chaing mai, northern thailand - the night bazaar
the sleeper train to chaing mai was really nice (apart from the austrailian girls) - everyone had their own compartments behind a curtain which was just big enough for a small bed with sheets and pillow cases. at first i couldn't sleep because it was a wobbly/noisy train and then this guy (westerner) was talking loudly on his cellphone opposite me for a long time - i actually pulled back my curtain and stared at him because i really couldn't sleep.. i stared out of the window for awhile and saw the skyline of the trees for miles and miles interspersed with the occasional field.
i am staying now at the traveller's inn - ending up here quite by chance because i had to get away from the austrailians at the 5 star guest house (complete misnomer).
today i slept and slept and slept some more until about 1pm - i'm sure i woke up because some tuk tuk driver was yelling up at the window - come on wake up it's afternoon now. perhaps it wasn't directed at me it just seemed that way because my curtains were closed.
i decided to go on a shopping spree today to buy presents for people back 'home' and souveniers for myself..i am sure i got ripped off numerous times - but in the end i just accept it! i'd better not say what i bought exactly in case they are reading this. i went to the infamous night bizarre. there were some really nice things and also a lot of tacky things - like fake hugo boss shirts and mass-produced looking stuff. i'm not sure how authentic the 'old' looking stuff is.. but it looked a lot nicer. i bought some tanka's (large hand painted buddhist images mounted on silk cloth) and some embroided material which i want to frame and hang on the wall... the material i bought is used as a sling to carry babies in by the 'mon' people. i also bought some old looking, hand-written buddhist text which the antique shop french owner told me is written in the 'lanna' - a thai dialect from the chiang mai region which is now extinct. it looks very beautiful even though i can't understand it. i have to google all these things to verify the authenticity of these statements :-)
i also bought an opium weight in the shape of an elephant which i think is probably a reproduction and the head of a burmese puppet with real human hair pigtails. it is quite pretty and one more thing which is really interesting - a carved phallic symbol used worship by women wishing to have a baby.. i think it is from thailand or it could be yao.. i am so confused but it was some really cool inscriptions on it - i have to go back to the shop and double check. it is sort of the equivalent of a lingum in india. i have a funny story to tell about lingums but may be i will tell it another time because i am tired...and i still have other posts to write. i am woefully behind in posting photographs....