Sleeping Inside a Camera

by Elizabeth Briel, Apr 16, 2010 | Destinations: Thailand

v  Left: Red Chinese lantern v Right: Market next door: tin roofs, motorbikes and passing cars >

 I woke up as sunlight filtered into my room, the first sunny morning since I'd arrived in Mae Salong. The patches of light and color on my walls moved lazily along with traffic noises outside, and soon I realized these were no ordinary shadows that flickered onto my wooden walls: they were a genuine camera obscura thanks to a crack in my wooden shutters.

It turns out I was sleeping inside a giant pinhole camera, and these shadows were the scene from the morning market outside, inverted and reflected into my guesthouse room.  

Light flashed from chrome motorbikes and onto the wall above me. A red lantern swayed outside my window, its tassels grazing the wooden balcony below. On sunny mornings it's like watching a television on my bedroom walls - but with the same background every day.