Chiang Mai - Flower Festival

Trip Start Jan 23, 2013
Trip End Jul 23, 2013

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Flag of Thailand  , Chiang Mai,
Sunday, February 3, 2013

Another lay in. We didn't realise that the staff had been hanging around outside waiting to clean our room until Terry answered the door to the owner. Embarrassing.

Whilst our room was being serviced, we sat down in the courtyard for coffee, tea and the cakes we had bought from the Vigie Sist cafe. Once we had finished breakfast we decided we would make our way to the Flower Festival that was in the centre of the city; but that en route, we would pop in to the Vigie Sist cafe to experience the 'special time' the more madder of the two sisters had been harping on about the previous evening. She had told us of a marvellous pianist who was performing between 11:00 - 13:00, that we would really love.

We got to the cafe at approx 11:30. The first thing we noticed was that the pianist kept hitting wrong notes. His choice of music was eclectic to say the least and with only a few notes separating each piece. No sooner had he finished hammering out classical pieces from Swan Lake he was then able to swiftly pull out a few Herman Hermits hits. We had a few spring rolls and coffee and hastily left, promising to return when the cafe was less busy......

We walked for an hour or so to the south west corner of the old city and soon came across the flower festival. The festival is celebrated, every year, for three days at the start February.The parades attract real crowds along with endless floral displays, local handicrafts, sales and trade stalls. The various displays of flowers were overwhelming; there were huge floats covered in flowers of all different shapes and colours and an absolute abundance of Orchids (my favourites) and Bonsai Trees (Terry favourites), which lined the avenues. A huge park in the middle of the area provided some respite where we were able to sit in the shade and people watch. On leaving the park we bought a banana pancake and made short work of that! I just hope I'm going to be able to remember how to make all this delicious food when I return home.

From the Flower Festival we took a slow walk back across the city to the infamous Chiang Mai Walking Street Market, also known as the Weekend or Sunday market. Many of the stall holders have personally made the items they sell and the many hand crafted objects are a testimony to the skills and inventiveness of local people. Any item that is not marked with a fixed price is open for negotiation and is all part of the fun. The stall holders love banter and as long as you smile and barter in a good natured way you will have a great experience.

As well as having a good mooch around the market, Terry and I also went into several little arty type shops that sold various individual wares. We were both impressed with some of the paintings and odd pieces of sculpture on offer. I bought an unusual ring which the sales lady (could have easily have been a man...) said is made of brass with a gem stone mounted on it which could be Jade. If I still have it when I return home I'll get it looked at; it cost a hefty 250B (£5).

Whilst trying to make a decision whether to go back to 'My Mum Home' or whether to return to the Vigie Sist one last time, loud music suddenly started blaring out across the streets and the whole world stood still - it was like something from a sci-fi movie. Unknown to us at the time, the Thai National Anthem gets played throughout Thailand every Sunday at 08:00 and 18:00 and when you hear the music start, out of respect, you are suppose to stop and stand where you are until the song is over. I don't think we stopped at the start of the anthem, but realised what was happening about 15 seconds in, when we noticed we were the only ones still chatting and moving.

On return to 'My Mum Home' we packed up our stuff ready for tomorrow morning. Terry decided to leave the enormous Bermuda shorts he had purchased at the Elephant Nature Park as said they are too big. My bag seems to be a getting heavier and I'm not sure why as have only bought a very light blouse. Maybe I'm just getting weaker!

We took one last stroll out to the Vigie Sist Cafe to say farewell and to buy our cakes for the morning. The madder of the two was so glad we had returned and wanted to befriend me on Facebook - I said I would find her as my privacy settings are very high.......
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