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Life in Chiang Mai


Rushing about is not the Chiang Mai style

By Heather Allen
As much as the perpetually late arrival of the majority of the population in Chiang Mai becomes tiresome I have to say I appreciate their relaxed pace of life and their appreciation for taking time out to, as they say, “smell the roses.” This is something we in the Western countries could do well to learn. Trying to make arrangements with some of my non-Thai friends is quite difficult as they seem to have difficulty in finding time to sit down, have a coffee and chat.
Many of these people are retired and whilst I commend them for keeping busy and having full lives I wonder if perhaps they should be a wee bit less busy and spend more time on themselves and their friends. Not that I feel neglected but that I find that I feel better; happier, more relaxed and less stressed when I do learn to slow down and not try to fill my days with endless tasks.
Chiang Mai people are known nationwide for their jai yen approach to life, their relaxed and slow pace of life. Sure, in large part many of them are late for everything but then you also don’t see too many other people stressing because a person is late. This does make it rather difficult to plan things and some people I know have taken to lying about start times, telling people to be there at 6 p.m. fully intending for the event to start at 7 p.m. This is a bit hard on those of us who do arrive on time. I have taken to arriving late myself now, knowing that the party will not start anyway and that in all likelihood I will be the first one there if I go on time. So, that makes me one of those late people too.
The best thing about it however, is the fact that nobody gets upset over it. They take things in their stride and don’t get overly upset over small things in life and those things over which they have now control or power. Perhaps not a bad attitude to have and certainly one conducive to heart health.

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Rushing about is not the Chiang Mai style