Great success! I arrived in Chiang Mai safe and sound on Tuesday night, which to me just felt like the end of one really long Monday thanks to the 12 hour time difference. I’m still working on completely reversing my circadian rhythm with limited success (day 2 of waking before 7 am!), but I’m sure it’ll get better with time. Everything has been wonderful so far! Here are some highlights:
- Some wonderful soul at Korean Airlines decided to put me in business/prestige class. Yeah, that meant one of these. Hands down the best flight of my life, probably ever, unless I become rich and famous.
- Arriving in Chiang Mai to be greeted by the Atma Seva team, the group of people with whom I’ll be working for the next four months. (Read more about Atma Seva here!) It was such a great feeling to have a whole welcome party waiting for me when I exited baggage claim. We threw my bags in the back of the pick up truck and headed to an adorable outdoor restaurant/bar for spicy noodles and beer. We were half successful in this goal. Upon arrival, we were informed that the chef was “too drunk” to cook us dinner, and instead happily settled for some Beer Leo and french fries (guess he wasn’t too drunk for the deep frier?)
- Eating my first ever Thai pad thai. For breakfast. The freshness of the flavors was devine.
- Exploring Wat Palad, a lesser known wat, or temple, halfway up the mountain to Wat Doi Suthep, a more popular sight. I had my first chance to go to town with my new digital camera at Wat Palad and there was certainly no shortage of incredible statues, scenery and wildlife to photograph.
- Watching Thai natives drive. Wow. In the words of Dave, traffic laws here are really more like guidelines- no one will bother you if you have three people, an entire family, an entire family plus a chicken, or an entire family with their livestock and personal possessions precariously balanced on the back of a motorbike. Quite the scene.
- My first one hour Thai massage for 170 baht, or about $5-6. Yes, please!
After a full day of exploring, Katherine (one of the other on-site interns) and I had a lengthy dinner at sit down Japanese restaurant. Quite the adventure. The best part involved the waitress explaining to us what each menu item was by pointing to her body, for example indicating that the item we had just pointed to was, in fact, cow tongue. Ooookay then, next! Cuisine adventures aside, it was great to have a chance to just sit and chat and get to talk about all kinds of ideas for the future, both Atma Seva’s and our own. I couldn’t be more excited to be here and I can’t wait to see what the next several months hold!!