“I see trees of green, red roses too, I see them bloom for me and you. And I think to myself, What a wonderful world”....


I read the words of that song which I love, very appropriately, sitting on the banks of the Mae Ping River in Chiang Mai in the garden of the most divine teak old world Chinese shop house while tucking into a very more-ish, moist and sumptuous orange cake. I had actually thought up to that point that life in Chiang Mai just couldn't get any better.

We had checked into our bijoux and chic boutique guest house (at €17.00 per day inclusive of a tasty and hearty breakfast served by helpful and friendly staff), chilled for a while in its frangipani filled courtyard and then explored the wat, or Buddhist temple, filled alleyways midst which the guesthouse was situated. The temple's tingling chimes and beautifully bright orange robed monks the only movement in what seemed to me to be a dream. Our meanderings, to include a couple of stops at old colonial style tea houses which beckoned, led us eventually to the flower markets where two of my favourite flowers, orchids and birds of paradise, simply stole the show. As I said – I really did think that life couldn't get much better.

And then, to top it all off, we found “Regina's”. It's a fantas-teak (!) antique shop/ cafe/ restaurant/ guesthouse just across the river from the flower market (on Chaoenrat Road Watkate A.Muang). You enter a place where it seems time, on the antique clocks, froze over one hundred years ago but for the spinning of the fans and the crooning of Edith Piaf and Sinatra. I just fell in love with it instantly. We all happily whiled away several hours there. Luca chased the many butterflies which flitted through the garden. Phil photographed the procession of monks as they filed past on the bridge nearby while enjoying his delicious Pad Thai. And moi? Well –  I tucked into my slice of cake and, to be honest, dreamt of staying there indefinitely (they do monthly room rentals at 12,00 baht or €270) to write. Something. Anything. Just to make enough money to pay for the room, to fill said room daily with fresh blooms from the flower market and eat tasty Thai staples (and delicious cake of course). I actually think that a novel would write itself there. The words would simply be whispered to you from the garden's trees. And, in the unlikely event that the trees didn't talk to you and you found yourself with writer's block, you could always pop into the nearby “Writer's Club and Wine Bar”, run by an ex-foreign correspondent where Chiang Mai's many reporters and writers hang out to get some unblocking tips whilst enjoying a tipple.


Anyway the front page of Regina's Menu was where I read Louis Armstrong's lyrics and where I, once again on this trip, felt it really is a wonderful world. If you don't hear from us again then you'll know where to find us - the magnum opus in progress. I wish! Otherwise we'll be taking an overnight train on Thursday (we treated ourselves to 1st class this time!) back to Bangkok where we'll all celebrate darling Luca's third birthday on Sunday. From there we'll head then on to Saigon via Cambodia – Siem Reap (for Angkor Wat) and Phnom Penh..... So do keep following to see where we end up.

" Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world " 

4 comments:

At May 24, 2011 at 8:41 AM Anonymous said...

Cold grey wet late autumn day in Sydney! (Yes we do get them!!) Wish I was there... Sounds very idyllic! Have my own humble travels to look forward to THANK GOD! Love from the Bondi Mob! Aine

 
At May 25, 2011 at 5:08 AM Linda de Paor said...

Thanks Aine & Bondi Mob. We'll miss one of our best commentor families when you're gone but we are so excited for all of you for your upcoming trip. Love to you all and hopefully we'll chat soon – maybe even over the weekend? We'll be back in Bangkok from Friday until Monday. We didn't want to be on the road for Luca's birthday. We're pretty excited that we're going first class and are planning to watch “Murder on The Orient Express” on the overnight train (Thursday). Mum would love it. Hopefully we'll live to tell the tale :) x

 
At May 28, 2011 at 9:45 AM Anonymous said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUCA! Dying to hear about the first class experience! AINE X (& Gang)

 
At May 28, 2011 at 6:56 PM Linda de Paor said...

Thanks so much. Great excitement here about turning 3! We're going to a 11.30am showing of Kung Fu Panda in 3D. Luca's first film and cinema! Will do a post tomorrow. First class was great. Watched Murder on the Orient Express. Which was really cool to watch with the background noise of the clickety clack of our train. But Phil went all out with the scary gags afterwards to spook me. :) Speak soon. Hope you guys are all well. :) xx

 

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