Saturday, August 20, 2005

Chiang Mai siesta

We hired a taxi driver and spent the morning wandering around a few of Chiang Mai's numerous Buddhist temples or wats and then the city's culture and arts museum for a history of Chiang Mai and the region since prehistoric times. Chiang Mai is a large city but seems much leafier and sleepier than Bangkok and is surrounded by mountains. I miss Bangkok's buzz as I'm a city girl at heart, but Chiang Mai feels very much like a much-needed respite.

Right now, it's a sunny and sultry 4:30 in the afternoon. It seems amazing that only a few days ago much of downtown Chiang Mai was so submerged underwater due to an abundance of monsoon rain that people were wading through the city with the water up to their waists or crossing it in boats and we thought we would have to postpone our trip north.

My other half is having a siesta in our quiet little hotel, the exquisite Rachamankha, that looks and feels like a former nunnery -- all white-washed walls, dark wood and terracotta courtyards -- and I'm in the hotel's colonial-style library -- complete with full-colour, hardback books on Japan, New York, Paris and London, Hip Hotels, a Miller's Antiques Price Guide 1992, and, of course, Thai cooking and history -- surfing the internet under a whirring wooden ceiling fan.

We'll be visiting the bustling Night Bazaar tonight to look around and perhaps do a little shopping, but as we're here for five days we're not feeling any rush to see things and are enjoying taking things leisurely. They're English football crazy here in Thailand so we've caught a few premiership games on TV over the past couple of weeks. So tomorrow night may find us in a Chiang Mai pub watching the Arsenal game!

I'm taking so many photos. I wish I had the facilities to upload some of them here. Until next time...

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