Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Chiang Mai & Julie's Guesthouse

I arrived in Chiang Mai on Friday afternoon. The first thing I did was take a tuk tuk to the guesthouse I wanted to stay at. The one most highly recommended in the Lonely Planet was Julie's Guesthouse. It is by far the most inviting place to stay (aside from some expensive hotels) within the city center. Chiang Mai's city center, or what they call old city is surrounded by a moat and has four entrance "gates." As soon as I got my room, I dropped my stuff and went exploring on foot. Inside the city center there are over 60 temples. Unfortunately, the majority of them are currently closed for maintenance.

Friday night, I met Katy, an old friend from Korea who has been living in Chiang Mai for 6 months, and she showed me the town. Showing me the town mainly consisted of meeting some of her friends/co-workers, bar-hopping, and dancing until 4 in the morning.

Saturday it rained. I met Katy again in the afternoon. Neither of us were in the mood to do much so she took me to a shopping mall on the back of her Honda. Considering Asian traffic, I have never felt comfortable driving a motorbike within city limits and this was no exception. By the time we got to the mall she was laughing at me and how nervous and rigid I was. We wandered around the mall and she showed me a massage menu at one place where they had, and this is not a joke, a "Golden Finger" massage. The "Golden Finger" massage is a massage of the male sex organ is supposedly good to maintain a healthy urine flow. Katy dared me to get one, but after careful deliberation I couldn't bring myself to do it.

We walked past the cinema and discovered that the new Tarantino film, Inglourious Basterds, had just opened. We bought two tickets for a show starting an hour and a half from then. Then we went to get massages while waiting for the movie to begin. I got a foot massage at a place where all the proceeds went the nearby retirement home. More on my foot massage habit later.

Inglourious Basterds was truly a treat! It was my first experience in a Thai movie theatre. Before the film began, a one and a half minute tribute to the king was played on the screen and everyone in the theater rose and stood for it (much like the national anthem at a ball game in the states). That was a unique experience. About the film itself, both Katy and I loved it. It was equally as violent as most other Tarantino films, but there was a maturity within it that I don't think I have seen in his other stuff. I am greatly anticipating where he will go and what he will do next.

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