Escape to Chiang Mai

After posting pictures on FB from Ayutthaya, a friend said there were some ancient ruins just 10 minutes from CM. We looked it up, Wiang Kum Kam, and decided to go having never been to that area. There were lots of flattened ruins in amongst shops and houses, suburbia had grown around the many sites. The main and most complete ruins are next to a big Wat that had an old Lanna house and a folk museum on-site. In one of the smaller buildings was a fabulous bronze Buddha. There was a mural that showed the sites origins as the people started growing crops and colonising the area around the Wat. It took you on a pictorial journey for 700 years and as it got to the far end of the mural and into present day, there were archaeologists and finally tourists taking pictures and selfies and looking round the site. It was great and something I haven’t seen before. You can tour all the sites in a horse and carriage, also on the mural. Unlike Ayutthaya it took just an hour or so to see it all.

In the temples there is often fortune telling where you shake a bundle of sticks until one drops out and it has a number on. You then take the corresponding numbered sheet of paper for your fortune. I have done this in Doi Suthep the big temple on the hill overlooking CM. In this Wat there is a fortune telling machine and you put in a small coin and a dial spins round and again you match up the number. I did this and read mine; not good….

Then Chris did his;

I realised when Chris picked his that I had stupidly picked out the wrong one and so with great joy I found the right number. Thank goodness I was very disappointed with the first one!!! This one was much better.

We then went for a walk around the city had a coffee and sat watching people walking past. There seems to be lots of space cadets in CM. Too many people look as if they have been to too many festivals and taken way too many substances. There are New Age travellers, masses of dreadlocks, people with more tattoos than skin and piercings in all sorts of places. Older people who still dress like they are teenagers but have changed shape and maybe they don’t realise that the Mohican they sport doesn’t look too good with a big bald patch in the middle. I am not being judgemental, each to their own, but come on, let it go….there are jugglers and artists, fire spinning space cadets aplenty who wouldn’t look out of place with a dog on a rope and a paper cup in Chorlton. If you go to Pai further north, this is the main headquarters for all the space cadets and elephant pant wearing tribes. There are circus schools and every weird and wonderful variety of yoga classes and retreats. You see them ‘deep’ in meditation with one eye opening occasionally to make sure people can see them. It’s got to be good for the FB picture. There are the yoga space cadets who do unfathomably tricky postures while drinking their mocha matcha lattes in the cafes and other public places. Thailand attracts them all.

“There are many digital nomads; people who can work anywhere as long as they have a computer and good wi-fi. They can be bloggers or computer programmers, writers or internet sellers. It is a warm cheap place to park yourself. There are many communal work spaces you rent by the hour/day/month and cafes full of computers for the same thing. There is no shortage of work spaces.

Lots of tourists come here for a few days to hike, cook and other activities. Then there are the expats, sexpats and other miscreants who find themselves here. Tax dodgers, criminals and the general lunatic fringe, all can be found. There are lots of young backpackers enjoying their travels and gap years, they only stay a few days passing through to their next destination. Don’t get me wrong there are many “normal” people here just wanting a different lifestyle and many retirees who come from all over the world, it’s a fab place to be. I am not too sure where we fit in with all this. However you view yourself before coming here, even if you think you are a bit strange, when you see the people here you feel very, very normal more normal than you have ever felt!!

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