It's quite pleasant here in Chiang Mai. The inner city is surrounded by a moat and the streets are remarkably quiet and nice. It breaks the usual trend of being busier and more unpleasant with taller buildings at the center of the city. There are lots of vegetarian restaurants and people actually sometimes know what vegan is which is awesome. It's about 60 baht for some yummy organic pad thai and 200 baht a night for a single room at a decent hotel so living is not so hard :-). The exchange rate is about 31 baht to 1 USD.
I had some time today to finally get a guide book about Thialand and actually learn something more substantial about the culture here.
The Kathoeys are one of the more interesting things I've come across. Thialand is much further ahead than the US or Canada in their acceptance of people who don't fit into either male or female gender roles. Kathoeys are people born male in sex and decide to change it up to become more along the lines of a transgendered person. It's not that simple though, kathoeys are generally considered a third sex altogether.
A great film about it is Beautiful Boxer. I haven't seen the whole thing because I can't find a version with english subtitles but from what I could see it seems really good. Check it out if you have a chance and you're interested in this kind of thing.
There is still a lot of rough things that kathoeys have to deal with. They are not officially recognized by the government and face discrimination in a number of ways. But I was surprised to find the Chiang Mai Technology school has built a third washroom, the symbol being an intertwined male and female symbol. The school is only a few hundred meters from my hotel at the moment.