After leaving the café we went to the hotel and then we grabbed a local taxi and went down to the Airport Plaza shopping centre, where we spent the evening in the cinema watching 'Rise of the planet of the apes'. It was surprisingly good and a nice relaxing night out.
After a good nights sleep back in the old hotel room and without being disturbed every 4 hours by nurses checking my blood pressure etc., we were up and at breakfast by 11am. It was a cool and rainy day, but it was very pleasant for me as I didn’t want it to be too hot. We had booked for a nice afternoon out, visiting a Mong Village and also a visit to Chiang Mais most famous temple. Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep This stands a hill to the north-west of the city. Its site was chosen by placing a relic of the Lord Buddha on white elephant's back and letting it roam until it trumpeted, then circled, and finally laid down and died. The temple also gives great views of the city on a clear day.
At the village we had a short walk around and visited a nice little waterfall garden as well as being offered the chance to fire home-made crossbows. Then we stopped at the temple and the rest of the group took the 306 steps up the hill, while me and Nikki took the 'lift', which although is very lazy, did mean I didn’t fuck myself up on the first day out of hospital. Whilst in the temple our guide (Mr T – who is about 7 stone and Thai, so had no likeness to the real Mr T at all) told us about the different poses of Buddha and about the history of the temple and its surroundings. We were also blessed by a monk and took the chance to pick an ancient Chinese prophecy by shaking a box with sticks and noting which numbered stick fell out. I got No. 10, which meant that my prophecy is as follows :-
'The 10th number tells you that you seem to be fallen down from the tree. Can not tell somebody while sleeping. Difficult to find the lost things. The lover is satisfied. Asking for a baby, is a girl-baby. You are unlucky -should be careful' – Fook knows what that means, but I would have preferred a 'Everything is fine and happy' one instead!! haahaa!
|Mongs wearing mong stuff (no offense meant!! )|
|In the temple|
|Kids and crossbows|
|Seeing these shoes always pisses me off after getting my flip flop nicked in Bangkok|
|Chiang mai from the temple|
|Weird turtle and baby|
Now back at the hotel, waiting on news from the medical insurance. I cant leave Thailand till they pay the bill and I only have 2 days left on my visa, so I'm in bloody limbo. I feel sorry for Nikki because she has a time limit and has been stuck here for over a week while I have been ill and is now waiting again. They keep telling me they will call back or sort it out today, but they don't bother. Thank god for Skype, otherwise it would cost me a fortune in telephone bills!
Finally, just after 1am I got a voicemail from the nice lady at the insurance company, letting me know that the bill would be guaranteed and I can go to the hospital tomorrow and sort it out.
So after a poor nights sleep, we were up early and just after 8am we were on our way out for the morning. We first stopped at an Orchid and Butterfly farm, where we not only saw some cool Butterflies and Orchids, but took a photo of one of our bus passengers, who appeared to style himself on Ringo Starr.
After that we went to an Elephant sanctuary, where the elephants are looked after, bathed and trained, whilst entertaining the public. We saw them play football, basketball, throw darts at balloons and paint some really good pictures. It was surprising how well trained they were and they also seemed to really enjoy interacting with the public as we took photos and played with them after the show.
After the morning out we got dropped by the guide at the Hospital, where eventually, after about an hour, two phone calls a bit of head-banging and one fax later, (the insurnce company had sent a guarantee of payment, but in stead of informing us how mush they would pay the amout was replaced with wuestion marks – what a pile of shite) we got confirmation that the insurance would pay for my hospital stay and after I paid the excess I had my passport back and was free to leave Thailand. Nikki had already booked a flight to leave tomorrow, the last day of our Visa, so we went to the airport and managed to get me a seat on the same flight, to Luang Prabang in Laos.
I went back to the hotel and rested before going out for dinner in the evening. I also decided to renew my travel insurance as it runs out at the start of September – But the insurance company wont renew the original insurance policy, but also wont give me a new policy, unless I am starting my journey again from UK!! Typical. So, after a search around the internet, I eventually found a different company that allows you to get insurance while you travel and I am now insured up until Christmas!!
Today we leave Thailand. I wish I could say I have enjoyed it all, but as you know, for most of it I was quite ill. We were supposeded to leave after just 3 days here in Chiang Mai, but after my hospital visit and sorting out the insurance afterwards, we have been here 11 days longer than expected and are well behind the schedule that we planned. We are going to have to miss out some interesting 'Travel days', where we planned to use buses or trains and will be flying a couple of times to make up some days over the next 3 to 4 weeks.
Thailand is a great country though and I did enjoy my lazy days in the hammock by the sea, but I think I need to come back again sometime and do a little more while I am here. For now we head into a brand new country – Laos...
|Massive black butterfly|
|'Ringo' and his missus - they were French.....need I say more|
|Better than City!!|
|Honest - actually done by the elephants!!|
|Back to the hotel after sorting out everything!! In the back of a cool local taxi|