I recently re-read the novel Fieldwork by Mischa Berlinski. It was a fascinating story about the complicated relationship of a missionary family in Chiang Mai, Thailand and a female anthropologist who was studying and living in an isolated tribal village. I highly recommend the book.
The following is an excerpt: a delightful description of the road leading out of Chiang Mai.
Then the road snaked into the mountains. A twenty-minute climb; I passed three elephants, led by mahouts, walking trunk in tail; my ears popped-and northern Thailand exploded in light. The plain of Chiang Mai had been a gloomy checkerboard of rice and sludge; the mirrored temple roofs had reflected a dark sky. But as soon as I hit the hills, the weather changed.
Sweet flimsy mountain clouds floated across an open sky, and I could smell the wild jasmine, honeysuckle, hibiscus, and something strangely like lemon tea. The paddies were terraced on the mountain slopes like a wedding cake made of mud: each glossy layer reflected the emerald hills, the azure sky, and the wild palms. At the very top of the wedding cake, short crabbed trees in radiant red blossom marked the place where the jungle began. … Mysterious dirt roads forked out every now and again, leading off to God-knows-where. I wanted to follow them all (pages 308-309).
We will be in Chiang Mai January 7-9.
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