miraculously, all forms of public transport i needed to use yesterday conspired to work with me! the day started with a 45 minutes taxi ride from our hostel to the pier of koh chang island. the taxi consisted of two benches in the back of a pick up truck, with our luggage tossed on top of a loose covering. then we took a ferry to mainland thailand where we waited (ahem, sweated) for one hour until the bus arrived. the bus was supposed to take 6 hours, but it arrived in bangkok uncharacteristically ahead of schedule, giving me more time to say au revoir to my fabulous traveling companions!
i took a tuk-tuk to the train station and really enjoyed bargaining with the tuk-tuk driver over the price! i had previously asked a travel agent about how much the tuk-tuk would cost; she said 60 baht. the driving initially offered me 150!? when i countered with 50, he looked shocked, and then smiled, and we settled on 80 (about $2 for a 20 minute ride). haggling can be great or horrible.... not much in between.
i arrived at the train station, bought my 2nd class overnight sleeper compartment ticket to chiang mai, which i had been worried might be sold out! the train confused me at first because i had no idea how the "sleeper" system worked, but i eventually figured it out and the ride was mostly comfortable. it ended up taking nearly 16 hours to get to the chiang mai station!!! then i took another tuk-tuk and waited about 30 minutes for the girl i'm staying with here to come meet me.
whew! i'm exhausted from all the sitting, broken up by moments of backpack-laden excitement!
chiang mai is a cute little city with great alley ways, coffee shops and message parlors everywhere. my first point of business was to sign up for a cooking class ;)