Category Archives: Living Here

Wildlife

Here’s a few pictures of some of the wildlife we’ve encountered thus far. (Note: the image files are fairly large and may take a minute to load)

 

 

 

Getting Around Town

So now that we’re in Chiang Rai where it’s not quite as crowded and we aren’t walking distance to ………. well ……… anything really, we decided to rent a motorbike. Renting the actual motorbike was another interesting experience vs. what one might experience in the US. I think I signed my name on one form, gave the nice lady a copy of my passport, one month’s rent and she handed over the keys.

Thank god for automatics because I’ve never been on a motorized bike before. But ‘When in Rome……”

Our 110cc Motorbike
Our 110cc Motorbike ,The Green Machine

After a week of navigating the streets of Chiang Rai we up’d the ante to a 125cc motorbike. Pimpin’ aint easy.

Upgraded to a 125cc. Vroom Vroom
Upgraded to a 125cc. Vroom Vroom

Anyone that has cycled in a major metropolitan area knows what navigating traffic is like on a bicycle …… let me tell you ….. driving a motorbike in Thailand is in a class all by itself. While we haven’t seen any accidents, I can understand why it is ranked 2nd in the world as one of the worst places to drive. Lanes are merely guidelines, it’s not uncommon to see motorbikes going in the opposite direction on the shoulder, parents with children (3 – 4 people total), passengers sitting sideways using their phones, etc. are all regular occurrences. And, we still haven’t figured out how right-of-way works at a 2-way stop.

The ironic part is we rarely hear horns, haven’t seen any rude gestures, nasty comments or even ugly looks (we may not be able to identify these things either so maybe I am being naive). Never the less, if I had to describe it, it’s organized chaos with a hint of Zen. It’s not for the faint of heart, that is for sure. I actually enjoy it and I’ll tell you why …… it requires that I be present fully, it’s almost meditative in many ways.

It's amazing what we can get home on a motorbike.
It’s amazing what we can get home on a motorbike.
Made it home on the motorbike in one piece.
Made it home on the motorbike in one piece.

Parking at the mall around the holidays got you down, get yourself a motorbike.

Motorbike Parking at the mall.
Motorbike Parking at the mall.

Loi Krathong

Experiencing Loi Krathong and Yi Peng in Chiang Mai for the first time was something to behold. While I am sure that pilots flying in and out of the Chiang Mai airport weren’t so keen on it, we sure enjoyed watching the progression of lanterns floating in the night sky in the days leading up the full moon. The night of Loi Krathong was a bit surreal. If I had to compare it to something in the United States, it was a bit like the 4th of July combined with the atmosphere of New Years Eve. We, along with thousands of other tourists and locals alike, spent the evening on the east side of the moat near Tha Phae Gate. If this area wasn’t the center piece to the whole event, I can’t imagine what was.

The east side gates of the moat
The east side gates of the moat

Paper Lanterns Fireworks and Lanterns

The sky was filled 360 degrees with lanterns.
The sky was filled 360 degrees with lanterns.
These could be purchased for 30 baht.
These could be purchased for 30 baht.

Considering how many floats and lanterns were let go, we were blown away at how quickly the streets and surrounding area were cleaned up the following day. What the area lacks in municipal services was sure made up for with a collective cleaning effort.

Moving Day

I think anyone would agree that moving is never fun. When we purchased our home in Washington, we sure thought that was our last move for a long time. My wife and I have collectively lived in nearly 30 different places and we “thought” we were prepared to stay put. As I shed the old programming, I’ve started to surrender to the notion that I / we may never be in any one place for very long…..and that’s ok. Sine we have scaled our lives (and more importantly our possessions) down to a minimum, I have to admit there is something very liberating about the mobility that our new life provides. No matter where we may live, our ‘HOME’ will always be wherever we are together.

We slaved for years to collect possessions....not anymore.
We slaved for years to collect possessions….not anymore.

Our 1st Visa Run

Hard to believe we’ve almost been here for 60 days already. Like most expats in the north of Thailand we headed to Chiang Rai for a few days of sight seeing and to cross into Myanmaar for a visa stamp. While we enjoyed Chiang Mai, we also wanted to look for other housing options as well.

We started out at a little hotel called Huanchandee that we found on airbnb. It was a small room,  the hosts were very nice but the bed was hard as a rock and there were no English channels on the TV. For less than $30 a night it was a good deal but after a couple sleepless nights we decided to change hotels.

For just under $2 USD we got a ride to the border about an hour away.
For just under $2 USD we got a ride to the border about an hour away.
The view from the dining area at The Legend in Chiang Rai. Beautiful hotel right on the river.
The view from the dining area at The Legend in Chiang Rai. Beautiful hotel right on the river.

Traffic in Thailand…

is unlike anything you can imagine. Most people get around by motorbike, or scooter to those of you in the west. There’s often 2 or 3 and as many as 4 people on a motorbike. Many times there is someone sitting sideways on the back (which I tried once in Bangkok). I’ve even seen people sleeping on the back of one. While I’m not surprised that Thailand is ranked 2nd in the world of “Worst Places to Drive”, it has a certain ” appeal” that I can’t quite describe, although we haven’t jumped that hurdle yet and are still getting around by Tuk Tuk or Songtail.