It’s been 4 and a half months since I started this trip and I’ve officially “hit the wall”. This is a famous saying that marathoners are all too familiar with and it’s when you reach a point in the race where you physically can not go on. At times this trip has felt somewhat like a marathon, I’ve been constantly on the move and have not stayed in one place for more then 3-4 days for the most part (and usually it’s only 1-2 days).
From Chiang Mai, I took a min-van to Chiang Rai in the north. I had planned to stay there for 2 days and then cross the border in to Laos. The 3 hour drive in the mini-van was quite an experience. Our driver drove 65 miles an hour for the entire way. I’d like to note that we were NOT on a highway but on a 2 way road that was winding and curving around mountains and small towns. Every time he turned the steering wheel you could hear the tires screeching. Dude, slow down! We were whipping around these curves and everyone was holding on to the “oh $#it” handles that hung from the ceiling so that we wouldn’t fall into the lap of our neighbors. There wasn’t much to see in Chiang Rai (except a beautiful white temple that was closed to the public because it was damaged by an earthquake the week before) and I had about had it once I arrived. From the bus station I had to take a tuk-tuk to my hotel. While tuk-tuks are fun the first, second even third time, after one month I just wanted to be in a real car with AC and shocks. I know I’ve been complaining about the heat but it really is brutal here. I’ve lost 11lbs since I left the States but I think it’s water-weight from all the sweating because I don’t feel like I look any different. I am over sporting sweaty wet clothes everytime I leave my hotel and taking an average of 2 showers a day just to cool off( so I won’t complain that there is never any hot water in any of the showers in my hotels). It would also be nice to come back to a cool room at the end of the day. In Asia, the only way to get electricity in the hotel room is to insert your keycard into an outlet, this generates the electricity for the room. Forget about charging any electronics during the day while you’re away because once you pull out your keycard (you only get one), all power is cut. I can’t help but think they created this for Americans who unnecessarily run the AC when they are away haha, and yes I would be doing that if only I could! Nevertheless, it would been nice to come back to an ice cold room instead of waiting 2 hours for it to feel slightly bearable.
Once you reach a certain point, even the smallest things start to grind away. Everyday I go to a restaurant and order something only to be told that it’s not available. Why in the heck is it still on the menu then? This happens so often that now I pick out a first and second choice that look good and then ask if the first item is available and if not then I won’t be so annoyed….although a few times I picked out 2 things and they were both unavailable…..grrrrrr!
Each night I dissect every nook and cranny of my rooms to make sure there are no geckos or mice. Yes I had another mouse incident in Cambodia when I was woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of crackling from an old chip wrapper I left in the garbage can. Ever since then, I don’t bring any snacks into my rooms. And god forbid if I have to wake up in the middle of the night to use the toilet. I usually sleep with the bathroom door closed and then flicker the lights for a good 30 seconds before I walk in to scare away the waterbugs or roaches that come in through the cracks once it gets dark.
While traveling alone is amazing and gives you an entirely different experience than traveling with a friend, it gets expensive in the end. As soon as someone sees that I am traveling alone the price automatically doubles for tuk-tuks, cabs, boat rides, tours, etc. Apparently it’s not worth it just to take one person somewhere so they need to get their money’s worth and no matter how hard I try to negotiate they will not budge and it’s out of my control. It is so annoying, can we please just get some “fixed prices” up in here?
I have to be honest it would be nice right about now to just sit on a couch in central air conditioning and eat an american-style pizza and watch a Law and Order SVU rerun until I pass out…..but alas I am not in America, I am in Southeast Asia; so I have to deal or stop complaining and go home and that is definitely not an option….yet! In the meantime I have decided to skip the south islands of Thailand and go back to Gili Meno for a month! The south islands are supposed to be beautiful but they are overflowing with backpackers and are totally commercialized. I’m sure I could possibly find some quiet peaceful places but why not stick with what I know? Gili Meno is my dream paradise and thats where I want to spend the somewhat end of my trip! I. CAN’T. WAIT!!!