I took the winding road back to Chiang Mai and before I knew it I was getting a tattooed! Before flying to Bangkok I wanted to see some more of the beautiful temples in Chiang Mai and the Sunday market. Then from the old temples back to the modern world; together with Marta I went to see the new Star Wars movie.

Now that the feeling of returning home sank down a bit I thought more and more about getting a tattoo as a reminder of my adventure. After looking for tattoo shops around Chiang Mai I ended up at Celebrity Ink. But what kind of design would I get? It was actually fairly easy. Throughout my trip through Southeast Asia there was one recurring image/statue that I always found interesting and that is the Naga; a snake/dragon like deity. In every country in Asia this creature has its own story or meaning but for me the Naga symbolizes my ten month trip in Southeast Asia and New Zealand!
The first day Aon -the tattooist- drew the outlines on my arm and connected it to my already existing tattoo. Then the tattooing started and after five hours I had enough of it. The tattooing was getting more and more painful and I couldn’t focus on that well. When you see stars where there aren’t supposed to be any than you really have to stop. I had this once before and I immediately asked if Aon could stop tattooing and that I needed sugar. The people of the tattoo shop already noticed that I was getting very pale and they got me cola, chocolate and they massaged my legs to get the blood flowing again before I would pass out. It took a good thirty minutes for me to get back to normal and I called it a day.

At day two I was already feeling a lot better and I just to be sure I bought some extra cola and sugary bites. After another five hour session the tattoo was done and I couldn’t be more happy about it! What better way to end a trip than with a tattoo.

With a small group of people from the hostel I went out to several animal themed cafes; to be more precise a hedgehog café and a cat café. I have to say that hedgehogs don’t do much but sleeping during the day but we got one out of his cage and it started running everywhere. Completely opposite of their spiky backs are their soft bellies but petting is still quite difficult since they react to every movement you make. So some days later we went to a cat café for some softer fur. The cats here are really Asian; like many of their brothers and sisters they were just lying about and didn’t care about anything happening around them or you petting them. Afterward it was time for an old fashioned movie night; get some burgers, popcorn, a drink and watch the new Star Wars film.

Hedgehog Cafe.

My trip is almost coming to an end and I don’t feel like doing a lot else than just being and enjoy the surroundings I’m in. It’s actually a bit of a transition to “normal” life back in the Netherlands. One thing I had to think about was a sign I’ve seen in Koh Lipe (also the cover for Travel Short #19) that exactly describes my feeling:

For now I not have to make anything happen; I don’t have to achieve anything; I don’t have to think or feel anything…just be…a happy vibe…

Although I didn’t want to do that many things I did want to see some more of the culture and especially the beautiful temples in Chiang Mai. So one day I headed out to Wat Phra Singh one of the old temples in the city. The temple complex was founded in the 14th century and consists of several (wooden) temple buildings. One of the most eye catching sights had to be the stupa covered in gold.
Besides the temple I went to the old city wall. It’s quite funny because I crossed this wall several times per day but never actually looked at it that well or took a picture of it. I ended the day with eating at one of the food stalls at the very busy Sunday Market.

Then the final night came and I would have to catch a plane the next morning. From the big D-Well group only Marta and I were left but we met new people along the way in the days prior. We went to our regular starting point: the Havana Bar where we requested some music and he was actually playing the music all evening. Like every place in Chiang Mai it closed down at 12am and we ended up in the only place open: Spicy. We don’t like the place but we did end up there again… A lot of drinks and hours later it was 3:30am already and I went back to the hostel…and the next morning I didn’t wake up in time and missed my flight to Bangkok…So I had one more final night in Chiang Mai it seemed. I stayed for another day and got a new flight the very next day which I did catch!

Next stop: Bangkok! One more week before heading home…wow time goes by so fast but it is a good feeling to be heading back to friends and family for New Year’s.