The Peaceful Side of Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai last saw our hero covered in typhoid-ridden moat water, clutching a Supersoaker and falling in love with the toilet. Those were not pleasant times. And like Bangkok, Chiang Mai was negatively influenced by my greenness and my diseased digestive system.

Here we are three years later and my how things have changed. First of all, the entire population of Thailand and all its backpacking transients were not in attendance. The moat had morphed from a dirty brown kiddie pool back into , well, a moat. And I am able to hold down solid food. What to do with all this joy and energy!

We decided it was time to make our dreams come true. We booked a tour which offered the trifecta of northern Thailand delights: 4th world hilltribes, white water rafting, and elephant riding.

Things went off to a shaky start with the rafting seeing as we went through the first set of rapids in reverse. Two things became clear to us: 1) Our guides had no idea what they were doing and 2) The rapids wouldn’t be so rapid that the first revelation would result in our death.

The elephant riding seemed a bit more professional of an endeavor. Our guide was a great elephant whisperer and coaxed our giant leathery beast through some rather precarious trails and through a river. Radek was beaming ear to ear the entire time.

The trip was rounded out with a visit to a long neck village where many female members start wearing rings to elongate their necks at the age of five. The weaving that they produce is both beautiful and unique.

I had to laugh when we got back from the tour happy and exhausted and decided to eat Mexican food for the second night in a row. That is something I was surely not up to last time around.

(Editor’s note: Upon re-reading these journals. it appears that we ate a great deal of Mexican food. This is not the case. It’s just that when we did eat Mexican food, at the time it seemed to be an interesting and vital detail.)

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