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wat phra singh in chiang mai

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.



doi suthep in chiang mai

A short intro

Part two: June 25, e-mail from Chiang Rai

Part three: June 28, e-mail from Bangkok

Part four: June 29, e-mail from Aranyaprathet

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