Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More tribes, more temples and all the disgusting bugs you can eat

The only way was down after yesterday's excellent adventure, so while today's half-day trip around more of Chiang Mai's essential sights was a good way to spend my last full day here, it was a little underwhelming.

It did help me to realise that my enjoyment of activities isn't related to how much sleep I've had though (which I previously thought was to blame for my lukewarm feelings about the Acropolis and Abu Simbel). I had my first full night's sleep in ages last night, but it didn't help - turns out some places just don't get me excited when I'm all templed out.

I did eat some insects though. WOAH, now you're excited to read more!

Meo village

The poverty of the Meo people - originally refugees from South China - both saddened and annoyed me when we took a trip around their village in the pleasant mountainside. You had to peek behind the identical stalls selling tourist tat to see the 'real' village, but after the Karen tribe I expect at least some level of grotesque physical deformity if I'm supposed to be sympathetic to someone's plight.

I'm joking a bit.

Are you really travelling this far to buy this crap?

Poor family parade their poverty twice daily and are paid for the privilege.
Not ideal, but there are kids to feed

Wait a minute, is that a satellite dish I see? This backwards hill tribe facade is a sham!
You're at least on par with the Western world in 1993

Um... is this fine?

Let's have a photo of me, so you know who to hate

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

Chiang Mai's famous mountain temple, the location of which was popularly decided when an elephant walked in a circle a few times, blared its horn and died. Doi Suthep temple probably used to be beautiful before the tat stalls and tragic child buskers were shipped in.

I can't blame them for going after the tourist baht though - the place was packed with people from all over the world, many of them leaving with white string bracelets to bring them luck and good fortune. This is where Oliver needs to come.

There's apparently a cable car, but cable cars are for losers

These girls sweetly pose for your photos and then ask for your money.
I just hope it goes to them

Chapel for blessings.
I didn't get one - I am just an observer on this planet

Candles for more blessings, if you use them properly

So green

So gold

View over Chiang Mai (a bit cloudy)

Nativity garden thing

Sunday market

I don't get the appeal of night markets. Surely there are enough places to buy worthless crap in the daytime without having to clog up the streets with more in the evening? But there are a few curiosities lurking between the 'hilarious' T-shirts, soaps and leather diaries - including, at long last, a stall selling edible bugs. Yum!

It's not like I never ate insects as a kid or anything (just more gastronomic atrocities contributing to my excellent immune system as an adult, along with all that disgusting fresh-from-the-teet farm milk), but I've wanted to eat prepared insects ever since I got to the Far East.

Unfortunately, Taiwan was too sensible (the grasshopper I thought I'd eaten turned out to be duck tongue, which is weirder really) and disappointing Khaosan Road was too busy selling fake driving licenses to mentally ill foreigners. But Chiang Mai didn't let me down.

More offensive tat. I know the swastika is a valid Buddhist symbol that was appropriated by the Nazis... but this is just a Hitler clock, right?

I found this dog more offensive though.
We're not even in Taiwan any more!

Lovely bug smorgasbord all looks so tasty.
How can I possibly make a decision?

The nice lady did me a pick 'n' mix.
I trust her judgement

I can't wait to tuck in

And the taste...?

Fucking disgusting.

I'd geared myself up so much for the experience - rationalising how eating bugs was surely less weird than eating the flesh of our fellow mammals - I hadn't prepared for the possibility that they might actually be horrible.

I threw most of them away. Don't give me the 'think of Africa' lecture.


  1. I hope you bought one of those dolls!

    And there totally were carts with bugs on Khaosan Road. I remember looking at them and not buying anything from them. I remember doing that with a lot of things on that road.

  2. Yes, I've put it under the Hitler clock in my White Supremacy Corner.