The north capital and the water gun battle
Oh, we slept awfully! It was a really bumpy ride, and it was cold (top bunk beds, directly by the AC), so sleeping again after a big bump woke you up was no so easy. At around 7 I woke up and saw that Allie and Matt (the americans!) were gone, so went to join them with breakfast in the restaurant-wagon (ladyboy waitress included!).
When we arrived to Chiang Mai, we shared a taxi that left us in our hostel first, and since we couldn't check in just yet, we left the bags and went exploring the city (and its amazing, tasty and cheap food!). We saw several temples. The "2nd most important one" was actually the most impressive. After checking in, we booked some activities for the next 2 days, got a shower, a power nap, and went exploring again! We had some nice cocktails in a bar with live music, ate a really below average dinner and accidentally found Chiang Mai's tourist party area, full of teenagers and people having a foam party. Sadly when we arrived there was just water left, so we got all wet and just went back to the hostel. :D
PD: Chiang Mai's city center is full of "lovely" animals and bugs by night, must walk carefully! Eww xD
After breakfast a mini-bus came to pick us up to go to a cooking course (Sammy's organic Thai cooking school). We first stopped at a market, where he showed us how they make coconut cream, and then went to his farm. We were in total 12 people: 4 germans from our hostel, Javi, a Spanish solo traveller through Asia,2 french, 2 Americans (they guy used to work at Google Maps!) and another girl. We cooked 3 dishes, chilled after eating them, and then we "made" two more (more like they explained us how to).
In the afternon we went to the saturday market, were we saw and ate a lot. Unexpectedly, we were in the middle of a buddhist ritual to bring good luck, and we went along with it: lit a candle, held a lotus flower, and walked after the monks 3 times around the temple. Then they blessed us, we offered the candle to Buddha and the flower (with a donation) to the monks. Then we walked kneeling and a monk gave us an amulet. A woman that was living there for 3 months explained me that we should have been thinking about a wish/what we want during the 3 laps around the temple. Too late!
Going back to the market's exit we met Allie and Matt, and we'll hopefully meet again tomorrow. Tired, we bought some beer on our way to the hostel, and stopped for a smoothie (where we saw the americans of the cooking course). We chilled at the rooftop, talked with some germans and went to our room. Oh... in the market there was a dog riding a motorbike.
We went to an elephant camp. Stella, the woman from the hostel who sold it to us, said that they were treated gently. Not so sure about that. They were chained and some of them had settles on. So, not that cool, mixed feelings. Feeding them, seeing the babies and giving them water was awesome. Then we had lunch and the disturbing part for me started. Each of us got on a different one, sitting directly on the neck. They are giant and so poweful. Mine was none stop trying to get food on his way and cuddle with another one (who was his mum).
We arrived at the river, where we bathed with them (and... their poop), and they seemed to have fun too- To finish, they gave us a CD with a bunch of pictures of all of us (we were 6, 2 germans that did the cooking couse with us too, and 2 asians from Canada that were super cute).
When we came back, after a shower, we went to find "Mrs Pa", because Alex read online she makes the BEST smoothies, and ofc it was just MEH. Then we met Allie and Matt, had dinner, some drinks (a couple too many) and took our first red taxi (the shared ones) back to the hostel.
We wanted to rent a bike and go to some caves and Doi Suthep (the temple outside Chiang Mai) with a german couple from the hostel, but I woke up with a funny stomach (hungovers here are hard) and not so excited about it so we cancelled and slept long(ish). And had to change room because we stayed one night more and everything is booked.
We walked a bit around the "neighbourhood" visiting temples and had an "expensive" 750 Baht for us both luch: shrimp dumplings are heaven. And the typical sausages from north Thailand nice but spicy!
Then we wanted to find a shared taxi to go to Doi Suthep, but found none (in the 5 minutes we tried ^^), so after asking taxis around, one agreed to take us there (40 min), wait 1:30h, and bring us back for 400 Baht. We didn't have to pay him until we were back, we could have come back with a shared one leaving him there! He really trusted us (and, even tempted, we didn't disappoint ^^) The temple was beautiful, with views over Chiang Mai. They were pre-celebrating Songkran, and Alex saw food beign shared for monks and people belonging to the celebrations and stood there staring with sad puppy face until they offered him some.
Back in our hostel we wanted to buy some water guns, so we took our first tuktuk to a mall. We didn't find one, but played in the arcade and ate some dumplings and rice in the market. Then we went to the east gate to walk that part at night, where there's a bazaar. There was a concert of a guy with a great voice so we stayed a bit longer until we got tired and went to sleep.
We changed hostel. We arrived, checked in, got a motorbike and waited for Lou and Jaku (the germans we wanted to do something with) to go together to the sticky waterfalls. Driving was... interesting, but not as awful as we imagined. The waterfalls itself were really cool, but with a lot of people (mostly Thai). In the middle we saw a guy proposing, and she said yes :) Lou and Jaku met a 90 year old German that's been living there for 10 years, a Thai woman (probably wife) and his 2 sons visiting. They gave us to try roasted wasp, just the body, and tastes like crunchy curry.
We then decided to improvise another way back and ended in a lake next to the least touristic vlillage in the world. Jaku, after drawing a boat, found out that a ferry was supposed to bring us closer to Chiang Mai and come "soon". After waiting 45 minutes, seeing a snake and seriously talking about going at least 10 times, it arrived. There were people with motorbikes (which reasured us) and a monk who TALKED TO ME!!! and asked me where were we from. The ferry was interesting and then we had to drive 20km more that were HELL but we survived.
Back in our hostel, we had to wait 1h for the owner to come back and give us our keys and then we went to meet Lou and Jaku. They were with an english couple who annoyed me because they were throwing water to everyone and being idiotic and loud, but after some drinks I chilled out and they were actually nice.When we were all drunk and tired, we took a tuktuk (6 people. 1 tuktuk!!!!) and tried to go to the roof top, of our previous place (where they were still staying), but they didn't let us go inside, so we went to sleep.
Happy Songkran! A bit hungover we headed to the street to have breakfast and became immediatly wet. Then we came back to the hostel (where free laundy during Songkran was offered for the wet clothes) to get Alex's phone to meet Lou & Jaku and our guns for obvious reasons. After taking pics with the hostel owner, we went out and then we got non-stop wet from guns, buckets, trucks, everything! At around 2 we ate something in a market and saw the Buddhas parade. Then we splitted and decided to go back to our hostel but, smart us, took the way along the moat. It took us super long to arrive (at 6 or so?) but was incredibly funny (except for the retarded tourist with soy sauce in his gun shooting kids and motorbikes, which you almost hit, who ruined 5 to 10 minutes of the day).To enjoy it you really need a water gun or a bucket (or both!). Oh, and the water with ice is just too mean (and luckily, I even got a free iced water gun refill from a nice family - after they shot me first and realized I had no water left). After a nice warm shower we wanted to have some beers but Alex fell asleep and when he woke up we went straight to grab some dinner with people from the hostel. After that we wanted a cocktail, so we took a taxi and saw by chance the "Miss and Mister Songkran" competition. And since the cocktails were suddenly more expensive, drank some beer chilling on the street and went to sleep.