I’ve arrived. Chiang Mai (almost in the very north of the country) was one corner stone in my “plans”. It ranks second to Bangkok in the number of guest houses and tuk-tuk scams. I was barely out of the train and dragged to information desks and touts. But, I’ve found a fairly cheap and somewhat clean place without being forced to sign up for a hill trek immediately (this is how cheap hostels usually make their money).

The last couple of days in Lampang were very relaxed (see the hammock story…). I have a feeling this is where my holidays really started. Sitting by the river, not worrying about time and sightseeing (I’ve somehow grown a bit tired of wats). Reading – knowing me, I’m not a big reader at all! – a couple of books, enjoying the relaxed feel of both town and guesthouse, nightmarkets (get really filled for under a Euro) and chitchat with the locals.

I realised that people seem genuinly friendly in the countryside. However, there’s always an odd feeling of being looked upon as the walking Euro (or Baht), and while you pay 50 Baht for one trip with one taxi driver, you get the same for just 20 with the next. I mean I’m not greedy about a couple of euros, but it’s a principle thing and the feeling you’re being ripped off is a bit odd. In general though, I look at this as a game. Then again, a three hour train ride to Chiang Mai is 23 Baht (50c).

So, here I am, in Chiang Mai, one of the backpackers’ mecca and probably the last place to stay cheap (around 4 Euros), before I’m planning to head south again to jump on a couple of beach paradise islands. I wanna do the touristy thing (apparently, there are just no non-touristy things to do in Thailand), and go hiking, trekking, wild water rafting and elephant riding, possible in a one day if you want (I’ll go for a three day trek, thanks very much).

I’ve been following my plan to go in my own pace, and that’s just what’s happening. I didn’t plan to stay in Lampang at all, and I ended up staying there for three nights. I didn’t end up going on that motorbike – I deemed it a bit too risky. They only had manual bikes and I would have wanted to concentrate on traffic and not worry about fiddling around with clutches. However, I ended up taking a motorcycle taxi which was quite good fun.

Anyways, will be quick now, have crushed the computer twice already (internet quality is a totally different story altogether…)…