You have probably noticed that the posts have been few and far between over the last couple of weeks. I would like to say that I have just been way too busy to write but the truth of the matter is that I have been WAY too lazy!! We have been spending our days, reading, watching TV, relaxing at the pool and wandering around the neighborhood. Some days we walk for a couple of hours or more and others just down to the local restaurant for a bite to eat. None of that seems very blog worthy. However, I do feel that I have to make some comment on the way of life here, if for no other reason than to have a record of it for when we return home.
Richard posted the other day about the mother and her young child working the food stand late into the night. This is, unfortunately, not an isolated incident. This city comes alive at night and the sleepy sidewalks that we walk down during the day become something quite different at night. The whole city becomes a market. Temporary “shops” are set up on the sidewalk selling everything from clothing, jewelry, food of all sorts, shiny gadgets, pictures, lanterns, etc, etc. These stalls set up at 6 PM and tear down at midnight – every day. Most of these stalls are run by families that include small children. Most of these children are also put to work. On more than one occasion, Richard and I have been sitting having a bite to eat and suddenly a small child appears beside us with a bouquet of roses, or a basket of nuts. They do not speak but the look in their eyes asks us, no, begs us, to buy that rose or that package of nuts. The feeling is very uncomfortable and they finally move away to stand at another table. We have also had young mothers come up to us with a baby on their back, also selling any number of things. We cannot buy all these things but cannot shake the guilt that we have so much while these families have so little. How did we get to be so lucky?
In fact, there are so many expats in this city that it is no longer a surprise to hear English spoken wherever we go. We spoke with a gentleman from Seattle the other day and he is married to a Thai woman and has been living here for about 8 years. He says that he will never go back to the States to live as he has a very comfortable life here. He says that most expats do. Unfortunately, the Thai people still work 7 days a week, 365 days a year, usually until they die. There is no CPP or OAS here. You’re on your own.
We can joke about it but I know that Richard would never stay behind here. He cannot handle the heat and for that matter, neither can I. This is supposed to be the cool season but the temperatures hover around 32 to 34 everyday with about 60% humidity. Feels about 37. Our Merino wool, never smelly shirts are really getting a workout here!! On Thursday we decided that we would “get lost” in the streets and see where we ended up. It was so hot that we ended up ducking into the first air conditioned building that we could find. Thankfully it was a museum so we spent a couple of hours poking around the history of Chiang Mai before we ventured back out again. The great thing about this city is that there is a restaurant and a bar on every corner – well, that is not exactly true – there are restaurants and bars EVERYWHERE!! So, you do not have to walk too far to find a “cold” one. No wonder there are so many expats here!!
Between, walking, eating and drinking we have been planning the European leg of our journey. There is just so much to see and the big challenge will be what gets cut. Should be a few interesting discussions over the next several weeks!! Hmm, maybe I will be coming home alone…..
Hi Tech Bamboo Scaffolding…
You don’t have to walk very far to hit a variety of watering holes…