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An actual parade was the absolute last thing I expected to encounter in sleepy Chiang Mai, but there you go.
Located in the northeast corner of the Old City, Somphet Market caters to locals and visitors alike. From fresh fruit to fried fish to rubber sandals and various candies, they’ve got everybody covered.
The Old City of Chiang Mai is positively chock-a-bock with temples — old, new, tiny, humongous, etc. The most impressive complex is pretty much at the heart of the Old City, and known as Wat Chedi Luang.
It would take some true dedication to visit every single temple in the Old City, but this one can’t be missed. Which is convenient, because it’s also hard to miss.
A quick look at a map tells you most of what you need to know about Chiang Mai. The “Old City” is nestled in the heart of a mid-sized major city, surrounded by an actual moat and crumbling remains of a former wall.
And as you’d expect, it’s much sleepier and laid back once you get inside after a walk or furious tuk-tuk ride.
And hell, maybe you’ll even stumble upon the most un-Chiang Mai of things, an actual organized parade.
You don’t really “need” a plan for old Chiang Mai beyond wake up, find coffee, and explore.
Behold: the ice cream version of Asia’s notoriously stinky fruit, durian!
I can’t be the only foreigner who somehow thought that I, the chosen one, would be the first outsider to truly appreciate the subtle complexities of this “divisive fruit.” And hey, it’s in ice cream form so what could possibly go wrong?
I got through about one third of this modest portion before the flavor started to fully “blossom” and I had to chuck it.
Well, a six hour overnight layover in Shanghai was just as bad as it sounds but I’m back in lurvely Daegu with a week off before starting the new semester on Monday.
Chiang Mai really does feel different than Bangkok, let alone the rest of southern Thailand. While a major city in its own right the Old City gives off more of a Laos/Cambodia vibe — slow bordering on soporific, plenty of Euro-hippies, and a temple or wat on every corner imaginable.
And while northern Thai food was predictably awesome, I also managed to score some great Japanese and Indian meals as well. I’m now desperate to find a Japanese style tsukumen joint in Daegu — sushi places are everywhere, Japanese style ramen not so much.
It was a really nice way to recharge before teaching again.
I’m off to Thailand for Lunar New Year. Back in a week.
Not to speak ill of the dead, but I notice a few sites linking this video of David Carr supposedly “pwning” the dudes from Vice.
Not a Vice fanboi by any means, but I read that video very differently. I saw a cranky old guy who was formerly colleagues with noted fabulists Judith Miller and Jayson Blair getting overly defensive at the thought that maybe, just maybe, traditional journalism in America has a tendency to kind of suck.