Chiang Mai – Songkran and the U.S. Consulate

4/15 – Last Day of the Songkran festival. Yesterday was our day of culture, so today we’re just going downtown to party. You may wonder where folks get all the water for the anointings – every shop owner helps the cause by filling big barrels or kiddie pools with water, and leaving a hose running if they have one. image

The old city of Chiang Mai is surrounded by a moat, and this turns out to be another great water source.image

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For supper we went to a highly recommended vegetarian restaurant, Bamboo Bee, which turned out to be a little hole-in-the-wall open air place with only four tables. All the dishes are also offered with meat. Bee gives cooking classes and offers an online cookbook. Best food we’ve had all week – pad kee mao was awesome. If you get the chance, check it out!image

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4/16 – Today we headed across town to the U.S. Consulate, so I could purchase additional blank pages for my passport which is nearly full. We had made the appointment online in Laos – today was the first day that the Consulate was open after the Songkran holiday. We walked for about 30 minutes, and were amazed to see the difference in the town. So quiet! Where did all the food stalls and bandstands go?image

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The long wall outside the Consulate was painted with murals, which gave me a flashback to the ‘death to America’ murals we saw at the embassy in Tehran. image

No worries – these murals were painted by school children, and it looks like they like us okay!imageimageimage

The Consulate was quiet, with only a few others waiting. Half an hour and $82.00 later, I have 24 more nice clean pages in my passport. Onward we go!

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