Saturday, January 5, 2013


Chiang Mai is a baby city compared to Bangkok.  I spent my first day doing things I could do anywhere.  First, I went shopping in the big mall that's really close to me.  

They were still decorated for Christmas.
Pretty impressive tree, eh?  

There are the same kinds of early January sales here as there are at home.  I can't believe I actually bought more clothes.  I'm going to have to trade out some things in my suitcase, because there's just no room.  I've never been big on shopping, and having two already full suitcases has kept me pretty much in check so far (although I did spring for some linens in Italy).  

I also got a hair cut and color.  I asked them to match my color, and you won't believe what I got.  These Thais are much better with dark hair, I guess.  All I can say is that I'm not crazy about my Marilyn Monroe hair.  

Then I went to a movie--The Life of Pi.  The special effects are pretty amazing.  I guess some people have been dissatisfied with the lingering mystery of the ending, but I can live with open questions.  

This is only part of the field of motorcycles parked outside the mall.  

Today I went to explore the old walled city.  And what was the first thing I saw?  You got it.  Another temple.

This one is pretty modest compared to what I saw in Bangkok.  I met a couple of young women--Reka and Christina--one from Austria and the other from Germany, and after a chat about our travels, they invited me to tag along with them for a while.  

We went into the temple to hear the monks chanting before their lunch.  My picture of them turned out really blurry.

People were putting twenty baht notes in these streamers and hanging them from wooden rods.  

After checking out a couple of temple buildings, I decided to go off and explore what else was inside the walls.  

There really wasn't much--just streets like this with little shops.  

This is how most of the city looks--little shops in old buildings lining the streets.

There wasn't much to the walls of the city either--just partial sections like this.  The red truck you see here is one of the major forms of public transport here.  You sit on benches in the back.  They take you just about anywhere for 20 baht...that's about 65 cents. There are also tuk-tuks and a few metered taxis.  

I went back outside the walls and wandered a bit.  

This bowl of chili peppers was just sitting unattended on the sidewalk.

I found a travel agent and booked 5 different tours--two full days, two half days, and an evening dinner and dance performance--all for $138.  I never cease to be amazed at how cheap things are here.  The travel agents told me about a couple of restaurants that aren't overrun with tourists and I had lunch at one....sweet and sour fish that was also quite spicy.  I know how to say "not really spicy" in Thai, but didn't think I needed to specify it on a sweet and sour dish.  It was really good, and so was the Thai beer I had with it.

I came back to the mall to get a shellac manicure and regular pedicure--only $30 for that.  There's a huge food hall in the mall, and they have a pretty good salad bar there, so I got a really big salad for dinner with lots of veggies, croutons and Italian dressing (of course) for only 42 baht...$1.38.  

I broke a sweat today, but never got close to being as uncomfortable as I was in Bangkok.  The weather here is going to be from 80 to 85 degrees for the next couple of weeks....I can't live with that!

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