Jody's Adventures

Monday, January 01, 2007

Chiangmai Thailand

I flew into Chiangmai on Christmas day. It was a bit of a culture shock from Laos, but I appreciated that I could walk into a 7-11 and get a slurpee and a chocolate bar. Much more westernized, bigger, and more modern than Laos, but still a relatively small city. The city retains vestiges of an old city wall and even a moat around the old part of the city. No city bus system so you must trust your life to tuk tuks or "taxi's" which are motorcycles, or trucks respectively which have been converted to carry 2 or more passengers. Pretty scary little rides at times, and you have to negotiate the price everytime. Rather that deal with the hassle I opted for the locals favorite mode of transportation, a motorbike. You can rent one for about $4 per day and they are a great way to get around. One minor detail being that while I've ridden on the back of a motorcycle before, I've never been in charge of the controls on something like this. Minor detail. The guy at the rental shop gave me a 5 minute tutorial on how to start it, change gears, and use the brakes, and reccomended I just keep it in 2nd gear until I got the hang of it, off I went. So three days later I am still very much alive, have't even had any close calls, and I'm actually a pretty big fan. Still haven't been out of 2nd gear. You don't need high speeds inside this little city, and frankly I am quite content to stay under 20kpm. I went to the mall the other day and was directed to "motorcycle parking". With Christmas behind you I'm sure the agony of finding your car in a packed mall parking lot is fresh in your mind. Now imagine finding a motorbike in a similar situation. This photograph shows about 1/5th of the motorcycle parking at this mall, and 90% of the bikes are the same model as mine.


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