Thailand: I Think We’re Alone Now

14 Mar

Rachel left Chiang Mai and I stayed, ready for some alone time in one of my favorite cities in the world.  I stationed myself here for almost a month; re-connecting with myself, my health, and preparing for upcoming travels.


Chok Dee Guest House: a private room costs $3.50 a night and comes with a fan, allegedly clean sheets, a shared bathroom, a rock hard bed, and a rock hard pillow…my favorite!



View from my gym.  I spent lots of time here using the elliptical, weights, and occasionally the chlorinated hotel pool. There is an awesome grocery store attached where I ate lunch.  And no, I never joined that sea monster in that green body of water to swim (pictured).



I got in great shape.


Do you know how to say Zumba in Thai?
I took a workout class at my (favorite) gym and it was the only word during the entire hour that I understood.  It’s incredibly humbling to take a Zumba class in Thai.  I felt like I was in a workout bachelorette party with intense high-pitched screaming coming from the other ladies in the class.  Maybe it actually was a bachelorette party and the brides name was Zumba??  I’ll never know.

Another time at my gym, on February 14th, I took a hip hop class.  It was a lonely day and Zumba must have been far enough behind me to have forgotten how difficult it is to take an exercise class in a foreign in language, and not understand what’s being taught.  There were only three of us in the class and they all had, clearly, done this before.  The others were dressed thuggish (I guess this was a literal hip hop class?) and were practicing their moves before our teacher arrived.  One girl yelled in English “We’re all single on Valentine’s Day!” After that, for an entire hour I couldn’t understand what to do nor could I make my body do anything that anyone else was doing.  Three guys stood outside and watched our class, laughing and filming. Here’s an excerpt from my journal: “hahahahaha.  Wow, Sammi.  Did you just figure out a way to make Valentine’s Day worse than usual??”

It was sometime after that when I took a half-day improv class to make friends.  It worked!  After spending a long time outside of class persuading some people to keep hanging out with me, Jake finally agreed.  Thanks, Jake! We went to Maya Mall and saw a movie.  If you’ve ever been to Chiang Mai, you probably know the epic, seven-story-tall Maya Mall that I’m referring to.


Not a single other person in this FREEZING cold movie theater!  But I still stood for the National Anthem (which is played before every movie shown) just in case someone was watching.  #youneverknow


In Thailand, I got massages everyday and saw many movies.  I tried to fill my days with things other than eating.  My favorite theater only played one English speaking movie per week that rotated every Thursday (except, of course, when it didn’t rotate) but there were other theaters in the area showing English speaking movies.  And yes, I’m still talking about Maya. Spending that much time in that mall took me back to trying to be cool in middle school. #stilltryingtobecool #nevertoolate


I ate great cooked food once a day and the rest of the time I ate fruit, which, if I’m honest, was also great.


Mangosteen = Heaven.   I devoured three a day whenever I could find them.  Google says they taste like a combination of strawberries, peaches, and vanilla ice cream.



Traditional Northern Thailand Soup.



Granola with avocado, mango, strawberries, and dragonfruit.


One time, for dinner, I was peeling and eating boiled quail eggs (#healthy) when I got a piece of shell shoved underneath my thumbnail.  I didn’t think it would be a big deal but every time I tried to extricate it I pushed it farther and farther under my nail.  It became very painful.  Here’s another excerpt from my journal from that night:

“I spent about an hour soaking my thumb in water, using my other nail, and finally upgrading to tweezers, to try to remove this quail egg shell.  It keeps breaking off making the piece lodged underneath my nail smaller, but still stuck.  I googled ‘I have an egg shell under my nail.’  Top answer: ‘Get. It. Out.  The body does not like foreign objects.’   Even in a foreign country the body does not like foreign objects!  This tiny itty bitty piece of shell is defining my evening. ”

In the end, I got a knife from the kitchen, used soap, and literally had to cut myself in order to get it out.  Through the blood, I dug out that quail eggshell.  It was super painful and I was incredibly relieved (after it was out) that I didn’t have to go to the doctor for a local anesthetic.

I slept soundly that night, feeling self-sufficient.  Being healthy can be dangerous.  I didn’t eat eggs for the rest of my time up north.

Chiang Mai was what it always is for me; healthy, holistic and delicious.  And I found out that in Chiang Mai, CMU stands for Chiang Mai University — not Carnegie Melon University which is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  A thing that reminded me of home but then actually end up being completely different.  #travel

I’ll see that city again soon.
Strong gym vibes,

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