Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A New Chapter Starts Here

OK  so yes, I had to come to Thailand by aeroplanes - couldn't cruise on my Narrowboat, Jandai, so new modes of transport for now.

February 28 - New chapter of my life started - 2 months in Thailand to try and get my head in order after the total shock of my husband dying suddenly and completely out of the blue on January 14.  My daughter Amy and her fiancé Andy live and work here in Chiang Mai.

February 28 - I set off by trains to London Heathrow for first flight to Dubai, then onto Bangkok, then last flight to Chiang Mai.  Two days travelling with no sleep!  Spent first night on sofa cushion on Amy's lounge floor with very little sleep!

First impressions of Thailand
Hot hot hot!
Smiley Thais.
Road traffic chaos.
Rice with everything (I don't like noodles!)
Orange robed Buddhist monks.
Huge leaves.
Food everywhere.
Must drink gallons of water!
Ants as big as donkeys.
Geckos running.
Iced coffee and smoothies.
Keep a cold flannel in my bag.

March 2:  Went with Amy and Andy to find my "Marigold Hotel".  First place full.  Second place too dark and gloomy.  Third had tiny open steep steps.  Fourth - magic!  "Ban Kong Rao" which in English means "our home".  Balcony, bathroom, air con, tv, fridge and huge bed - all for 7 pounds a night.  I am staying here until April 4, then the three of us are going travelling for a month.

Had to have my hair chopped off!  It cost £8, which included a head massage!

Was invited to a BBQ at one of Amy's English teacher colleague's house.  Made me very welcome and wanted to know all about life on a narrowboat.  Unfortunately I still felt like in a trance so we had to leave early.  That night I slept solid for ten hours!

March 3:  Went to hospital to have my travel jabs.  One sore arm and one OK arm.  Got to go back in one month for second Hep jab...  To recover had mint, honey, lime ice smoothie (already think I will be having iced smoothies every day!).  Whilst sitting outside smoothie cafe, it started to rain.  Just like the heat is HOT, the rain POURS!  But only lasted for ten minutes which cooled everywhere down for at least... thirty minutes!  That night we had takeaway from Pad Si Eiw Man (Amy's favourite).  I had kannah moo (kale with pork in a sauce and rice!).  You eat here with a spoon and fork, no knives in sight.

March 4:  Amy at school, and I went to be Andy's pack horse, carrying a backpack full of exam papers to Chiang Mai University (Andy's backpack was even bigger).  Then we wandered around the Uni gardens - what a beautiful campus!  Then I had a siesta and met up with Amy.  She trailed me round Nimmanhaeman (which is an area of Chiang Mai full of restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries and shops) so we had to have food (marinated moo [pork] sticks) off a street food cart, cooked as we waited over an open fire to stave off the hunger pangs.  Started to rain again so we dived into the nearest restaurant and shared rice, som tam (unripe papaya salad with chillies and fish sauce and prawns and tomatoes and carrot and peanuts), gai med mamuang (chicken with dried chillies and stirfried vegetables and cashew nuts) and prawn cakes.  Then we went to a cafe to have coffee and cake, yum!

March 5:  Amy only at work till lunchtime, so we got a songthaew (red car, a glorified open backed truck with a lid - after moped riding the most popular mode of transport.  You stand on the edge of the road, stick out your arm, and off you go!) to Huaew Keow Waterfalls, which is one of Amy and Andy's favourite places in Chiang Mai.  We had takeaway fried rice to eat at the bottom falls with our feet dangling in the water.  After that, it must have been 100 degrees in the shade and Amy made me walk up a steep mountainside to get to the more beautiful waterfalls!  Yes they were!  I soon recovered paddling knee deep amongst the little fishies in a jungle pool with butterflies fluttering all around.  First time for weeks I've felt a sense of peace.  Went home and had Penang curry with rice from Pad Si Eiw Man - you see, told you, rice with everything!

March 6:  Quiet day.  Did my first lone trip in a red car!  Met Amy and Andy for lunch near her school.  Came back and had a 3 hour siesta.  I'm now at Hufflepuff Mansion (Amy and Andy's house) waiting to get back from work before we go out for more rice.

Outside the Hufflepuff Mansion
Cooling off...

My new hat.

This one posed!

No mistaking what this road sign means!

Entrance to Amy's school, where Andy will start in May

My hotel is on a quiet Soi (lane), but this is the busiest road within 30 seconds away!

Front of Ban Kong Rao (my Marigold Hotel)


  1. Fab idea to blog about it - love the descriptiveness! And particularly love your new hat ;) (although Phillippa worrying now bout you usurping her top spot for funky hats (you know her lovely rainbow one!!) love, hugs & a cooling fan xxx

  2. Hi Janice,
    So glad you've got the blog going. Love the photos and your new headgear. Have put a link on my blog so await eagerly the next installment. Enjoy your time in Thailand,

    Irene & Ian

  3. So nice to hear you found some peace for the first time. Doing the blog is a great idea, loved your first impressions, and all that food. The best of wishes Jacquie

  4. Lovely blog Jan. Very descriptive, allowing me to live vicariously through you without ever having to set foot in Thailand. :) Not my cup of tea but it certainly sounds like yours and I am thrilled you are comfy, and getting some rest and peace. I have a dear friend who teaches business courses at Chang Mei for Washington State University. Her name is Bonnie Burkett. I wonder if Amy might know her? Bonnie LOVES Thailand and wants to live there but her husband Steve doesn't care for the hot , humid climate. Looking forward to reading more of your adventures.
    Jaqueline and Les
    NB Valerie