Last night we finally got a chance to check out the famous Chiang Mai Night Market! We parked near Anusarn and walked along the strip for a while, trying to bargain and checking out the different shops. They actually seemed pretty pricey compared to some of the other places that we’ve shopped in Thailand, but it seems like the shop attendants are ready and willing to bargain.
Eventually we found an open air food court with live music. It was a nice break after the wall to wall shops. We spent an hour getting food and enjoying a guitar and violin duet.
This morning I went to my Thai class as usual. Class is really getting hard! We cover so much and we’ve learned enough now to start getting things confused. Today I struggled to understand what everyone was saying. A total contrast from yesterday which went well. I did study more on Tuesday than the other night, but I also think that it’s fatigue building up from the whole week.
On the other hand I’ve been thinking in Thai more and more. I’m also starting to get kind of creative. For example while I don’t have much of a vocabulary I was thinking about different ways that I could explain myself in various scenarios. Like I don’t know the word for gas, but I bet it’s either just gas or if that’s not it I could probably make myself understood by saying something like motorcycle water, which while it probably isn’t correct might get the point across.
After class we got some lunch at a western style bistro called Rustic & Blue. I got the Brekkie Stack, a short stack of french toast with bacon and a fried egg, all drizzled with maple syrup. That was really tasty, plus the bacon was cooked nice and crispy which is difficult to find in Thailand. To drink I had a yerba mate tea. Also very nice.
Originally we planned to drive our scooters up Doi Suthep again, however about 20 minutes into the ride right when we stopped to admire a good view of the city it started to drizzle. I did get a nice photo of Chiang Mai.
Instead we decided to check out Wat Suan Dok, a nearby temple that hosts a monk chat. A monk chat is basically a session you can schedule with some of the younger monks to talk and ask any questions. You can have a simple chat or dive into advanced theology at your preference. We decided to save that for a different time and just admired the grounds.
Afterward we went to Wat Umong, another temple in the Chiang Mai area that has the distinction of having a series of underground tunnels. My boyfriend actually looked up the history on it after we got home and learned that at one point the underground tunnels were painted like the jungle. Allegedly there was a famous but now senile monk that would wander off into the bush and these tunnels we a way to keep him at the monastery.
While I’m not sure if that story is true, Wat Umong was different than all of the other temples that I have seen in Thailand and definitely one of the coolest. It is still occupied by monks but it has an older faded quality that I love. The bricks are slippery with old moss and it’s almost as if it is slowly being taken back by nature. While the walls inside the tunnels are now bare plaster and brick work, the walls are stained with incense and you can hear chanting off in the distance.