February 4

We got in very late on the 3rd and basically just went to bed. Now we're up and about on the 4th leaving our lovely rooms at the Baan Rao Chez Nous. It's a small compound with three separate types of accommodation and a hide-away for the owner and his family.
The tuk-tuk transportation, negotiations required.
Just around the corner, 'our' temple, pronounced like 'shampoo' our landlord said, and everyone knows where it is so it's a fallback for getting home.
Those are durian, a very popular treat of the stinky variety.
Crossing the moat into Old Town. We're one block away.
Merlyn's first foot massage! I've long ago lost count.
This fellow was sticking plastic flowers into a Styrofoam model for his Flower Festival float.
Heading into the complex of the Wat Chedi Luang. I'm not sure of this one exactly.
On the street.
This cart went by and I had to follow, packed as it was with party supplies.
He was going to the monks!
It took a good long time to get all the bits and bobs out of the cart.
A participant.
Wow. I have another picture to add showing the stairs more clearly.
Here's the mango and sticky rice lady. She gets a picture all to herself!
February 5

Oh yes we have been eating and mostly from the street or...
...in a place like this. And LOVING it.
Exploring the 'hood.
Getting ready for the Chiang Mai Flower Festival Parade.
The competition...
...and a pretty place to rest for a nice photo-op.
Street entertainers.
A market, one among many...many.
Shawn, one of Hilda's previous employees now settled down in the ex-pat life with a house and a car and a motorbike and two dogs.

I think his plan is to stay as long as his money holds out.
There was entertainment every night of Fri-Sat-Sun for the Flower Festival.
February 6

It's the morning of the Chiang Mai Flower Festival Parade! We got off early and decided to keep strolling until we ran into the parade rather than wait for it to come to the busy corner where we are staying. which brought us to this amazing temple.
Merlyn HAD to do it.
And so he did.
He's trying to get the last two guys to wake up and go.
The beginning of the Parade!
Check out those shoes...yikes for a two hour walk.
The first groups were all dressed in heritage costumes.
Check out that guy on the wall.
Oh baby oh baby.
Hello pretty one.
Dancing to the music.
This was the temple where we stopped in the beginning, with the serpent dragons and the birds.

See the kids in the window?
Here they are closer up.
Another Gorgeous Woman.
The Queen's Float. We were done at this point because the parade was moving very veeery slowly and the crowds were getting bigger and bigger and all oozing into the street so seeing the scene was getting problematic.
We decided to contract with one of the truck-taxis to take us up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep at the top of the mountain where they have a temple of course, and views, but also where it is cool.
The old city moat. There's some of the wall left too but not in our neighborhood although you can walk diagonally across the whole old town easily enough if it's not too hot.
In the grounds of the temple, more durian.
The view. Usually I fix these things but I thought to leave it so you can get an idea. This is crystal clear in comparison to the air quality in Myanmar.
Gold! We still get gold!!
February 7

We got picked up at 7:15a, drove around picking up other people, stopped off at the office to pick up more people and by 8:15-8:30 we were off for our trip out to one of the dozens of Elephant Camps in the area.

It took about an hour. We arrived here and walked down stairs dug into the hillside.
Our first view of Elephant Camp! Awwww, a baby.

I'm quite conflicted when rescue facilities breed babies since those babies cannot ever be returned to the wild and will spend all their 80 years clomping around some camp or other and the camps will not be able to do the rescuing which was their original brief.

This is actually a rescue baby but they don't practice any contraception and babies just come.
The guy who met our small group for our lesson in elephant commands. Let me assure you those elephants could not have cared less what we yelled no matter how loudly we yelled it.

An elephant is a massive creature, an unmovable force and they barely listen the professionals, their Mahout.

Each Mahout has one elephant and is the only one who takes care of that elephant. They promote their kindly handling that's all about the carrot and no sticks here.
Notice the folks in front of us paid double to have one person/one elephant and knowing then what we know now we would have done it.

Sitting in front is amazingly comfortable. Sitting in back is a seat you would never choose for yourself.
Look Merlyn, take that picture!

Our Mahout took most of these, Merlyn took some, and I took a few all with Merlyn's camera because I decided not to bring my honker out on an elephant ride.
Our elephant's name was Maelopo. We started out first and came in last. Everyone, tourists and Mahouts alike were all yelling "Maelopo Pai, PAI PAI MAELOPO!".

