Jon and I were beaten up today by a couple of female prisoners – for only 180 baht ($6). Yes, we went to a women’s prison/ correctional institution for a full-hour Thai massage by prisoners who were in vocational training. It was recommended by Lonely Planet, which also mapped out a walking guide of Chiang Mai’s Old City, and all along the route were tourists carrying the same Lonely Planet guide with one finger stuck inside the book to hold the page on which the guide lived.
Chiang Mai is a quieter, cooler, cleaner and slower-paced city than Bangkok and much easier to breathe, even though I think my allergies have acted up because I sneeze every few minutes. It also rivals Bangkok’s number of wats which are about 160 or so. Every block seems to have a fancier wat than the last, with dragons for stairs, gold paint, intricate carvings, golden buddha statues inside and monks dressed in orange roaming about for aesthetically pleasing photos. Later we’ll be headed to ring in the new year, Thai-style, at the House for Thai-European dinner. Meanwhile, enjoy the pictures from the past few days – from Bangkok and Chiang Mai.