Photo Adventures with Curiosity and Learning

Adventures in Chiang Mai, Laos and Myanmar, 2004

Getting There - the Bangkok-Chiang Mai train - 12 hours of visiting the interior of Thailand. Below are the GPS tracks from Bangkok to Chiang Mai: For the GPS tracks,

click here to download tracks and waypoints.

Hua Lamphong Station and Track 10, the train to Chiang Mai

The train display: Our train to Chiang Mai departed at 8:20 (3rd from the bottom on the display below).

Scenes along the way

The looking glass (with metallic screen). There was a wire screen over the window, I suppose to reduce the heating effect of the sun. It certainly made for interesting photographic effects.

A farm and a village train station (through the looking glass)

Rice fields: green with growth and after the harvest. I took these photos by standing between two carriages of the train and doing a balancing act with the camera and holding on to the train.

Along the streets of Chiang Mai

The famous night bazaar (during the day). The night bazaar starts happening about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Vendors set up their small stalls along the street and inside the night bazaar building. By 7 or 8 pm, the paths by the stalls are wall-to-wall people. You can bargain for anything and the prices in Chiang Mai are about 1/2 that in Bangkok. I purchased some silk scarfs (1 meter wide and 2 meters long) for about 200 - 300 baht each (about $5 - $8). Also beads and stones for making ear rings, necklaces etc. A string of jade stones cost about $1.

A smiling boy at the Night Bazaar

smiling boy

A small musical ensemble

An enterprising prospective iron (or aluminum? ) chef

Extracting and weaving silk

So the big question is: How do you find the ends of the threads on each cocoon in order to start unwrapping each cocoon? We watched and it seems that the answer is quite simple. The place a large number of cocoons in a pot of hot water (see below) and then stirr the cocoons, gently with a wooden stick. The silk ends float off each cocoon and stick to the wooden stick.

The lady then takes a group of loose ends off the stick and draws them through a small small hole in a stick (below left) and then draws the group of fibers around a wheel (that removes excess water) and then either lays the new silk thread on a straw mat for drying or rolls the thread around a larger wheel for drying. The silk is then dyed and prepared for weaving.

Here are some video segments from the silk factory

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C. Frank Starmer