How am I the only person sitting in this rooftop bar on a Saturday night at 6:30pm, in one of the highest hotels and buildings in Chiang Mai, watching the sunset?
The mojito is delicious, and quite strong for a mere 150thb. Thank you Thailand.
A cocktail and a view like this in Sydney would set you back $30 just to get a smile from the barman.
The smoke from the burning off season in the area is washing the horizon a deep orange hue and the clear night sky and cool breeze is making me feel like royalty. I did put on a dress and shave my legs for this.
Apart from the staff I’m completely alone up here, not like the usual solo traveller…
“Oh I’m so alone, let me look like I’m really interested in this Lonely Planet Guide but it’s really just a mirror into the lonely planet of my travelling soul”
….but in the literal sense. The. Only. Person. Here.
Did I miss something? Has the zombie apocalypse actually happened while I walked from my apartment to this hotel? The traffic did seem rather quiet for Chiang Mai.
In all fairness, I could think of worse places to be if it had, I’m at the top of a hotel, 17 floors up, full bar, full kitchen, hundreds of rooms to choose from (mini bar chocolates!). The vantage point to watch the carnage is great, and there’s a guitar, so I could entertain myself with my inability to play it, and probably save the world somehow. We all have goals.
Ah ha! Finally, another couple arrive, possibly American, but I can’t hear them over the Thai covers of 80’s and 90’s pop classics such as, ‘Vogue’, ‘I Will Always Love You’ and a personal favourite, Olivia Newton-John’s, ‘Xanadu’.
Oh wait, they’re leaving…and they’d even reserved their table.
This is weird, I’ll order a beer.
7 o’clock rolls around and there’s movement, a mass of tourists come flooding in, Malaysian, Thai, Japanese, Chinese…big groups too, except for one couple who spend the next 20 minutes taking selfies.
The wife is bossing the husband around because he’s not really getting the whole selfie pose. Smile, but don’t look too excited about, it’s not Disneyland. Don’t get your body in the way of my disjointed hip position. Your head is too big, you blinked, don’t touch me, just get out of the picture. The selfie language is universal.
Time to order some food. The speciality menu is always a good place to start I find, what can go wrong if it’s a speciality and then in theory, a favourite of guests as well.
“I’ll take the Spicy Fresh Salmon Salad please.”
“No, too spicy.”
“Oh, ok. I do eat spicy food.”
“Right then,” a wee bit flustered by this point, I searched quickly down the page, “I’ll go with the Deep Fried Fluffy Catfish then.”
Why not…seemed like the next obvious choice anyone would go for.
While I’m waiting for my fluffy catfish I notice a little black cart beside each table. My finished mojito has been placed on mine, along with my half-drunk bottle of beer. It’s a Cart Of Shame. Especially for the solo diner who can’t blame the ever growing mass of empties on their companion. Clever for keeping the crowds (or lack of) sober, but not great for sales.
With still not a clue what I had ordered, my fluffy catfish arrived. It was…it was…different. I couldn’t taste fish, fluff or cat for that matter. It just seemed like deep fried, deep fried. That’s not a typo, it was like the air between the batter and the KFC chicken, deep fried. It wasn’t bad, it was just, just.
Perhaps it was the fluffy catfish that turned the elusive Digital Nomads away from this place. Which, by the way, I’m yet to encounter. I’m doing a terrible job of joining the apparent throngs of nomads in Chiang Mai. I’ve clapped eyes on one so far, sitting in a café with a fancy laptop, sipping coffee with a hipster beard.
Step one of being a digital nomad: meet other digital nomads = fail
I finish my fluffy catfish and retire for the evening, disappointed to leave the now live band playing further 90’s covers such as, ‘I’ll Stand By You’ and ‘You’ve Got a Friend In Me’. The piano solos are my favourite as they remind me of that great scene in Friends where Ross shows the group his skills on the keyboard, if you haven’t watched it I suggest you do.
Perhaps I’ll take up the electric keyboard in the apocalypse instead, get those techno drum beats pumping while I play chopsticks. If that doesn’t drive away the zombies I’m not sure what will.
Nugget of Wisdom
Taste everything, what’s the worst that could happen.