Monday, May 23, 2005

I'm beginning to feel -- could it be? -- relaxed! Have I mentioned how glad I am that we came to Chiang Mai instead of going home? Yesterday we went to the old part of the city, a square area in the centre that is surrounded by a moat. It doesn't look much different inside the moat than outside, but many of the temples are in the old section, so it's very walkable. (But don't go, like we did, during the hottest part of the day!) We went to a few, the most stunning being Wat Chedi Luang. Originally built in the fourteenth century, partly destroyed in the sixteenth, it has been largely restored:

Wat Chedi Luang

Besides the temples, it seemed like every street was lined with market stalls -- everybody who lives here must have one. It's endless. The most common things to buy are pieces of silk, wood animals and vases, clothing (I love my enormous Thai pants), brightly patterned bags, jewellery (beads and silver), and pirated DVDs. This was a typical stall on Ratchadamnoen Road:

street shopping

We went to the main Chiang Mai night market the night before. There are small shops and stalls in buildings as well as all of the movable stalls along every sidewalk. There is also a huge food market where you buy coupons and then wander from place to place ordering dishes. Then you sit in plastic chairs in the middle of it all to eat.

I got to take off my foot bandages yesterday! Which meant that I got to take a shower without plastic bags taped over my feet! It was wonderful -- the bottoms of my feet were sooo dirty. Things are healing. Some parts of my ankles still look pretty gross, but so much better than before. Funny -- we probably would not have come to Chiang Mai had I not gotten this infection, and it turns out that this is our favourite place. Divine intervention?

(I'm pretty sure I won't go to see the Karen Paduang women. I realized I wouldn't go to look at a group of Chinese women with bound feet, if such a community existed for tourists...)

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