We've Arrived in Chiang Mai
It was finally time for Chiang Mai! We took the overnight train from Bangkok and it was very pleasant. It felt just like Harry Potter on the Hogwarts Express, minus the candy cart and chocolate frogs. We were lucky to be placed in a car with a lovely couple David and Kat from California. They were great company and were very excited about our adventure ahead. Kat is going to be in Chiang Mai next week and we can't wait to hang out with her!
Our first stop in Chiang Mai was our hostel that we hold strongly to our heart, Hug Hostel. This was recommended by one of Shawn's friends and it's $6 for a bed per night, how could we resist. Hug certainly lived up to our expectations.
The next day June 26, was my birthday and I had to play with elephants. I want to add elephant bathing to my resume, it's so much fun. Our elephant Ohm, was incredibly happy to be in the water and starting laying on his back and rolling around. We had a picnic lunch of Khao Soi, which is the famous northern Thai curry. Every birthday I always have a picnic and this year wasn't any different. This time, I didn't even have to plan it.
After our elephant adventure, we headed back to our hostel ready to celebrate the night. Hug is the best and has a happy hour of 3 Chang beers for 100 TBH ($3). While we were sitting in the Hug Cafe we started talking to this guy named Rhys. He had many stories to share about life and all of his travels and we happily enjoyed listening while drinking our Changs. While hearing Rhys' ballads of his journeys, there strolled in a great guy named Joey straight off the road. He had been riding motorbikes all day and said he lost the group of girls he was with. He came in panicked, but then we gave him water told him it was my birthday and there he was in on the festivities.
Our group continued to grow and grow with an addition to sweet Canadian girls in our room who suggested we go to a ladyboy cabaret at Anasuri Market that night. I couldn't think of any better way to celebrate my birthday with strangers turned into friends. Our group continued to grow and we ended up with 15 people. I called the cabaret show to see if they had room for that big of a group and they asked two questions. First, "What is your name?" Second, "Where are you from?" I said Amanda from the States and they said okay. Once we arrived they had the VIP table in front reserved for us. I sat front and center and couldn't believe how perfect everything was.
The show was very entertaining and we were filled with laughter as people were made uncomfortable by the performers. Rhys made it his mission to get me on stage and continually tipped the dancers. They gave me their crown and sash and had the entire place sing me happy birthday at the end of the night. What an experience, what a birthday. Thank you to everyone who made my birthday away from home, so special!
After my birthday we knew we had to crack down and apartment hunt and job hunt. We found a real estate broker who kindly drove us around and took us to condos. We found one apartment we fell in love with, questioned all night whether it was the one, decided to lease it, to find out that a deposit was already placed on it. This happened to us two more times, until we came across our lovely condo we live in now. It has a gym and pool and our finger prints open the lobby door and our rent is ($300) which we are sharing. So crazy, I'm not sure how I'll ever be able to live in New York City again.
We had an interview the next day at Prince Royal's College and found out they had an opening for a science teacher position. There couldn't have been a more perfect position for Shawn. It's crazy how everything always falls into place. He accepted the position and you can now call him teacher Shawn! I have accepted a position at Ambassador Bilingual School as a 6th and 7th grade English teacher and couldn't be happier. We're employed! Just call us Teacher Shawn and Teacher Amanda. It is very cute that they say "Teacher" in front of the name instead of "Mr." or "Mrs." Before we started our jobs we wanted to be sure to head to the islands to scuba dive. I was on the quest to become open water ceritifed! Stay tuned for the next post about our scuba adventures.