It wasn’t any warmer in the daytime as we walked around the lake today. We totally didn’t bring any warm clothing so we look like loser fashionistas shivering around town.
We chit-chatted and i commented, “Hmm. Hanoi has damn alot of couples hanging out by the lake man!”
MilcahG: It’s Valentine’s Day la!
Me: Oh yeah, forgot!
It’s no surprise that i’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day.
I don’t mind the giving of little things to friends and wishing and all that, but highly detest the commercialism of it all. (You just have to read through my past years’ archives on Val’s Day and you get the gist.)
I bought a couple of things, and to escape the cold, we headed into Bobby Chinn’s place (though Milcah said Tommy’s gonna scold us for going there) for strained Vietnamese coffee and mojitos.
Was going through his infamous cook book when i looked up to see a wide-eyed gurgling infant being chucked unto MilcahG’s lap.
… I have no clue what impression she gives, that a mum who walked into the restaurant let her baby son be placed there.
At any rate, we began chatting to the mother – Shona, who works for the British Council here – and she gave us some tips on where to go. We’d already pottered about Old Quarters, so we headed down the street to the church where there were some boutiques and cafes.
I think i’ve been spoilt by the ones in Chiang Mai that i’m not impressed by the ones here at all… they all seem overpriced and not up-to-date, and the choices are limited.
And the traffic. Oh God the traffic here is scary. People drive and cross roads so aggresively and there doesn’t seem to be organized right of way at the central roundabout, everyone just GOES when they can!
Milcah’s friend told her that to cross the road, “You just have to cross and they will stop for you.”
At one point, three bikes were already two metres from us and i was going, “Fu…” without even managing to finish my curse whilst the lightning thought of, Okay we’re going to get bloody knocked down by a bike now and i don’t think we’ll die cos they’re not going fast but getting knocked is still NOT cool on holiday! They deftly avoided us as i finished wheezing my, “…ckkk!”
The next few times we crossed roads, Milcah just pulled me along as i walked with my eyes closed.
Anyway, we’ve heard Saigon is much more interesting so we can’t wait to get our asses there.
Our flight is in three hours.
Because it’s holiday season, we couldn’t get normal flights and it takes 32 hours by train.
I used to play dress up as a child with my cousins. We’d pull on over-sized dresses from the 70s that belonged to my aunt, and parade around the master bedroom in them, making up ‘lands’ and which land belonged to who as we went along.
On our first day in Chiang Mai, IceCalvin spotted this lovely little teahouse next to the guesthouse we were staying in.
Chirpy walls of canary yellow and dusky pink, white wrought iron garden furniture, serving only teas and desserts… it was so very English country garden!
“Let’s dress up for breakfast tomorrow!” IceCalvin suggested.
“Dress up… like how?” I thought about the skeleton mask and helmet he had bought.
“Like all nice for tea.”
“Can! I’ll wear my new hat!”
“I can wear my jacket!”
“Hee hee let’s do it!“
Now when you dress up as a child, it’s perfectly acceptable. People (read: adults) let you play make-believe and get on with your thing, because hey, you’re 8 and imagination is good for the child’s brain, right.
But if you dress up as an adult, people stare and laugh because, hell. You’re supposedly an adult now alongside the expectancy of behaving like one.
Sometimes you mustn’t care what other people think.
Because it will do so much as to squash your soul.
IceCalvin and i didn’t give two hoots and bright and early the next morn, we donned new things, bits and bobs we got in Bangkok.
Whom better to play dress-up with other then a fashion stylist.
We had warm raspberry tea…
I had some blueberry tea + yogurt shake…
Along 5 mini-desserts…
… and blueberry cheesecake with baby mounds of fresh cream all around…
… and poached pear in red wine with vanilla ice cream…
All for 500 Baht/RM50.
“Fuck, damn cheap right!”
Vieng Joom On Teahouse
53 Jaroenraj Road
T. Watgate A. Muang
Chiang Mai 50 000
We attempted waking up at 5 am to catch the sunrise at Doi Suthep today.
