August 18th, 2006

Day 25: Chiang Mai's Night Bazaar

Although our hostel is quite nice, we do have some issues with it. Last night they promised us free breakfast and free bicycles for us to use for the day. This morning we got up and went down to have our free breakfast for 80 baht a person. That was a little annoying, but not as much as when they told us that their free bikes were broken after we mentioned we were not interested in a paid bike tour.

Oh well. The place is nice and we were able to sign up for a two day trek with them for about the same price we were quoted by some other people we meet a week earlier that also trekked in Chiang Mai. So we signed up and headed into town for a day seeing the sights on foot.

Our hostel is a bit of a walk from town, and we were quote tired by the time we got to the main town area. Mateo had heard that the Chiang Mai University library had 200,000 English language books so our first goal of the day was to get to CMU (Go Elephants!).

As it turns out CMU is on the other side of town and after walking a few kilometers we decided to take a Tuk Tuk to the campus. Once there we wandered around for a half hour trying to find the elusive library, but we finally hit pay dirt and entered into the halls of greater learning.

The first place we went to in the library was the “American Corner” with a big TV playing Voice Of America and a few rows of computer terminals. One thing that I noticed that really put a smile on my face was the “Read” posters featuring American celebrities. I remember our high school library being covered with those posters as well. It was really nice to see them there, too.

We headed up to the third floor and the foreign books section. It was quite large, but the many shelves were not completely full. It reminded me a lot of the old library section of the WSU Library where the Science Fiction collection is (if you are one of the few people that can actually visualize this area in your head, give yourself a pat on the back). We stayed there for a few hours, Mateo looking at Geography books and I wandering around flipping through various subjects, finally settling on an old guide to Japanese literature by Donald Keene.

After we left the library we started to walk back to town. It was getting dark and a sudden downpour of rain came and almost finished us until we jumped in the back of a pickup taxi to the famed night bazaar of Chiang Mai.

The night bazaar is pretty large, and the main section is a three story complex scattered with stores and stalls selling all kinds of things, from clothes to furniture sets. The third floor is dedicated to high-class merchandise, with the bottom two floors for the more budget-minded tourist. The bazaar doesn’t stop at the complex, though. It spreads out over the streets covering both sides of each of the streets surrounding the complex for a few blocks.

Mateo did a lot of shopping there, buying a few new shirts and gifts for some of his friends. I wanted to buy some stuff, but didn’t find anything that particularly tickled my fancy.

After a tasty rote pancake, a local treat, bought from a sweet girl in a headscarf from a roadside stand we headed back to the hostel for a good night’s sleep and preparation for our trek the next day.

Until then, take care.

  • Current Mood