Museums are a big part of our travels. Museums about culture, museums about people, museums about art, and museums about history. More museums await us in Chang Mai. There are three big ones. One about art and culture, one about history, and one about Lanna folklife (the Lanna Kingdom lived in Thailand from the thirteenth to the eighteenth century). They built many things, including the temples we saw (read my other post: Temples and Stuppas from the 1300s). We visited the Lanna Folklife Museum.
After taking a taxi down to Old City (old part of Chang Mai) and enjoying a Pad Thai lunch, we headed over to the museum in the searing heat. I took a deep breath in and my chest swelled as I felt the AC flood through me, coursing through every last little bit of my mind that was complaining about the heat. Although I could not help but feel amazed–I was cooler than Zanzibar. It was probably 80 to 90°F. Though I think it reached 110°F a couple times in Zanzibar (read Jasper’s post: The Heat of Zanzibar).
We walked from room to room, reading about the customs and culture of the Lanna people that inhabited Northern Thailand. They had a beautiful mix of religion and art. Fanciful pieces of royal furniture, special fake fingernails to wear while dancing, and an abundance of songs, dances, music, farming and fishing, sewing and fabric, and as well as a very delicious assortment of foods and spices.
I looked at the Lanna people, thinking about how many things and how intricately blended their culture was. Everything was in a harmonious balance, all their resources and celebrations being managed perfectly. But then I remembered that the Lanna Kingdom was also constantly at war with its neighboring tribes and kingdoms, and couldn’t imagine that war and festivities such as the ones the Lanna people had could exist side by side. They had everything, including violence.
It was a more engaging museum, as it had rooms with artifacts and also displays of wax figures making traps, or working a loom or spinning wheel. Though there were also a couple of (quite amazing) rooms that had pieces of pottery or tiny little gold Buddha statues. Like I said, they had an incredible mixture of religion and art.
Before too long, we had to get going. Janet and Alex needed to get going to an activity they had planned, so we ordered some to go food and sat down at a table and watched as two British soccer teams faced off against one another on the TV. The last time I had watched sports was Europe.
The time droned on, the soccer game finished, we began to slouch in our seats. Our plan was to order food at 4:15, get it at 4:30, and be home by 5:00, so Janet and Alex could get to their activity by 5:30. Thailand is the opposite of Pole Pole. They whip up food quickly, as was demonstrated in the cooking class Janet and I took a couple days ago. It is probably quicker than Seattle, and it is really easy. We plan for food to arrive in 10-15 minutes. This food took like half an hour. We got our food around 4:45, and dashed out the door, looking for a tuk tuk (we didn’t have wifi to call a taxi) that would get us home quickly.
We sped down the street in our tuk tuk, the wind blowing on our faces, and I closed my eyes and held my breath as the light turned green and all the motorcycles and cars turned on their engines and enshrouded us in a cloud of car exhaust. Then we hit rush hour. It was go for one minute, then wait for five. We told the man to turn right at the Maya mall (mall near our house), to drive to our house, but apparently he was not very attentive and drove straight past it. We determined that it was quicker to sprint the quarter mile to our house from the mall than to wait to find a way to turn around and drive through the traffic. We told the man to pull over, hopped out, and, sprinting with take away dinner, in the hot evening air, the setting sun to our backs, we ran home.
But it was all for nothing. We had missed the cut-off. It was already 5:30 when we got back. Bad luck with food, traffic, and a wrong turn. I was swimming in sweat, so we all split up and relaxed as Janet and Alex took an evening stroll.
Below: Pictures from Museum
Below: Lanna Cloth (what it would have looked like)
Below: Lanna Glass Art (what it would have looked like)
Below: Other Lanna Art
Below: Fake Fingernails that Lanna Dancers would Wear