As you can tell, i say ‘attempted’ with past tense because we failed.
We did go there at 9 am instead.
Doi Suthep was built in the 13th Century and it isn’t IceCalvin’s first visit there.
We’ve been visiting lots of temples in Thailand and I’ve (personally) been having that you’ve-seen-one-you’ve-seen-them-all attitude towards them.
Usually i sit outside and read under a tree while he prays.
But Doi Suthep was different.
It was super crowded with tourists and locals and i didn’t bother taking my book out to read, people watching was so fun!
We had a choice to either take the cable car, or walk up stairs to the temple.
As we trudged rather unhealthily up the flights of stairs, i saw a giant stand-alone doorway in the distance and voiced out, “Hey, this is not so bad! It’s not even like Batu Caves. You made it sound like we had a long way to go!”
“We do… this is just the first part. The stairs go on over the hills…”
“… HOW many parts are there?!”
“C’mon! We can do it!”
Look. I can climb freaking steps if i want to, but seeing that we were going to some designer cafes after that, we wore extra nice (read: not exactly trekking gear) and i wasn’t in the mood to climb stairs. If i want to exercise, i go climb mountains okay. I came to Thailand to shop and relax!
So i sighed. And accused Calvin of conning my ass to climb the damn stairs.
Cos just last week, he bluffed that there was only one way to walk to the hot springs and we trekked 700m into the forest when in actuality, there was another walkway just 150m.
IceCalvin went to walk around the relic three times or something, to change his fate to a better one.
I pottered about, taking pictures of people and sitting on the cold marble floor.
When he was done, i followed him to do that thing – where you think and pray for answers of something you want to ask about life, shake the canister of sticks with numbers till one falls out, then refer to the board of prophecies for particular number.
It was my first time doing it. And… i don’t really have anything in particular i wanted to ask the Gods. So i thought about something, closed my eyes and shook shook shook the canister till a stick popped out.
I read the prophecy for No. 19.
It started off with, “Your life is full of prosperity.” Then bla bla bla, had no relevance to my question.
“Mine’s so accurate! It answered what i asked,” proclaimed IceCalvin, who asked about career.
“Mine… doesn’t make sense -_-”
I let him read my prophecy.
“Maybe you didn’t concentrate hard enough.”
“What are you talking about! I was concentrating okay.”
“Hmm. What did you ask about?”
“Er… I asked about love.”
“Of all the things in life, you ask about love?!”
“What’s wrong with that! I don’t need to know about the other stuff!”
“If i’m not wrong… you can’t ask about love or money.”
“Oh sheesh, you didn’t tell me that!”
So much for prophecy sticks my first time round.
We ventured outside the temple, where i went hunting for a parasol for YC (yeah i bought you happy coloured one dah) and i watched these cute bunch of kids dressed up in traditional garb.
I snapped a picture of them and three of them shouted at me in perfect unison,
“TAKE PICTURE PAY MONEY!”
“Damn clever right!” laughed IceCalvin.
“Walau. So young can shout for money already.”
The children weren’t bratty in any way, and they laughed and played among themselves.
So i couldn’t help paying money to take a picture with them.
Yeah, i’m a sucker.
In the evening, we went to the Sunday market in central Chiang Mai.
I didn’t mean to buy anything but i ended up with the most ridiculous things i didn’t need:
- a painting by a schoolboy
- five tiny psychedelic rabbits
- two necklaces
The painting and the necklaces were because i felt sorry for the boy and woman selling them.
I don’t know. Their faces just seemed different from the other vendors there.
The more i had to stand around the woman (cos Calvin was talking to an artist next to her), the more i kept on thinking, “Okay. I already showed interest in the necklaces. But now i don’t really want them. But her face is damn 7 kesian… What is 8 ringgit to me compared to her?”
So i bought two -_-
As for the rabbits, they’re super cute and trippy with multicoloured bodies and ears!
