chiang mai

People. Tut tuts. Bells. Chimes. People. Chili powder. Sandalwood. Lights.
People. Too many people.

And the occasional “Konichiwa!” and “Mushi mushi” from street vendors who assumed I was Japanese.

I never thought Chiang Mai would be so commercialized. Almost every business is geared towards tourists. American bars, Mexican food, dim sum, sushi, a three-storey Starbucks and several used books store with English, Japanese, Dutch, German and French books (one hung a Trainspotting and Che Guevara poster over the cashier counter. Can’t try any harder for touristy effect).

There were also posters and billboards of their king in various dignified poses throughout the city and its outskirts. Many also sport orange colored silicon bands embossed with “Long Live Our King.”

Thailand was never colonized, yet in a sense it has.

Escorts with “extra services” were advertised openly behind tut tuts. And then there were the old farangs with young Thai girls.

Armed with a hook-and-hammer-like apparatus, elephant trainers scratched and nicked the elephants’ thick skin to subdue them. The elephants painted on canvases, tote bags and t-shirts with the ‘help’ of their trainers.

Clap clap. More bananas. More sugarcanes. Whack whack. Clap clap. And pose. Click. And pose again. Click.

It’s the way of life for some and who am I to judge. I’m only another sojourner in this thing called life.
On the really plus, plus side of things is that there were many coffeehouses all around Chiang Mai. Locally grown and roasted fresh.
I also saw the borders of Burma and Laos, visited an opium museum and saw the Golden Triangle. It was at best, interesting and informative. At worst, depressing.

However, I loved the bamboo raft ride which lasted almost an hour along the Mae Taeng River. It was quiet, far from other tourists and it rained. The only thing that wasn’t drenched was my camera. Awesome.

(Taken just outside the Burmese border.) I will try to upload more photographs from Chiang Mai here.

Next: Staff retreat in Penang.

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10 comments

  1. goodmorningsarajevo

    Oh my, Rachel. These pictures just took me into Burma. To see the beauty present there, despite all the devastation is incredible. Thanks for capturing these and for sharing them.You have such a gift.

  2. thundered cat

    thank you. it was chiang mai, thailand but close enough to burma :)

  3. jessicagrady

    love those photos, my dear… i feel like i always tell you that =]

  4. thundered cat

    thanks jessica! you’re waaay too nice :)

  5. travelator

    it feels like it has been forever since i last saw you :) need to get out of this missing-in-action bit.anywhere with good coffee has got to be awesome.

  6. thundered cat

    hey pat. yes, yes and yes :)morning coffee this weekend…?

  7. kinteru

    next: penang! wow cant wait. i miss home. gotta this travel/ taking photo thing once before commitments get in the way. thanks for the photos!

  8. travelator

    :) yes! text you about it? my mornings are usually occupied cooking and dropping by the hospital.

  9. michng

    Hey Rachel :) yeah, I read that spaniels are quite yappy… oh, do put a photo up of yr dog!!Really nice photos… makes me feel lik visiting Chiang Mai!I noticed that you have a lot of feet shots. What’s up with that? Apart from being the easiest part of yourself to capture on camera :P

  10. thundered cat

    michelle: thank you :)besides being really convenient to shoot, i like capturing the ground… every place tells a story and there are different textures and colors. and to me it represents progress, movement and change. it’s hard to explain!

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