Thursday, January 29, 2009

Scenes from Chiang Mai

I am having all kinds of weird emotions and thoughts right now. On the one hand, I think it is absolutely awesome that I'm living here, in Chaing Mai. It just sounds so exotic!

On the other hand, sometimes I just want some normal good old greasy American food, and my nice little car, and to go for a run that doesn't involve some combination of twisting my ankle on incredibly uneven sidewalks, almost being runover by 20998 motor-bikes, inhaling unhealthy quantities of carbon monoxide and god knows what else from said motor-bikes, and feeling like I'm going to pass out because it is so hot.

But, in all, I think this is worth it and I love my newly adopted city. Let me show you around.

When I want to go somewhere and not turn into a sweaty mess, I take one of these handy red trucks. I still haven't figured out exactly what they are called...something like songthaew? Anyway, there are always hundreds of them all over the place, going in every direction, and a ride is about 75 cents unless you are going really far, then it's a dollar.
Yep, the back is always open, and theoretically you could fall out at any second. They don't have quite the same liability issues here. And the ceilings are padded. It's a nice touch because the shocks on these...not so good.

One thing that never ceases to crack me up is the obsession with putting clothes on animals. Every day on my way to work I see dogs in pretty pink tutus or furry leopard print coats. Doesn't this cat look absolutely thrilled to be wearing this soccer shirt? Yeah, he'd probably be much happier with a Chelsea shirt.
I still love seeing wats everywhere I go. Wats and never forget how important Buddhism is here, and I like that.
The markets have their share of interesting foods. Like these sausages. I think somebody needs to tell the vendors that they will fly off the shelves a little more quickly if they weren't shaped like something so unbelievably unappetizing.
I'm sorry this picture is so bad, but I just could not resist. It's a plastic bag, obviously, full of LIVE FISH. I can't speak enough Thai to figure out what the purpose of these is, so if you have an idea, let me know. I don't think they are for eating (I hope...) and I'm not sure they are to keep as pets. It's a conundrum I must get to the bottom of.


Liz said...

I believe the live fish are for "making merit." Buddhists release them into the rivers, and it's one way to make merit.

I could be wrong, but I know I have learned about it before.

Joelen said...

Ahhh.... those open vans are popular in SE Asia. In Philippines, we have them and call them 'Jeepneys'. You'll often find folks riding inside and even hanging off the outside - so much fun! Lol about the sausages. When I first saw your pic, I was reminded of markets I've been to... and it wasn't until i read your commentary I thought otherwise!

That Girl said...

I like Liz's explanation of the fish. It makes me feel better!

Kelsey said...

I love this post, Cate. I am so jealous of your adventures and I can't wait for you to show us more!

deLa said...

ok so is no one going to point out the elephant in the room??

the cats eyes.....

sorry, it just made me giggle!!! :D

bensbaby116 said...

The photo of that cat is priceless. What an expression, lol. :)

Rebel said...

/song - tao/ (ow, like 'ow I stubbed my toe') and yeah, liability, what liability?

The emotional ups and downs are normal, but difficult none-the-less. I guess it wouldn't be an adventure if it were always easy and comfortable.

Oh, and clearly the cat is a Liverpool fan. ;)