Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Vacations and Visitors

It’s been a little while since I’ve given you an update so here’s a little recap on the last few weeks of my life in Thailand:

I’ve just had a visitor, Nobuko, come and stay with me. The story of how we met is interesting, since we did not know each other upon her arrival here. My German friend Urs was just finishing up a semester-long internship in Japan and had met Nobuko during his stay there. She badly wanted to see Thailand and when he found that out, he asked me if she might be able to come for a visit. We chatted online and she sounded like a sweet person, plus any friend of Urs I assumed must be nice. She came and we just parted ways Sunday night after a wonderful one and a half weeks.

I was extremely excited to meet someone who wanted to go travel since I have been in desperate need of a travel buddy. The first weekend of Nobu’s stay, we went to Pai, a little town tucked away in the mountains of northern Thailand. Even though we were there for less than two days we rode an elephant, took a bath in hot spring water, drove around to explore the landscape, and visited a waterfall. The scenery around Pai is absolutely gorgeous and the relaxed atmosphere of the town makes it an ideal place for a weekend getaway.

The second weekend we left Friday night and took an overnight train ride to Bangkok. We met up with a teacher there named Abi who neither of us had met before, but I had received her contact information through a long chain of people and who graciously invited us to stay at her apartment Saturday night. She was extremely friendly and helpful, equipping us with maps and directions to allow us to get quickly and conveniently around the city.

The first day we went to the huge outdoor weekend market. I couldn’t believe how big it was! We stayed several hours just wandering from stall to stall, buying food and trinkets and trying on clothes and shoes. After we finished shopping, we took the BTS skyline train to the river and rode one of the ferries up and down the river just admiring the view of the riverbank. The second day we visited the palace with the famous Buddha statue and made it back to Abi’s apartment in time to take a shower and get me to the train which left at 6pm that evening.

Nobu went on to visit other friends in Bangkok and I arrived back in Chiang Mai Monday morning just a few hours before my classes that afternoon. Phew! It was a lot to pack into a weekend but it was well worth it. Right now I’m missing the company of Nobu but I think she is having a good time finishing up her stay in Thailand. She is on to China next before returning back home.

I don’t have any more big trips planned until my parents come, hopefully at the end of this month. We still need to figure out exactly when they will arrive and what we are going to go see when they are here :-)


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