I returned to Chiang Mai refreshed and excited after a week in Pai. Since this was my first week in Chiang Mai where I didn't have school or travel plans, I knew that I'd be able to accomplish many tasks that I simply hadn't found time for previously. These tasks included but were not limited to 1.) extending my visa for an extra 30 days, 2.) booking my bus and ferry to Koh Phangan, 3.) buying toilet paper. I was raring to go but I somehow found myself busy doing nothing all day every day and the majority of my tasks remained unfinished. You may be wondering what "busy doing nothing" might look like, so I'll tell you.
7:30am Wake up/check Facebook
8:30am Go to breakfast
11am Leave breakfast and work on my Shaklee business (see, I was a little productive!)
12:30pm Check Facebook/take a nap
1pm Check Facebook again in case I missed anything during my nap
2pm Make toast
2:30pm Go to the pool (it's obviously too late to accomplish any of the other tasks I'd intended. Besides, it's late in the day and I want to get some sunlight while I'm swimming laps)
4pm Leave pool/shower/check Facebook
4:30pm Practice massage
6:30pm Check Facebook
7pm Evening activity
There were a few other activities stuffed in there. For example, one day I went on a bike ride and met a purple pug.
For some reason, many of my friends left Chiang Mai this week either to continue their journeys elsewhere or return home.
Dariya and Ainaz began their bike tour of Southeast Asia, which you can follow here.
Sweet Marie finally returned from Pai 5 days after schedule, but only to fly back to France the next day :(
And my dear friend Lauren left to spend a few days in Bangkok before flying home toTexas. (But not before receiving some love from those of us in Chiang Mai)
I'm really not okay with all these goodbyes, but I suppose that's the name of the game when you're traveling for a while. The bright side to all these departures were my evening activities were rich savoring the remaining quality time with good friends.
One of the evening activities this week was attending the lantern lighting festival, Loi Krathong. Loi Krathong happens on the full moon in the last month of the Thai Lunar Calendar. During the festival thousands of people gather around the river to release krathong (floating lotus shaped flower baskets) onto the river and yi peng (large lanterns) into the night sky. Traditionally, when you release krathong into the river, you are supposed to release the things in your life that are weighing you down.
(My bread krathong was not only pretty, but edible as well)
After floating your bad habits and mental afflictions down the river, you make a wish on a lantern and send it up into the sky.
My photos don't do the festival justice. If you didn't know better, you'd think the entire sky was lit with stars instead of lanterns. If I can take a moment to be cheesy, I will admit that it was nice to look up and see all those beautiful wishes hanging over Chiang Mai that night. It filled me with a deep sense of gratitude for my friends, the city and the year to come.
And just in case you wanted to see a live action shot of the lanterns being released, here's a video Martin letting his wishes go...