Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 11, Tuesday Chiang Mai

On Saturday November 8, Jim and I rented 2 Honda Phantom 200cc motorcycles and rode a 100 km loop north of Chiang Mai. I was quite apprehensive, having only put about 60 Km on our Yamaha 650 this summer, but Jim didn't take my feeble no for an answer and away we went. It turned out to be fantastic fun, once out of the city. Driving on the wrong side of the road is easier than crossing the street as a pedestrian. You just stay in the lane of traffic that's going your way! right hand turns are a bit tricky. The road we travelled was in the mountains, up and down, switchbacks with stunning scenery. We stopped at the Mae Sa Elephant Camp for the 1:30 show. Watching the elephants paint pictures was fascinating. We saw the finished paintings of 4 other elephants as well as the one we could see in the process. Each painting was entirely different but all of plant life. I truly enjoyed the spectacle.
Of course we got lost trying to find our way back into the city because we approached from a different direction. The Phantom was an excellent bike for me, with a low center of gravity I felt quite stable on it.

Sunday Nov. 9 we visited Wat Phra That Doi Suthep at the top of a mountain 4 km. from Chiang Mai. In the evening we strolled through the Sunday Market. The police close off several blocks in the old city ( near our guesthouse) and hundreds of sellers set up stalls of things for sale. Really nice things. The market is so large Jim and I ran out of energy after 3 hours and couldn't see all of it. There were several things I wanted to buy but didn't.

Monday November 10, we went on a tour with 8 other people. First we visited a hill tribe village, then went for an elephant ride, lunch in a hill village, then a trek up a canyon river to a waterfall, then white water rafting, the a short bamboo raft segment on a quite part of the river. The other people in our group were all young people of course and were fun to be with. All very enjoyable but just a sample of each activity. I'd like to do a longer white water trip another time.

Today, the 11 Nov. Tuesday we had planned to rent 2 Phantoms again and ride up to Pai, 140 km north of Chiang Mai but Jim was tired( he was in the front of our white water raft and had to work pretty hard). Instead, we put a deposit on the motorcycles for tomorrow so we're committed(hope this isn't my last post!). We'll overnight in Pai. We have airline reservations for Saturday to the south for some beach time.

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