E-mails from Thailand (16.06.01 - 29.06.01)
Part one: June 22, e-mail from Chiang Mai
Bro, tell mom I'm fine not to worry, am in Chiang Mai now but will
be leaving tomorrow to more rural areas, will find some time to
call but will be more difficult from now on. Dad should have received
my sms reply. Check that. Sms me to acknowledge my reply.
Ok, I admit when I arrived at Chiang Mai, I wasn't in the best
of mood and that I was in my usual protective self but can you blame
me coz I'm in a foreign land and should try to stay street smart.
It's fair rite? Someone at the airport stopped me and introduced
me to her guest house (Chiang Mai guest house -- do not stay here
coz it's pretty crappy unless you are on a extremely tight budget
which is not to say it's extremely cheap) but she didn't seemed
too pleased with me and sort of implied that I would go wild in
Chiang Mai. She said Chiang Mai people have a heart of gold, which
I surely testify as absolutely true coz it's so safe n people are
real friendly, I learnt to be more humble and stuff, but more on
the female landlord. Then we inquired about going to the Hmong village
as a day trip via Doi Suthep (Chiang Mai's holiest temple) and she
said if we didn't go on trek with them we would never see so-called
authentic tribal villages but come on man what do u take me for?
Authentic tribal villages? Why play god when you are exploiting
them anyway. Yes, I admit we are going to a virtual tribal "zoo"
to see people wear ridiculous costumes rolling in mud in the mountains
but I don't pretend I am god. The landlord is friendly enough but
it's just something that's so built in to their mentality. And then
the trip. It's amazing but you also see how tourism has wrecked
the place coz you see distinctly peddlers and beggers (from the
Hmong village) flooding the place much in the fashion of an amusement
park and you can say I'm overwhelmed coz I can't make sense or reason
it out myself. Am I wrong to complain about the landlord or the
villagers? No matter what, they deserve sanitation. They deserve
the electricity. But on the other hand, the plight of the village
is beyond description. And how do the villagers feel? Is money the
greater sin? Or is affluence the mara? I'm not god, I have no answers
to all these, so should I turn back and drown myself back in Khaosan
instead of facing all these questions?
Damn, if there's an easier way.
And then the night bazaar, the Akha villagers on the streets together
with the Thai natives selling their wares. I'm not underrating the
market coz it's really cheap if you are not looking for real authentic
antique type of stuff, but it's the most manufactured market you
will see in history, the fat overweight white farangs walking, ni-hong-jin
too, Chinese, this is a god-damned tourist market, really.
Venture man. Venture. The Talaad Warorot (day market) or the Chiang
Mai gate market, where the real Thais eat and shop and buy groceries
and trade. Venture, my stay at the Talaad Warorot this whole morning
only met with less than a handful of westerners. Oh, they are sleeping
in their guesthouses or chilling out in cafes. Then chill in Utah
or Chicago. Suck thumb.
Chiang Mai will be missed really for their hospitality.
Stumbled upon a shop one street south of Thanon Chiang Moi Kao
(forgotten the actual street name) that sells really authentic used
and new tribal bags. Highly recommended. Boss speaks fluent English.
Will explain his stuff.