Saturday, July 25, 2009

First days in Chiang Mai

Hi all,

I just wanted to give you all a quick update now that I am settled in Chiang Mai.  I got here Friday afternoon after an uneventful flight on Thai Airways from Bangkok.  I took a taxi from the airport and got to my hotel.  The hotel isn't that great- it is right inside the moat or "old city" so I like the location though.  I called my friend who is living here and she picked me up on her motorbike.  I even got to wear a hot pink helmet as she showed me around the city.  Pretty adventurous for me haha.  Chiang Mai is really cool- its kind of quaint and adorable but there is a lot going on.  We had dinner at a nice restaurant looking out over the river.  Everything here is super super cheap though.  Today I ate a pretty good lunch for only a dollar.  Anyway, after my motorbike tour of the city with Landon and dinner I was really tired - I'm still pretty jetlagged- so she dropped me off at the hotel.  Our program person sent me a message saying that another girl in the program was here too- so I went up to her room to say hi.  She was really nice and we got along well- she is from Indiana.  It was great to meet someone and we chatted for awhile.  After that, I called Northwest lost luggage place in Bangkok and after much language difficulty I finally figured out that my bags were indeed on their way to Bangkok from Tokyo and were supposed to be on a plane to Chiang Mai this morning.  I got up early and had breakfast with my new friend Katie at the hotel, then went with a bellman to the airport.  I was pretty skeptical about getting my bags, but they were actually there!  YAY!  I found the bellman again and he picked up another person in my program.  So I made another friend in the van- Mark.  He will be in Seoul with me doing the same orientation and everything.  There should be about 15 more members coming either today or tomorrow- I still don't have a roommate.  

Today, my new friends and I went to a cheap, cheap lunch and walked around.  We went to a temple that had a 40 foot tall Buddha in it and a monk that never moved - it was possibly a wax statue, but we weren't sure haha.  We spent the afternoon exploring then came back to the hotel and went to the pool for a couple hours.  I'm across the street at the coffee shop now and am leaving in a few minutes to go back and we are all going to go to dinner then go shopping at the night bazar and try and find a fun place to go out.  Tomorrow we are planning to go to "Tiger Kingdom" haha and then we are working on planning some excursions.  We are going to try and spend most weekends trekking around or visiting other places.  I think during the week we'll get to see so much of Chiang Mai - and we all want to get to see as much as we can.  

Anyway, I'll be here for at least 3 weeks and then I think we are going to spend the last week maybe in Bangkok or on the beaches in the south before we all head to Korea.  I'm having a great time though and I have luggage now so that is fantastic. Anyway, I hope you all are having a great weekend! Stay in touch!

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