“Oh, you’re a cutie!” I snatched one up, “Oh, you’re pretty cute too!” i picked up another one.
I ended up with a few on my palm, cooing at them, “Wanna come back to Malaysia with me?”
Calvin overheard and laughed.
And that’s how i ended up with five tiny unnaturally-coloured soft toy rabbits -_-
I think if there’s a market with only pitiful-looking vendors and cutesy animal thingamajigs, i’m a goner for sure.
We’re back in Chiang Mai after the torturous 3-hour motorbike ride down.
I adored the bike rides around Pai every day - the wind blowing through my (not-so-long) hair, sunshine beaming down on me, cold air and my iPod heightening the experience greater, blasting old tracks from Suede, Switchfoot, Couting Crows, Dave Matthews Band and others.
But it’s a totally different story when i have a house on my back and an uncomfortable helmet that doesn’t fit my head properly cos it’s kid-sized.
I think the rental place underestimated my head size -_-
(I really want to post up pictures of the delightful cafes and the to-die-for scenery shots of Pai but the pc here is damn 7 slow can die)
On my first day in Chiang Mai, i was charmed by the abundance of colour in their night bazaar.
These were taken on my first night here -
They had fairy figurines of different-coloured wings for sale too
After that we went for a nightcap. Well, i did, IceCalvin had a coffee.
I flipped through a back issue of i-D that i got for RM10 from a store in Bangkok that was to close down.
I felt like something soupy as well, to warm me up.
Just had to choose the spicy frog soup.
“Want some?” i offered IceCalvin.
He looked up from the accounts he was doing (our expenditure and such) and grimaced his answer.
Below are some kick-ass pendants from a stand-alone store and guesthouse, somewhere in the middle of the forest in Pai.
I wouldn’t be able to find it again if you asked me to.
Aren’t they adorable?
Handmade by the owner herself, they’re whistles as well!
Each pendant has two holes in which you can either inhale or exhale from, producing a distinct tweety sound for that particular bird!
Being pro-artist and all, this is the only item i didn’t bother bargaining for since she made them herself.
170 Baht/RM17 each.
I happily blew on the whistle at a dog.
“You’re supposed to blow it at a bird okay -_-,” blared IceCalvin, “That’s a dog.”
Then i blew the whistle half an hour later at another animal.
I noticed IceCalvin giving me the look -_-
“What?” i nonchalantly opened my eyes wide, “It’s a bird!”
“It’s a chicken -_- It’s not the same bird as the whistle!!!”
Blar. Same animal family wut.
Can’t wait to blow it everywhere when i come back to KL and irritate the hell out of everyone hee hee.
Those are the two words i keep on using to describe everything in Chiang Mai.
((Blogging extra since IceCalvin’s has to email some fashion-dunno-what-stuff for work in the middle of the night))
Remember my posts on KKB?
Antares is having his Raise The Roof campaign of his Bamboo Palace.
For real. Check it out!
The last night before we left Bangkok, we rushed to meet Sonia, Calvin’s friend who’s based in the city as a fashion visual merchandiser. I think i got that right.
Not only did he want to meet up and chat, but we had to get his giant backpack she’d been storing for him as we direly needed it for the galore of fashion items we purchased.
Tearing ourselves away from Chatuchak, we met her at the Tower Records in Playground.
I didn’t know what to expect, except that IceCalvin mentioned before he thinks we’d get along.
“Does she speak English?” i asked.
And she did.
Besides fluent Thai, she spoke to us in perfect English with a European lilt due to her mixed parentage.
Sonia introduced us to her friend Kenny, who took us to Fuzio where he DJ-ed as we had Italian (our first non-Thai meal which was truthfully a welcome change).
Super cute logo.
There’s a book store housing heaps of art + design books, not unlike Kinokuniya.
I could see why IceCalvin thought we’d get along, she’s a party girl!
We’re trying to get her to come to KL and make her a rock star.
