Brenna’s Continued Obsession With Chiang Mai

I’ve been getting so many nice comments about the content of my last blog post. So thanks you guys. Makes me consider maybe writing philosophically about travel more often?! That being said, I do have to continue the ongoing Thai narrative or else you will be lost way behind.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

With complete terror and apprehension I approached the head of the English Program to ask if I could leave school early on Friday because I had booked a bus ticket at 5pm to go where?

Chiang Mai!

Yes. Again.

But let me clarify. This vacation was not for me. This vacation for the much needed reunion with one of my best friends from home. Annie and I both decided to sign up for this program, we put the same preferences, but didn’t quite specify that we wanted to be together. We left it up to the universe and of course the universe put us on completely different sides of the county.

Annie got placed in Bangkok so she has a completely different orientation, region, and school situation. Classic.  But she is close enough to the Bangkok airport to get a easy flight to Chiang Mai. And so after being in Thailand for 2 weeks we decided more than enough time had passed and it was time to reunite.

Actually, getting tickets from Phrae to Chiang Mai was more difficult than previously planned. Originally I thought there would be at least a 6pm bus, so we drive into the city to look at buses. And I was wrong. The last bus is at 5 pm. And my school ends at 5pm on a good day. Not gonna work outThe only other plan was to possibly catch one of the squishy vans to Lampang and then cross our fingers than when we arrived in Lampang we could catch another van to Chaing Mai. Risky.

So, finally I decided I had to ask to leave early on Friday. And I absolutely hate asking for special favors or anything like that, so of course right out of the gate I’m being that annoying foreign teacher who wants to start her weekend early. I love the way the universe works like that. Classic. 

But I did finally ask, and actually Teacher Rodel was pretty cool with it. I don’t think I’ll be leaving early again, but once I got the go ahead I was like “great!” Let’s book it.

Alex went to the bus station to buy tickets for himself, me and Bri (the new roommate if you didn’t remember). I get a call and the new is “there are 2 seats”. Of course. But he explains how this group of 4 girls from another school want to give up their 5pm tickets to take an earlier bus. He says they seemed pretty serious about it, so I’m like “great, let’s wait and buy their tickets from them!”

But as soon as I decide that, I’m telling Annie and she’s like “yeah, but you have to get there. I have plane tickets” And I’m realizing that I really can’t afford to risk not getting a bus ticket. So, in a supreme act of selfishness I book one of the last seats. I know, I’m the worst. 

But, like most things I worry about, it turned out to not be a big deal to anyone. Alex and Bri were fine with me buying the ticket. They definitely understood that I had to meet Annie and couldn’t just leave her in Chiang Mai alone.

Then of course the other girls totally don’t come through. It’s Wednesday night and we’re celebrating Charlottes birthday

And they finally text us back about the tickets: “we’ll only sell them if you buy all four…” And of course, we’re like “um, no we only need two now”. And then they’re like “we can’t help you”.

So. That was lovely.

But Bri and Alex are really good sports. And Bri was getting a little overwhelmed with the whole “go to Chiang Mai” thing anyway because she got here so recently. So she decided just not to go. And then Alex was like, “yeah, I’ll stay and chill with Bri”. Bless him. 

So it all kind of worked out. I had to ride out of my school awkwardly in front of all my students at like 4pm in the afternoon. Awkward. 

And an hour later I was Chiang Mai bound! 

And what was it like when we saw the girls who wouldn’t sell us their tickets? They weren’t there. In fact, I don’t know if they went to Chiang Mai at all. Crickets from their end.

When I saw Annie I almost cried. I was so homesick and seeing someone from back home was exactly what we needed. And I think she was the same way. And of course we had like a thousand things to tell each other.

It was late when we finally got to our hostel (called Dee Marc, great for service and atmosphere but not to great for location) so we had about enough time to put our bags down before we were back out for some food. Hungry Janet was rearing her ugly head for sure. But not even Janet could ruin my good mood.

At this point, I was still with Kim and Charlotte who I came on the bus with, Caitlin (who you may remember was on my very first plane to Asia this time around, and who had also come to meet us at Chiang Mai), Annie, and then Charlotte’s friend G from back home. Big happy reunion.

We had another celebration for Charlotte’s bday (with chocolate ice cream) and then went to bed because it was already late.

And how did I spend my full day in Chiang Mai?

Big fat nothing! That’s what.


Annie and I started our day later than everyone else cause we slept in so we ended up awkwardly a stage behind them all day and couldn’t quite meet up with the  group. (“the group” kind of referring to the large amount of people from my orientation who had come back into the city for the weekend. There were like a dozen or so of us scattered about)

So we got thai massages. We ate waffles. We cried over our waffles about Donald Trump and the future of America. I bought a book about Popes (classic Brenna obsession).

And we found some killer “bench of the day”


Oh, And I ate some fried rice out of a pineapple.


And that would be rice happily smothered in chili sauce. With is Hungry Janet’s obsession. I don’t know what it is about some good pork friend rice just covered in chili sauce that just makes me so happy. I want it for breakfast. 

Officially becoming Thai. 

Anyway. That night was a bit more active. Annie and I started the night with some Mexican food! At a lovely place called Loco Elvis that was filled with both other farangs and covers of slightly dated pop hits. The food was about a 7 out of 10 and the margaritas the same. Mostly just sugar.

How the Thais love their sugar. 

We hopped in a song tao (the big red trucks, if you don’t remember) and hiked to a new part of town I hadn’t actually been to before called the “nimman district” (?), or something like that. We were promised unlimited beer for 200 baht, but what we got were cocktails that were pretty much juice for more than 200 baht. Though, G did get this drink called the “pink lady” I believe. And the glass looked like a curvy woman. Only in Thailand. 

We decided to bail on the expensive area of the city pretty soon after that. And went back to backpacker central back in the center of the city. We ended up meeting this group of Muay Thai boxers. Which was pretty cool. And half of them were Spanish, and when I discovered this I just started pointing at Annie like “she speaks Spanish!” Cause she does!

So then, everyone turns to Annie waiting expectantly. And she’s like a deer in headlights. For all of about 3 seconds and then she launches in to perfect Spanish. Of course. We had been to Cuba together so I already knew this about her, but the Spanish fighters were immediately smitten. Classic. 

We ran into almost all of the people from our OEG orientation over the course of the night because there are about 3 places where backpackers hang out the city, so we kept being like “hey we know you!”

That feeling is amazing. It made me feel like I really had my feet in a place. It was nice to see people I recognized and places I knew and kind of start to feel like “yeah I live here”.

The last day, Annie and got yet another Thai massage and just mourned our inevitable separation.

I hopped on another bus at 5pm and with the exception of a struggle situation trying to get the people at the Phrae bus station to understand my motorbike was locked away in long-term storage. (“bike locked inside!” “you need key for bike?” “no. I have key. Bike inside!” “you need motorbike” “no! I have bike. I leave bike! Bike inside. Door locked!” “oh!…where bike?” jesus) but other than that the rest of the night was smooth sailing.

It was a perfect weekend to remind me of the excitement of backpacking, made me appreciative of the home I’m starting to feel in Phrae, and the ability to just complain to Annie about all the things that bother me about trying to live in this crazy country.


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