01.02.2019 - 03.02.2019
It was too early to check in to our hotel in Chiang Mai when we got there, so we strolled into town slowly. We stopped at a little cafe for breakfast. A nice lady was running it.
We even found new glasses for dad because he managed to stomp on them the night before on the train somehow. They had a cute little dog in the shop that we played with while he looked for the new frames.
When we got to the hotel, it was still a little early, so we had lunch at another cafe with some nice juice and things. Then the room was ready and we all had showers and I made a fruit salad out of mangosteen, jack fruit, papaya and mango. Then we took a nap because it was too hot to go out again.
The festival had some really cheap show on a little stage, so we watched that for a while.
We had a bunch of street food for dinner and ate omelettes and pad thai with a man who looked and talked like Bill Clinton and his wife. I think the festival was nice and cool at night. It was probably the least busy time to see the flowers in the park as well.
Later, we found the main stage just in time to see the two Miss Flower Festivals crowned. Lucky us. There were separate contests for Thai women and foreign women, so that was interesting. We also saw the electrical wiring catch fire outside the public washrooms. Yikes.
February 2, 2019
On Saturday, there was the big parade. It was a dream come true for my mom. She was very excited to see the colourful floats, which were mostly comprised of natural elements like shells and of course flowers. We found a nice place to sit and I just watched from under my umbrella as the strong sunlight beat down on us relentlessly.
I was amazed to see some of the performers walking in bare feet along the parade route. They must have had first degree burns on their black soles after five minutes of walking on that tarry asphalt. I was also really happy to see that even native Americans were well represented in the parade. They led a red, white and blue marching band down the street in faux chintzy headdresses, neon face paint and sparkly leather regalia.
Oh and after half the parade had gone by, the marshalls let a bunch of cars go down the street, thus making uninformed tourists believe it was over, and thus completely ruining the festive atmosphere of the whole thing.
We went back home for a little lunch and another short nap, then headed out to see some temples, including the ruin of a giant Khmer style stupa. That was nice to walk around, even though a couple of drunk or mentally impaired Americans were screaming a conversation at the top of their lungs as they were standing right next to each other. I really liked the elephants that were carved into the sides of a lot of these temples.
After that three or four hour tour, I think we deserved a nice massage, so we headed over to the ex-con massage centre. There were seven branches all over the city and these strong women provided a really nice experience. They washed our feet, massaged our whole bodies in what I would say was a light Thai style, as well as daubing our skin with hot herbs at the end. All this took two hours and cost about 35 dollars. Amazing.
My masseuse was really funny and she made me laugh a lot. Especially when she jumped on my back and made my tongue and eyes stick out, similar to a flattened frog run over by a car. I couldn't get this image out of my head and I laughed until I almost peed my pants. She spoke almost zero English, so she had no clue why I was doing that, but she laughed along anyway. So fun. I think these massage places are a great way to rehabilitate criminals who need a useful skill after they get out of jail.
At night, I tried to get my mom to try some overpriced durian, but she couldn't get it past her nose. Earlier in the day she bought a durian popsicle and barely finished eating that too.
February 3, 2019
My parents really wanted to see silk being made, so they took a tuk tuk all by themselves to the edge of the city. I stayed in town to visit the museums, which were all very well done, but quite similar to each other. I really enjoyed the museum about the founding of Chiang Mai, because it was a full body immersive experience. It really felt like travelling back in time as each room contained a different environment, such as rice fields and mountains etc. So that was a relaxing and also informative day.
When I got back, I took a nap while my parents went to go see the flowers one last time. Then we were too tired for dinner, so we ate a bunch of snacks in the room and went back to bed.