When I think back on my month in Chiang Mai, the first thing I’ll think of is the amazingly adorable scooter I rented for a few weeks. I’ve always wanted a motorcycle, so when I found out we could rent scooters, I was all over it.
Since I’d never actually driven a scooter before, Brecht thought it’d be a good idea for me to test drive his before renting my own. After cruising through the city for a bit, we stopped in a parking lot where he explained the basics, then it was my turn. Naturally, I was obsessed.
The next day, my mom, Brecht and I went to the scooter rental place to pick out my baby. I settled on a slightly scratched up black scooter with cute orange and yellow stripes. It was perfect. Once it was finally time to test out the new ride, my mom rode with Brecht and I scooted along behind. It was clear they were both incredibly nervous about me either falling over or being run over because I was going so slow, but after a couple hours, I was flying through traffic with the best of them.
Day two with my scooter I went into town to meet my mom and naturally got pulled over by one of the police stops within five minutes. I don’t have an international driver’s license, so I got a 400-baht ticket and was sent on my way. Not even five minutes later I hit another stop and was pulled over again. Fortunately, I had already received a ticket and you can only get one a day. Perfect. After that fun little experience, I became pretty much a pro at dodging police stops.
Over the next couple weeks, I scooted just about everywhere. Sometimes I’d just go roam around, a fun way to see parts of the city I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. A group of us went to the Chiang Mai “Grand Canyon,” which, being from Arizona, was quite a funny sight. It’s basically a manmade lake of sorts with a water park and a huge cliff jumping area. I held it in, but I definitely wanted to cry after jumping from that high.
One of my other favorite rides was up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep for sunrise. The winding ride to the temple takes about 45 minutes each way with scenic views of the city and little stops along the way. Seeing the sun slowly rise over Chiang Mai and reflect off the golden temple was one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve seen this year. On the way back down there’s another small temple where I liked to stop to say a prayer and light a little incense. It was a calm moment that helped create a small window of calm when things got hectic.
Other things of note: Thai cooking class and our instructor’s cheesy jokes and how he kept coming back to “same same but different”, all the crazy tuk tuk rides, accidentally hitting a car mirror with my scooter while I was weaving through traffic, dinner at David’s Kitchen and receiving a beautiful rose and afterwards going to an awesome all local restaurant/bar on the water and dancing until it closed, all the martinis with mom, Rustic and Blue’s food that made me feel like we were in Arizona, bartending at the junction, the delicious Mexican food down the street from The Dome, post-junction day getting pizza and hanging out at the hotel on the water, the Sunday night market where I managed to find a badass running belt, Jo, our city manager, was the cutest thing ever, Travis’s kickball team kicking ass, volunteering and making cards with special needs adults, our Christmas bar crawl, my two-year anniversary dinner with Eric at Service 1921, riding over to Wat Umong, the underground temple with Brecht, our welcome party Muay Thai fight and finally finding a pair of Asics that were big enough for my white girl feet at the Maya mall! Oh, and seeing Rogue One in the First Class theater and having popcorn for my pre-half marathon dinner. Carb up, miright?
Moral of the story: I love Chiang Mai. And scooters.
With love, Paige