Sunday, February 08, 2009

Chiang Mai Flower Festival

We spend our final weekend here in Chiang Mai joining in the 33rd Flower Festival.

This was opened on Friday evening by the President of Chiang Mai in Buak Haad Park, just inside the old city walls, near Suan Prung Gate. There are many fabulous floral displays, that Thai families use as a backdrop for lovely family photos. There were stunning orchids and cactus gardens, the prize winners of each class were adorned with a blue pennant proclaiming their first place. We bought flower and vegetable seeds; 10 packets for less than £2 and a free one thrown in for good measure, hopefully we'll be able to get them to grow. There was a children's play area and food stalls. We tried a mixture of rice flour and sugar drizzled over a greased pan and lightly fried then rolled round what looked like a narrow rolling pin to form a delicious sweet tube of confection that kept us going till dinner at our favourite restaurant, Ratanas Kitchen on Thanon Tha Pae Road, we eat here for about 150 bhts each (£3) which includes a couple of beers.

The next day we were on the streets early, the Flower Floats Parade started at 8.00, the last float passed us about 4 hours later. It was a fantastic mix of marching bands, the first of which was playing Abba's The Winner Takes It All which got us singing along! Beautiful ladies in Thai silk and high high heels, handsome young men wearing slippers with very curly toes, dancers, groups of older people, hill tribes, play schools, all of Chiang Mai's people represented and of course the flowers, the stunning flowers.

The floats were magnificent. Some were very tall and there were a couple of techniques for negotiating the electricity wires that drape the roadsides and cross the roads at will. The first was to have people walking alongside the float with long bamboo poles with what looked like a small pitch-fork inserted in the end to lift the wires up. The second one we spotted involved a rather cunning design feature that was built into a tall polystyrene chedi on the back of a float - the top of the spire was attached to wires that pulled it down and back to pass under the wires.

We really enjoyed our stay in Chiang Mai and this parade seems to epitomise the happy, laid back spirit of the place.

Tomorrow we move on to the beach scene of Koh Samui.


PMM&L said...

Good heavens! We can't keep up! Its like you've been there a couple of months than a couple of weeks! Glad you are having a good time. We obviously don't need to worry about you starving!! lol x

pal said...

Think its nearer 3 weeks we've been here but I've lost all sense of time, have trouble sorting out which day it is!
Koh Samui is absolutely fantastic, I'll get round to blogging about it eventually. Absolutely no danger of us starving here either - lovely fish on the beach for lucnh today! Hot sunshine, sparkling clear blue sea, you know the sort of thing! :-)