Sonia. If you’re reading this. COME TO KL.
Back to the topic of Chiang Mai, it was pretty chilly when we arrived and got colder at night.
IceCalvin and i shivered on the bike cos we forgot our hoodies when we drove around past sundown.
He hates the cold but i’m adoring every second of it!
We met with Mu, who’s Thai, and her husband Philip. They took us out for dinner by the riverside last night.
Mu owns a travel agency and an internet cafe, which i’m blogging from right now as IceCalvin’s playing with their 1-year-old baby daughter, Melissa.
She’s too cute to be true and she’s a got a little cough right now so she’s drooling over everything.
Philip, who’s German, speaks fluent English with a Thai+German accent which is strange to my ears but interesting in itself. He’s super funny and sarcastic, and can’t stop telling stories which i laughed out loud at over dinner.
Okay, even as i’m typing this he’s joking whether he can kick his daughter -_-
This morning i slept in till 10 am. Yes. Sleeping till 10 am is considered ‘sleeping in’ to IceCalvin cos he’s a morning person whereas i’m the complete opposite.
I feel bad that he has to potter around till i rouse, so i try (read: suffer) to wake up as early as i’m able to after sleeping at 4 am.
It was cold cold cold when i stepped out the front door to ‘try’ to wake up.
And the bed was so inviting in the cold! So i jumped back under the covers and slept somemore :p
While i was still sleeping, IceCalvin rode around and found a super sweet gallery and restaurant – Art Gallery.
That’s the beauty of Chiang Mai… there are tons of amazing guest houses and beautifully-designed cafes here, some with such quaint charm incomparable to that of KL.
Plus all the greenery around!
I’m so in love with this place.
He rushed back to get my ass over there to have brekkie.
We poked our nose around the place, snapping pictures like we’d never seen a garden in our lives.
This is my muka baru bangun, taken with my self-timer.
Calvin was somewhere else in the garden at the time so i layaned diri.
It was divine to bask in the cool morning air with happy sunshine warming you up while having a cup of coffee!
I found a huge leaf, the kind fairies find shelter under, and made him take a picture.
There are lots of cats everywhere in Chiang Mai. Not the pariah type, but the big tabby ones with soft, thick fur.
There are three where we’re staying now, and there was one at Art Gallery.
Tabby cat was torturing a moth till its death.
I tried saving it (the moth) but it struggled between my fingers, tearing its wings even more. Well, i tried.
Poor mite totally died in the end at the paws of killer tabby.
We had glass noodles for breakfast, so fresh! So healthy!
Yeah man, i’ve been really healthy in Thailand – barely been drinking (alcohol), walking a lot, getting alot of sun, waking up earlier, eating healthy food with lots of salads.
An elderly white man was walking around smiling, so i smiled back.
We started talking and it turns out he did the interior and landscaping of the gardens, which are gorgeous.
Hailing from California, Vincent is his name, he spoke about how he used to landscape eleven gardens in one estate for the 7th richest woman in the world.
Then he retired but continued his passion of restoring old furniture, interior design and landscaping.
Look! He built all that below himself.
He also showed us his huge personal bathroom (they live at the back) he designed and built.
On the left is Sun, the owner of the gallery and restaurant.
His full name is Happy Sun, i kid you not.
It’s even on his name card.
Above is the bar they just built themselves.
It took a week, they told us.
A week!, thought i.
I started comparing what i could build in a week.
Probably… a cupboard. A tiny cupboard.
Killer tabby jumped unto Calvin’s lap and manja-ed there for at least a half hour.
He’s not really good at the camera, posing with one eye closed.
Better then me la. Both eyes closed -_-
Then we walked around town a bit, to see what’s here and there.
It’s just so happifying!
Walking jauntily in the sun, no crowd, friendly smiley people, listening to old Sheryl Crow tracks on my iPod…
It makes me feel like the most contented person alive.
Oh, save for one thing missing :p