For all those who have been wondering about my first night in Chiang Mai…here are the details!
Catticus did very well on the trains and flight – I was really impressed with her. She was pretty scared, but handled herself well.
It’s funny – my biggest stresses came from worrying about what problems I could face before getting to Chiang Mai (Cat freaking out, cat being too heavy to take onboard, cat not having the right vaccines) and spent the entire, turbulent, unpleasant flight telling myself, “by 1am, you’ll be tucked in bed and can start fresh tomorrow”. HA!!! I really don’t know if you want to know what I was doing at 1am!!
Our flight was late, Catticus had to clear customs, and then the customs officer and I had to run around the airport looking for change for 1000 bhat (the import fee was 100 bhat – about $3). By this time, it was 12:45, the airport officially closes at 11:30, and there was nobody from the guest house there to meet me. Since I was so much later than the other passengers, I guessed they had figured I wasn’t on the plane and left. I called and called the number for the guest house, and there was no answer, so there I was with the customs officer and 4 immigration officers trying to figure out what to do with me. We tried calling taxis, and even tried the possibility of sharing a ride with the woman from the information desk. In the end (close your eyes for this part Mom, and thank you for praying hard!) one of the immigration officers dropped me off at the guest house…on his motorbike. There I was, exactly when I told myself I’d be safely tucked into bed, with one arm around an immigraion officer, trying to keep my luggage tag from flapping in his face, the other arm clinging to the cat carrier, as he got me safely (with 2 stops at police boxes to ask for directions) to my guest house. … which, despite the e-mail confirmations, had forgotten I was coming. So, the security guard at the guest house stood outside the managers bedroom window calling softly and repeatedly until the manager woke up and let me into a room.
Today, I was thinking about the only people who go out in the mid-day sun: mad dogs, Englishmen…and people with no toilet paper. I went for a short walk around the neighbourhood looking for necessities, and since it’s Songkran, young people and children constantly approached me with buckets of water, said, “I’m sorry,” then poured the water all over me, smiled broadly, and wished me a Happy Songkran. It was actually very refreshing, and lots of fun. 🙂 However, after that, it was the heatesty heat of the afternoon, so I went back to my room, stuck a cold cloth on my head and slept for a few hours.
I’m meeting my faculty advisor’s wife tomorrow morning, and she’s going to show me around the university and the surrounding area.