Market-ing in Chiang Mai

After all of the previous day’s excitement we needed something more relaxing. So today we did very little. Woke up late, ate breakfast, let Alex play with the hotel staff, who seem to love him. He’s been very good at charming the locals with an easy “Hi!” and his excited descriptions of things like “fountains!” (his lift replacement, for he has encountered none here), “motorbike!” and “wee-wee toilet!”.

The Manathai feels like a very sedate resort, which suits us just fine. After we dragged Alex away from the fountains and waterfalls we crossed the road towards the local market area, making the mistake of trying to use the stroller over the bumpy and narrow footpaths. Alex managed to sleep through it all.

The markets sold all sorts of things, from Spider-man outfits to pickles. But nothing we wanted. The atmosphere is interesting, though. We emerged from the narrow streets at the river and did a loop across a couple of bridges. The eastern bank of the river seemed upmarket and catering mainly for tourists. The La Luna Gallery had some tempting artworks by South East Asian artists.

We ate a fairly poor meal under the tarps of the food stalls on the western side of the river. Then, as we were exhausted and Alex wanted the loo, we caught a tuk-tuk back to the hotel. Alex loves tuk-tuks, the flashing lights, the wind, the noise, the passing motorcyclists, maybe even the petrol fumes as the driver turns the motorbike handles dodging other cars on the street.

Back at the hotel we slept for a few hours. We all have colds and it was nice to lie down and do so little – except for booking tomorrow’s accommodation in Bangkok.

A swim, then another tuk-tuk to find dinner. We gave up and used the Lonely Planet, selecting the Galare Food Court. Except the tuk-tuk driver thought that we had said “The Gallery Restaurant” and took us across the river to somewhere swish. He drove us back to the Night Market area without protest and we discovered that the food court is written “Kalare” outside of the Lonely Planet.

It’s obviously aimed at tourists. You buy vouchers then use them to purchase food from the line of stalls. I had a nice northern Thai curry noodles, while B’s contained blood jelly, which she removed. Alex and B fought over the young coconut juice again as we struggled to get him to hurry up and eat his chicken and vegetable rice noodles. Sticky rice and mango for dessert, he loved the fruits.

We wandered back to the hotel via the Night Market stalls, purchasing a needed t-shirt for Alex.

Tomorrow should be even more relaxing with a 12 hour train ride back to Bangkok.

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