A sumptuous buffet greeted us in the morning at the Holiday Inn. We stepped out of the hotel to be met by the jolly, greedy face of Aun. And he’d brought a van and his uncle along for the drive to the Peak, a popular viewpoint and the highest mountain in Thailand.
As we climbed ever higher, the van choking it’s way painfully up the winding mountain road, the mist descended and refused to lift, so the main appeal of the place was lost instantly. Vero and I hung around hoping for the mist to lift. There were nice Japanese-style gardens at the top, with little lily ponds here and little bridges. It was chilly up here in the clouds though, and we soon grew impatient with the weather, and reluctantly returned to the van.
On the way back down the mist lifted, typically, and we stopped off at the side of a road as I’d seen something that resembled what I’d come to Chiang Mai to see – gorgeous rice terraces like green steps falling down the hills, palm trees, little villages. I practically ran from the van and down a steep road to the village I’d seen. It was beautiful down here, rice fields, small river, little wooden dwellings – very picturesque. I bought Vero a handmade scarf from a couple of old ladies I met who were weaving, sat down on the floor of a little hut open at both sides. Not a bad view from their tiny factory at all. They seemed a little surprised to see me, and spoke no English, but somehow we communicated and I managed to get a lovely scarf to make up for leaving Vero up by the van.
I returned to the van a new man – like I’d just been drenched in a shower of nature, awakened by the sights and smells of what I’d seen, and the sound of nothing but a gurgling little river and the hot breeze. The feeling didn’t last long. We drove to a lovely waterfall, quite a high and impressive one. It began throwing it down, the rain incredibly heavy, which caused the waterfall to expel its water in even grander and more aggressive fashion. The spray from the fall had soaked us anyway, so the rain only served as a hinderance when trying to take a photo.
The rain continued unabated throughout the rest of the day and evening. Aun had dropped us off and offered to take us to some other places the next day but I’d refused. He was bringing us bad luck and costing us money. Vero and I went to the night market, which was small and unimpressive, perhaps due to the rain, or it could have been the ropey ladyboys hanging around to get their photos taken and the attention they crave and need. We had dinner in an Irish bar. I felt jaded, moody. It was the weather perhaps, or the fact that Chiang Mai itself isn’t really up to much. I needed to get out of Chiang Mai. There was no adventure to be had here.