Sunday, 9 January 2011

Chang-Rai … No Pai … No Chang-Rai … No Pai

Sunday 10th January 2011

MP3 track of the day: Shes not you – Elvis Presley

Weather: The day started hot but then the clouds descended making it a lot cooler

Today was decision day, Chang-Rai or Pai. Friends in both and I hoped to have an e-message from at least one of them this morning. After breakfast I fired up my netbook, went onto Facebook, and clicked on 'messages'...

… no new messages, damn. This threw me a little, what should I do now? I then went online to look for accommodation at both Pai and Chang-Rai; 'hostelworld' displayed very few places for both ... two each in fact which were either two expensive or not appropriate (i.e. one place was an hours drive out of Chang-Rai). I sat back in my chair a little deflated, what was I to do now? Not only did I not know where my friends where staying but I couldn't book accommodation either. For the first time whilst traveling it looked like I would have to do something I hate and have avoided so far … I would have to turn up, in a new town, and try to find accommodation on the day. I was told by fellow travelers that both places should be fine just to turn up in and, in fairness, most travelers do not pre-book accommodation … but this didn't make me feel any better.

My plan for today was to head to the bus station, which was a good ninety minutes walk away. As I didn't know where my mates where, and I couldn't book accommodation, I questioned whether I should even bother making the epic hike to said bus station. In the end I decided that I couldn't wait here in Chang-Mai for eternity and so I decided to put my boots on and head out hoping that the walk would clear my mind and a decision would be made before arriving to purchase a ticket.

After about thirty minutes of walking I had decided that I would head to Chang-Rai tomorrow. Firstly this was where Matt and Rachael where and Anna would have to come through Chang-Rai on her way to Laos, therefore it seemed the safest bet. However the biggest factor for this choice was that it was my choice; before I knew that friends where around this area Chang-Rai was always going to be my next move and so, once at the bus station, I queued up for a ticket on the 11:45am coach to Chang-Rai.

As I was walking back from the station I had to go through an area of town that I hadn't seen before; I nick-named this area 'pudding district' as there where cake shops, ice cream stalls and places selling 'banana-splits' as far as the eye could see. Even more stranger than this was that one of the dwellings, within this area, had a 'merlion' in their front garden … similar to the ones in Singapore, only smaller. Both of these things you wouldn't have seen if you had taken a cab to the bus station I thought to myself.

Currently the sun was behind a blanket of cloud, there wasn't any chance of getting sun burnt however it was still quite hot and humid; I hopped from one 'Seven-eleven' to another purchasing an orange juice, then an ice cream and finally a bottle of 'Fanta Strawberry' (which is the brightest pink coloured liquid I have ever seen … I reckon its illuminous in the dark and as powerful as 'a million candles').

Once back at the hostel I met a guy who lives in Chang-Rai; he showed me, on a map, the street where all the guesthouses where situated but couldn't recommend a particular one to stay at. I then got on with trying to find some accommodation within Chang-Rai, on the internet, that met my requirements and that I could pre-book. After an hour of searching still no accommodation was booked, however I did have a few addresses and 'crosses' on my map and so I felt better arriving in Chang-Rai. Not wanting to waste my last evening on the internet I put my computer away and joined my fellow travelers watching 'Oceans Eleven' before heading out for my final meal within Chang-Mai and my last beautiful cake.

Once back I went online quickly to find that Anna had left me a message with the details of where she was staying in Pai. As she was currently online we chatted a little and it appeared that she wasn't going to Laos at all; after Pai she will head down to Bangkok and fly to Vietnam. Once our chat had finished I once again checked through my messages to see if anything from Matt and Rachael had come through … nope. Either they hadn't got internet connection or they had already left for Laos and are on the slow boat down the Mekong river towards Louang Phabang … which would be a bit of a shame.

As I was sleeping in the TV room tonight (As 'Spicy Thai' is full) I had to wait for everyone to finish watching films. Luckily for me one girl couldn't sleep so she was planning to watch films until 3am; I however couldn't wait that long, knowing that people would be up around 7am, and so I made my bed on the long sofa and tried to drift off to sleep with the sounds of car chases and guns firing in the background … the last time I remember looking at my watch the time was 1:30am.

Toodle Pip!

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