Chiang Mai – Thailand – 1

In Chiang Mai (part 2 below is trekking in the hills north of Chiang Mai).

After the sprawl and rush of Bangkok, arriving in Chiang Mai was a welcome change of pace. Smaller, and nestled against the northern hills, this city has many artisans, cooler temperatures, and new but equally excellent foods. My excellent traveling companions (Ma and Pa Braden) and I are staying at the Amata Lanna boutique hotel, a “small, well-appointed hostelry” – Pa Braden.

The clip below is my Sound Journal entry for Chiang Mai, where I give a brief spoken account of my experience here. The rest of the page has sound clips and photos. Use good speakers if you can (especially for the gong and the quiet jungle sounds)! Enjoy – next entry will be from Phuket, Thailand.

The walking market on Sunday closes a section of the old part of the city, surrounded by a moat and old brick gates. It is full of clothes, handbags, food, carved elephants, trinkets, shoes, jewelry, more food… There were lots of buskers, many were blind or elders, and throngs of tourists with wide, greedy deal-seeking eyes.

In one corner of the market, this huge gong was next to a small wat, or temple. The clip below is of another girl hitting it softly; I am 10 meters away. When I hit the gong, I heard the Frequency of the Universe.

Psycho insects! The clip below is what Hitchcock really should have used – the djacatchan (spelling is phonetic, and the name is in Thai). They were up in the trees, and are like cicadas. One single bug makes the sound and I measured it at 95 decibels at 5 meters (on the ipod decibel app). One of the staff at our lodgings managed to catch one to show us. The sound would swell up in the night like a phantom. WARNING – IT IS LOUD.

We took a Thai cooking class for a day: tom yum goong soup, spring rolls, papaya salad, green curry chicken and sweet rice + mango dessert. For the curry, we used dry spices and fresh vegetables and spices and ground them with a stone mortar and pestle (clip below). To our Yellowknife-raised tongues that grew up on trucked-in produce, the availability of fresh vegetables and spices is the ultimate culinary heaven.

Here is a bird I heard at the cooking school, about 15 km south of Chiang Mai. Yes, I am a huge fan of recording bird songs.