after a late breakfast of kao soi noodles ("arroy!" i said to the owner, thai for delicious), i got a tuk tuk driver to take me to the arcade bus station so i can buy a ticket for the ride down to sukhothai tomorrow morning (a 6-8 hours trip). turns out it was a bit of a wasted trip because they don't sell the tickets in advance, so i just have to return to the bus station early tomorrow to buy one. returning back to the city, i got dropped off at wat chiang man, famous for being the oldest wat in chiang mai. i met a couple with a baby, and after some initial small talk the husband and i both figured out we're from boston (he's a US diplomat working in okinawa). we spent the next 10 minutes talking excitedly about the red sox inside the buddhist temple.

alm bowls (wat chiang man)

leaving the temple, a tuk tuk driver flagged me down, asked if i wanted a ride. he offered to take me to wat ku tao, the only burmese style chedi in chiang mai, and to offer me a discounted ride (back to my guesthouse), in exchange i have to visit a few handicraft factories so he can get some commission. i agreed, and he brought me to wat ku tao, which looks like a chedi that gaudi would've designed, all organic looking and lavishing decorated with glittering crystals.

"ladies not allowed" (wat ku tao)

burmese style chedi (wat ku tao)

so as part of our bargain, he brought me to the factories. originally he wanted to bring me to no less than 7 places (do i really need to visit the paper umbrella handicraft store?) which would've taken 2 hours ("you have time, it's your last day," my driver told me illogically), but i renegotiated and cut that number down to only 3: the fabric store, the lacquerware store, and the silverware store. i wasn't happy at all because the places were far from the city, about 6km out, but some of the stuff i saw were interesting although expensive so i didn't buy anything. the driver then brought me back into town.

lacquer factory

i got dropped off near wat mahawan and chatted for a few hours with the resident novices and monks there. i am constantly surprised by how much buddhist monks dwell on the subject of ladies when they've taken a vow of celibacy. a solitary girl walked into the wat and immediately one of the monks (actually just a novice) started putting on the charm, "where are you from?" "come talk to me!" in his thai-accented english. when he returned from talking with her, he told us, "she's an [italian] model."

monk and girl (wat mahawan)

chedi at wat buppharam

masochist monkey (wat buppharam)

after returning to the guesthouse for a bit of rest, i went out again, my last night in chiang mai, to get some dinner and to buy some insects for souvenirs. i visited 3 different vendors and finally got a good deal, 300 baht for a box of critters along with a free case containing a spreadwing rhinoceros beetle. with my loot in hand, i had dinner at some thai noodle soup (60 cents for the noodles, and 60 cents for the can of soda) before coming back to the guesthouse one last time.

city wall, southeast corner (katam corner)

apple pears

this site might go down periodically. i'm having bandwidth issues at the moment (as you can imagine, a site full of photos), which is a little difficult to solve since i only have limited access to the internet and i'm in southeast asia right now. hopefully it'll get fixed soon though.

"You have had 5+ gb since your upgrade this week. You have had a very popular site this month it seems. Archiving some of your blog on the main page would help conserve bandwidth so everything wasn't being brought up each time visitors come by. I believe that may be the reason you have seen so much consumption." - sysadmin