Fifteen year old Hope from Chiang Mai plays her violin amid the crowds that steadily walk by her at the cities Sunday night street market. She sways and turns in the way that violinists do, smiling at the people who stop to listen for a moment, but also blissfully detached in her own musical solo.
Hope is just one of the many buskers at the market, seemingly playing as much for pleasure as the money they make. Her violin barely makes itself heard above the noise of busy street. Walk past her and thirty seconds later you won’t hear her violin anymore. Instead the singing voices of a group of four blind men sat in a row on the pavement will mix and swirl in the air before they too fade and are replaced by the music of another busker.
It’s an amazing market that transforms the heart of the old town into a thriving thoroughfare of life, color, and culture. Haggling with the stall owners for a better price is all part of the fun, along with sampling from the wide array of street food on offer (I ate fried grasshoppers!).
When I left the market shortly before eleven, Hope was still there playing her violin, only now there were nearly as many notes in her case as their were in the air.
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