Tuesday, January 13, 2015


We are into our second full week in Chiang Mai. We have settled into our room and our routines. The weekends are different, without classes. We are planning on a trip out of the city this coming Saturday.

Tai Chi

I am now in the "advanced" group in Tai Chi (quotes are necessary for me!). Three beginners started yesterday. Two of the advanced people are the same as last week and the other started with me last Monday. I am definitely the slowest one; it takes me longer to get the next steps memorized, getting all the hand and foot movements properly coordinated. But I am now pretty good at the seven steps forward and backward with a partner, combining hand movements with the steps. (The backward part took a while to become automatic.) There is no question that doing this is a good thing for me, improving balance, endurance and strength, not to mention the mental work! I hope to to continue for the rest of the time we are here.


I started out great guns on this, swimming every day in the salt-water pool. As the rain began to let up Saturday, I went in again but the water temperature had dropped and I was chilled the whole time I was in. The weather is now gorgeous, sunny and 80° during the day, 60° or so at night. This is not enough to warm up the water and I haven't been in for a while now. I'm sure it will heat up soon. Unfortunately, I definitely prefer water at a reasonably comfortable temperature. I am getting plenty of walking in, though.


We have our breakfast in the room every morning -- muesli from Kasem's Store, sliced bananas and one other fruit (it was pineapple the last few days), yogurt and sometimes a roll or bread. Of course this is after our two cups of morning chai, which Dan gets up and makes around 6:00. We also have lunch in the room, usually cheese with multigrain bread (both also from Kasem's), sometimes chips, always fruit -- papaya, pineapple, watermelon, oranges. Then we go out for dinner in the evening. Usually we don't go too far (other than last Sunday's outing), about a 7-10 minute walk.


We are now regulars at the IDI School of Massage. I am very grateful to Ming for recommending this place. It is about a 10-15 minute walk. Yesterday I had a 2-hour traditional massage with Dang, the woman I saw on Saturday. She worked all over me and it was great. The cost is amazing -- $10 for one hour, about $17 for two. I can tell my back aches less when I walk. I am hopeful that by the time we leave it will go away. Yesterday she spent some time on my hands, using the scraper a lot around the base of my palms.

The Area

Earlier I mentioned that we are quite near the south side of the Old City, about a 5-7 minute walk. The city is surrounded by a moat on all four sides. There used to be a large wall inside the moat, and it is still visible in a few places. The main road is divided with one-way traffic on each side of the moat. (Driving is on the left here.) To get to my Tai Chi class, I usually walk west on the south side of the moat and cross over at one of the U-turn places. On the way back, I stay on the north side so I can stop near the Chiang Mai Gate Market to pick up fruit, milk, or other things we need. There is one pedestrian light near the gate, but the drivers are quite polite, and it is pretty easy to cross at spots where the traffic has a break.

Yesterday I took this picture of a rainbow in the fountain on the moat on my walk to class. (I've gotten across the first lane of traffic at this point.)

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