Friday, January 27, 2006

Down the Soi

A soi is a small laneway between two major roads. They are numbered, odd numbers on one side, even numbers on another. There are usually several soi between each road. As I walk around the old town of CM I take a different soi each time. This is a great way to see life as it really is for Thai people. Sometimes you get a big surprise, a lovely court-yard with fountains and flowers or a fantastic cafe run by a cooking school.

Often you see family life being enacted before your eyes. Tiny stores, selling very few items that seem to be open 24 hours a day. Micro-businesses, tailors, laundresses, shoe repair, hairdressers, massage and tiny cafes and stalls of street food.

After visiting the dentist here yet again, I took a small soi with lovely old teak houses and gardens which suddenly opened out into what I can only describe as the Yorkdale of Chiang Mai. In the middle of average commercial and residential mix were several small side streets of amazing small shops and galleries.

This was not at all in a tourist area but in an area outside the moat that surrounds the old town and close to the university. UCM. I spent a happy couple of hours browsing. A couple of the shops had wonderful old jewelry pieces from surrounding countries and ancient tribal beads. Most were very expensive but I did manage to find a piece of carved lapis set in silver with lapis beads. I was wearing it as I write this and have just broken the string and lapis beads are all around me. Guess I should have known better than to wear it but its so lovely. Now I will have to wait until I get home to safely re-string it.


2002-2012 Barbara Elias   


Site design & maintenance by CORE Design Services