|Kelly infuriated with me for taking his picture while he was going through such pain from his dog poop/chili pepper endeavor|
The guesthouse offers many different options for breakfast, at fairly cheap prices, but we opted to have a wander 'round and find something a bit more authentic Thai. We decided it would be a good idea to trek the route to our school so with map in tow, we head out into the quiet Monday morning. I have to say that Kelly did an expert job at navigating us to our final destination! However, when we got there, it was closed! We decided to find some snacks at the local gas staton/Tesco mini-mart to kill some time before the 9am start. We head back with our loot of water and prawn crackers and its still closed. So we hang around a bit and this skinny English guy comes up and informs us to come back at ten, as no one will be there until then. We decide to backtrack to our guesthouse and keep exploring. We eventually head back amongst the smells of friend banana and hot sewage, to our school. Unfortunately, when we get inside (yay its open!) we find out from the principal, a lovely Thai woman knick-named Alm that class wouldn't start until noon as they had lost 2 or 3 teachers and had to rearrange the schedule. So, after filling in some paperwork we headed back out to our guesthouse. This wasn't my idea of the best first day of class, but hey, flexibility isn't my strongest feature.
One thing I should note (as interesting to me) is the route that we take to school everyday passes an apartment complex where there is always at least three or four old white men hanging around, usually accompanied by a young pretty Thai woman. I'm not quite sure what that all means, but it has a creepy air about it. We are later explained that to Thai's, when they see an interracial couple, i.e. Thai woman and white man, its automatically assumed she is a prostitute. I don't know if this is always true, but it makes you look twice when you see a wrinkly old white dude with a beautiful Thai woman. (I'm not sure if this is all politically correct or not, but its just what we've been told by our resident Thai culture expert/course instructor Moz.
Before I go on to talk about said Moz and our first day of class, i'll talk about breakfast. Right around the same area as the odd apartment complex there is a restaurant we stopped in for breakfast. This is not a happy story (at least for Kelly), but I digress. First, Kelly steps in dog poop, smelly/hot/soft dog poop and proceeds, unknowingly, to track it throughout the restaurant (luckily we were sitting outside.) Then, dealing with the embarrassment, we both order - he gets, lo and behold, a green curry (he always gets green curry) and I order a kind of rice and pork clear soup which isn't to dissimilar to albondigas in concept. Mine is awesome! I love soup, and this salty concoction is right up my ally. While i'm enjoying my soup and green tea, Kelly starts to go a sort of reddish/pinkish/purple color and his eyes go quite wide. He has, reasonably enough, accidentally chewed up and swallowed a very, very hot chili. I'm not very sympathetic and his pain turns into anger as I chastise him about drinking all our water. Anywho, I apologize and start to laugh (not at his pain, but at the bad karma that has befallen my beloved,) and i'm sure that makes him only angrier, but eventually he calms down and we head back to the guesthouse. We hang around, buy a water, cuddle and then head back to the school. It is about a ten min walk to the school from our quaint little guesthouse, which is just long enough to work up a good sweat in the oppressive heat. When we first got here it was humid AND sunny, but since we've been here it has been unusually hot and DRY. The heat and dryness are a bit more familiar and tolerable then the humidity, but i'll take cloudy and humid any day over beating down sun and dry heat. It feels less hot to Kelly and I. On top of that there has been some midday showers too, but we've always just escaped them - either in class or in our guesthouse.
So once, we get back to the school we meet our four other class mates and our instructor Moz - a chain smoking 17 year expat from northern England with - you guessed it - bad teeth (this is all endearing of course, Moz is quite a nice, sarcastic fellow.) There is Esteban, a Puerto Rican living as a teachers aid in Aurora, Illinois (I had to tell him about Wayne's World!), Andy a Mcdonalds exec. from Leeds, England, and Malcolm from Adelaide, Australia who works for the national park service there in south Australia. Kelly and I are by far the youngest of the bunch.
Most of the day is spent getting to know one another and introducing each other to Moz, we basically have a general chit-chat for four and a half hours with a coffee break in the middle. We talk about how long we've been in Thailand, where we're all living, how its been so far, and the basics of living in Chiang Mai. Its a little slow (and we definitely don't dive into any of the course topics) but its informational in terms of Thai culture, customs and way of life.
During the break, Kelly and I look on various websites, including craigslist, for a more permanent home. We find one, a little far away and I call them to see about coming to look. The woman who answers, Carol, sounds American or Canadian and says we can come see tonight. We print out some other places to look at and go back to Chiang Mai 101 class. Moz introduced the course topics and assigned us a presentation for tomorrow on any topic we would like.
After class, Kelly and I headed out on our home-scouting expedition. We walked all over the east side of Chiang Mai! We couldn't find one and when we did it was closed and the second one we saw was a glorified and EXPENSIVE hotel room, we then got a red truck (the preferred mode of travel around the city) to the condo we found on craigslist. Now, I will preface the next part by saying: we hadn't had dinner, we're soaking with sweat, had basically only found inadequate places to stay, and were generally in a foul cranky mood. We took the elevator up to the ninth floor of the condominium complex and found room 923. We were greeted at the door by Carol, a tall, long-wavy haired, American woman from Sacramento probably in her fifties. We were invited in and completely blown away from how awesome and "exactly what we wanted!" it was!!! It had a kitchenette with a stove top and microwave, bathroom with tub!!, living area with a pull out bed-couch and tv, and a queen sized bed next to some sliding glass doors leading to a balcony with a STUNNING view of the lush mountainside and pool 5 stories below. It was fully furnished down to the silverware and sheets. We sat a moment at the desk to catch our breathe and gaze astonished at one another while Carol made a phone call to the landlord Elkie to tell her we wanted the apartment as soon as she was ready to leave it. We set up a meeting with Elkie for the next Wednesday at 10:30am, then left, GLOWING, to find some well needed and deserved dinner. While we were walking, hand in hand, down the street we came upon the mysterious AMAZING SANDWHICH! Not only had we found the perfect living space, but the mysterious restaurant we had so longed for the day before. It was a great day, except for the motorcycle accident that happened while we in the food joint which was quite disturbing, but the fellow was just scratched and scraped so no worries! This kind of thing happens all the time apparently. After our sandwiches, we caught a red truck to the wat (temple) nearest our guesthouse and walked home. We mingled around, talked to Sarah for a while, checked email, and passed out! What a day!!!!