Today I went to town (Ching Mai) to get my hair cut, because I did no know of a reliable place closer and because I wanted to see the local mall. I have to say, that despite the lengthy trip getting to and from the mall (which is four stories high and part of a hotel complex just northeast of the “old city” in the moat, the trip was overall a pleasant one, even if it involved a tuk-tuk trip back in a three-wheeled scooter.
Riding in the sungtow to Chaing Mai is a different experience from traveling to Mae Rim. For one, the trip is much longer. For another, it is way more crowded. Mae Rim is a small market town, and Chaing Mai is a city about the size of St. Petersburg, FL. While walking from the sungtow drop off point to the mall, I found out that Chiang Mai has a lot of mixed couples between farang (Westerners, the word also means guava) and local Thai women. Most of the couples I saw were western men and Thai women, though the opposite does occur as well (one of the Legacy Institute graduates from Burma who is still, for now, in the Chiang Mai area, is dating a Western girl).
The mall was an interesting trip. For one, you can get a great haircut for about $7. I was worried when I was getting my head massaged and having several different shampoos and conditioners on it and cut very well that there was going to be a lot more to pay, but $7 is about half what a trip to the barber or Supercuts would cost me (when you include my customary tip). So, I have to say, that was a pleasant surprise and guarantees future visits when my hair starts to look and feel a little shaggy.
I am a bit disappointed that the Thais are no great shakes when it comes to books. A four story mall without a decent bookstore is a bit of a disappointment. However, an inexpensive (70 baht, about $2.33) movie theater does make up for a lot. Suffice it to say that between some great restaurants, cheap haircuts and cheap movie tickets, this mall will definitely be on my list for many future adventures.