City views… Chiang Mai

I come to Thailand every year for the holidays and sometimes twice a year, but this time has been different. I came to Chiang Mai to spend seven weeks studying English at International House, and now is the six week mark. I can say now that it’s been one of the best experiences in my life. At the beginning, I got to know a lot of people from all over the world. Talking with them and trying to understand what they said seemed to me a huge problem, but after the first two weeks I could understand all of them and I could have a conversation with them, which means I reached one of my goals.

I stay in the countryside, in a lovely place called San Phak Wan. I have to take a taxi to reach the city, but I have found a very cheap way to go there. I walk for twenty-five minutes on a lovely quiet local road and when I reach the main road I take a yellow truck for ten Thai Baht (about $ 0,28).

Walking along the streets in Chiang Mai I have discovered some city views that I couldn’t have imagined, or maybe I could’ve… It’s a city where the old and the almost new are mixed together, where bright colors collide with the blank buildings. The temples makes magic all around and behind the gates you can glimpse the gold of the statues of Buddha. The ruins surround the borders of the city and they skirt along the roads showing the historical background and bringing you back to old times.

Keep on walking I hear a pretty girl, who is singing and playing ukulele. She’s sitting behind a desk at an open air travel agency and it’s a pleasant soundtrack against the city traffic. That’s one of the magical things in this city… lovely smiling people help you to understand the simplicity of life, so we don’t need a lot of material things to reach the happiness but only the consciousness of being what we are.

I realised that to cross the roads is one of the most complicated action you can do here, because nobody takes care of pedestrians and so it can be a bit dangerous. Anyway, I can also appreciate that as a symbol of a different culture.

The flowing river that lines the roads, the little wooden bridges, and the colorful flowers all around give an enchanting atmosphere and make you forget you are in a busy big city.

I came to Chiang Mai once before – a long time ago – but I didn’t appreciate then how interesting it is. I remember I went to the mountain to see the most famous temple, Doi Suthep Wat, on the top of Mount Suthep, which is massive and amazing. Anyway, this time I didn’t want to see the same things and I didn’t want to be a tourist, so I have lived as a normal citizen. I go to a dance school every Saturday and Sunday, I go out three times a week to buy something at a shopping center or visit parts of the city.

Being a fashion designer pushes me to buy a lot of very cheap dresses which I find every time I go out in the lovely shops all around. This could be a problem when I’ll have to pack my suitcase, but I’m a bit crazy and so I don’t care about it now. I want to solve the problems at the right moment! I’m always in trouble with things I bought because a lot of times I’ve had to pay an overweight fee at the airport. However, nothing can stop me…

Last thursday I came to the city to get  new tattoos. I had an appointment and I was very excited about it. I went alone and I got two tattoos done. It was a little bit strange because usually when I go to a tattoo studio I’m not alone, but this time everything was different and I enjoyed it. I think that sometimes we have to trust ourself and not be scared. Now I have new pieces of art on my skin and the total now is ten… I have a piece of Chiang Mai on me and it’s here forever!

I’m a visionary; I believe in fairytales. I’m an artist, and this city brings out the best of me, of my soul. It will be very hard to leave this place!

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