Today I took a trip to Chiang Mai to get a haircut (which I need periodically, as my hair was starting to get a little shaggy) around the back and sides (why can’t it just fill that bald spot in the top before spreading everyone else?). At any rate, since there were no movies out that appealed to me, and since I wanted to be back early enough to watch the Legacy students play soccer (more on that later), my trip to town was short.
As usual, I saw an unusual group of people on my trip into town. There were a couple of guys that were a bit too affectionate with each other, there was a soldier hanging off the back of the sung-tow, there was a mother and her shy daughter, and a few others as well for good measure that came in and left. On the way back, the sung-tow even had a young lady with sad eyes who got off across the street from the Chiang Mai Central Prison, which is on the 107 on the way to Mae Rim. I wonder if she was seeing anyone on the inside. The prison looked pretty grim from the outside, I have to say.
At the mall today I decided to try a different restaurant, and the Sizzler was a bit overpriced with disappointing quality for their chicken. There are still a few more restaurant for me to try, though, before I settle on my favorites. So far the leader is a local place (whose name I cannot spell nor pronounce) that happens to be the Thai version of Popeye’s Fried Chicken, with very reasonably priced meals with spicy fried chicken (for about a third to a fourth of the price of today’s meal, with way better tasting chicken to boot). I don’t have to know what the name of the place is to remember where it is, or the friendly Art Deco-style fashion and décor of the place. Finding a restroom in Thai malls is always interesting. They are in some out of the way places, and are often built for really short people—I bumped my head on the top of the door, and I’m not exactly a massively tall person either.
Today’s excursion ended up with a theme song, as my trips to Chiang Mai often do. Today, though there were quite a few excellent songs played in the radio, one very catchy song was played both while I got my haircut and along my walk along the northern side of the moat to catch the sung-tow home. That song was Something Stupid, by Robbie Williams featuring Nicole Kidman. Nicole Kidman is a better singer than she is an actress, at least in my judgment, and the remake by Robbie Williams (beside being catchy) is way less creepy than the original, which was a father-daughter (ick) duet between Frank and Nancy Sinatra. All in all, it makes for a pleasant humming experience.
Pleasant is not how I would describe my visit to a lovely coffee shop (where I had some frozen strawberry juice) and watched CNN International. On the one hand, the strawberry juice was very pleasant, as the wooden seats. And it was interesting to watch the CNN International advertisements (one of which was a show about logistics—why is CNN so much better abroad than in the United States?). But the main show while I was there was a grimly depressing show about starvation in Somalia. Watching fathers bury their small children because they cannot afford food and medical care, and then seeing massive refugee camps where aid workers are under-supplied and overworked, and then hearing about Sharia courts (like Al-Shebab) who refuse aid workers from famine-affected regions is not pleasant at all. It makes for an odd juxtaposition between a pleasant and reasonably comfortable existence and the extreme difficulty of mere survival, which tends to make me feel rather uncomfortable. Quite frankly, I’m a little surprised there are still survivors in much of Somalia given what they have been through the last few decades.
Once I got back from my trip, I decided to continue writing what became a ridiculously long commentary on the world’s active and latent secession movements. Honestly, there are way more secession movements in this world than anyone understands well, and I didn’t even bother to write about all of them. I only wrote about the ones that had at least noticeable odds of succeeding in the long term, and that still took me six pages to write. I had to stop before I finished to catch the soccer game, where it rained as soon as I arrived. At least Legacy won 7-1, as I have been told that our team usually does not do well. I provided a running commentary to the matches that was full of my customary sarcasm and dry sense of humor. Most of the people who could understand English and heard it were mildly amused, but somehow I managed to scare a little boy who would not even approach me with a stick, but ran crying to his mother every time I would even look at him. Apparently I have inherited the gift of scaring children without trying to from my family. I don’t tend to think of my normal expression as particularly scary—it’s certainly serious, and rather intense, but it’s not deliberately frightening. Such is the life, though.