Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Last Day in Chiang Mai

So it's my last day here in Chiang Mai.  It's overcast and cool.  Last night's rain was pretty spectacular.  I don't think I've ever heard it rain so hard anywhere.
So here are a few more random photos from yesterday's outings.  I still had my rented bike and went down to the Wororot market and then across the river.  I also went to parts of the old town I'd never been to before and got totally lost.  So much of Chiang Mai is "same same" with all the guest houses, cafes, shops and all.  But then you'll come across a new temple that's really spectacular.  
I actually took this photo to help me locate my bike when it was time to find it.  It's extremely confusing around this area.  The streets are definitely NOT in a grid.  As my mom used to say, it's like they got a bunch of goats drunk and everywhere the goats went they put in a road.
It's also heavily traffick'd here!  Crazy.
The ground floor of the market proper is always amazing.  This is where Thai people shop for food.  Years ago I asked one of the vendors about this bowl of green glop she was stirring.  She laughed and said "not for you, sir!  Not for you!".  But that said, there are an incredible array of nuts, spices, dried fruits-including varieties I'd never seen before, noodles, teas, and of course french fried meal worms.
It's not just food though.  There are a number of stalls selling religious supplies.  These statues were about ten to twelve inches high and cast out of metal.  Way too heavy to bring one home!
I liked this warrior with the witch's hat, sword across his knees.  Like so much here it's hard to even guess what it's all about.
I came across this flower market facing the riverside.  I stopped and bought one of the jasmine rose garlands.  It's really meant to adorn a shrine or Buddha, I think, but I have it in my room and it smells lovely.  I got the smaller one, fourth from the left.  It was 30 Baht.
There's a neat little street on the other side of the river.  Lots of cute or swanky restaurants with river frontage.  We ate at one of them with Joyce when we first came almost 8 years ago.  They really are beautiful at night.  I came across this winged elephant along there.  First one I remember seeing here.
I hope you like this graffiti, because I actually went to some trouble to circle back around on my bike to take the photo.  By 'some trouble' I guess I mean almost getting killed doing a stupid maneuver in heavy traffic.
One temple I happened upon had a pretty big labyrinth all set up for Loy Krathong.  At the very center were two wax museumish life size replicas of old monks, sitting cross legged on a platform.  I found this a bit creepy, but the Thai lady behind me saluted them reverentially.
I was feeling a bit peaked by this time and once I was in, I wasn't sure if this was really a labyrinth or a freaking maze!  Luckily for me I was tall enough to see over the bamboo walls.
Right after I got back from dinner, the skies opened up and it rained cats and dogs and pandas.  The Kavil Guesthouse has a metal awning out front and the sound was astonishing.  I sat on the couch for a long time enjoying it.
So I've got this big plan to head off to the Chiang Mai Zoo.  I've seen enough Wats for now, and done enough shopping, and I can really eat much, so I'm looking for a diversion.  I'm fully prepared to be saddened by the experience.  The Thai aren't well renowned for their treatment of animals, and in general i find zoos depressing.  But I'm going for it anyway.  They have a pretty cool sounding aquarium, and 3 giant pandas (of course being Thailand you have to pay extra to see them).
I'll let you know how it goes.


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