6th Dec 2014P1210991

Days and dates are immaterial now ……….

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D used to have 16 cats and 2 dogs in her Singapore apartment. Yes 16. Here, there’s only one. It’s not even hers. This old frisky boy pops in every so often, for a free tickle and of course breakfast. Cats can smell a cat lover from another province away. And I’ve heard this one crying and moaning each of the 2 mornings, we’ve stayed here.

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 Before leaving we get a tour of the estate. We’re headed into town proper, and headed to a favourite Vietnamese restaurant at Kad Kiang Wiang.

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As the main road 121 is kinda jammed up and stinky exhaust fumes abound, we take the dirt road into town. Our mountain bikes are darned useful as we amble by some gridlock…..

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We are led to another noodle stall breakfast. The place is teeming, but it was really good and bike parking was swift and easy. I bet the nice lady we met while cycling, in her gleaming black BMW couldn’t agree more. By the time she found parking we had finished our meal.

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 Toong’s was just across the main junction, so we dropped by to get caffeinated.

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Kad Kiang Wiang is a nice open space downtown. A rarity in chiang Mai’s old town. That’s the one encircle or ensquared by it’s ancient moat on 4 sides. Heavenly beef noodles as well as a quaint Vietnamese place. There’s a large courtyard that quickly fills up in the evenings with diners, and it gets even more crowded on Saturday nights when there’s usually a jazz band. Sunday nights are absolutely crazy with the Walking Street night market. All roads and lanes leading up to it are closed. If you’re caught, come and get your car after midnight or the next day. You wont have that dilemma if you’re on a bicycle. I guarantee it.

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 Moments before deleting. Moments before recording…….again and again.

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A sign of the times at Chaitawat bike shop, one of the pioneers in Chiang Mai. Progress has deemed that they open another shop next to the original one dealing only in Bianchi brand bikes. Although sounding very Italian, 90% of the affordable ones are from Taiwan. There are at least half a dozen such franchises in town. I much prefer the older shop that I can rummage through looking for quirky stuff. The more retro the better.

Hey any new shop can churn out the overpriced and the mundane to the clueless or those with tons of online knowledge. I meet up with the senior male proprietor, and catch up on some biking tales. He did cycle to China once and started right out from this shop. On one Sunday ride he came back disappointed because only 25 flat kms by the Ping River and not a 70 km hilly ride that was promised. Not bad for an almost 70 year old.

He said the franchise was inevitable, having resisted it for quite some time. That was what the market demanded, and that was what they needed to keep up their business afloat.

I asked about the sign out front. Oh that. That’s also to keep up with the times as too many a rental bike customer from nearby businesses were always bugging him about pumping their tyres. And those shops refuse to invest in a humble floor pump.

Time is money, that is universal.

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 Sustenance for the night. Can you tell who ate what? His and hers respectively.

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There’s a rash of burger joints in town to tempt every taste, tummy and wallet. This at the Chiang Mai Gate night market was pretty good, at unbeatable prices too. If you need to sit there are even tables set up inside the market. Just that you’ll have the accompanying day market smells to go with your burger. I took mine away back to Wattana’s. So much more civilised. Maybe one day I might even try the $25 ones at Dukes. It’s an American themed restaurant that John Rambo, I mean Sly Stallone went to everyday, while filming Rambo 4 here, some years back.

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These boys contribute to the atmosphere, and smells at the CM Gate market.

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