I’m sitting in the Baan Chivitmai Bakery in Chiang Rai, killing time with an empty iced latte glass, waiting for the my transport connection to Mr. Apae’s Akha Hill House, a family-run guesthouse amidst the mountain scenery and hill tribes.
I was planning to stay in Chiang Rai for three days, but I feel the need to get out of the city again. After three weeks in Laos, I am not ready for the constant sound of traffic, the uniform dullness of storefronts, and general lack of living things aside from humans. And this is a small town of 60,000. Perhaps I’ve been corrupted by Laos. Maybe I am ready to be a hillperson after all.
I have ten days left in Thailand. I plan to stay with Mr. Apae in hills a couple days, then venture across the Burmese border for the day, then back to Chiang Mai for a few days where I’ve scheduled one-day cooking course at a nearby farm. My last three days in Thailand will be at Pun Pun Organic Farm, a place where they practice renewable living, natural building and seed preservation.
When I get back into the land of the long white cloud (NZ) on St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll be staying with friends in Auckland, then venturing down to Wellington for a couple weeks, where I’ve arranged to help varnish a boat in exchange for room and board. After that, I’ll head to the south island. I’ve still not bought a return ticket to the states, so my life plan (ha,ha) remains up in the air.
In the last month or so, I’ve had the most peaceful time with myself and meeting other travelers. Somewhere along the line, I turned into a very social person (some people call it “big mouth”) after a day in town, I pretty much know everyone and where they’re from. Maybe it’s left over skills from my optometry days. I didn’t notice it until different friends started pointing out how I knew everyone. I thought everyone just talked to everyone they met and then committed their names and life stories to memory. It could be genetic too.Just a little while longer until I catch my truck to the country. There’s supposed to be hot springs and waterfalls and hilltribes. I’m having a little bit of Laos withdrawals right now, so this is a good thing.