Chaing Mai!