After our Christmas experience at Elephant Nature Park, we had 10 days, including New Year’s, to relax and take in Chiang Mai. — FYI – our New Year is not the same as theirs, but they have a party for us anyway. 🙂 — From the first day (trip day 118), we quickly discovered a few things about this beautiful town. First, there are friendly people everywhere, and they all speak English. Second, there are beautiful Wats on virtually every corner (believe it or not Mississippians, we are behind in the church-per-capita race compared to the Thai). And third, the first week of January is not cold enough to deter mosquitos. The kids left their room light on while we were out on the town the first night, and there is no such thing as a sealed room in most of Asia. “The Night Of A Million Mosquitos” was on. Honestly, there were hundreds of them, and we swatted and smacked for at least an hour before we felt like we could leave the kids to it. You didn’t think we would switch rooms with them did you? In the end, I was able to rig some mosquito nets over their beds, but they were not well elevated and Caleb’s feet touched the net in the night. +6 bites to the mosquitos. Karma I guess for killing scores of their brethren.
There were many westerners in Chiang Mai. I have heard that there are a lot of expats who made Chiang Mai their home due to the beauty, modernization, English-speaking, and cost of living in the former Northern Thai capital. I completely understand this. The city delivered on all of the above. We were even able to catch Star Wars: The Force Awakens in English ($22 for the family, which included a 60-second tribute to the King before the show — standing was required by law), and we watched Ole Miss smash Oklahoma State in the Sugar Bowl at a local pub over breakfast. There were areas of the city with entertainment that lasted well into the night, and also tons of day-trips and rentals to spice up the daylight hours. However, this was our first run-in with a practice that would follow us all the way to Greece. In a truly unfortunate turn of events, we were no longer allowed to flush our toilet paper – it had to go in the waste basket. Think about this for a moment and let it sink in. Yeah… and… yeah. Even so, we had a great time. – ALaff