From Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Today is Monday. I have a number of meetings in the ILO’s subregional office in the afternoon and fly to Chiang Mai in the evening. I start with breakfast in the hotel, prepare the meetings and pack my stuff. Then I take a taxi to the UN building in which the ILO office is located. Not exactly close to the hotel. My bags are checked carefully by security before I am allowed to enter. I spend the afternoon with fairly productive meetings, the content of which I do not wish to repeat here. In between I check my email and find a message from the Canadian embassy in Berlin saying that I was granted the research scholarship I applied for more than one year ago. This makes mee very happy and presumably I will travel in late 2005 or January 2006 to study under the supervision of my ‘guru’ Will Kymlicka at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

It is dark when I leave the building. It does not take long to get a taxi and I am on my way to the airport. There is massive traffic jam. At some point the car does not move for more than 15 minutes and I am getting concerned that I might miss my flight. However, there is not much traffic once we have reached the toll way. The driver speeds up and we make it in time to the airport. Bangkok’s airport for domestic flights appears smaller and more provincial than the international one. My flight is with Air Asia and I have booked it online some days ago (ca. 80Euro for the return ticket). In fact it was not easy to get a flight during these days, as foreigners as well as Thais travel to Chiang Mai to spend Songkhran here, the Thai New Year.

The flight is only about one hour and we reach Chiang Mai airport late in the evening. The climate seems a bit cooler up here. I take a taxi to the guesthouse. The taxi driver is new in the business and we are driving around for quite some time which is nice because I get to see the town. The flair is markedly different from Bangkok, more like a provincial town with low and partly old buildings, an ancient wall and a moat around it.

There appear to be countless tourists and significant nightlife. There are also countless guesthouses and my room in one of them is fairly simply, just a hard bed, a shelf, a bathroom and a van. It is late in the evening already. I go for a short walk along the road with dozens of bars and restaurants. After I have some diner I go home and sleep.

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