When I left on this journey it took everything I had to plan a trip around the world in a few short months and Visas would have to get figured out along the way. I learned my lesson early on, before I left, I had pain stakingly filled out the application for my Thailand Visa, couriered it to Vancouver along with my passport which I had a hard time letting go of only to find out that it was too early. Visa applications must be within two months of your travel. So at that point I decided it would all have to be done along the way. Another thing to think about as my made my way around the world. It is one of those things that haunts me until it has been taken care of and today was the day that I would venture to Promenda Mall in Chiang Mai to get my tourist visa renewed to stay in the Country for an additional 30 days. Most countries allow Canadians at least 30 days without any type of visa in hand but after that you must obtain permission to stay longer. I was dreading this excursion a little bit because I am not a big fan of paperwork and filling out forms at the best of time and with all the rumors that loom about Immigration it just always sounds tedious and overwhelming although something that MUST be done. I had done some research and found a wonderful blog that explained every detail of the process and exactly where to find the Immigration office, it proved to be very helpful. It was a much easier process than I could have ever imagined, they are professionals and know exactly what they are doing. I entered the massive mall and found the coffee shop that the blog informed me to find and went down the escalator to find exactly what I was looking for with many people from all around the world shuffling around filling out paperwork and sitting the chairs provided waiting for their names or numbers to be called out. I found the paperwork counter, filled out the required paperwork, next stop passport photos and photocopies, right next door, imagine the thought that went into that. Paid 200 baht for my photos and went and stood in line. When I left Canada I had all my Visa photos and money orders all ready for each Country, I was ahead of the game, until the robbery in Costa Rica where I would lose all of my careful planning, organization and money orders. Once I had everything I needed I waited in a very short line and had an immigration official check my paperwork, he would ask me for my immigration card to exit the Country, I pulled out my paperwork showing my flights leaving the country, he looked at me and said no, I need your immigration card which I had no clue what he was talking about. A nice woman beside me showed me the small card I should have received upon entering the country, something I had never seen before. I said I don’t have one and immediately started to panic, remembering all the times I had gone to get my passport or do some official paperwork or business only to be sent away because I didn’t have a vital piece of information. He saw the look on my face and said no worries, it’s all good. Deep breath. He had me sign in a number of places, took 1,900 baht and then told me to go sit with the rest of the people waiting and wait to hear my name and my Country over the speaker. I sat and waited for about 40 minutes before I heard a resemblance of what my name sounded like, I was glad they included the Country. I would go to the counter and pretty young lady would have me hold up my paperwork and she would snap a picture of me and tell me to go back and sit down and wait to hear your name again. I waited another 20 minutes and I heard again some semblance of what sounded like my name, at first I didn’t get up but after a second mispronunciation I sprinted to the counter and he handed me my passport, my change and a receipt. Done!
It was an easy process.
A quick spin around the massive mall. Twice now I have found myself at a massive mall in Thailand, once in Bangkok and once here in Chiang Mai, the mall is massive so much floor space, spread out, spacious, sprawling, so much room, and very few people in the building. Most store employees staring into their phones and nobody wandering around, such a stark difference from our crowded malls back at home.
A hair cut. Today, I had two things on my list, immigration and a hair cut. I walked into the desserted hair salon in the mall and asked her to cut it off but this time leaving the top longer so I could easily pin it up and not have to go through the painful standing straight up phase again were I could easily pass for a chia pet!
A ride back in the back of Songtaews (red truck) back to Green Tiger Guesthouse. I have loved all the different types of transportation while I journey along. In Thailand there are hundred of songtaews which are red trucks with two rows of bench type seats in the back, a roof and open air on either side. A couple of steps up and you are inside the back of truck with no door enclosing the back of the vehicle. So if the vehicle makes a sudden stop there is nothing to stop you from falling out onto the pavement! Thoughts that circulated on the drive back today. It is incredible to me how in each of the countries I have visited scooters and motorbikes are the most common mode of transportation and helmets are not a requirement. People stack as many people or as much stuff as they can on these bikes and scooters and drive around in flip-flops and no helmets. The safety standards are nowhere near what I have come to expect and know in my own Country of Canada. Families, sometimes 4 or 5 people all riding on one scooter; women carrying tiny babies and children without helmets, without any form of anything to keep them secure. I squeeze my eyes shut and pray that they are safe.
Back to the beautiful Tiger Green Guesthouse and it’s amazing everything! Highly recommended for a place to stay in Chiang Mai, one of my favorite places so far. Within the boundaries of the mout, close enough to walk to old town, the markets yet off the beaten track tucked in behind the busy main road and the drone of traffic.
The food amazing and spectacular, you must come for food – The REFORM KAFÉ is 100% vegetarian with many vegan choices. Each meal has been delicious and outstanding!
One of my favorite things has become a MANGO smoothy, ever since Indian where I was presented with the most outrageous mango smoothy I have ever tasted at Shanti Village, Agonda, I cannot get enought of them. I did not think I would ever find one that would compare, until now! These smoothies are 100% mango, thick and delicious!
A good day indeed! Tomorrow Tiger Kingdom!