Big week! Last week in Thailand annnndd I am officially halfway through Remote Year! Check out my halfway reflections here. Otherwise, I got to play with elephants this week and rode on the back of a motorbike through the pouring rain.
- 7/11s are everywherreee here, and surprisingly very convenient. Never been in one so much in my life. If you’re looking for cheap eats, they have a variety of ‘toasties’ to choose from. Buy and they’ll toast the panini for you.
- Rediscovered my love for Tiger Balm (an icy-hot-like muscle reliever). Helps relieve my back tightness overnight. Can purchase some in almost any store in Thailand.
- Elephants are a national symbol and animal. Kings used to ride elephants, and they used to be an integral part of agriculture work. Of course there’s a hot topic regarding the ethics of elephant sanctuaries and treatment of elephants is widely varied. The place we went to was supposedly good, but who really knows.
- When around an elephant (ya know, for all those times), don’t stand behind them, if their ears and tail are wagging, they’re happy, petting their trunk is ok, if they’re bathing, don’t stand anywhere where they may roll on top of you.
- Thailand is the land of smiles.
- Make sure you know the name of the destination you’re going in Thailand, Google maps isn’t great with direct addresses. And even with a name, it is more approximate than you’d like it to be.
- About 5 years ago, the military had a coup over the government. There are still residual issues, but talking politics is frowned upon, illegal if you’re talking against them.
- Street food is the way to go (within reason), cheap and delicious. I’m proud to say I made it through Thailand without any major stomach issues!!
Week in Review
- Workspace of the day: my favorite in Chiang Mai- 29 Coffties. They had AMAZING $2 smoothies, quiet, AC’d café with good Wi-Fi, and the owner was the sweetest lady.
- Early morning wake up for a half day visit to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary.
- After learning about how be around the elephants, we grabbed a bunch of bananas from big buckets and fed them to the elephants. If you held the banana up in the air and said ‘bon bon’, they would grab it with their trunk and bring it to their mouth. This part had a fence between us and the animals
- Then they let us loose in a field with them and let us feed them, take pictures, watch them interact with each other. Can I just say, this was INCREDIBLE!? Beautiful animals. Their skin felt rough and their hair sparse and spiky.
- Ok but like….reality check: 1. In Thailand. 2. With new friends I didn’t know 6 months ago 3. Petting an elephant. #cool
- Next we got in the mud with them and bathed them with the mud, almost like an elephant spa. Would recommend bringing a bathing suit.
- Took the party to the river and rinsed them. The guides got great entertainment over soaking us guests. They also encouraged us to hug them, I nearly got bowled over because the elephant got up as I did.
- Lunch with fellow Remotes and new friends, then back to Chiang Mai
- As weird as I felt playing with the elephants, knowing this experience was one hundred percent more for us humans than them, I would do it again and really loved.
- Motorbike adventure with three of my fav Remotes. The two guys drove us girls up into the mountains to the Mae Sa waterfall, in Doi Pui National Park. (motorbike rentals only $8/day!)
- The waterfall is a series of 10 falls, but we chose to swim in number 5. It was a blast, got to stand under the water and get pounded.
- And theennnn it started POURING. We’d planned to do a whole loop, but paused for lunch and hoped the rain would pass. It didn’t. Because we were at a higher altitude it was quite cold, and we got absolutely SOAKED on the motorbikes through the thirty minute ride back. A day for the mems for sure.
- Got dry and worked from home the rest of the day
- Parea 6 month celebration at a resort about 30 minutes out of the city
- We had the whole place to ourselves, huge pool, lots of food, little bit of drinking but mostly just enjoying the time together as a group. Can’t believe it’s been 6 months already.
- Awarded some superlatives (my favorite that I got was ‘Just General Badass’…lol), played some Parea trivia
- Back for dinner at Anchan Vegetarian restaurant with a colleague of my uncle. She lives in Bangkok but happened to be in Chiang Mai for a few days for work. Side note: my uncle is the coolest for hooking me up with awesome people to meet around the world.
- When Wanphen and I met up, I said ‘nice to meet you’ and she said ‘we’ve met before’ and proceeded to show me pictures of her and I in my house from 2002. What a crazy bit of nostalgia for me, pictures of my grandparents and cousins, and one on the couch (that we still have) in my house.
- Minus having a little language barrier, I had the most lovely time getting to know her. I hope I get to see her again when I’m back in Thailand.
- Side note: this restaurant had the BEST massaman. I’m addicted for life.
- Today was all about doing things that would be cheaper in Thailand than Japan
- Got a haircut, one of the most spoiled experiences I’ve had. She offered me a head massage, treatment of my hair, shampoo, and blow dry. I felt bad saying no to it all so obliged to the blowout. I had three ladies blow drying my hair at that point.
- Got pedicures with friends
- Bought some products from the convenience store to stock up
- Final work session and smoothie from 29 Coffties, and a chill night of packing and cleaning.
Saturday- Travel Day!
- 8am up and out for a flight to Bangkok, quick layover, then flight to Osaka.
- Drive 1.5 hours to Kyoto
- Now a 13 hour time difference between me and the East coast wooooww
- Grabbed some ‘octopus balls’ (takoyaki) with some people in my 9 bedroom tea house…yup, tell you about it later 🙂
- Day 1 in Japan!! Coming soon….
As amazing as I think Japan will be, I was really sad to leave Chiang Mai. It definitely began to feel like home, and I would’ve liked more time. Guess I will have to go back!
Just for fun, thought I’d share all the yummy food I consumed in Thailand. Maybe it is good that I’m leaving….