settling into thai life

Well, we’ve been in Thailand all of two days now – been ripped off in Bangkok, found ourselves in a ‘one star’ guest house in Chiang Mai and it seems we’ve finally landed on our feet.

From the beginning… we arrived in Bangkok after the all nighter, feeling a little vulnerable and fell for all the sharks on the first day, paying way over the odds for the taxi, the first meal and a few other things too, but by the evening of our first day we were beginning to find our feet and after successfully negotiating a taxi to chinatown, a fabulous feed and another taxi home we felt well satisfied. The second taxi was a bit of a laugh actually, we paid 45B to get to chinatown, but were getting quoted 150 to get back. Things were looking grim when we spotted a taxi in the middle of the 6 lane stream and tried to call him over… just as he got stopped by the police! Instead of hassling him though, the police just escorted him across the traffic to the kerb to take our fare – I guess they figured a fare was important and any traffic misdemeanours could wait for another day. We were confused, but happy.

Our first night in Chiang Mai was at the Lai-Thai Guesthouse. Lonely planet has it at ‘Mid-Range’, but somehow, I can’t see it. Maybe as we age our standards are getting a little tighter, but this was a bit of a dive. Saved by friendly staff and a lovely pool, all the same, the constant noise and a couple of rock hard beds tipped the scales to the point where we could not forgive the leaky toilets and general run-down state of everything. So, we hired a tuk-tuk and headed out to find something better. Our driver was lovely – for the first time we’d found a tuk-tuk driver that wasn’t looking for commissions and kick backs. He knew some lovely hotels and took us around to try our luck. Unfortunately our luck was out – everything booked up. So, eventually to stave off frustration we headed back to a coffee shop just a few doors from our guest house to take stock and plan the next move. Then we realised that the coffee shop was also a ’boutique’ guest house. OK, so we’re paying a lot more than Lai-Thai, but for our 1750B/night ($au70), we’re getting a whole floor, with three bedrooms and a bathroom straight out of ‘Roccoco Weekly’ – and a view! Yep, this is the life! There’s even a PC with free internet for guests. Pictures will surely follow.

The others have just headed out to get the laundry (man we’re spoiling ouselves!), then it’s off to the night bazaar again for another round of papaya salad, pad thai and whatever else we can scratch together – tough, but somebody’s gotta do it!