Chiang Mai and the mountain people

Chiang Mai used to be the Thai capital. It has a history of wars, invasion, and it has a splendorous temple on every corner. It is also a backpacking heaven, and incredibly touristy. More so than Bangkok . In spite of this, I truly loved it. The weather was not the best. It’s the dry season, just before the time to harvest rice. The farmers burn their fields, and since CM is in a valley, the smoke in the air lingers around like a thick, unmovable fog. I spent my days roaming from temple to temple, and doing all sorts of touristy actitives.

The highlights:

Monk chat. A sweet kind of saucy 21-year old Monk was sitting there, waiting to talk to me. Apparently since people don’t know how to approach them, the monks invented these sessions in which tourists can just come and talk to the monks. From the things he said, a few resonated a lot, like “I don’t believe in God, only in our power of self awareness.” But more than his wisdom, what surprised me was his attitude. I asked him as politely as possible if I could take a photo of him, and he answered ” can I take a photo of YOU?” and he pulled out an orange point and shoot which perfectly matched his robe. I ended up agreeing to build their web site for monk chat, but I cannot find his email! I’m sure it’s somewhere.

Sunday market: my favorite thing to do in the world is walk around. In Spanish and French there are better words to describe it, like “pasear” or “se promener”. Sunday market in Chiang Mai is by far the best market I have ever been in. Not only because of its size, but the actual things in it. Dried fish, dragon fruit sorbets, flowy pants. Took about three hours to walk the entire thing, and it was absolutely worth it. Recommendation, get there early. At about 4, before it gets absurdly crowded

Trekking: there were more companies offering you to take you trekking than restaurants in chiang Mai.the all offered a deal that included riding an elephant and bamboo rafting. They all seemed like a mass-produced orchestration, so when I found an “Eco-trekking” thing it caught my attention. They took me, a Canadian couple in their late 20s and another lesbian Canadian couple in their fifties to almost the border with Burma. The first day was a little dissointingm since he vegetation was indeed quite dry. But it was all worth it to get to the mountain tribe. They were celebrating, so we all drank rice alcohol, eat the most delicious food I’ve had in Thailand yet. We slept inside the bamboo hut, on the floor with our sleeping bags. It’s probably the most exotic thing I’ve ever done the next day we trekked for 5 hours! It was crazy. We bathed in a waterfall and went inside a cave. Very, ver cool.