Maylopo made the walk in her own good time.
And taking a bath in the pond with the rest of them? Nope. She's not doing it. Which for me was just as well since that pond was so full of poo they had a woman whose only job was to rake it out.
So we got to spray her down and let her drink oh-so-happily from the hose.
Another elephant not involved in our ride wanted a big drink too. It's crazy how much water they can hold in those trunks.
We really had a good time.
He's a Swedish guy who's been in Thailand for 12 years working with Asian elephants. He said the only similarity between Asian elephants and African elephants is that they are both called elephants.
Dinner! This was not so much a Thai place but more a Mexi-Cali-Thai fusion with Thai curry burritos and health food salads and a unique version of nachos.
February 8 and 9

Merlyn left the morning of the 8th and I did nothing but hang out at the guest house and do work: finish the Myanmar story which took forever (and I continue to think of things I want to add...that thing needs an editor!), do up the first several days of Thailand, catch up on my bookkeeping, do laundry, nap, ETC.

I got these pictures off the internet. That's David, the French guy, and Ting, his Thai wife, who own Baah Rao Chez Nous.
That's the door to my room and behind me is a whole lovely private patio with a fan carried from the room to blow the smoke away. Nice!
February 10-11-12

Wow, I didn't do anything but wander around. There are those who say that the best thing to do in Chiang Mai is exactly that and I will say I had a excellent time taking it so easy.

I've combined these days into the main topics of interest:

1-Waterways, 2-Eating, 3-Massage, 4-Temples, 5-Accommodations 6-Attractions and shopping

You can see from the map there are three main waterways in the central part of town.

This is some of the moat that does surround the Old Town but there isn't water everywhere...
...the waterway I haven't identified yet between Old Town and...
...the Ping river (a major tributary of the Chao Phraya River).

This meal cost $1.50, not that it was the most delicious bowl of food ever but it was good.

Notice the fork and spoon. That's how they eat here and in Myanmar. You hold the spoon in your right hand and fill it by pushing and pulling with your folk, and then directly put the spoon in your mouth.

There are still plenty of chopstick eaters but it seems, and I could be wrong, that for the most part they are Chinese. Countries dominated by Chinese such as Singapore, or catering to Chinese tourists such as here have plenty of chopstick eaters.
A more touristified environment.
That is my soup! I took this picture somewhere meaning to go back and now I can't find it. Bummer! they didn't note in this recipe about the mushrooms which they often get wrong in LA using white button mushrooms instead of one of the Asian types.
I had quick small treats from these places time and again.
This is the entry to a fancier property where I had a coffee that cost 3 times as much as coffee on the street but it came with some cookies and a lovely place to sit and enjoy the garden.

The cost of food and beverage was crazy inexpensive on the low end, but there was a high end too and you could spend plenty if you had a mind to do it.
The restaurant around the corner from my guesthouse was playing some version of a singing competition that I watched, transfixed, for an hour.

There are more eating pictures from the previous days too as there are more pictures in all these categories.

I had four massages and they were all different and all Great and all between $5 and $12.

With Merlyn I had a scrub along with foot-back-neck; next was a focus on acupressure as well as some foot massage; third was this woman for a back and neck massage that included much standing on me by her which was crazy and last...
...the most spa like place which was nice for that but not as homey and conversational as the other places.

I seem to have slowed down on taking pictures of temples as there are only a few here but you can't walk two blocks without running into one.
It's true...
...around every corner.

An interesting-looking hostel.
This is the spirit house in the garden lobby of U Chiang Mai. This hotel looked and felt so appealing and it was right were you want to be on the nicest street in the Old Town.
Attractions and Shopping

There is a Chinatown gate and many businesses featuring signs in Chinese including all the local shops of every kind.

If I understand correctly there are Tons of Chinese tourists populating Chiang Mai and just imagine, the Thai people who live in Chiang Mai would rather have American tourists than Chinese which only tells how they feel about Chinese tourists and the Chinese in general.
A covered market.
As well as all the shops you need for a real town where people live, and all the shops you need to sell trinkets to the tourists, Chiang Mai also has boutique shops with what seem to be lovely things, some hand-made, some just well selected manufactured goods.
An example.
They also have a huge number of book stores which look like they're selling all the books from the closing stores in the States.
The flower market, making temple offerings.
A Red Cross building...
...and a tourist attraction...
...and part of the large cultural complex of museums.
A funeral cortege.

A curious note on which to end. I'm off to Luang Prabang in Laos in the morning and anxious to see this UNESCO World Heritage city.
HomeAsia • Thailand • '15 Feb: Thailand, mostly Chiang Mai

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