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Tue Jan 26 2016: Life in Chiang Mai

Sawatdee Khrup!

We've been in Chiang Mai for over two months now and the weather has been pretty consistent: warm and dry. The temperature hovers around the high 20s/low 30s and not humid at all. And surprise... only 2 or 3 days of rain in all the time we've been here. I know, right? I feel like we've accidentally stumbled into someone else's blog - we're now trundling around on their tiny 250cc motos and savoring their dry weather for weeks on end.

But whoever's blog we stumbled into kicked us out and we're back in RideDOT.com weather

Thailand has been hit by a freak cold spell. In Bangkok, where temperatures rarely drop below 30C, the mercury plummeted to 16C. On the news and in social media, we saw schoolkids wrapped up in blankets in classrooms, scooterists riding through the city streets also wrapped up in blankets. No one in Bangkok owns cold weather clothing!

Some pics from the news. They bundled the temple dogs up in monks robes! 555!

Here in Chiang Mai up in the mountains, it's even colder: it hit 11C and to top it off, it's raining as well. First time in weeks.

At least here in the mountains, people actually have a cold-weather wardrobe. In fact, we see people in coats and jackets even when it's 30C outside! I guess when the summer temps top 45C, cold is a relative term. Still, 11C is unheard of here in Chiang Mai.

Our motos are our only transport, so we have to ride rain or shine, hot or cold

On the motorcycle front, we've submitted all the paperwork to get our ownership and plates, just waiting on the government to rubber-stamp everything. Despite this wet spell, I'm glad we've got bikes. We hibernated for the first couple of months in Thailand, recuperating from travel fatigue so we didn't really need to go anywhere. But now that we've rested for a bit, we're eager to explore once again. Well, at least one of us is. Neda's getting ants in her pants and she's started to get involved in the Chiang Mai community. Me, I'm still feeling a bit lazy, so more couch and TV shows on my menu.

Neda joined a hiking club!

Every Sunday morning, the hiking club meets up and they bus out to the Thai wilderness outside of the city to go hike some trails. Needless to say, I don't join the Chiang Mai Hiking Club. I'm fearful that all that exercise will endanger the little pot belly I'm cultivating while lying on the couch chomping down on fried spicy seaweed strips (my new favorite snack). Gaaaahh... so good...

Hardcore Hiker

I'm so proud of Neda though. Ever since we made the decision to try to make a home in Chiang Mai, she's really made an effort to integrate into the community. Every Sunday is hiking club, plus she's joined a yoga studio and works out four times a week. We also joined a pick-up beach volleyball club together and Neda signed us up for a digital photography club as well. We are also looking for a place that offers Thai language lessons. There's probably a club for that too...

Amidst all this preparation for settling down, we talked about what we would do here in Thailand. I've already got my end figured out. I like to do nothing, and I'd like to see that continue here. :) That would drive Neda crazy though. She's doing some research into becoming an English teacher here in Chiang Mai. The cost to get certified as an instructor is kind of expensive, but one upside is that she will be able to obtain a one-year working visa and in turn, I can also get a one-year dependent visa. I could totally get used to being a kept man!

Crazy Horse Buttress

Great views from Doi Langka Luang

View from Wat That Moei

Taking a break on the way to the Hot Springs Swedish Sauna

Neda is off to another one of her clubs.
I am keeping the couch warm for when she returns.

Now that we have the motos, we're exploring the area outside of Chiang Mai a little bit more. One afternoon, we head out to the Grand Canyon of Chiang Mai!

It's not really a Canyon, but an old abandoned quarry less than 15 kms from the city

The quarry is filled with rainwater and is now a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing... at least for the all the farangs in Chiang Mai

Catching some shade under a fruit tree

The red soil looks like something you'd see in Utah or Arizona!

Neda practices some yoga at the Grand Canyon of Chiang Mai

Doesn't look that far down, does it?

Actually, it's a 40-foot drop. I was totally planning on jumping, but chickened out. Next time!

Peering into other people's homes, getting an idea of what's around the area...

I saw a T-shirt I want to get for Neda. On the front it reads, "I'm just here to pet all the dogs"

Heading back home after a fun day of playing at the Grand Canyon of Chiang Mai

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