Settling in

So now I have wheels and another roof over my head.

After procuring a scooter at a decent months rate (2500 baht, which isn’t bad), braving the regular 5pm downpour and getting rather soaked, I was feeling pretty damn good. How could I not?  Zooming though the bustling streets of the Old City of Chiang Mai with its moat and ruined walls, sun shining, no schedules, no timeframes, no deadlines. no direction, no phone, no map.

Shit.

Where the Hell am I?

Thats was me for most of yesterday. After a brief exploration of the Old City yesterday and an excursion up the mountain to the wonderful Doi SuThep, I went over to my friends CB place for an afternoon hike up into the hills. Right about the time as the afternoon storm swept though, turning the dirt paths and steeply sloping gradients of Mae Hia into swiftly flowing muddy torrents and iceslick mudslides. Getting soaked in the rain brought back memories of a forgotten childhood joy and it was such a wonderful experience to get lost in the rainstorm; soaking and slipping and sliding down the mountain.

And then it was time to ride home in the dark.

Oh.

Have you even noticed how things look completely different at night, in a rainstorm?

The simple instructions – “turn left then go straight” proved to be beyond me and I quickly found myself lost in the pouring rain, navigating sans mobile (no sim card) and sans map (no preparation). Luckily I had 2 frames of reference – the flight path of the incoming aircraft  and the location of the brightly lit temple on the mountainside Id visited earlier in the day. Apart from that – no damn idea where I was.

So I rode on into the night, eyes stinging from the rain, spray from passing cars and insects, cursing my lack of foresight and everything else around me. Riding around and around in large circles, passing unfamiliar and alien countryside, it took me about an hour to actually let go of the anger and frustration about getting lost and just decided to gowith it. It wasn’t that big a deal after all- so I just…explored. That name looks familiar, lets try that. Where does that main road go? lets see…right, follow that incoming jet. Wheres the mountain again? Look there..backpackers!!! Navigating by landmarks might take a while by its the only way to fly when you have no other choice!

Short story long I found my way home – almost 2 hours later and soaking wet but it didn’t matter. I’d done it old school.

It later occurred to me (discussing my odyssey over a San Miguel) that this is exactly why I’m here.

To get lost and be able to find my way.

Perfect!  🙂

ps – remind me to tell you my story about the raven in Nepal.

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