A Kyle Style Night Out
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A Kyle Style Night Out (Jan 2019)
While walking, hitching, and exploring the south of Thailand, an email came through from an old friend; one of the best humans in the world. Mandel...just that name alone brings a smile to my face. In the Kustom Kyle world, he is known as P3, the Phenomenal Photo Phreak, because he loves catching those candid amazing moments on film. He has an incredible talent and an eye on the prize, being the ability to capture special moments.
Mandel emailed his Thailand dates, which included four nights in Chiang Mai. This provided the idea for my ticket to the north; I must go meet Mandel. When he told me, "I have a hotel room booked with a comfortable couch and a rooftop pool, you're staying with me," it solidified my platonic love for this human as he genuinely wants to spend time with me. There is no greater feeling in the world than knowing someone wants to be with you!
From Bangkok, hours and hours of buses and trains led me through the bulky beast of central Thailand, displaying temples and lifestyles that I only saw from a glance. Down south on the beaches and up north in the mountains, I was able to spend time exploring the villages, but central Thailand gave a view of lonely faces jealous of my journey around their homeland.
Reaching Chiang Mai, hugging an old friend felt like a magical rejuvenation into the body and mind. We walked the night markets, eating anything we'd never seen before, wandered through art displays to see unique designs, and nearly found ourselves locked inside a Buddhist Temple. Throughout our weekend, we meditated by the rooftop pool, rode a tuk-tuk taxi to the Temple in the Mountain, and befriended every new face that would talk to us. In the end, it was such an incredible experience, but it was Monday afternoon that I came up with the idea for A Kyle Style Night Out.
Walking back from watching Superbowl Sunday in the only Irish pub in the city, at 8:00 AM Monday morning, I came up with an idea to thank Mandel for an incredible weekend together. I asked Mandel if he had any plans for the night and if he'd trust me to guide him from 7:00 PM through the night. He laughed, wondering what I had up my sleeve.
Our journey began at the local authentic Mexican restaurant where we took a break from noodles for steak and chicken burritos, mango smoothies, and fresh vegetables. We sat under gorgeous art photographs, listening to English speakers complain about something with their bill. Mandel and I thanked our servers and hosts overwhelmingly, hoping to raise their spirits once again. Our evening continued to a rooftop bar looking over the Old City, full of lights and life while we had a beer by ourselves in quite possibly the best view of Chiang Mai. It was time to dive into the city with our first stop at the Rock N Roll Bar where we watched local talent sing Thai versions of songs we'd heard our entire lives, giving us a special smile. Moving along, we went to the reggae bar, which will always provide the perfect vibe. Whenever visiting a foreign country, if you find the reggae shops and bars, I promise you'll find comfort from everyone around. Our final stop of the night was the one that inspired the Monday night outing. Every Monday in Chiang Mai, there is an outdoor rooftop bar in a very unique mall that attracts the best blues musicians to come out and play together. It is treated like an open-mic-night, but they all knew each other, entertaining their friends and audiences week after week. Mandel gave me a look as if to say, "This is the place we need to be!"
A special night out doesn't have to cost a lot of money or require much activity, but with food, views, music, and genuine interactions, a perfect night is awaiting around every corner. Enjoy it all! Find the local hidden gems and you'll never be disappointed. Cheers to Mandel and Cheers to you all!