This morning we had breakfast at the hotel, put out the luggage and boarded our bus for the drive to Chiang Mai. The trip was incredibly beautiful, winding through the mountains, with more teak forests, farms, rice fields, flowers everywhere. We stopped for pie and coffee at a lovely resort on the river, than again at a dragonfruit farm. The dragonfruit grows on a plant that looks somewhat like a very large Christmas cactus, but they weren't blooming this time of year. We then stopped for lunch at a truly beautiful new resort that had developed a magnificent botanical garden. Lunch was a bit boring, but the gardens were amazing, especially the palms. Mo and I spent every possible minute at this stopover walking and seeing as much as we could before we needed to board again for the rest of the trip.
It seemed like a bit of a long day, though, and we were glad to arrive at our hotel in Chiang Mai, the Empress. Chiang Mai is a mountain town as well, and somehow I imagined it to be cleaner and fresher, but once more the exhaust from all the deisel engines makes the air rough and my eyes burn constantly. In the distance, from our hotel room, we can see the Buddha at Doi Suthep. I know this is a beautiful city, but at the moment it just felt big and dirty, with lots of traffic and bustle. Especially after the beautiful trip through the mountains to get here.
This evening I tried to write to my daughter about our travels, but looking back at the email, I can see how tired I was, and a bit overwhelmed with so much input and so many images. Sometimes on these trips, with so much to see it is hard to find down time. Time to regroup and let things settle a bit. Something to keep in mind.