I’m sitting at the common area, basking in the morning warmth after my showers. Thousands of birds chirped in the distance, as I lay back I could smell the fragrance of cigarettes mixed with the smell of the morning air. Everyone here is friendly, wearing smiles. Also, our hostel owner has 6 dogs.
Which I’ll miss when they ran around the vicinity, checking up on us and greet-barking at our feet while we’re half-awake, yet these little furballs are full of energy. They will run around in circles, asking to be pet, some of them will lick your toes making you ticklish. One of them looks like a pup that I used to know... so nostalgia hits me really hard there.
The Lampang River flows just right outside our apartment, even though not as majestic. It is like a humble but huge canal that flows gently across town, slicing through Lampang like a scythe.
They call Lampang the sleeping beauty. A quiet town, but having visited makes it so contradictory. Her multi-personalities makes her hard to read. As if you might first find that she is quiet, but she has the worse traffic amongst all the towns we have been thus far. The town is littered with one-way streets, and the unusual amount of schools here adds on the traffic during the rush hours. Cars are almost joined together, policemen come out from their comfort to enforce traffic, like a foreman directing weary coolie workers where to go.
Yet the variety of shops is on extreme spectrums too. You have the wet market that operates through the night, the traditional market where things are laid on the road, and the shops, supermarket, and also franchises of branded merchandise like Converse which surprisingly made their way there. There is also an unusual amount of gold shops lining up along the same street. You’ll be left wondering but not knowing why.
However, after 5/6 you could see her calming down. The traffic dies down, the light dimmers as if knowing the Sun is setting. The town went into a slow slumber as the clockwork charm has run out of magic.
Heartwarming diners warmth up the cold streets as you could hear the flames and the woks being maneuvered skillfully by the chefs. If you’re lucky, your heart might even light up by little children serving you. And your heart will surely melt at the sight of their huge beady eyes, carrying a tray that’s almost half of them, over to you.
It’s the people of the town at the very end who would speak to your heart. Our owner is a scrawny looking giant who has so many more stories to tell than you think. He is a famous biker, or you might know him as Nom. Also the president of the riding club, Knight Rider. We were in awe by the way his eyes light up as he shares his stories, where he race and does Muay Thai.
You would also fall in love with the people who return your smiles even though you don’t speak. And of course, Nom’s adorable dogs who would greet you at the sight of your return, running in circles, pawing into your thigh, welcoming you into their embrace in their own way.
Lampang wears her heart on her sleeves, as the 9 chambers of Chedi sits peacefully on top of Wat Chalermprakiat. The place certainly isn’t easy to find, and it’s also no feat to conquer. The tough steps and altitude, we ended up sharing the good vibes as we direct and encourage wearily climbers on our way down. The sight is too beautiful to be missed, and it should be shared. The 9 Chedi was constructed by monks, who carried every single building blocks up and nailing every step we take of comfort as if guiding us up with their gigantic noble arms up into the skies.
As we are nearing the end of the trip, I could feel a sense of emptiness surging up. The “what-ifs”, “mistakes”, and “regrets” gushed up my body, tearing everything along its way. Yet part of me wishes to enjoy the trip to the fullest as I have to learn to live in the moment, and maybe.. for the moment too.
For once, I’ll have to push forward, not caring about the demons waiting for me at the end of the shores. For those, they have to wait. Until I’m back... perhaps stronger.