Thailand travel 10. To market, to market in Chiangmai and boomer no-buy joy
My first night in Chiang Mai, after walking the old town and the Iron Gate Bridge and seeing a glut of Thai cooking classes advertised and restaurants a-plenty and massage outlets left, right and center. All the while looking for street food. I finally — after traipsing through the “old city” historic quarter, beyond what I read is a moat, that looks like more of a regular water feature, and then back down toward the Ping River — come to a street in what I discover next morning is Talat Warorot and find food stalls amidst “stuff” stalls. And buy grilled pork meaty bites that look tasty. And are (beyond tasty).
It is near the site of the Sunday walking market and close to the Night Bazaar with items to buy if one is looking for souvenirs and gifts to take home. Things other than food. (Well, a little, including icy fresh fruit drink stalls.) Where the tourist info tells one to head for and where the receptionist at my B&B suggested I go.
Stashes dotted on one continent or another
Thing is with souvenirs and things to take home: When I was younger and for some decades, when traveling, I would purchase these. Items that had close associations with the place visited. Woven bags with camel skin handles from the Ivory Coast. Plus, years back, from there, to, 22 carat gold rings and earrings that still are — somewhere in one of my stashes dotted on one continent or another. And fabric. Batik and yes, lovely.
A carved wooden chair from Malawi. Those great big wooden rosaries from Spain. Came across two recently, one for me and the other for my mother to find space for. This list does no justice because now, thinking of the piles of — yes, very nice and interesting stuff — my mind doesn’t want to go there.
Because there comes a time when that is what it become. Stuff. Clutter. Easier to purchase than to get rid off.
And a time comes when one want to lighten the load. Family don’t want your “stuff.” Nobody wants to buy your still-great “memories.” Many (though not all) random buys that you’d never have considered back home.
Good for travelers — although probably not for vendors and the tourist market — one no longer even looks at stuff. Other than food-stuff that one can take home, share and that one doesn’t need to find space for, dust, or at some point, get rid of.
An advantage of being a boomer?
It is very liberating to reach this space. An advantage of being a boomer? And in a have-too-much time-to-downscale space?
Means one can walk and enjoy and get a real sense of the place. And on Saturday morning I do this.
Walk down my side of the Ping River to upscale coffee shops and arty places. At some point across the Ping to Talat Warorot, which I now know is Chiangmai’s oldest and most famous market. Right next door to Talat Ton Lam Yai, which is the city’s fresh flower market.
Both are places to snap and chat. People-watch and ask questions. Eat ice cream to cool down — and enjoy.
Oh, and I do purchase something. A (sun) reflecting umbrella at Warorot so I can carry a patch of shade with me and stop wearing this dreaded sunscreen. Augment the light cotton wrap my friend Carole dyed and gave me and that I use for sun protection, among many other things. And that I shall write about in a later blog. A travel must-have.
© Wanda Hennig 2016, words and pictures.
See Thailand travel 12 for Chiangmai’s Saturday night walking street market.