Monday, March 22, 2010

Chiang Mai - Shopping, to Chiang Rai - Night Market

Enjoyed our waffles from the night before, checked out of our hotel, and hit the streets for a little shopping. Still looking for that superzoom lens for the camera, and still thinking about a netbook. And, because of our little mishap yesterday at Flight of the Gibbon, in desperate need for a replacement lens cap.

We went to the electronics mall and found a zoom lens that we decided against, since it wasn't quite what we were looking for. We also found a Sony P-Series Vaio "Lifestyle PC", which is the netbook Mary has been kicking herself for not buying before we left the States. It was the first time she got to see one in person, and now she is kicking herself even more. Didn't buy that one since it was rather expensive, but may buy one off eBay and have it shipped to us in Singapore.

Next we went to the bus station and discovered that even though two buses were leaving to Chiang Rai in the next half hour, it was going to be two hours until the next Chiang Rai bus that wasn't sold out. So it was already dark when we got in at 8pm at the new bus station, which seems to be newer than the latest edition of Lonely Planet Thailand.

We'd been warned of this station by a fellow passenger (who got off a few stops before us), and told to take the mini-bus to town for 10 Bhat. However, the minibus that was taking passengers didn't seem to want us. We asked about down town, and in response he talked to the tuk-tuk drivers standing behind us and drove away. So, we decided to walk to town. It only looked like 3 km on the map, and after a suspicious exchange like that, we really didn't want to take a tuk-tuk, even more than normal. However, the map failed to indicate which side of the road the bus station was on, so we had to ask directions. When we did, the guy insisted that we try the mini-bus again, pointing out the dark ones that didn't look like they were going anywhere any time soon. He said it would be 10 Bhat each, and not to take a tuk-tuk because they charge 100-200 Bhat, and not to walk because it's 8 km. So we found a driver, got in a mini-bus, waited for the next regional bus to arrive and went to town.

What all this leaves me wondering is: why do we have so many lawyer jokes, and no jokes about tuk-tuk drivers. So I'm working on one. I think it will start something like this: "A rabbi, a lawyer, and a tuk-tuk driver walk into a bar..." still working on the punch line.

Checked in to a nice budget hotel near the Night Market, then went out for some smoothies and to enjoy the live music. Pretty much every town seems to have a Night Market, but this is special in its music. There was one area with a stage and a band playing oldies in English, but all the tables under the pavilion in front were owned by a restaurant that didn't serve the drinks we wanted. Elsewhere we found another stage with another set of tables surrounded by many vendor stands, about half of which were selling tempura. The music here was similar, except with Thai lyrics and tunes we don't know. The most incredible thing is that they have this Night Market every single night. Awesome.


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  2. My wife loves shopping and was much occupied while I just lounged around at one of the convenient hotels in Chiang Rai…such a beautiful place.