Having arrived in Chiang Mai the next morning, we checked in early to our hotel. To borrow a phrase from Cousin Kate and Cousin Tyler, upon arrival at our very elegant and comfortable resort hotel, Jose and I exclaimed “This is where we belong!”
Le Meridian Chiang Mai was a comfortable base for all our activities. Which mostly consisted of relaxing. First off, a walking exploration of the city, which by initial impression is a conglomeration of shops, massage parlors, and cafes. We patronized all of these, in the interest of research of course. Our chosen massage parlor was selected because of one commodity; Dr. Fish! I’ve written about these Garuda fish before, and I still adore them. I’ve decided that I’d like to purchase a fish tank full and maintain them in my home for everyday-feet-massage purposes. I’ll share with all my friends, so I suggest you support this endeavor. In a tank full of Dr. Fish, that’s where I belong.
In addition to my Dr. Fish, we also indulged in a Thai-style foot massage. Thailand traditional massage is something to be marveled at, and foreigners from all over the world come to study massage in Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai. Pressure points (ow!), the snapping of toes (ow!), and this nice Thai lady’s bruise-inducing thumbs (ow! Ow! Ow!) were all applied to my feet. Afterwards, home-girl cracked my back, which had been waiting for that to happen for at least three weeks. This lady was my hero.
Jose and I also had a spa treatment at our ritzy hotel. Normally I don’t go in for these rather expensive pamperings, but we both felt we could use a bit of hard-core relaxation. So we got a body scrub/massage/bath package, and my, but it was lovely. I had a red-wine-scented bubble bath with bubbles overflowing the tub. How long has it been since as grown adult I’ve had time for a bubble bath? It’s so refreshing, and reminiscent of Mr. Bubble days when floundering in the tub a good hour was perfectly acceptable, if slightly annoying to your mother who would thus advise you to clean up all the water off the bathroom floor. But I’ve decided I’m Rita Hayworth, and in a bubble bath is where I belong.
While tempting, we did not spa the whole time we were there. Chiang Mai’s cafes were tasty, and Jose sampled everyone’s coffee while I sampled fruit lassies and Thai iced teas. We sat in a cafe called the Writer’s Cafe and Wine Bar, which was founded by some journalist ex-pats. We sipped on wine and wrote a bit, and I’ve always know that in foreign cafes with wine is where I belong.
While traveling, I have often pondered the concept of home. What makes someplace a home? Where do I truly belong? I love thinking about this while wandering as you always find new answers to your questions. Chiang Mai gave its own answers, and I love it for that.