Have been here three weeks and Chiang Mai did feel like home for awhile…just long enough to get oriented and find the good places to eat. I spent all afternoon today in my room researching Mexico on the web and then decided to go out for supper. For about 10 seconds I was completely disoriented…sights, sounds, smells…all different than what was in my head…and added to that was the haze in the air that obscured the sight of anything more than 600 yards ahead. “Slash and burn,” Lonely Planet says. Reminded me of Springfield Oregon in the fall when farmers burn their seed fields.
For excellent western food go to The Duke’s on the other side of the river from Old Town. Tender and mild white fish stuffed with lump crab with mashed potatoes on the side. Well, it came with rice but I asked for mashed potatoes instead. And apple pie for dessert…a nice break from noodle soup! I am “im” (sp?) meaning “stuffed.” I said “arroy” (delicious) to the young waiter who looked at me like I was nuts. He had on a black t-shirt and really baggy pants. Oops, I thought…I had assumed he was a Thai or at least that he spoke Thai. Or maybe he just didn’t understand my Thai such as it is.
It’s interesting to travel alone. The other day I was having breakfast in a lovely outdoor garden setting and a 78 (looked 65) year old Dane joined me…spent an hour or so telling me his life story (Denmark seems to be considerably homophobic) and then recounted his many gay sexual exploits during his seven years in Thailand…more than I wanted to know.
A couple days later in the same restaurant I was approached by an older Brit…13 years here…who had walked the entire length of Thailand. Kind of dinggy but likable. www.youmetdennis.com They were both fluent in Thai and I got the feeling they didn’t often talk to English-speakers. Dennis asked me to post the words of His Majesty the King…which I did in my last blog entry. He loves the King. “It’ll rock the world,” he exclaimed. I just looked at him wondering how long it had been since he had been in Europe…or the States!