Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, Thailand: When I plan my Asian excursions I often scour the Internet looking for places to stay. I look for a good price, good reviews on sites like and a favorable central location. But the hotel pictures and reviews are like dating, pictures are embellished, favorable reviewers have taste that is different from mine and what looks like a nice location on a map provided by the hotel is often inaccurate. This is one of those times. I’m here at a small resort south of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. If you look at the map on their web site it shows the location as being on the southern edge of Chiang Mai city close by to a bank, restaurants, stores and all of the comforts of city life. Not so, I’m about 15 miles out in the countryside. It’s a nice location but it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere. Our room is on the bank of the River Ping which is muddily flowing by as I write this. The owner says that a taxi into town will cost about 300 baht each way, about $9.50 at today’s exchange rate.

Is this Indo-China village living at it's finest? Nah, obviously I've got access to the Internet and my cell phone registers a good signal. The room has TV but to Eleanor's chagrin all of the available channels are in Thai. High class hotel it ain't. Eleanor originally found this place on the Internet and regrets it. On the wall near the bed she found a spider about the size of a small bar of soap and she absolutely freaked. This is semi jungle, bananas are growing on the premises.

Small lizards are hiding on the sides of buildings. The insects are being merciless with Eleanor biting her on the face and legs but they leave me along, perhaps they don't like white meat. This place seems to be bug heaven, I've seen several kinds of insects in our room that are unknown in North America. There's a noise outside; it's a tropical jungle downpour! Bugs, lizards, tropical fruit and a torrential downpours; can giant snakes be next?

The owner of the place, Lin, has been nice to us even after she forgot to pick us up at the airport. She said that she has a 2nd job in town and would take us into Chiang Mai in her pickup truck.

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