Photo of the week
This post will focus on some of the people of Chiang Mai that we met or saw going about their everyday lives.
As a small aside I just want to mention something that most photographers are guilty of at some point, including myself, but I think is something that is important to rectify. When traveling I believe it is very important to remember that the people one meets actually live there and should not be treated as oddities. I believe that often it is very easy to forget that in fact it is the tourist/photographer that is strange in that place. As a consequence I believe it is the photographers responsibility not to get in a local’s face and start taking photographs. I strongly believe that permission should be obtained before taking photos, unless it would ruin the moment in which case asking after taking the photo may be acceptable. Of course some situations are different, but I think subjects should be treated courteously. Now with that in mind I did seek permission from my subjects in these photographs before actually taking them., either before or after.
We have always been fans of the Cha-yen and Kafe-yen since we were in University and so it was very interesting to see it made on the streets of not only Bangkok but also Chiang Mai. The following photograph shows the tea being made. Oh and it was definitely tasty. Although after coming back from Thailand I went through serious caffeine and sugar withdrawal because I drank so many of them.
We had a chance to walk through the wet and dry markets which featured meats such as chicken and pork pictured below, as well as some more interesting cuisine in the form of live eels, turtles and snakes. The dry market was a bit more tame and had so many wonderful spices which we couldn’t bring back to Australia because of quarantine rules.
Walking back to our hotel from the markets we walked by the moat surrounding the old city part of Chiang Mai where we saw this man and young girl feeding the fish. They were both having a really good time and we spent a few minutes with them, watching them feed the fish.
Religion plays a very important part in the lives of the people of Chiang Mai and Thailand in general. This is obvious not only in the elegance and sheer number of temples, but also in the way that people act in their everyday lives. Every temple seemed to have people praying in it at all times of the day, with both young and old paying their respects.
Wat Oo-Mong is a temple that has several tunnels which are considered holy and contain several Buddhas. People, like this mother and son, go into the tunnels to visit the Buddhas and light incense. The enclosed space with shafts of light and wafting smoke from the incense makes for a very dramatic place to worship.
Of course, like with every other place a process of building and renovating is taking place at the temple with workers welding the supports for a new roof. The level of protection for these welders was very inadequate in my opinion. The level of protection I wore when welding was much higher (leather gloves, welders coat, welding helmet and full length overalls) and yet I still managed to get burnt by the hot metal flying off.
Another example of people integrating religion with their normal lives, I especially liked the contrast between the man’s jacket and the fact that he was offering prayers.
Everybody has to help out and make the temple look attractive, even the kids.
The Sunday night markets are a huge part of the Chiang Mai lifestyle with several normally busy streets in the old city being closed and hundreds of stalls opened. There are many different food stalls and souvenir stalls along the streets. This stall sold little dough treats that had various things in the middle.
There were lots of stalls selling religious icons and this man was scrutinizing the inventory at this stall very carefully to find exactly what he wanted.