Sunny, Rainy and Chiang Mai Zoo Days
Sunday was sunny. But like any sunny day here, it’s also a rainy day. J. and I are getting better at predicting the downpours, but that still means getting stranded under some form of shelter after leaving the house. Most of Sunday was spent lazing about the pad, but we ventured out to Wat Suan Dok for lunch. Great food, as before. During our meal, we watched enormous ants wandering around in the planter near our table. These ants were so big we could see their eyes.
After lunch, we wandered around the wat. Dark clouds rolled in.
This puppy was watching a small parade.
Part of the small parade.
Monks watched from above, as monks do.
The parade was stopped by a thick rain. The men in the paper dog suits got mushy and scampered for cover. The downpour lasted half an hour. Afterward, we went to a nearby market to buy some fruit.
Lady and fruit.
Meats! This butcher area was inside a caged room.
I’m not sure who buys batter fried chicken heads. Not me.
Part of our fruit purchase.
Dragonfruit: a more awesome looking version of kiwi that doesn’t taste as good. It’s fun to eat with a spoon and a little lemon juice.
On Monday, I scouted the neighborhood on foot for a new place to eat lunch. Found nearby was a beautiful garden restaurant with a huge menu, friendly staff, and great prices. We’ve gone there for three meals so far.
I got fried chicken and curry with fried egg and rice. About a dollar.
The restaurant housed a very large baby.
After lunch, we went back to Wat U Mong to see the bats. They were gone. Rain came and we sought shelter in a gazebo like structure built for the monks.
Old offerings at the chedi’s base.
Nearby the temple is a massage parlor E. recommended. J. and I got hour long full body massages for 100bht($3.15) each. I was worried about my damaged toenail, and pointed it out to the masseuse. He looked at it, slightly grossed out, before becoming even more grossed out by how dirty my feet were. I guess I should have washed them off out of courtesy. The massage was good, but this vacation has relaxed me enough already. Surprisingly, my legs were sore.
In the evening, we went to the Sunday walking market. Had some delicious, cheap grub and watched people. It was crowded at that late hour.
Provocative child singer/dancer at the night market. We stayed for three songs, all of which sounded identical.
Tuesday was zoo day. Chiang Mai Zoo day, that is. Animals in cages, yo. While there were a few sad displays with lonely animals, the whole place feels pretty humane. The zoo sits on hilly jungle terrain of the west side of town on the way to Doi Suthep. Long looping and interconnected roads lead to all of the exhibits, and unclear maps guarantee getting turned around. Being Thailand, the layout and organization of the zoo is almost as wild as the animals within. During our visit, there was a lot of construction going on, including the addition of a huge lake side aquarium that looked like the visitors center in Jurassic Park. Since I was there last, a green-tracked monorail had been built. And with it came many new animal areas.
J. at the elephant gates.
Emu’s evil eye.
Colorful, ostrich-sized bird with horned mohawk and rooster-style chin waddle.
While we were looking at cockatoos, they started shrieking. A couple across the road looked at us to see if we were torturing the birds. We weren’t, thought we were planning to. The birds announced the rain, and rain it was. Sheets of water cascaded down like rain from clouds, forcing us to run for cover. Like the day before, it only lasted half an hour.
Lunch garbage. I’d say most of the garbage in Thailand is generic food packaging.
Hippo. I’d taken some hot hippo butt shots, with hoohoo, but I though better of posting them.
Capybara. I wish all rats were dog size.
My favorite area was a vast walk through aviary along a river. They basically built a huge tent in a valley and filled it with exotic birds and foraging animals. The pathways were arduous at spots, and because it had rained earlier it was a steam bath. At one point, we came across a dog sized, horned animal on the path. It was eating an ear of corn. It looked at us like it was about to charge, but then wandered into the shadows.
Large walkway over a hillside infested with deer-looking animals.
The zebra and the donkey were having a fight.
Hey Hey, we’re the sad monkeys. People say we’re moping around.
White lions chillin’ out, maxing.
Very noble looking beasts, these lions are.
After the zoo I was very tired. But we got some dinner from the garden restaurant and went to meet our French neighbors for some 9PM “jazz” at a bar near the North Gate. I qualify jazz, because it wasn’t very good. For one, it was more rock instruments than jazz instruments. And although each of the players was pretty good, there were just too many to make the jams feel at all organized. It was more like every musician in Chiang Mai came together, forming changing jazz sextets and octets, all trying to improvise for the whole song. Sometimes it was sublime, but most of the time it was cacophony.
J. and I each had a whisky and coke for 60bht($1.75) each. Our neighbors had mojitos for 100bht each.
Today, Wednesday, J. and I are driving to a small valley town called Pai. It’s 134km away through mountainous terrain. It should be a tiring but beautiful drive.