Chaing Mai

Local_kids_at_bike_place_1One day we planned for an excursion into the rural areas outside the city of Chiang Mai.  We drove about an hour outside the city to Lisu Lodge to pick up our bike for a mountain bike.  Lisu Lodge is basically a small shack with some old bikes.  The place is very lush.  These kids were hanging out while their parents ran the Lodge.

Mountain_bikingWe probably drove for about 2 hours through the most incredible farm lands.  The pictures do not do it justice.  People would wave as we drove by.  Small tiny villages that all have the same thing.  One store, one outdoor restaurant, the few dogs roaming through the street and people and kids just hanging out.  At this point we have really not seen any Americans.  Mostly Brit’s, Aussies and Asians touring the country as well.  So here we are in the middle of the forests of Chiang Mai and we drive up next to a family of four.  I start talking with the Dad.  They are from Manhattan, we play a little geography, schools, where else have you traveled over the years, etc.  I said to him, only in the middle of nowhere would you bump into someone else from Manhattan.  It was very funny. 

RaftingWe finally made it to the end of our ride.  The last segment was driving straight up a dirt road that on the left side was a river flowing down.  Gorgeous. Hard ride.  We were all thrilled to finally get off the bikes.  Josh drove in the car for 3/4 of the ride.  It was tough. 
Now begins the fun part.  We get into this raft and make our way down the rapids.  The water was really cold, colder than we all realized.  By the time we got off at the bottom, we were all thoroughly soaked.  It was really fun and again, we got to see some homes down the water.  People out fishing for their meals.  We were definitely experiencing a different part of the world than we are used to.
We were supposed to do an elephant ride after this but we all bagged.  Been there, done that.  The terrain was basically the same and ending up with another mountain tribe so the hotel sounded like music to our ears.  It was the call because we didn’t get back until 5:30ish.  We drove back in the standard people moving vehicle there.  Small trucks that have horizontal seats covered by flaps in the back.  No seat belts.  They look like the vehicles you see in movies that move armies around but smaller. 

Rock_restaurantWe went out for dinner at a very groovy restaurant called Dalaabaa.  You had to walk over rocks on the water to get to the restaurant.  Modern design.  Young crowd.  This was the point I switched to Sihnga Beer.  I ordered a vodka here.  The price looked a little higher than normal and I wasn’t sure  why.  They brought me an entire bottle of Absolut.  It was pretty funny.  It was either a bottle of the tiny barbie glasses they like to serve liquor in.  Oh well.