I received your letter yesterday. Thanks! You must be in Portugal now. How is it over there? I'd be happy if you all would come over for a visit in April. I have enough space in my house, and we can rent a car and tour the north of Thailand. Don't come during Songkran, though, which is from April 13 through April 15. This is the traditional Thai New Year, and everything is complete pandemonium for three days because everyone drenches each other with water. It's especially celebrated with gusto in Chiangmai, so it's supposed to be pretty crazy. If you don't mind getting wet, I suggest that you arrive before April 13 because most of the flights, busses, and trains are completely full.
I bought a few new oil paintings a few days ago. The artist's name is Sompop, and he's one of the best painters in Chiangmai, painting mostly portraits of hilltribe children. I want to purchase some paintings from art students at various universities in northern Thailand, but I haven't had much luck yet.
I;m planning on exploring more of Thailand in the near future, taking several 2-3 day trips and using Chiangmai as my base. I have to leave Thailand by February 20th because my visa will expire, so I'll probably journey down to Malaysia for a quick trip. I might even stop off for a few days to enjoy the great beaches of southern Thailand.
I'm becoming friends with Rick, a teacher that used to work at my school in Tokyo. He's lived in Thailand for about two years, and he sometimes comes by my house in the morning for a hot cup of coffee, and together we explore Chiangmai on our motorcycles.
I have another friend, Jim, who is visiting for a month from London. He owns his own taxi in London, so he works half a year and travels the other half. He also just came from Australia and New Zealand, so we talked a lot about familiar places.
It's evening now and I'm sitting outside in my little yard, relaxing, getting ready for dinner. I've planted a few flowers because they are so cheap here, but I'm not much of a gardener .... I keep forgetting to water them!
Take care and send me a few pictures.