Monday, January 23, 2006

weekend markets

Chiang Mai is a city of markets but none is more popular than the "walking market" which on Sunday afternoons and evenings takes over several of the main streets and the plaza square at Tai Pae Gate. I started at the square where many of the hill tribes display their wares and where sometimes I meet old friends from the hills. Yesterday I was lucky enough to meet with one of them. A spray old lady, brown and wrinked as a walnut with a mind like a steel trap. Hidden in her pocket - she just knew I would turn up - were three stone carvings, perfect for pendants. She also had some cream coloured horns carved with Salamanders and three more tigers. She then escorted me around some of the other tables, picking out treasures and bargaining to the teeth. In fact she bargained so hard with one poor lady that I went back and slipped her another 20 blaht.

After sitting at a table drinking freshly squeezed mandarin juice and eating sticky rice and mango I had to take a ride back to my apt., I was so laden down with heavy beads and stuff.

Still I could not stay in my apt. all evening when this great market was taking place, so after a cup of tea I shuffled off again looking for more treasures. My find of the night was a silver chain belt with 24 lapis lazuli and silver decorations hanging from it. Alas I did not have 4,500 blaht left and the only ATM I could find was out of cash so I am hoping that it will still be there when I go back in two weeks time.

The other thing I found was some wonderful silk tubes with tassled lids (wine bottle gift wrap)
I may try and import some into Canada. Need to check out the shipping costs first.

This morning I went to the far corner of the old town, an area I had not visited before, just to see what was there. Found the tribal gift shop run by the social services department. Lovely stuff but mostly weavings. Maybe I will go back before I leave.

Tomorrow I am thinking of going to the Monkey School - where they train monkeys to assist handicapped people. Should be interesting. Will report in due course Barbara

 

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