Chiang Mai - land of Elephants

I've been in Chiang Mai for about 2 days now and absolutely love it here. Sad thing is the number of foreign tourists is outrageous! (us included). I think I've seen more foreigners in Thailand than I've seen locals! Tourism is really a thriving industry in Thailand, and now I've got photos to prove it. (well, not at this very moment, but when I get back to China)

To update you on what Rachel and I have been up to... Bangkok was insane. We got around by tuk-tuk - a motorized wagon pretty much. There are similar ones in China, but are considered illegal there while in Thailand its one of the main types of transport. We visited the Grand Palace, the Emerald Buddha, Reclining Buddha, and Khaosan Road... First off, Thailand, even Bangkok, is CHEAP. It was one USD for each of us to get from our hostel to Grand Palace (30 minutes away). Food has been even more glorious, ranging from a few pennies to a couple dollars.  Don't get me started on housing. We were spoiled in Bangkok with $10/person/day in a really swanky hostel but here in Chiang Mai, our guesthouse is $2/person/day for the daily conveniences.

Yesterday, we started our adventure trek bright and early, beginning with a 1.5 hour ride in the back of a pick up truck to the elephant ranch. We rode atop these docile elephants for an hour through the jungle, up hills, etc... Then we went on a 2 our trek to a waterfall. Definitely not feeling swimsuit ready (even more so now that I've "eaten my weight in Pad Thai" as Rachel says...truth) so we just sat on the side and enjoyed the scenery.  White water rafting and bamboo rafting followed...OMG. I will just have to show you the words can describe the 'joy' we had during this adventure.

Last night we ate...(I probably had 4 dinners) at the Saturday Market which is a big open air market with food, random articles of clothing, souvenirs, you name it. I just ate...drank Thai Tea (Cha-yan) and ate more. We definitely slept well last night. 

This morning we woke up bright and early to go to Thai cooking class! They brought us to the local market to pick out our veggies, spices, and other goodies.  I bought a bag of Thai Tea so I can make it on my own now! We chose dishes in different categories - curry, stir-fry, appetizer, soup, and dessert. It was amazing! They would teach us one category at a time, we would cook and eat what we just made, rest, then make the next course. Now we're both just trying to relax and take it easy as we have a CRAZY day tomorrow.

Tomorrow, yet again, we will have to wake up early but this time to go Ziplining for 7 hours, on Thailand's longest ziplining course! The only time I have ziplined was off the Great Wall (pretty sweet too). But now, we're going to jungles by Chiang Rai and spending a day flying through the air with "Jungle Flight".

Tomorrow night, we'll be off to Phuket!

Sa-wat dee ka.

Pad Thai!

Sorry I have kept you all out of the loop this past month.  This is the first time since the last post I have been able to log onto Blogger! My VPN expired and then I had no possible way of updating.

I do have a lot to update you on, but as of now, I am in Bangkok, Thailand! After a lot of contemplating, I decided to move to Shanghai indefinitely. This being said, once I made my decision to move I began freaking out about the job search and how I would be homeless and jobless after Expo... Because of this frank decision to completely alter my life and skip out on grad school, my plans for traveling have changed as well.  I am no longer backpacking through south east Asia for 5 weeks.  Instead I'm taking a mini vacation of 10 days in Thailand! I figure it's better than nothing and I can use all of my savings to LIVE. The remainder of my savings can help me survive in China for about a year without a job, not that I'm planning on being jobless, but just in case! Travelling would probably have wiped out my bank account.

I'm traveling with a close friend of mine from USAP, and we're going to meet some of our other expo buddies in Chiang Mai and Phuket. I'm excited for this warm weather as Shanghai's weather went from scalding hot to freezing cold in a matter of DAYS. No joke, on September 22, first day of fall, the weather dropped 20C. We all got sick. I've lost a lot of color the beaches of Thailand should fare well for me! Tan (healthy, non-sickly) Cassie back in action!

I'm glad to finally have some uncensored internet access, but I know that in 10 days, I'm going straight back to the PRC and must re-suffer the prison-esque internet. I'll try and keep you updated as much as I can on my trip!

Off to some delicious Thai food! :)

Sa-wat dee! (Goodbye in Thai)