Cobras and Curries
Trip Start May 28, 2008
60Trip End Aug 26, 2008
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After we did all of that, we went to a elepant show. It was so funny because they played soccer and if one of won, then it would swing it's trunk. After that we went to a Butterfly farm. We saw lots of butterfly and my really farvorite one is the Plain Tiger. I love it so much because I just never saw a butterfly that beautiful before.Is's colers were just um... so preety. After that we went to a snake farm
We made a trip to the mountain top temple of Doi Suthep above Chiang Mai. Stirling had the switch over to the pants and ditch her red miniskirt for the day (no minis in temple), much to her dismay. Turned out to be cool with some rain in the mountains, so it was a pretty nice day. Doi Suthep was my favorite temple so far, as it was uncrowded and very nice to just relax and listen the sound of the prayer bells rining in the wind. The temples eves are covered with special bells, each of which has someone's name or names on them.
Laura was having some bad hair days so we ran down the top salon in Chiang Mai and treated Laura to a new hairstyle. The place was so cool we all went in for new haircuts and the nice salon treatment. Everyone left feeling great, Gailen most of all, and Stirling finally got her wish to have a day (almost two) with straight hair
We found Chiang Mai to be more laid back than Bangkok, great for vegetarians, and cooler than down south. The kids had a chance to play on a Nintendo Wii at our hotel, which was a good break for them.
We were in town for the weekly "Walking Street" which is when the two main streets of the old city turn into the biggest street market in the north. What was amazing is how orderly the marketplace was... everyone walks on the left hand side (like the roads here) so you could enter the market from any of 4 parts of town, make left turns at the center of town and u-turns at the perminiter and you would see everyting in the market in a few hours and never run into anyone or move against the flow of visitors. We managed 3/4 of the market before we were worn out, but were very taken with some of the young buskers (music and dance) and talent show (young Thai dancers).
Tourist and roadside attractions abound outside Chiang Mai. We really enjoyed the snake show, where we had the chance to touch live Cobras for good luck (venom intact) and hold a big Anaconda. Unsafe fun for the whole family
As animal rights types, Laura and I didn't like the trained monkey show at all. Stirling doesn't understand the ethics involved in how the monkeys are kept and trained, so she had a great time. What we did enjoy was spending some time visiting with some young monkeys outside of cages who crawled on our shoulders and heads, and chewed on Laura's parisol. We would have liked to visit with the junior monkeys and skipped the show.
The orchid farm was very nice if you enjoy flowers, but I greatly enjoyed their butterfly nursery where we were able to see some colorful specimens close-up.
The huge elephant camp was pretty cool, as we all had a chance to share the pathways with live elephants. How often do you get to look up at a big trunk and say "Look out, elephant coming through". All of us had a chance to stand next to a dozen elephants as they went by close to us, watch them bathe in the elephant shower, and feed them bananas or sugarcane. Had a very rare and special chance to look eye to eye with a big male with very long tusks intact and not trimmed. Wow.
Our last day in Chiang Mai was spent in the cooking class at Gap's House, and we can highly recommend this to others if they visit Chiang Mai. A fun trip to market in the morning to discuss key ingredients, local preferences, spices, and alternative substitutions was followed a great day of cooking many Thai dishes. Stirling was going to assist me, but ended up going for her own stove and cooking her own dishes with a little help from the teacher and her parents
We left for Bangkok again by train tonight, where will be taking another Thai cooking class from a different teacher. We hope to pick up enough skills to prepare some Thai foods to share with friends and family when we return.