Grapes imported from where else—California—are a pricey treat available in Chiang Mai markets. I have seen them go for about $5.25 a pound in supermarkets, though I am sure they are less in an outdoor wet market like the one in the photo. In a place where a mango costs 50 cents or so, these grapes are expensive. People pick them off the stems and take the individual grapes away in a plastic bag. Thailand has a Muslim minority in the south of the country near the border it shares with Malaysia, but this trip to the market was the first time I saw women wearing the hajib here in Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand.
The shop across the street buys coconuts in bulk and then prepares them to have the tops cut off and sold as beverages to tourists. Street vendors come along to buy the bags and take them to stalls that can be found all over Chiang Mai. Tasty and refreshing, especially if the vendor keeps the coconuts packed in ice so the juice is slightly chilled. It seems the street vendors pay around (US) 65 cents per coconut and then resell them to passersby for $1.30 to $1.50 each. Sit down restaurants and coffee shops are somewhat more expensive. Still, nobody is getting rich from this business.
I am rather fond of the tree which has grown through the corrugated roofing in the center of the photo.
I went on a walking tour this morning of several traditional markets in Chiang Mai. A local guy organizes the walks through Meetup. I have been on a couple of these now – fun and informative, and a great group of fellow walkers on both occasions.
Many of the shops in these markets are owned by Chinese families that came to Thailand in the past, often many years ago. Today, these Chinese-Thais are assimilated into Thai society and are largely indistinguishable from other Thais. Nonetheless, originally from southern China, Guangdong and Fujian for the most part, these families continue to be a part of the vast Chinese trading networks that have long played a major role in the business and commercial worlds of Southeast Asian countries.
This photo shows a Chinese tourist doing what Chinese do best: shopping and bargaining!
This photo was taken in late May when I visited the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok. Passed right by this image the first time I looked at the pictures I shot that day, but a second look got me to reconsider. The roof moving off into the distance on the right, I think, makes the composition very dynamic. This movement really sets off the two people—the woman in her lovely rainbow colored serape—framed by the white columns as they escape the blistering hot sun for a few moments.
This is the first time I have ever posted an image from my phone. Technically it leaves more than a little bit to be desired – the subjects sitting in shade with bright noonday sunlight hitting a white wall behind them. Difficult lighting for the best of cameras, of which the phone’s is not one.
Still I love the image — Friends sitting at a table and not saying a word while they all stare at their phones. It’s a scene that makes me feel old. And one that I did not have to travel to Thailand to come across.
I went on a photo trip this morning to a place called Wat Ban Den, a huge, well-known temple complex a few kilometers north of Chiang Mai. These girls were on a school field trip to the wat. They said hello to me and introduced themselves in English that was not at all bad. And after our mini-lesson was over, they were delighted to pose for a picture.
Personally, being surrounded by a crowd of hungry pigeons is not my idea of a good time. But there were several people, this couple included, who had bought bags of seeds and were feeding big gatherings of pigeons. This small but rather elegant park in the southwest corner of Chiang Mai’s Old City is called Nong Bauk Hard Park. The place has a bit of the feel of the Public Garden in Boston.