Market people watching in the mornings, I occasional hang out at Nu Nu Nini’s Coffee Time a corner cafe opposite the outside market of the famous daily Chiang Mai Market by the south gate of the moat at Chiang Mai Gate. The outside morning market selling clothes is all packed up before the day starts to get really hot and humid. So by 10.30am it’s empty. So I sit there and just watch people getting on with life. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it’s sunny but mainly it’s overcast.
Siem Reap, the place I left 10 months ago, which I called home on and off for 2 years, has changed. I recently return for a short 7 days. Walking across the tarmac after exiting the plane, I breathed in the air and I was reminded once again of the unique smell the town has. Or maybe it was because we’d just missed one of the torrential down pours now the rainy season has started. The air had been cooled and the humidity dropped. By the time I’d got through visa application, where they tried to offload me with change in torn dollar notes, (bills to those of you who are American!) which aren’t legal tender in Cambodia, through customs, collected my luggage, handed in the numerous forms filled out on the plane, it was time to find my tuk tuk driver, the humidity had risen again.
I’m a foreigner in the land of smiles, Thailand, and white caucasians are given the nickname Farang though you might hear Falang as Thais struggle with the ‘r’s. It’s not meant to be derogatory, though this can depend on the context as the older white haired men hanging around the bars have discovered. Actually the Thais cannot pronounce foreigner, as some English pronunciations are extremely difficult for them, (likewise for us with some of the Thai sounds) so over many years it come out as Farang. For more information on Farang press here
Elephant Parade Chiang Mai 2016 in the jewel of Northern Thailand, is part of an international social enterprise running the largest art exhibition, which has moved around 19 cities worldwide since 2007, including London in 2010 and a UK National Tour in 2014. Life size decorated baby elephant statues are exhibited in international cities to raise awareness for the need of elephant conservation.
Quick visa stop over in vibrant Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia early December 2016 and enough time to go sightseeing. Though I’d only planned 30 days in Thailand, the Ministry of Interior has decided between 1st December 2016 until February 28th 2017, they’d issue the 60 day single entry visa free of charge, so I decided to return to Thailand.
Customs in Cambodia, how I spent a day negotiating the customs system. Maybe I’m not supposed to write this post as each time I try to document what happened on my day in Phnom Penh (PP) I somehow delete the draft and lose all that I’ve written. Maybe the universe is saying move on.
But I really want to express the kindness I was shown by random people I met as I was going from one government office to another, travelling from one end of the city to the other end.