BootsnAll Travel Network

happy coincidences

sometimes there are random events that lead up to you meeting someone new… and yesterday jess and i had one of those moments. we were trying to flag a saengtaw to get to the arcade bus station so that jess could book her overnight trip back to bangkok. the first saengtaw we tried didn’t understand and/or wasn’t going that way (with saengtaw, you tell them where you need to go and if they’re going that way, you hop on) and so we flagged a second one and the driver nodded and sped off in the direction of the bus station.

once we arrived there, we tried to give him the 20baht fare but he told us, “no, i wait for you – you come back to chiang mai?” and so we agreed to pay him later. jess booked a ticket with another front row seat (lucky girl!) on the overnight bus for less than $20US and we went back to find our saengtaw waiting for us.

our driver’s name is eddie – “eddie from chiang mai” was how he introduced himself, using hand gestures to supplement his limited english. he asked where we were headed next and we told him we were thinking of doing a mae ping river cruise, and he ran to grab a flyer from his dashboard describing a two hour tour and offered to take us there. of course, once we got there eddie ran in with us to make sure we got on the cruise and asked them how long it would take so that he could come back to pick us up! by this point we realized that we had our own personal chauffeur for the day!

eddie from chiang mai

the river cruise was so relaxing – we boarded a longtail boat for just the two of us and our boat driver sped us up the mae ping river. along the banks you can see many locals fishing (some have decked out little futon couches and everything right near the water), you can see houses, some hotels, and beautiful trees. we daydreamed about living right there on the water as we cruised up to our destination – a farmer’s house where you can see local plants and herbs and a demonstration on jasmine rice cultivation. we also go a fresh fruit plate and our driver told us that the movie Rambo 4 had been filmed there! haha.

we headed back down the river to find eddie waiting for us at his red saengtaw. eddie is quite a character! although he’s 45 now, in his 20s he was a muay thai fighter (demostrated with punching motions) and as a result broke some bones and lost a lot of his teeth. he told us about his family – his wife is 41, and he has a son and a daughter as well. he was so nice that after our river cruise he kept giving us other brochures for sightseeing options in chiang mai, but we really just wanted to head back to this little massage place to relax, so he dropped us off and at first wouldn’t even accept our money!

then today, i was walking around the night bazaar area trying to find a charger for my camera battery. when i finally found one at a good price, i decided that i felt like heading down to buak hat park to relax and read a book for awhile. i flagged a saengtaw and the driver didn’t understand me, so i jumped back out of the road and all of a sudden another red saengtaw came screeching to a halt across the street. it was eddie!

what a coincidence, as this wasn’t even in the same area of town! good old eddie, he insisted i sit up in the front with him and i pulled out my map to point out where i was going. he asked how jess was doing and made sure i had his cell number in case i needed a ride to the airport or to the umbrella making factory or to go see elephants. (so many choices, eddie!)

it’s such a happy coincidence to find eddie twice in two days! there are tons of red saengtaw driving around chiang mai, so the odds i’d find the same driver twice, especially in two different areas of town, seems pretty slim. must be fate! =)

eddie is just one example of the awesome local people that we’ve met while here in chiang mai. we’ve also made friends with our tour guide (mark), a beauty salon owner (robin), a former musician/tour seller (tom), and a cute little girl named nit who just opened up her own massage place but is studying marketing. all of them have such a genuine attitude of caring, and truly wanting you to enjoy their city, their home. it reminded us of the “aloha spirit” that you find in hawaii.

when i went to see robin this morning she was telling me how local people give from the heart here, and so if you really appreciate something they do for you (i was telling her about eddie), she said to give a gift (bring some fruit or something from the market) rather than trying to tip or give money, as it is more personal, and “from the heart”. the people in chiang mai really love their city, and it shows… yet another reason you can’t help but love it here.

and on a side note – i can’t find any language classes with space left! so i guess i won’t be learning thai this time. =( i paid for a week at my guesthouse so i’ll probably stay at least that long, then will try to head down to bangkok to meet up with jess, aung, and lisa for vietnam! oh, and i figured out what was wrong with my memory card – i had a virus! yikes. so hopefully i think it’s fixed now, and the photos (and a couple videos!) are uploading right now. enjoy! =)

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3 responses to “happy coincidences”

  1. Mom says:

    The river ride and flower festival and markets all look so interesting! I think I would love Chiang Mai….and how nice to find Eddie to guide you around:)…take care. Love, Mom

  2. Eric says:

    Thanks for da help Malia! FYI…Jess is alive and well and with Aung!! Haha 🙂 I wasn’t worried one bit… 😛 She’ll give you a call a little later today!! I hear they are swimming at some private island with crystal blue water!!

  3. Kevin says:

    Aloha Malia. I am a friend of Eric’s and he referred me to your website / blog after hearing my plans to travel to Chiang Mai, Thailand after my adventure here in Bulgaria. So, I hope you don’t mind that I live vicariously through you and your friends at the moment;) This is the first blog entry that I’ve read…and before I go on, I just wanted to check in to see if it’s cool to read the others. Not sure if these blogs are personal between close friends and family. Let me know k when you can. Till then, e malama pono ‘oe….aloha

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