I’m sitting at my favourite beer spot in Chiang Mai. It’s Friday afternoon and I’ve spent the day typing away in my apartment, so it’s good to get out for some fresh air. I’m sitting out the front of the bar where I can look out over the street, chatting to my wife about our travels and life here in Chiang Mai. The dog that lives across the street is out and about and looking happy as he always does. He pisses on someone’s motorbike and gets chased away by its owner.
The sun has begun to set in the west, casting that beautiful soft light on the scene that can only occur at this time of the day. A couple of farangs walk past laughing and chatting excitedly. I look around and notice that everyone here is happy – the lady across the street playing with her toddler son, a couple of local guys chatting over a few beers. Even the lady over at the massage place looks happy despite not having any customers.
I finish my beer and order another. The shower that passed by earlier in the afternoon has left some clouds behind to capture the last light of the day, turning the sky into a canvas of beautiful colours. Our conversation has turned to times past and things yet to come.
As night sets in, the street lights up with the unnatural light of the city. The dog across the street is now napping inside, his owner browsing on a computer nearby. I drain my beer and pay the bill. Our stomachs are now rumbling and we’re off walking down the street in search of food.
Our walk takes us past Sompet Market where the fresh produce vendors are packing up for the night. A European lady is holding one of them up as she tries to decide what fruit to buy. The fruit shake place across the street is busy for this time of the day.
We reach the end of the quiet soi where it joins onto the busy moat road, a never ending river of cars, motorbikes and tuk tuks that circle the Old City at all times of the day. We turn right and head to our favourite noodle and fried rice joint. We’re regulars here and they recognise us as soon as we walk in. We’re greeted with lots of smiles and “sawadee kup’s” and “sawadee ka’s”.
It’s only a few minutes before I have a huge plate of fried rice sitting in front of me. I squeeze some lime over it and drizzle on some chili marinated in fish sauce before mixing it all together. It only takes one spoonful for me to be in heaven. The look on my wife’s face says that the feeling is mutual.
It’s not long before my plate is completely scraped clean and I’m paying the bill. We leave with lots of “aroy’s” and “kob khun cup’s” and “ka’s” and “see you next time’s”. It’s time to head back to our apartment, but not before one last stop.
We head north to our favourite fruit shake stand. They recognise us here as well but are a lot shyer about it. We order two banana shakes and the lady practically has the bananas peeled before I can finish my sentence. She knows what we like.
We wait patiently as the lady whizzes up her magical smoothie concoction. Pleasantries are exchanged along with money and fruit shakes and we begin walking back to our apartment. The first sip is a pure delight as we look over at each other. We’ve both got the same stupid grin on our faces.
Life here in Chiang Mai is good. We’re going to miss this place when we leave.