Sunday, October 15, 2006

Chiang Mai - เชียงใหม่

12th October - 17th October

We arrived to Chiang Mai with the Avenue I gang and before we could figure out a local bus route to our guesthouse of choice, we saw two guys from BANANA guesthouse waiting for us at the train station! A breeze of a tuk-tuk ride later, we ordered some kao-soi (curry noodles served with red shallots, pickled cabbage and some damn-HOT chilly paste) and sat back feeling satisfied from head to toe.

Everyone in Chiang Mai, or anywhere in mainland Thailand, rides mopeds. Even the elderly ride it wild without a helmet. By word of mouth, we were recommended to see the waterfalls in Mae Rim just 25 minutes north of Chiang Mai.
Here, our partners in crime, Phil and Ursula (another great Brooklynite travelling in SE Asia), ride the country roads to the waterfalls.

Here, Phil poses in front of the Mae Sa waterfall. The waterfall was beautiful and the misty air cooled us instantly but the brownish color of the water, especially after the recent flooding in the area and the 'parasitic leeches' we read about in the papers, changed our minds about taking a dip.

On our ride back to Chiang Mai, we stopped at the Insect Museum, which happened to be closed. So we spotted a farmer tending his double-hunchback cows, a new variety to us.
Chiang Mai has a famous Sunday Night Bazaar whose legacy dates back to the original Yunnanese trading caravans that stopped here along the ancient trade route between Simao (China) and Mawlamyine (on Myanmar's Indian Ocean coast). On Sundays, half the city is closed down to allow street vendors and local artisans to show off their art and craftwork of wood, jewelry, clothing, etc. In addition, Chiang Mai boasts to have as many wats (or Buddhist temples) as Bangkok, even though the city is much smaller in size than the capital. Here, is an example of such a wat.
Our stay in Chiang Mai wouldn't be the same if it weren't for all the great people we met there. This page MUST end to Chiang Mai's hospitality and her cool residents: Suwat, a teacher cum artist cum bar-owner cum social slut extraordinaire from Pai taking a break to see his bar owner friend in Chiang Mai. He could be found spending hours drawing the customers at the Freedom Bar, our main entertainment base in Chiang Mai.
Zhenia helped Hoy paint the front of the Freedom Bar. Here, she giggles at the camera.
Jennifer, another wonderful Brooklynite teaching in Russia for the last two years, also was a solid member of the Freedom Bar/Avenue I-in-Thailand crew.
And last but not least, Selly, the owner of the Freedom Bar who fed and satisfied the thirst of many, many customers in the larger Chiang Mai area. We love you!!

No comments: