My friend and colleague Kim Fay has written about the "ennui of small towns" in her blog-column, Literate in L.A. I on the other hand find my own attack of ennui comes in small cities that promise more than they deliver and leave me leaden-limbed and slug-minded.
Small towns promise nothing so what I find there is always a lovely surprise. And although Lampang couldn't match the stunning accommodations I enjoyed in Chiang Mai at the Villa Duang Champa, the town itself completely ensnared me. If I hadn't bought my bus ticket to Bangkok immediately upon arrival I might well still be there.
I usually turn up my nose at tourist attractions but there was something about the pony carts in Lampang that I really loved. Maybe it was because there were no tourists in them, which is actually very sad...
So I persuaded a driver to take me across the river into the older part of town to visit the temple where Bangkok's Emerald Buddha once resided and to go to a museum in an old Lanna/Burmese house. And off we went, across the river and into the trees.
The streets we rode through were quiet and leafy and filled with old wooden houses that tempted me to leave Bangkok and move into one of them. There was an attractive walkway running near the river and I'm always a sucker for a place that recognizes the rights of the pedestrian.
Later I walked around a bit of the newer portion of the city, where old houses still held sway among the newer cement versions and women spread fruit and vegetables on the sidewalk for strolling Sunday evening shoppers. This is a place I could easily love, and plan to return to as soon as possible.