Chiang Mai, Thailand. What a city. In the three and a half weeks we’ve spent here, it has become a sort of home away from home for many of us. The freedom of riding in open-sided transport, day after day has, alone, been enough to make the experience entirely unique to any culture I’ve been exposed to.
As Chiang Mai is in Northern Thailand, many of the locals identify themselves as “Lanna”, rather than Thai. The Lanna kingdom, historically speaking, identifies more with Burma than with Siam. Because of this, I believe it is only fair to say that we’ve learned about Lanna culture, in our time here so far.
The people have been amazing, and their ability to carry on their everyday lives content, despite disagreements and issues with their governmental and social systems, is truly remarkable. The family systems here often reveal a “family business” as an integral part of each household. My homestay, for example, was a farming family. The parents ran the farm, the wive’s sisters, brothers and nieces sold the produce in the local markets, and my homestay sister played a role in several “odd-jobs” of sorts.
The experience here has been too much to summarize in a blog, but I’ll just say this: The Lanna people are amazing, and I now have real and lasting friendships with peers here. I know I’ll be back someday.