Chiang Mai bike ride and Sunday Walking Market

Our alarm went off at about half seven to give us enough time to get some breakfast before being picked up for our bike ride, I had nearly finished my 3rd course (joking) when Alex turned up to pick us up, we then went on to pick up two Slavinian ladies who were equipped with cycling shorts, proper shirts and small ruck sacks, me and Al looked at our shorts, tee shirt and sandles and had doubts about the suitability of our attire. We needn’t have worried, the next six Chinese kids to get in the van were all dressed similarly to us. One Slavenian lady spoke quite good English and her second sentence to Al was, “have you suffered from Diarrhoea?”

Once established that Al was ok, we got on like an house on fire. We travelled out into the country for half an hour then got to choose our own bikes, they were all virtually brand new.

We set off on a meandering flat route that took us post loads of monestaries, paddy fields, wood carving factories (bought a little elephant for Al) and even a little family run business that made coffins and small decorated mini temples what are used by locals when people die. Me and Al spent most of the time cycling next to the guide as all the others didn’t seem bothered? he was chatting away all the way round and was full of interesting information, even learnt loads about rice that I had no idea about. He also told me that 30 years ago everyone drank the local water pumped out of the ground but now it isn’t safe because of all the chemicals used in farming and now everyone buys water very cheaply from water purifying plants that are scattered all over, just another example how we are ruining the world for later generations 🙁 He also talked about Buddhist beliefs and the fact that they believe in reincarnation so when poorer families relatives die they are cremated in one of these mini temples within 3 days and they believe that in the next life they will do well and have a beautiful house and good fortune. The richer or more famous the person who has dies, the longer the mourning  ceremony, a Monk’s ceremony can last 100 days and when the King’s sister died the ceremony lasted one full year!

We saw so many temples it was like driving past Aldi back at home (sorry Al) she told me not to put that. Anyway, we finished off the bike ride, had a nice meal cooked by the a guide, Alex’s wife and were dropped back off at the hotel.

we had time for a couple of hours by the pool and it is now 4pm and Al is hacking a siesta before we head on out to the Sunday walking Market which is supposed to be something worth experiencing as it includes food, stalls, music and a huge gathering of people within the old section of the city….. Siesta time!

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I’m the one in the tee shirt!……… Or am I?

its now just gone midnight, just got in, Al asleep, the walking market was fatally out of this world, we spent over an hour walking round Zone 1 before we realised that there were 4 zones in total and all selling a massive variety of things from cheap novelty items to really expensive high quality paintings and sculptures. We must have spent about three hours mooching around the place, it wasn’t like a Uk market where it would have been bedlam but even though there were thousands there, if you stood still and actually listen ended, you could only just make out a slight murmur, no shouting or any loud noises at all, all really peacefully.

I am still amazed at all the stuff that was on offer, if we hadn’t got to fly anywhere and we actually lived here I can’T begin to think about the sheer amount of stuff that we would have just had to have!

Bed time now!

Typing fast…. it is a complementary breakfast buffet at Chiang Mai with Bangkok Airways. next stop bangkok and then Cambodia x x

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