Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of every day, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear.
Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.
Sunday Night Market Chiang Mai
My first Sunday evening in Chiang Mai was spent walking around through the Night Market in an area of the old city that is blocked off from motorized traffic. It is hard for me to believe that they do this every Sunday night, with all the preparation it takes and blocking city streets for many hours, but it remains a popular weekend activity for tourists and some locals.
I read one bad review online about this event, but apparently the reviewer confused this with shopping at the Night Bazaar which I believe is open every night.
The complaint was about many of the same types of cheap souvenirs, like t-shirts, and tank tops, that can be found all over Thailand, but here I did not see much of that. I saw beautifully handcrafted items as well. I even bought a good quality leather crafted iPhone holder, with a really cool artistic design carved in the leather itself. You just have to look a little more closely.
It was serene, near the temples, but a little more chattering and a jumble of musical sounds could be heard on the main street, from traditional stringed instruments, to soloists on the corner doing their rendition of Achy-Breaky Heart. I savored the various aromas of foods and would sometimes get a whiff of incense, near where offerings were being made. To me, it was a nice introduction to what my new little town has to offer in the way of getting out into the community and meeting more and more people, some foreigners and some locals. I have already met so many people and have begun to recognize many familiar faces.
Tyson and I started out by parking our motorbikes about a block away from where many of the food vendors are located. As we began walking down a dark side street, I began to notice more and more the growing crowd of people strolling in all directions down what was a busy thoroughfare of motorbikes, cars and songthaews(red taxi pick-up trucks) a few hours earlier. On the right-hand side before we reached the intersection there was a long row of reclining chairs set up near the sidewalk on the side of a closed building. Each and every chair was occupied by someone getting a foot massage! At least 20 or more people! I think i saw one advertised at $150 Baht. Which is approximately US$5! (Update: Actually this is a little expensive for a foot massage.)
We were hungry so we headed straight for where the food vendors were. Many of them were located on temple grounds.
Most of the vendors were so friendly and seemed to love when I pointed a camera on them. They are not camera shy at all, as you can tell in these pictures. As soon, as they saw me pointing my camera at them, they smiled naturally. I guess they are used to the attention from curious foreigners. They made it so easy for me to capture the warmth in their smiles.
Looking at them now, still…. makes me smile!
Some pretty Chinese tourists throwing me the Peace sign!
Brian Dennis is a full-time software engineer, some-time traveler and location-independent entrepreneur.
Chasing his passions in addition to travel in recent years has become a little challenging but even more fulfilling with his wife Betina and 1-year old son Divine.
Currently he is located in S. Florida and continues to share what he's learned with travel tips, guides and some motivating inspiration to encourage others to do more and experience more outside of their comfort zones.