For our first full day in Chiang Mai, we chose to hire a guide to show us the sites of the city by bicycle. There really are no large "comfort bikes" to fit Drew in this town, but he made do.
The moat today doesn't look like it would keep out any bad guys, but it sure didn't look inviting to swim in either.
Our guide, Palm, pointed out various herbs and their medicinal properties, 6 different kinds of ginger, funny wrinkled limes, many differnt kinds of fruit and vegetable, many of which were familiar but also many new ones. He showed us that Thais eat lots of different parts of plants, including rose leaves and banana tree shoots.
And then there were the meats and fish. Here, live fish are transferred to a holding bucket to be sold as is.
our next stop was the street market in Chinatown. Chinese New Year started yesterday so there was a stage and speakers and the Lion dancers were getting set to perform.
It had black tofu (thank god it wasn't some other gelatinous mystery mass), pork, and veggies. It was supposed to be spicy,but I had to add more chilies. It was ok, but not delicious. Drew wanted no part of it.
But Inside this temple, was very ornate. Many Buddhas.
As this was a holiday weekend and also this Wat is a major tourist attraction, there were tourists like us as well as Buddhists inside.
Our next visit was to a relatively new wat, Wat Phan Tao. This one is very picturesque and unique in that the temple is made entirely of teak wood, some of it salvaged from a palace, joined without metal fasteners.
The last Wat we visited was Wat Phra Singh, a very large and important Wat with a huge Buddha figure.
The banners hanging above our heads contained money, thought to bring good luck to your marriage.
Also Inside the temple is a resin statue of a very venerable monk. It totally fooled me!
The nagas, or mythical snake dragon creatures, guard the entrance from evil spirits.
We were mostly templed out by the end of only 3 wats. I would not have been able to see all 397 more.
We said goodbye to our guide and went out to get some lunch, stopping through the Wat adjacent to our hotel, Wat Lam Chang. Its chedi was in much need of repair.
This one was off the tourist track, so I felt it was safe for my little traveling good luck buddy, Captain Jean Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise, to come out and have some fun of his own.
But it didn't. I made it through watching Drew eat a very raw omelet for lunch (i was still full from adventure eating) before I drug myself back to the hotel for a 4 hour nap!
By the time we roused, it was dinner time, so we found some pad Thai before rounding out the day with even more shopping! It was time for Sunday walking street. Every Sunday, independant merchants set up a HUGE street market. If I had any room whatsoever in my backpack and wasn't planning on hoofing it around SE Asia for the next 3weeks, I would have all my Christmas shopping done. There were some really neat items for sale. As it turned out, we only bought a $5 necklace and a $10 pig figurine for our pigs-from-our-travels collection.
We were both very tired of shopping by the end of the night and well deserving of some tasty street waffles.
Chiang Mai day 2 complete.