September 14, 2015

Driving in Chiang Rai

Alan and I now have two official modes of transport: our diesel pick-up truck and a rented motorbike. I feel like I spent the whole weekend in/on one of those two things. It's good to be mobile.
The Witch (named after our Thai friend Witchaya who helped us get it)

Chiang Rai Clocktower
On Saturday, we drove a few hours to a waterfall near the Laos border (um, how cool am I?), and on Sunday we drove the motorbike into town for breakfast and an errand. Being the passenger on a motorbike isn't much fun, but Alan is a good driver and the roads are in good condition. We found an awesome coffee place near the clocktower (a major landmark of Chiang Rai city), and we continued our street food experiments with a new variety of soup.
Panorama at Phu Sang Waterfall

I even drove the truck myself for some appliance shopping. I bought an additional fan and an indulgent, but utilitarian fabric steamer. I also picked up a second set of bed sheets, as it takes so long for laundry to dry this time of year.

I'm glad that I learned the basics of driving a manual in Turkey, because driving our beastly diesel in Thai traffic (even in a small city--can't imagine Chiang Mai or BKK) is no easy feat. Lots of clutch work. Lots of manoeuvring in tight spaces. I'm getting better.  I love our truck. I feel really safe inside a bigger vehicle (compared to the back of a motorbike).

We bought our truck at a dealership for a great price. It's certainly a no-frills vehicle: no power locks or windows--sort of annoying, but better than our Turkish car in which the passenger window couldn't be put down by the passenger, only the driver. The only thing about the hand-cranked windows is when I have to slow down at the security both to get my university entrance and exit ticket. I need at least one more hand to do the window, the shifting, and taking of the card. I haven't stalled out during that yet, but I think it's only a matter of time. Too many things going on at once--especially because there is a hill involved.

Driving on the other side of the street is pretty confusing at times. Enough said, right?

So that's the transport update. I'm really happy that we've got that settled. Getting around is a lot easier (not to mention faster) when you can jump in a car or on a motorbike.