|Me riding in the mountains|
After several days of not seeing many other vehicles, it was kind of hard to get back into the swing of dealing with city traffic. We made it into the old city, located our first choice guesthouse, and found it was full. We moved on to our second choice, but same story. And at the third. While Colin waited with the bikes, I checked several other guesthouses in the area and found a suitable place with a very clean, comfortable, very orange room. Since our first three choices were full, I was initially only looking for someplace good enough for one night, figuring we'd search for something better for the next couple of days. But this place, the Tha Pae Gate guesthouse, was really nice, and we ended up staying for three nights. Once we were situated, we went out to find some lunch (McDonald's. Don't judge us. We have been eating local food in the markets for most of our meals. We will be going to Laos and then to Cambodia, where fast food is not an option. We had to get our fix, because as Colin says, “who knows when we'll be in Big Mac country again?”), and then walked around the town to get ourselves reoriented.
|Colin, khao soi, the bikes, and his new favorite lady in the background|
|Crazy bird holy water delivery system|
The next day, we went out do a bit of a walking tour of the Wats (Buddhist temples)...and the khao soi joint. I can't remember how many temples there are in Chiang Mai, but it's a lot. We strolled through the city, also looking for a bike shop to buy some new sparkplugs and fuel filters, and made our way to “Grannie's” for another bowl of numminess (it was as good as yesterday's bowl). We then stopped at a couple of the Wats and admired the architecture, ornate decoration, and the peaceful, landscaped grounds. Afterward, as we walked back to the guesthouse, we found a bike shop and pulled our used sparkplugs out of my daypack to show what we needed. The nice young man found two replacement ones for us in one of the bins. Before we paid for them, Colin remembered the fuel filters we needed. Since we didn't have a spare one to show, Colin produced my iPod Touch, with its handy translation program, and held it up with the Thai word for fuel filter spelled out on the screen. The guy nodded, rooted in a different bin, and came back with just what we needed. While Colin handled the transaction, I stared at the huge and bizarre fish in their fish tank. There were two, each was approximately eight inches long, and white with a pinkish-red “brain,” crimson red eyes, and red lips. One of the fish kept staring back at me, dragging its gaping lips along the glass...
The day got quite hot, so we continued back to the guesthouse to escape from the heat. When we got back, we found we had received an email from Tom (a fellow ADVRider who lives in Chiang Mai and invited us out for a drink after reading Colin's ride report online) with a place and time to meet. Excellent! We spent the rest of the afternoon researching our upcoming border crossing into Laos on HUBB, GT Rider, and Ride Asia. While I did this, Re worked on some blog posts, and then we headed out for an early dinner at the night market. Around 6:00 pm, we walked up to John's Place, where we met Tom and his friends, Peter and Dave. We spent the next several hours enjoying some good conversation and many Changs. Around 11:00 pm, we staggered home to bed.