Thursday, January 26, 2006

Barbara in Prison

Today I went to prison!

It was only a minimum security prison and I went there to get a $1 pedicure. Most of the women there are in prison because of drug offences, often carrying for their boyfriend. Rehabilition includes learning a trade, beauty treatments, massage and sewing and embroidery. The prison has a fully equipped salon and a nice little store. Service is spotty, depending on how long the lady has been training but hey for $1 I got everything I would get for $30 in Canada.

Actually I had not really intended to go there but after visiting the the new Chaing Mai museum my feet were sore and the prison is right next door.

The museum is lovely with lots of inter-active videos in many languages. I learnt so much about the history of CM and I thought I knew quite a bit. There is also a nice cafe and a small gift shop and a substantial library.

After my pedicure I went to the grocery store. Just about everything you see in a major Canadian grocery store is there but everything is in small sizes. Local brands, about 1 tenth the price of mulit-national brands, sit side by side. I bought milk and sugar, lots of fruit and some wonderful smoked salmon and other snacks. I usually eat breakfast on my balcony and sometimes a drink and snacks with friends on the roof in the evening. The rest of the day I eat and snack out. A fresh fruit smoothie here for $1.00, a cup of great Arabica coffee for 60 cents somewhere else. A Thai dish of noodles or rice for about $1 does me nicely for lunch.

Walking back from the grocery store there were lots of cops. hmmm... hard to find out what was going on. Then all the traffic stopped coming down the main street but nothing happened. Noisy as usual, I stepped the the curb to look down the road and was suddenly dragged backwards by two pairs of strong cop hands! I thought I was being arrested! - back to prison - wow. A finger wagging and loud instructions to stay back quickly got me back in control. Then with a great woosh a stream of cars, followed by an ambulance trying desperately to keep up the pace - seems the princess was visiting. As the King (60 years of reign this year) was born and raised in CM, the palace in the hills outside of the city is his second home. Of course traffic was perfect chaos for hours after.

I was glad I was walking.

 

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