Thursday, January 31, 2013

Does the weight of one's dog determine their happiness?

Ok probably not, but the owners of my hostel in Goa had the fattest dogs I've seen in India and the people were some of the most laid back that I met there. All the pups in the big cities were treated like nuisances, and I wanted to take each one home to feed and love them! Now in Thailand, there are 'normal' size and some really fat pups. And people here are proportionally friendly and laid back.

Side note: I have a new appreciation for earplugs...making sleeping on concrete airport floors possible and quite comfortable! Still questioning how many airport personnel and luggage tags it takes to load one plane. Person #1 makes sure my boarding pass matches my passport. #2 takes and rips off portion of boarding pass. #3 checks the obscene number of luggage tags to see that they match my boarding pass. #4 checks my boarding pass before I enter the bus that will take me to the plane. #5 checks from the bus to the plane. Lets not forgets all the people in security line who don't care that I have a full container of water, as long as its not in a plastic water bottle. So backwards, then again, maybe it's me. Anyway...

First impression upon arrival: great. And an actual free bus to my transferring airport in Bangkok? Ok! The woman at information was chatting with friends and crocheting something. My bus driver did a little '5 minutes til we leave' dance. And the DMK airport had two Starbucks about 100 feet from each other. How can this not be a happy place?!

I flew to Chiang Mai, in the northern Thailand. The seats were obviously made for small Thai folk, but it was a short flight. I hadn't been able to book a hostel yet, so gave my cab driver an address an hoped for the best! A $3 cab ride later, I got to the hostel, which was booked. But she directed me next door. Another $3 and I had myself a night stay! My stomach was still mad at me for the delicious indian street food i had with Rajesh, so my meals consisted of $1 refreshing local fruit smoothies. Maybe I shouldn't have taken so much money out of the ATM!

I walked around chiang mai for a day and when my backpack got heavy, I took my first tuk-tuk to the bus station. From there I took a four hour bus ride north to the popular backpacker mountain town of Pai. Again, lots of white tourists here, but that means it must be good.

I had booked a hostel but forgot to download the info to my iPhone when I had Internet. Oops! Luckily I found a cafe with wifi. There was still just enough sunlight to make out the roads, and once the road ended and I had to go further, there were friendly Thai folks on each corner, asking if I needed help, then pointing me in the right direction. I made it to these quaint bungalows atop the side of the hill...overlooking the mountains and city. How did I get so lucky?! The bungalows have huge covered decks, and I sat out with my new roommates and neighbors, swapping travel stories and jamming on their ukelele. Rain started pouring...doesn't get much better than that!

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