The visitors took to life in Thailand with joy and genuine interest. They enthusiastically adopted the linguistic school that believes that English can be understood by all Thais if spoken with a Thai accent. I possibly prefer this to the system used by my frequent visitor who believes that if you’re not understood the first time it must be due to a hearing defect, so repeat yourself in a progressively louder voice.
We spent several days wandering the city of Chiang Rai, inspecting markets and shops in the old town while John V enthusiastically added to his rapidly filling suitcase with gifts for his family. Cheap tee shirts and jewelry were prized items and he soon learned the art of bargaining. Unfortunately if he got too good a deal he’d feel sorry for the vendor and decline the change; but the principal point of the exercise, enjoying his holiday, was never lost sight of.
Also unfortunately he’d acquired a bad habit, possibly due to some experience in Bangkok. He considered all young Thai women, regardless of occupation, as targets for mild flirtation. I may wrong him here, he possibly flirts with any women anywhere but I finally mentioned that many Thai girls are naturally friendly, possibly due to being raised to respect their elders, rather than offering any invitation.
The dry spell broke as we started for Chiang Mai and I drove through the light rain, my wife and visitors packed in with their luggage. Not much fortunately, we only intended to stay one night.
We were met by a friend of my wife from her tour guiding days. He was the son of a former workmate and had continued in his father’s profession. After a light lunch he whisked them away to see some factory outlets as they had expressed interest in jewelry and silk as well as Thai handicrafts. I spent the afternoon visiting my old friend at Gecko Books and took a nap at the hotel. We had booked into the Royal Lanna which adjoins the night market and were more than pleased with the accommodation.
The weary sightseers arrived heavily laden with purchases and their tour guide, well satisfied with his commissions, promised to meet them early the next morning to take them to the elephant camp and the Karen long neck’s village.
The boys headed for the pool while I demanded my marital rights from my freshly showered wife, hotels rooms always have an aphrodisiac effect on me. Wifely duty carried out she announced that she would avail herself of the room service menu and have an early night. I could show the Johns the town and as far as she was concerned the longer I stayed out the better.
We dined al fresco on a selection of Thai dishes, nothing too spicy, and spent an hour wandering the night market. Spotting an Irish pub John R and I gave up the hunt and decided refreshments were in order. John V continued to shop. If you’re good at something stick with it I suppose.
We finished with a light supper and returned to the hotel, John the Shopper trailing a small crowd of enthusiastic hills tribes ladies, having foolishly taken an interest in the contents of their trays.
End of part 2
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