Took care of all my business in Chiang Mai yesterday. 7 hours of internet use, lots of phone calls. I've sent my passport off to Bangkok to get a Lao visa (it'll be waiting for me at the northern thai/lao border, insha'lla).
It suddenly hit me this morning that I'm in a new country, have not made any friends yet, and so for the first time in a while, I can wander the streets of a place without any chance of meeting anyone I know.....
Until, that is, I walked down the street this morning and someone called out my name. It seems that 2 of my pals from the Andaman islands are here, and heading to Laos.. what a small world it is.
Anyhow. I'm in Pai now. I've got a nice enough guest-house, I've rented a motorbike (a tiny low powered one, more an excuse not to pedal, rather than a method of going fast). My plan is to chill out in Pai for a week or so, enjoy the luxuries that Thailand has to offer (daily massage, fruit, etc) before heading to Laos.
It's already a bit strange coming back to Pai - it was quite a bit sleepier the last time I was here... more yoga and pizza places now.
Just like on my last trip to Thailand, I've decided to reward myself for suffering through countless nights of crappy hotel rooms by cashing in some frequent flier miles, and booking myself into the Marriott 5 star river-side resort in Bangkok for my last night. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience last time, and it'll be a nice way to pamper myself before I endure the 30+ hour journey to fly back to Virginia.