Yesterday was really uneventful for it being our last full day in Chiang Mai. We slept in a bit and then got breakfast. We had a few hours to kill before our flight so we all decided to get massages. My mom and Grandmother got foot massages and my dad and I got full body Thai Traditional massages. My masseuse was incredible! After a brief snack for lunch we made our way to the Chaing Mai Airport, via Chan, our driver from our first full day who took us around to the H’mong Village, Elephant Camp, Orchid Farm, and various factories.
There was a bunch of security at the airport. We had to pass through security as we entered the terminal building, where they scanned our checked and carry on luggage and had us pass through metal detectors. It wasn’t too unusual, as in the old Bangkok airport, they scanned your checked luggage when entering the check-in counter areas, but this was a bit more intense. Not only that, but when we entered the gate area, we went through security again!
Our flight was delayed an hour…oddly enough nearly all the flights to Bangkok were delayed. Good thing we weren’t in a hurry!
Everyone always raves about Chiang Mai and how incredible it is. Chiang Mai was really nice, but I kind of prefer Bangkok. I’m a big city person, and Chiang Mai really isn’t that big, despite it being the second largest city in Thailand. I’m glad I went though, and I gotta say, the two markets we visited were incredible! It definitely had a lot of character (then again, so does Bangkok). Bangkok has all these elements of old meets new, where Chiang Mai was more old that new. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It was really really nice, but given all the hype people worked up about Chiang Mai, I guess I was expecting more. Hey, no complaints though…it’s definitely more exciting than any other Thai city I’ve spent time in!!
Anyways, today we went over to the new side of town so that my parents could have fittings for their garments that are currently under construction. We decided to take the fastest way of getting there, which was via the khlong (canal) boats. I should note that on the way there, we passed a memorial to the 14th of October, 1973, which is the day which Thai soldiers opened fire on university students holding an anti-coup demonstration at Thammasat University. A similar thing happened in 1991, though that time around it wasn’t just students who were killed. When you look at that, it’s interesting to see that they welcomed the coup this time around with open arms.
Our first stop on the new side of town was at the Erawan Shrine. There really wasn’t much new to report there. It really is such an incredible place…the granddaddy, per say, of all spirit houses. The story goes that the guy who built the Erawan Hotel went to see a seer after it opened, who told him he’d laid the first stone wrong in some way that had upset the spirits, and he needed to build this elaborate shrine to one of the Hindu gods. It was particularly entertaining this time around because we could see that there was a semi-nonverbal feud going on between 3 of the dancers which people hire to appease the spirit!
After the fitting, we Sky Train-ed it to MBK for lunch. Several of us bought t-shirts. My grandmother got one with a nice design, I got one with the entire Thai name of Bangkok (which is a paragraph long, which starts with “Krungthep Mahanakhon…”) written in Thai, with a little bubble in English which says “The longest capital city name in the world,” and my dad got one that says “Comma Sutra” and has commas in a variety of potentially sexual positions! It was pretty funny.
We then made our way to Jim Thompson’s House, where I’ve also previously been. It was, again, very nice. Though Thompson was a Christian, he had many very old Buddha images, as well as paintings illustrating the Jatakas, which tell stories of the former lives of the Buddha, as well as his attendant, Ananda.
We rode the khlong boats back over towards our hotel and were too lazy to do much of anything for dinner. We decided to go to the overpriced, and not so good, hotel coffee shop in the lobby. Now, it’s understandable that since English is a second language here that there would be flubs here and there. Some particularly common ones include “Close” instead of “Closed” or “Clothe” instead of “Clothes.” In the menu they had one of the funniest flubs I’ve ever seen. I noticed one of the items, “Fried entrails with garlic” had a word crossed out in it (entrails had been written in). You could see through the scribble, and what it actually originally said was “Fried Uterus with Garlic”!!!!!!! Yes, that’s right, “Fried Uterus with Garlic.” I, as well as my family, almost died laughing. Heck, that even beats the “Pizza Procreation” at our hotel in Chiang Mai (never did find out what that was)!
Tomorrow, we’re off to Cambodia! I can’t wait!