I wound up treating my stay here as an informal vow of silence. I had one actual conversation with the cool Australian owner of a coffee shop called Overstand which could easily fit in back home in San Francisco. The rest of my interactions were by necessity and brief, either while checking into the guesthouse or ordering food. I had no energy to meet new people and perhaps it was for the best; when I arrived in Chiang Mai, I was still recovering from a massive bed bug bite attack from the guesthouse in Siem Reap and my arms and legs looked scary. I don’t want to be dramatic, but for a brief period, my right elbow closely resembled the Lady in the Radiator from Eraserhead.
No one needed to shake a hand attached to that.
At home, I was used to spending a couple of nights a week in my bedroom, reading, watching movies, or delving into a YouTube black hole. I ate takeout in bed. Even the more sociable introverts need solo time to recharge and I’m an ultra-introvert. When you’re staying in dorms and meeting interesting people from all over the place, it’s hard to remember that it’s okay to want to be left alone sometimes. I straight up Greta Garbo’d myself in Chiang Mai. The couple of extra bucks I spent on my own room here were more than worth it. Having my own bathroom was particularly great when I got sick for the first time on this trip. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say I’m glad I packed Imodium.
I’m currently in the midst of a ridiculously long layover in Singapore. Changi Airport is not the worst place for one. It’s the fanciest mall I’ve ever been to. There are free activities! It smells good!
I arrive in Bali tomorrow evening and will start out in a dorm in Sanur. I’m ready to engage with humans again. If anyone asks how Chiang Mai was, I’ll tell them it was nice. Did I talk to a monk, visit the night bazaar, or get a massage? Nope. I watched a lot of Frasier, caught up on The Dissolve, and clipped my toenails. Chiang Mai rocked.