January 19, 2011

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Ever Peaceful Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, a city surrounded by a ring of mountains, has weathered seven hundred years of fascinating history. It has its own very distinctive culture, arts, festivals, and traditions as well as an exciting mix of local, ethnic and expat communities from all over the world. Everyone I have ever met who lives here has a love affair with this city. Luckily this has not ruined the city's old quaint feeling. For me dinner at House drinking some Monsoon wine from Thailand (not bad), street food at the sunday market and the opportunity for a massage every few feet, could easily hook me.


Thailand lies between the two great civilizations of India and China and it has been much influenced by both. It also snuggles up to the Cambodian, Malaysian, Laos and Myanmar (Burmese) borders, making it a shoppers paradise.  The people are lovely the weather has been cool and the shopping as always, exciting. There are night markets, Saturday markets and the very popular Sunday market, which happened to take place on the street our lovely hotel was on. 

When shopping for The Loaded Trunk in Chiang Mai I spend time with an eclectic group of people that I have met over the years who help me source. The other time is just me hitting the markets; picking, haggling and hauling. This trip my mother has joined me for part of it and is helping pick and  negotiate.
old burmese puppet heads


Tamarind Village Lanna style hotel, in the old walled city surrounded by a moat.

My mother in the outdoor lobby of Tamarind Village

Old Burmese Laquer

Pit stop..Yummy

Secluded driveway to Tamarind Village

Spirit houses are found outside of every business, home, hotel etc. The Spirit House provides an appealing shelter for the spirits, or celestial beings, who would otherwise reside in the heavens. According to folklore, the spirits themselves are either good or evil, but most are just finicky and mischievous, demanding respect from humans and capable of disastrous interferences if they don't get their way, The spirit of the land, for example. expects to be informed when a human intends to start a business or engage in improvements to an existing business. If the spirit is not informed, and if the human does not respectfully request permission, the spirit can indeed cause the venture to fail.) 



Gorgeous wall paintings at Wat Phra Singh which was built in the 14th century to enshrine the ashes of King Kam Fu.






Day at the market, Mom finishing a foot massage 30 minutes for $2.00.





So far it has been an adventure well worth the effort.  Arrived in Phuket yesterday for a bit of R + R with the family heading on a day trip to Bat cave, Diamond cave and karst central...stay tuned.




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