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A new day.

Ok, I get it, I am not a 20-something anymore. Up until now on this trip I had been living in various accommodations ranging from meager to barely passable.  All I needed was a bed and a door to lock.  If it had a private bathroom, great.  Free WiFi in the room, even better.

Well, last night was my first where the bed was so stiff that I could hardly sleep at all.  So, in the early AM I immediately Googled “Comfortable bed Chiang Mai” and found the place I am residing now. Sawasdee. For triple the price ($30) compared to my last place, it was WELL worth it.

This place has hot water shower, refrig with free bottles of water, A/C, 4 huge comfy pillows and a great big bed.  The TV I could care less about, but the bathroom even has a real shower, not a Thai shower, but a real stall. I even have 2 towels and toilet paper. I bet there is daily room service too! There is a phone here too, but who the hell am I gonna call?

The Thai owner, Sam, spoke excellent english and is extremely helpful. Damn, I may never leave. Sam set me up with guy who had a motor scooter – and delivers. When I first saw it, I was sure it was not mine.  See below pic for reference.  Yeah, that’s my ride. Total chick magnet.

Anyway, my destination today was a temple in the mountains called: Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

Doi Suthep is a Buddhist place of worship that dates back to the year 1383 when the first chedi was built. It is an important pilgrimage spot for the devout and a legend featuring a white elephant is connecteed to this revered site. There are spectacular views of Chiang Mai city and its surroundings from the top of this mountain.

It was very impressive. I spent almost 2 hours there and was blessed by one of the monks residing in the main temple. I also wrote my name on one of the golden fabric scrolls that is wrapped around the base of the pagoda.

Next stop was the Bhubing Palace which is further up the mountain. It is the royal winter residence in Chiang Mai where the Royal family stays during seasonal visits to the people in the northern part of Thailand.

The palace is also the royal guesthouse for prominent state visitors from abroad. In the past Their Majesties welcomed or granted royal audience to State visitors only in the capital of Bangkok. Bhubing Palace was built in 1961. The construction started initially with only the royal resident building and the guesthouse. The other buildings were additionally built on later dates.

As I was wearing shorts and to abide by local customs I needed to rent some trousers. Now I really fit the part.  Heh. The grounds were immaculate and well manicured.  Flowers were everywhere. A forest walk provided a spectacular array of ferns which some are over 100 yrs old. Even the main water reservoir with its fountains had smooth jazz music playing through fake rocks which provided a nice, but slightly odd environment.

The scooter ride down the winding and twisting road was very cool as the elevation was approx. 4500ft. The lower I got, the warmer it became. The views of the city were simply amazing.  It was nice to be back in the cool arid air of the higher elevations.

Once I arrived to the outskirts of Chiang Mai city, my casual scooter ride turned into a every-person-for-themselves thrill ride. Weaving around cars, buses, taxis, bicycles, pedestrians…you name it.  It was rush hour and people wanted to get somewhere fast.  It’s an interesting spectacle. SO much controlled chaos yet I still have not seen a major accident. Somehow it’s like a flock of birds that you would see in the sky moving in synch with each other while never colliding.  I guess the same sense can be developed by humans with motor scooters.  I tend to take the cautious lane, but sometimes find myself getting a bit more confident and testing my scooter skills with some new tricks I learned.  I’d like to thank all of the years of video games that prepared me for this moment.

My meal for the night? Mexican. Yes, 2 bean burritos, rice, salsa and a margarita! Ole! Thai style.  Actually, it was not bad. I doubt I had real tequila in my marg, but oh well. Nothing like a little taste of home.

I turned in early to enjoy my fancy room for the evening. Ahhh, yes.

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