Chiang Mai, Thailand
Left to my own devices once more with nowhere in particular to be, I headed off in no particular direction and had a little mango juice, a little tom yum soup, a little browse in some little shops before the voice in my head demanded I go see a site. I was quite near the Three Kings Monument which stood out boldly on every map I’d collected so I was surprised to find it so unassuming. None the less, I took my photos and struck up a conversation with a very friendly local teacher who proudly told me about the statue and Chiang Mai in general. He also went to lengths to tell me about a tailor who only open their doors to the public one day a year to take orders for traditional Thai outfits made from the finest silk. That day was today. As odd as his story sounded, I believed him, I just had no want of traditional Thai clothes, silk or otherwise.
I was instead making my way across town to the Saturday Markets when I was stopped by another friendly local eager to promote her city by suggesting I go to the Saturday Markets! I thanked her and kept on route until I reached them.
If you’re wondering what differentiates the Saturday markets from the Sunday Walking markets other than the day of the week, the answer is ‘not much’. There were a few unique stalls at which I picked up a couple of early Christmas presents but the main difference is that the street the Saturday markets run along is lined with silversmiths. As I wasn’t in the market (literally) for silver, I stuck to the stalls until I was drawn off course by the sounds and sites of a festival of sorts in the grounds of yet another temple. I have no idea what the event was in aid of but there seemed to be officials making speeches and a lot of little girls dancing, precociously dressed as women.
The Saturday markets are also a lot shorter. Once I got back on course, they ended rather abruptly without fully satisfying my need for souvenirs. I don’t often get in the shopping mood so thought it best to take full advantage by heading over to the Night Bazaar to trawl through more crazy ****. By comparison, the Night Bazaar seems almost exclusively for tourists and offers a repeating pattern of much the same tat. I managed to find a couple more things to tick off my Christmas list before I reached my limit. I only did one side of the market but I’m sure I’ll be back.
I got a tuk tuk back to my guesthouse where I decided to treat myself to a beer in the common area to decompress from the markets and take stock of what I’d walked away with. I ended up in a confusing conversation with the barman which I took to be more of the generous hospitality I’d been shown throughout the day. It wasn’t until he said he’d come to my room in the middle of the night that I realised his intentions were perhaps a little friendlier than I’d perceived. I put the record straight and took my leave, embarrassed by my own naivety at missing the social cues. He promised to dream of me. I hope I don’t return the favour.