Chiang Mai Day 1

Continued from Taiwan Day 5.

We are heading to Thailand today!!! Almost all of today will be devoted to traveling.


With our heavy packs on our back, we decided to take a taxi to Taipei Main Station instead of walking to the MRT station.


Our cabbie had a suicide knob and lots of bejeweled surfaces.


RL looked at the chubbier guy in the center of the photo and asked me if that was an American. No, he’s just a slightly overweight Taiwanese. Speaking of which, RL has been amazed at how everyone is skinny here in Taiwan. Yup, it’s true, almost everyone is skinny.


Sunday morning, no traffic, got to Taipei Station in a jiffy.


We had to be dropped off a little farther away from the station because some of the roads ahead were roped off for a student protest. Thankfully, no protest today to disrupt our departure.


Duh.


Sorry for the blurry photo, we were in a hurry to catch our train.


Got tickets on the spot for the high speed rail.


Made it to the platform with plenty of time to spare.


These packs are heavy!


RL’s haul at the night market last night.


This guy across the aisle from us, pulls up facebook on his tablet, then proceeds to slowly scroll through a Facebook page with scantily dressed women. Come on man, be discreet!


Here at Taoyuan, where the airport is located.


Feel the burn!

We got on a cab to the airport, and immediately, he tries to trick us into paying him more money. First, it was about how there’s an extra fare for going to the airport, then about how there’s a 15% extra fare, and how he’s got a documentation to show for it. I am not having any of it! Fucker!


Got to the airport, and our cabbie decided that we were too hard to scam so he just asked for the regular fare. Hah. His face saving measure was to say that he’ll give us a discount because it’s not everyday for him to give a ride to a white person. Then…when we get out, the rear truck latch release broke…Shit!!


Thank god the key release still worked.


Every time I come to Taiwan, I have pay a visit to this special immigration booth to get my passport stamped so that I don’t get dragged off to serve in the military.


That’s about 35lbs. I am not a light packer.


21lbs for RL’s pack.


Pour out my water before heading through security.


High end shops in the mal…I meant airport.


Which way to the breastfeeding room?!


Do you come out with broken arms?


I didn’t know tampons were considered sexual articles.


Coffee!!


Cake!!


I think we are going to start a whole series of portraits for this blog…maybe.

We’ve got a couple of hours until our flight, might as well grab a bite to eat.


Ah yes, traditional Taiwanese food.


I got bit by something, and there’s a big welt on my arm, this is after 3 days…


Gabriel Garcia Marquez passed away a few days ago, I am surprised that he’s been all over the news here in Asia as well. I love his books.


Started to sprinkle a little.


The Economist!!! BP, are you reading this? MS, show this to BP!!


Food on the airplane is almost the same as the food I had in the airport.


Reached Hong Kong for our layover.


Airbus A380. That’s a beast of a plane. Our pilot came on the PA and said that it was an ugly plane from the outside but a beautiful plane on the inside…real beauty is on the inside, unless you are just hot.

First order of business is to grab a bite to eat. It seems like we are always eating.


We settled on some Chinese BBQ. Hit the spot.


Then we changed all of our Taiwanese NT into Thai Baht.


Time to board our flight. First time for RL to see one of these extra wide non-road legal buses that they use on the airport tarmac.


Thank god our luggage made it. We were on the last cart to get loaded onto the plane, and we were worried for a second.


Asians love to look white.


It’s true, Asians would go any length to stay looking white. Tanning? What crack pipe are you smoking?


Goodbye Hong Kong, now onto Chiang Mai.


With her gloves to handle the hot food, our flight attendant reminds me of Mario.


Dim sum for our in flight snack. Can’t complain.


We sat in the worst seats on the flight, right in front of the exit row, so our seats didn’t recline. Fortunately, the flight was under 3 hours, and we arrived in Chiang Mai shortly.


Luggage arrived, but not without battle scars.


My research yielded that there was an official airport taxi that goes into city center for 120 baht, so about $4. Sweet, no haggling, no feeling like getting ripped off.


Didn’t expect to see a Dairy Queen here in the airport.


Our taxi picked us up shortly. Air conditioned too! By the way, it’s super hot here in Chiang Mai. It hit 107 degrees with high humidity.


Our beloved 7! I bet it’s not as good as the ones in Taiwan though.


Our taxi turns down into super narrow alleys. RL and I both took a look at each other…hmmm…


No worries! Arrived at our guesthouse just fine and dandy.


This is what $28 a night gets you in Chiang Mai, within walking distance from all the happening spots. Nothing fancy, but clean and the AC works super well!


It’s quiet and has a nice little yard, or what I’d like to call the mosquito feeding ground.


KL looks.


The property backs right up to a river, nice.

We dropped off all of our stuff, and the wifi was not really working…UGH. There is nothing that I hate more than nonworking internet. The front desk told us that tonight there was a Sunday market, so that we may want to go check it out. Cool, let’s go check it out.


We decided to walk there instead of taking a short hop on a tuk tuk.


There weren’t as many tuk tuks here as I thought. There are plenty of the red truck taxis(songthaew) though.


Temples everywhere.


Sure sure.


Surprised to see a Boots here. Already saw more pharmacies here than the whole time I was in Taiwan.


Sunday Market!


So…this is kind of weird but there was one thing I kinda wanted to see with my own eyes over here in Southeast Asia. I’ve always heard about the sex trade, and I’ve always heard about these older white guys with these really young Asian girls. Here’s my first glance at it in person. We saw about 5 of these kind of couples here at Sunday Market. Well, I don’t even want to call them couples…it’s more of a business arrangement disguised as a relationship.


The old city walls of Chiang Mai.


They don’t hide their sex trade over here.


Texas!


Taiwanese flag!


They even have foot massages here at the Sunday Market.


Heading into the old city.


More crowds here.


OK, time to stop messing around, time for some street food. The whole time we were at Sunday Market, we didn’t see any food stalls. Finally, we found that they were tucked away all together down an alley.


YES!!!!!


RL got a whole coconut water, all for $1. Zico ain’t got nothing on this.


This was divine. Seriously divine.


Time for more food.


Noodles with cubes of pig blood. Despite my near mishap last night at Taipei night market, I am not shy about street food today. Gotta go on living and eating, yo!


Did someone say fried chicken!


Blind musicians.


Heading back outside the old city, in search of….more food and beer.


Upon sitting down at a restaurant, we realized this had happened…


The bag that RL was carrying from the dress she bought at Sunday Market had tattooed her skin. Oops. Good thing everything came off relatively easily.


Chang! The food took a while to come out, and while we waited, we became exhausted. Even though Thailand is West of Taiwan, the time zone is actually an hour behind. We got our food to-go and decided to head back to call it a night.


We negotiated with a few tuk tuks who wanted 100 baht to take us back to our hotel. Seriously overpriced as it only took us 120 baht to come by car from the airport which is a much longer distance. We finally settled on 80, which is still expensive. But…at less than $2.50, it wasn’t worth standing around getting mad.


Our tuk tuk had a blue overhead light in the back, so we got this interesting shot on the way back home.

To be continued at Chiang Mai Day 2.

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