While it’s next to impossible to follow-up two great days (ellies, lanterns) with anything that doesn’t pale it comparison, I gave it my best shot by booking a full day tuk tuk tour. Paul, the driver, had gotten great reviews and English was his first language because I believe he’s from either England or the US. Not positive, actually, I just know he’s farang. I emailed him a couple of days before the tour, which I scheduled months earlier, since I hadn’t heard anything from him and I wanted to confirm. I’m glad I did as he bailed and we would have been sitting there waiting in the lobby of the hotel for lord only knows how long. From his email it sounded like he had lost his assistant and everything was very disorganized — he didn’t even have our tour on record (the email thread clearly showed it, though). He said he had a fever and was on medicine, but if he felt better the next day he could give us the tour and we should be fine as long as we didn’t touch hands. What now? We have another month left of this trip, so I’m not taking any chances going on a tour with a sick person. Sorry, not sorry. It was a really weird exchange and just from that alone I wouldn’t recommend him; he was pretty unprofessional.
I was really bummed because I love me a tuk tuk ride. I decided to check to see if there was another company that might offer it and there was, and after a few speedy email replies we were set for the ½ day tuk tuk tour with less than 24 hours notice. Not bad. That part was impressive. After we had breakfast, we waited outside for the tuk tuk. When the driver showed up, after saying hello, he motioned for us to sit in the back. We did, and we waited. And waited.
And then we tried to figure out what was happening. Turns out we were waiting for the guide. I had no idea — I thought the driver was the guide. I was a bit relieved, to be honest, because the driver spoke about three words of English. It would have been a pretty quiet tour. Hahaha. Our guide, Ton, did speak English. Unfortunately it wasn’t the best, but it was OK. I give him cried for trying. Come to find out he’s regularly an accountant and does tours on the side. He apologized at one point and said, “Sorry, I don’t speak very good English”. It was funny, because that was exactly his (side) job — to speak English. Oh my. We got by fine, and still had a pretty nice time.
Then we went to a few temples, one of which we had been to before and had forgotten the name. That’s twice this has happened in Thailand. Good grief. The insides of these temples are quite pretty so I took this video, and this other one. This post is late, so I’m going to bombard you with pictures!
Then we went to the local market, where we got a coconut (delicious – Nguyen you are totally right). I think we were the only farang there. Pretty interesting.
Then they dropped us back to the hotel and we said our goodbyes. I’d give the tour a C+ and the tuk tuk ride an A- (I could have gone faster!).
We relaxed and showered back at the hotel. Showers for me generally are the afternoon because you can get so hot. Even though I have to say that Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai were both much less humid than Bangkok. It was such a relief. It was nice to have flat-ish hair for a week.
We wandered around to try to find a new place for dinner that night. We didn’t feel like going back to the bridge (there was a parade – we saw it last time and it was just OK) and wanted to just stay local. We found a place with good reviews on Google Maps and it was quite crowded, which is a good sign. There was a notice in the menu that there is one woman who cooks everything, so there can be a wait. No problem, we weren’t in a rush. When we gave our order and Sal mentioned his main course the waitress asked, “one?”, which is a really weird question to ask when someone orders a main course and the other person has already ordered. We sort of chuckled and then just enjoyed a Singha and waited patiently. Eventually my appetizer showed up, and then my main and Sal’s appetizer. Then we waited and waited. Sal’s main course, after over 30 more minutes waiting, didn’t show. Finally we asked. Apparently the waitress never wrote it down. By this time we had waited a very long time for food, so we said no thanks when they asked if we still wanted it. When she brought the bill it was wrong. I felt bad for Sal as he didn’t get a main course, but he got to have a nutella/banana crepe from a stand on the walk back to the hotel, so it’s not all sad news for him!
Our last day in Chiang Mai was over. Sad