Saturday, June 16, 2012

First Thoughts

I left home at 8 AM on Friday and arrived in Chiang Mai, Thailand at almost midnight on Saturday, flying through LAX and Icheon, Korea. Surprisingly, the flights over really weren’t bad, and I’m pretty sure I had five airplane meals, including pasta and red wine and a Korean noodle soup with green tea. The first indication I had of Thailand was a pair of Buddhist monks who sat right in front of me on the stretch from Korea to Chiang Mai. Very cool.

Once I arrived at the Chiang Mai airport, I got a taxi to the student hostel for 120 baht ($4). Turns out you can take a taxi pretty much anywhere in the city for 20-30 baht, but hey, this was still an incredible deal compared to the $40 you’d be paying in Seattle. I ended up having to switch hostels at the last minute, but won’t get into that other than to say I met some great guys in the process.

The accommodations at the Sa-nguan Malee Mansion were much nicer than anything I had expected. I was dreading a bare-boned Spartan dormitory like some of the hostels I’ve stayed in in Europe, but the rooms here are twice as big as the dorms at Seattle U, and they have private bathrooms, good air conditioning, tv and wifi, and a large balcony with a good view of the city. The beds and pillows were rock hard (apparently the Thai preference), but fortunately, the staff had soft pillows that we could trade in for.

After a much-needed good night’s sleep, I woke up around nine with no jet lag, ready to take on the city.

My first surprise was the weather. I was expecting it to be horribly hot and humid, and while it is horribly hot and humid, it’s not as horrible as I had expected. It’s not as hot as Utah, where I was the week before flying out, and it’s not anywhere near as rainy as Seattle, where I go to school, despite it being the rainy season here. So far, it's been very cloudy, giving the impression that I don’t need to wear sunscreen (we’ll see if that’s true or not soon).

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