Wow. This place is a blast and a half. We arrived by plane yesterday before 6pm and partied with backpackers from a million different places until we got home at 5am. We met 2 Swiss guys (Urs and Rene) outside a bar that was too expensive for any of us to enter, 2 Belgian girls (Marinaure et Rachelle) at the bar we settled on visiting, a Vancouverite (Brendan, originally from Huntington UK where many of my family comes from) at a random burger stand, 2 Frenchmen from Nice (Antoine et Nicolas) also at the burger stand (and got free rides on their motorbike with them), and some other randoms including a rude New Zealander (he left New Zealand, got Australian citizenship, and joined their military for 6 years or so) who was convinced that he knows more than I do.
His argument was rather interesting and in my opinion rather stupid: If you know you know 2% of things (I argued that this was a great overstatement) then you know you don’t know the other 98%. Now, I disagree. Hypothetically speaking, if you knew you knew 2% of things then you would perhaps know 50% of other things but not know you know them, because it’s difficult to tell what you really know and what you think you know, some of which you do indeed know and some of which you believe incorrectly. Meh.
Today we went shopping at the Sunday market and also the Night Bazaar here in Chiang Mai. They are crazy. In a good way. There were hundreds, probably thousands of stalls and tables full of all sorts of name brand clothing (all fake, but you’d never tell the difference, and very good quality), watches, shoes, pipes, weapons, musical instruments, silks, handicrafts, every type of Thai good you can think of, and of course food.
Everything must be bargained down and that was a LOT of fun for me. Arguing over 10 Baht (less than 40 cents Canadian) on an item that I’ve already brought down from 550 to 200 is pretty much inconsequential to my wallet, but the principle keeps me trying.
Among many gifts and other curios, I got 3 long sleeve Thai silk dress shirts that fit very nicely for a total of about $20. I also got some great shorts for $8. Tomorrow at Night Bazaar I will get some teeshirts, each for a bit under $4.
While walking along a street with stalls lining both sides as far as the eye could see, and the street packed shoulder to shoulder in most sections, I spotted the head above the crowd of our friend from last night, Brendan. We had a great little chat with him there in the street. In a city of 1.6 million + tourists, we were very surprised to bump into him.
After about 6 hours of shopping we headed back to our guesthouse.
After dropping our stuff off at the guesthouse, we left again with the aim of me buying some teeshirts. We weren’t too successful as they started closing at around 11pm, but will try tomorrow. However, got some other great stuff and Josephine happened to spot our two Swiss friends Urs and Rene driving by in a tuk-tuk (three wheeled 2 seat little open taxi with canopy, will post a photo sometime) and yelled out to them.
They got the driver to stop and had supper with us before heading off to find the bar they were aiming for when we stopped them. Stellar guys, great to hang out with. They’ll be in Australia later on and will visit Josephine, Ron, and Ian, and they might make it to New Zealand in which they’ll be welcome to crash on my floor.
We plan to leave Chiang Mai for Pai day after tomorrow, it’s about 3 1/2 hrs bus ride from here and a great place from which to go trekking for a few days.
There are finally 3 new photo galleries up in the left sidebar, as I finally got a place to upload pics at a net cafe. They are Kuala Lumpur, Pulau Pinang, and Pulau Langkawi. Pulau means island in Malay, just as Koh is Thai for island.
Time for some well-deserved sleep in my $3 a night guesthouse (nice place too).