Day 9. Still in Chiang Mai

I still haven’t had a chance to do the YouTube thing with the video from my GoPro. The video is clear, I have it on 2.7k not 4k as the files are so big on 4k, and I have shot a lot of my legs and the ground when I’ve forgotten to turn it off. The camera mode I have set on ultra wide, then I use my proper camera for normal format shots and special effects stuff, a bit cumbersome but I like the photos.

The GoPro is small light and easy to use, although I still can’t do a quick changeover to timed shots v instant shots, my fingers are too stubby. If I could I would use a digital SLR, I have a reasonable but old Canon but its too heavy and too large and I carry soo much crap (that I don’t need) so it gets left at home.

The Group we are travelling with is great, a real mix. The group consists of;

Naa – Our Intrepid Tour Group Leader. She is a youthful 61, former teacher who prefers travelling and leading groups for Intrepid. During Covid she taught prisoners in the Bangkok gaols. She is married, her husband is 70 and retired and she has 2 daughters who have educated and I’m not sure if they have any other family.

Dale aka as TMM (The Maintenance Man) & me – Pauolo.

Valentin & Barbara – a 30ish couple from Germany on their honeymoon. He works in German politics and she is almost trained to be a psychologist – I think she would be a good one.

Mat – a chatty 30ish computer IT engineer from Melbourne

Dave – a 40ish mats teacher from Florida USA, leaving teaching and moving to work in computer science when he gets home.

Dave 2 – a 61 year old single guy from St George in Sydney, still working, a well travelled knowledgeable bloke with a head fullof trivia.

Bruce – a 70 year old guy also from Florida, sounds like a New York accent. Very independent and I would say a unique personality.

Ange & Georgia – Mother and daughter from Perth travelling together, Ange is a copper probably mid 50’s and Georgia s about 30 and I think works in disability services.

Robyn – a friend of Ange & Georgia. Now single woman who won’t disclose her age, good on her, but I reckon she’s about mid 50’s. Shes a Grandmother that doesn’t like children, but I reckon she’s probably a pretty good granny, and good fun to have around.

Ginger – a 50ish single Canadian woman who currently lives in Malaysia, I think a teacher as well. Very organised and pleasant to talk to, well travelled woman.

Mark & Ben – two young blokes, brothers, from Dublin, one just finished uni and one just finished high school so they are Intrepiding around Asia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, India and maybe a few more places. Pleasant young fellas who fit in well with everyone.

That makes 14 travellers.

Today, in the morning we split into 2 groups and Bruce. We don’t know what Bruce is doing but he’s doing it, we may not find out what he did, his answers tend to be obscure. One lot go to a cooking class, which they love and they ended up cooking their own lunch. TMM and I were with 5 others and we go out to the paddy fields where they are planting rice, then to a local temple which is all made by the local Buddhist community, tin on the outside and silver on the inside. Men only are allowed on the inside. Should be more places like that I reckon, Nah just joking. It is a stunning beautiful place. I leave a bell hanging outside the temple for Tim. The locals are also the craftsmen and women who make the bits and pieces for the temple as well as little stuff to sell to raise for building and maintaining the temple. It would take a fair bit of Silvo to polish it I reckon. Next is lunch at a place that is a local restaurant that only does a chicken and rice dish with dipping sauce and broth and onion soup. Surprising but TMM eats the chicken and rice dish with the dipping sauce, BUT, it does look a lot like chicken fried rice. We then go to a local market, lots of stuff, good quality, really good prices, TMM buys more stuff but I refrain, discipline is the order of the day.

This afternoon is a chill afternoon, the monsoon weather is building again, its steamy and dark clouds are building in the south. Tonight we are going to a local cultural event. Some of the group go for a swim at the hotel next door, some go for massages. I’m sitting out the front of the hotel in the smokers area in the shade, listening to the birds in the jungly gardens and watching the storm build.

Team meeting before we leave for the cultural evening to sort out visa paperwork for the crossing into Laos the day after tomorrow when we get on the small boat on the Mekong. Naa gets it all sorted, collects money for laundry done today, collects money for tonights event, I’m not sure how she keeps it all sorted.

6.30pm and the storm breaks, its absolutely pissing down as we contemplate the ride to the event in the back of a truck with seats, a sort of big brother tuk tuk. There are 15 of us in is, squeezed in like sardines in a can.

The event is well supported by a mix of people and we sit down to a lovely Thai meal and some Singha beers. The dancing is all Thai traditional dances, mostly women and some men. The women look sensational in their traditional clothes with their long fingernails that seem to float through the air as they slowly dance. Its a lovely night, finished with a quick walk to the market and a foot massage.

Tomorrow we leave for Chiang Khong, further north, via Chiang Rai where we are visiting a couple of things.

Ciao from Chiang Mai – Pauolo

Beautiful silver Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai

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