First glances

Sawatdee-ka! (Greetings!)

After nearly 24 hours of traveling and 4 hours of sleep, I finally made it to the Imm Hotel in Chiang Mai around 3pm yesterday. Heather and I took the same plane from Hong Kong to Chiang Mai, so we were able to find our way together tired as we were. 

I was smiling as soon as I got outside because I could feel moisture in the air! (I haven't feel humidity in over a year since moving from Iowa.) I also had bug bites before I left the airport which blew my mind. I have since then defended myself against the tiny monsters!

The taxi from the airport was less than $5 (!!!) It's much more affordable here. The city is a mix of the old and new, the sacred and mundane, industrial and natural, Thai and international. The people who live here are calm with kind eyes. I felt like I was in a dream while looking out the window. Yesterday and today were totally mixed up. Talk about a continual present moment when there is no indicator of a daily routine!

Once I got to my room I couldn't figure out how to keep the lights on. (You have to put your key card in the energy control slot). So I took a cold shower in the dark. Afterwards I accidentally put perfume in my hair instead of the curling spray. I had a feeling I'd regret not labeling those travel sized bottles. Needless to say my world was upside down!

Heather and I just walked about the neighborhood. I haven't found a place to exchange money from a debit card yet so she was kind enough to buy me some coffee treats at a Vietnamese restaurant. We are definitely going back if we can find it! You can eat outside and enjoy the tropical plants, birds and butterflies along with your dollar coffee and two dollar spring rolls. 

Here are some of the pictures I took while on our walk. I was very out of it and wanted to just look rather than record it on my phone, but here aare just a few of the many beautiful sights:

 The nearest temple to our hotel. 

The nearest temple to our hotel. 

There is a temple on almost every block here. An altar or "spirit house" is on nearly every corner. Most shops have one for prosperity, protection and paying respects to the sacred. Some have little figurines inside and incense sticks in front, with mundane offerings such as glasses of water.

 My favorite temple so far, which has jade Buddhas for sale inside. The altar is gorgeous and I haven't found out if taking photos is okay inside. 

My favorite temple so far, which has jade Buddhas for sale inside. The altar is gorgeous and I haven't found out if taking photos is okay inside. 

 An altar in front of a small store. Ganesh must be thirsty! 

An altar in front of a small store. Ganesh must be thirsty! 

 A private altar in an alleyway.

A private altar in an alleyway.

 Ahhh, the peaceful life of a temple kitty.

Ahhh, the peaceful life of a temple kitty.

 Banners and lanterns. 

Banners and lanterns. 

There are many paper decorations and lanterns as well as knitted banners in front of stores and hotels. I'm excited to find out more about them and examine closely.

 Vintage print at "Backstreet Books"

Vintage print at "Backstreet Books"

We stopped at a used bookstore which has an awesome collection, most of the books are in English. I sometimes wonder if expats and tourists leave them behind. It's also possible to trade or sell books there. It started pouring rain while we were there and there was no door or wall so I just ran outside and stood in the rain like a weirdo. I love hearing and seeing the rain from the inside of a building.

Heather and I tried a Chang beer (which is also the same brand that makes water, slightly confusing!) And mosquito spray because it's a must. I have no idea where or what the place was, but it was quaint. There are so many awesome tiny cafes, massage spas, restaurants and stores it's hard to know where to indulge yourself first.

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Today I'm going to exchange some money and get a simard for my phone, find Punspace (where my studio will be) and experience Chiang Mai after a full night's sleep! Talk soon.