----------------------------------------------- Google Site Map ----------------------------------------------- Cindy in ...: Chiang Mai: Random Observations

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Chiang Mai: Random Observations

Yesterday I saw a woman eating an ear of corn by picking off individual kernels and putting them in her mouth one by one.

The problem with most street food is that you eat it standing up. One of the main reasons for stopping to eat or for a drink is to get a place to sit down, rest the feet, give the legs a break, and sit in the shade near a fan.

There are lots of older travelers in Chiang Mai, and quite a few of them are not on vacation, but traveling long-term. I've met three couples so far, from England, Canada, and amazingly enough, New York. The New Yorkers are on a short trip, but coming back to spend the winter on Phuket.

I'm always surprised by young Buddhist monks comparing the features on their digital cameras, or chatting on their cell phones, or even carrying briefcases.

All those sidewalk ramps are not for people in wheelchairs but to make it easier to put your motorcycle inside your shop or house at night. They are so steep no one could make it up them in a wheel chair. I've had enough practice to know.

The Thais don't smile as much as I remember. Those blazing bright Tiger Woods smiles are a little rare these days. But then, I haven't been here since 1992, so things have changed and my memory is failing.

A young boy, maybe six years old, stands on the sidewalk with a golf club, a full-sized driver, and practices his swing. As I walk by I say, "Tiger Woods" and get a grin, big but a bit shy. I forget sometimes that Tiger is the first Asian-American and the first Thai-American to win the Masters, etc. etc. etc. And that his smile is pure Thai.

Red lights don't apply to motorcycles or bicycles, especially if the light is only there for a pedestrian crossing. Pedestrian lights only allow 8 seconds to cross. I look up, see the '8', and by the time I am off the curb I'm looking at '6'. I try to trundle across at a steady pace, to give the motorcycle drivers the best chance to miss me. And who said spending months in one place would be dull?

There are some countries that I just go in and out of a lot. I go there to travel, I go there on the way to somewhere else. Thailand is one of those countries, like Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore, and Germany. If I got all my passports together and counted stamps, I think I'd find ten Thai entry stamps. Singapore has got to be the champion. On the 2004-05 India trip I collected four. And I'll get at least one more this time because that's my departure point.

Lady boys. The third sex. The reason why plastic surgeons here are good. And the reason I can buy shoes. Women's shoes are made for 'lady boys' who can be well over six fee tall. Thailand has a huge transvestite population, and a favorite game is to look at couples and guess what sex the woman is. They frequently have their Adam's apple, as well as other parts, removed, so it can be really hard to tell.

Motorcycles with a whole family on them, none of them with helmets, and a driver who paid a bribe to get that driver's license.

A man wearing a padded jacket, zipped to the top, with a scarf wrapped around his neck, seen as I walk to the pool in my bathing suit and sarong. Of course the Thais think we are equally nuts, and don't understand why we perspire when it is only 35C (95F).

No comments: