As it was in Bangkok, cats are everywhere. I like it. At the front bench of an old-school children snack shop, the grade school boy tried feeding his chips to the very thin but clearly pregnant cat. I pointed at the cat food scattered over the table, and the mother picked them up and dropped on the bench so the cat can eat together at the table.
I arrived at the hotel around 11am but spent most of the day time catching up with the sleep. Nothing good will come of a day under the hot sun when you are short of sleep. Headaches, ill feeling, lack of proper temperature control in your body system… no, I didn’t want that. Chiang Mai is clearly cooler than Bangkok but it is still a T-shirt environment during the day.
I picked up my bag and went for a walk of the area nearby. I needed to get a sense of distance and direction, too. I was just making random turns here and there, and found myself in the back of school. It was almost 5pm and lots of kids were either getting into the back of that truck-converted-to-bus thing, whatever it is called, or waiting for their brother/sister or parent to come pick them up on a bike or car.
Then came a blasting loud sound of jazz, and quickly changed into another station. Following the source of the sound, I came up to this garage fitted with massive speakers. He might have been testing out the speakers or USB music file system. Either way, it was not the audio level you’d expect right in front of the school gate, even at the time kids are leaving school.
This man turns out to be a repair guy. He’s got all sorts of circuits he repairs.
Next to his ‘garage shop’ was a small food court of a sort, with half a dozen shops selling snacks for kids.
I came across this mother who had her little daughter pick her grey hair. I was making joke asking the girl to clean mine as well, but she did not play along. But either way, they were happy, though shy and maybe embarrassed a bit, if I asked it was okay if I took a photo.
I really need that 25mm snapshot skopar lens. The 18mm on Fuji is just not the right snap lens in terms of distance. Next time…
From the school yard I could also hear more beat. It seems the kids are preparing for some festival. There are brass band members playing, marching drums practicing with their beat echoing across the roofed courtyard, and some other kids were just wrapping up their flag practice.
The majority of cars driven here are small sedan. Working closely with Ford, it is nice to see so many Fiesta on the road here. As popular are Toyota’s new small sedan, and Honda’s City. Many of them are modified with low-down suspencion, and some have very clean classy modification with only a small sticker indicating they have TEIN suspension. Red Brembo caliper seems to be popular too.
Most young people are on the bike. Normally there are two, sometimes 3 people on a single bike. Passing by a student apartment from the looks of it – everyone left their helmet outside. Is it better to leave the stinky thing outside in the fresh air?
It is not a very easy city to walk in. It reminds me of walking around in Ayuthaya. Like a deja vu, the thought strikes me – I’m the only one walking here. Whenever you hint walking in Thailand, either in Bangkok or here in Chiang Mai, people first say ‘oh, but it’s too far’. In the back of their mind, they would be saying ‘that’s what taxi and tuk tuk are for…, so why bother?’. I probably walked only about a few kilometres this evening, and found so many interesting things I would not have come across if I was shuttled from one place to another. For that very reason alone I cannot just rely on a transport. Secondary to that, is the burden of having to deal with negotiation of fare… Not speaking the local language and not familiar with names of places, it is clear that I am a visitor and as such automatically classified on the rip-off fare table.
It is a pretty dusty place to walk around in. Many people who runs a food stall or riding motor bike wear a mask of some sort. It is probably good idea to avoid breathing in all the pollution and dust. Maybe I should get one that is similar to some of the local people are wearing, or maybe they are just bandana or handkerchief.
In the end, I somehow reached the north end of the old town. Along the road were dozens of food stalls. One of them looked popular with people sitting around the table and waiting for take-away. I sat down and had a bowl of vermicelli seafood noodle soup. It was pretty yummy! 40 baht.
Tomorrow, I intend to get up early and maybe check out the market again. See what people are up to at the temple. And maybe, come back to have a meal at the hotel, since my room rate include breakfast. Hmm… let’s see how my week here goes!