Christmas in Thailand

'm kind of liking the whole 'go with the flow' lifestyle. I have no plans from place to place I simply wander to places that peak my interest-learned from either online reading or talking to others about where they have traveled. I would leave Pai and head back to Chiang Mai for Xmas. There, they were planning a Christmas dinner and party complete with a white elephant gift exchange. As I loaded the scooter that morning I found it a challenge to get the pack strapped into the seat without it moving around a lot. Using nothing but the straps that are on the pack I lifted the scoot seat, buckled my packs hip belt, shimied it over the end of the seat eventually getting it snug against the seat so I could latch it down. Then I took the packs shoulder straps and tucked them under the plastic shrowd above the brake light. Then I latched the shoulder/chest strap and tightened it preventing the pack from sliding side to side. A few quick tugs on the pack confirmed this would do. Sweating from just getting that all situated I strapped on my helmet and started the scoot- bound for Chiang Mai. 

The best part (sarcasm) was that after the 45 minutes of effort it took to get the pack securely on the bike, and after firing up the scoot to leave, is when I realized I would need gas before leaving the city. And the gas tank is UNDER the seat. So, another 1.5 hours later I was happily on the road, pack re-secured, full tank of gas, and a sky full of sunshine. 

The road or if town turned immediately twisty- curves to the left, then the right, some long and some more of a U turn shape. The scoot list significant power winding uphill. Id pass people on the flat corners or downhill corners and they would quickly catch up to me on the uphill corners. More than one I had the scoot pegged as fast as it would go and hit a solid 30kph. Barely moving and in need of Flintstone moves, eventually the scoot would regain power. I thought for sure I was going to blow the motor up just based on the weight of me plus my pack and the uphill curves I was trying so hard to ride fast around. I found myself Stopping at many overlooks to take on the beauty of the country and revel in the reality that I was really getting the opportunity of a lifetime. It was like a Christmas gift to my soul.

I continued down the mountain winding right then left then right then left until the hills were behind me and I was nearing the city limit. I pulled aside to layer on more sunscreen and get my ear buds out so I could have Google guide me to the rental shop where I would return the scoot. It was a day early but I wanted to be in Chiang Mai for Xmas where I'd at least see a couple of familiar faces.  I was relieved to get the scooter back as once I got into city traffic all positive effects of riding were quickly replaced with discomfort and unease and the hope that both the scoot and myself made it back unharmed. Luckily that was the case - I dropped it off and walked my way to the hostel for Xmas. 


I logged over 165 miles in my time with the scoot. It was SO MUCH FUN!!!!

The shop signs:

 I tried to get to the hostel by 2 for the white elephant gift exchange but my dilly dallying put me in to town well after 4p.

I arrived and it was so.packed that there was no place to put my shoes so I threw them amongst the hoards of other shoes in the entry way.

 I made my rounds, saying hi to familiar faces, making my way to the bar for a beer. I found a seat at a table with others whom I had never met. That's the thing about hostels- everyone is SO nice and inviting- and no one thinks it's weird to pull up a seat with strangers and join the conversation. Elsewhere I probably wouldve hung around the outskirts of the area and scoped out places to sit for awhile before making my move, hoping I wouldn't be the oddball hanging out. But not in hostels- it's like a free zone for new friendships.

 The owner of the hostel and a couple of staff had presumably list a very earlier in the day as the three guys were dressed in Santa and elf costumes. Made for women. It was a pretty funny sight. 

There were over 75 people at the Christmas party- roughly 10 familiar faces. The dinner was chicken, mashed potatoes, veggies, tofu, and fixings. Apparently turkey is REALLY exoensive here so chicken it was.
 I hung out and bs'd with people for a few hours before walking back to my hostel across town.

 I was eagerly awaiting 11pm when I would be facetiming my parents, brother, and nice and nephews back home for Xmas. Having been awake since 4:40am, 11pm sure felt late. It was so amazing to 'see' them all! The kids were so excited for presents and showing me what they were wearing, doing, and opening. In that moment I was incredibly wishing I could be there instead of here. Just for the day. But luckily, after seeing them and watching chridtmas, I was so exhausted I didn't have the energy to dwell on it and I fell quickly asleep. What an amazing Christmas day I had!!!