Chiangmai has a lot of expats and a lot of them … are strange. Not all of them — but a lot. They’re examples of what it takes to leave your country of origin and live in a very “different” place like Thailand. The reasons are many and varied … and they range from economics, to addictions (sex!), to spirituality.

Yes, you can retire cheap in Thailand, but for most it takes adjustment and time to find the right spot for them. Chiang Mai University is here and it attracts a lot of intellectuals, free-thinkers, and creative types. But it’s hard to miss that there are large numbers of Westerners who for one reason or another… (like war trauma and idiosyncratic personalities) are simply too distorted to live anywhere else.

The man in the photograph above is a sweet, kind guy who I took off guard when I snapped his picture. He has a great sense of humor and he’s helping to open a Louisiana style cafe (with Gumbo!) just down from the Buaraya Hotel on Meneenopparat Road.