By this point, we were on a roll with cramming in touristy things at the last minute. Given that we finally made it to the city, we decided to spend our last morning taking a six hour biking tour. The tour (through the company Grasshopper) was a bit light on biking but immensely enjoyable. I felt like we actually saw the city as our tour guides weaved us through back alleys and through crowded marketplaces.
The tour even included lunch, eaten in traditional style for Chiang Mai. The dishes are served in small bowls in the center of the table. Each person gets a personal basket of sticky rice, with which they make balls and eat the dishes from the center using the rice as a spoon. It was quite fun, and as is seemingly the case with all non-American eating traditions, it forces you to slow down.
We passed a few hours lounging at the hotel, and then our final night of our trip was upon us. For dinner we found a.. wait for it.. all you can eat sushi + Korean BBQ style place for 399 baht a person, about $13. We definitely got our money’s worth there.
Now we get to the part of the trip that got a bit dicey. Do know in advance that it all ended well and it’s in the past, so no need to worry; I’m fine. We went out to a bar throwing a superhero-themed party, and over the course of the night I was very nearly sucked into a scam of some kind. I’m not sure what the scam was for, or how much I stood to lose, but suffice to say that I caught on to what was happening just in the nick of time and got out entirely unscathed. The only money I lost was an extra few dollars on a tuk tuk that I didn’t properly negotiate.
Looking back on the night and trying to figure out where the scam began, I’m both angry and sad. There was a long string of social interactions, each (in retrospect) designed to push me towards the next. Was every single person I talked to that night part of the same scam, each promised a cut of whatever they could extract from my wallet? Was not a single interaction I had genuine? I’m honestly not sure. The most telling factor was when people were fully avoiding questions. I really dislike the “if it feels off there’s something wrong” rule of thumb, because sometimes people are just awkward and I (as one of those people) feel bad for thinking less of people because of it. Still, it seems that sometimes being willing to go with the flow comes back to bite you.
I made it home safely and collapsed into bed. Tomorrow, back home.