Day 4

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Mar 07, 2010

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 4
Today was cooking, biking, walking and shopping day! A packed schedule planned by my PA. Oksana went to the Thai cooking course. My plan was to rent a bike, go cycling for a few hours and make it back in time to eat the curry! This plan worked very well.

I cycled around Chiang Mai city for a short while, then, after a very brief visit to the Suandok Wat (wat=temple), headed out of the city out the north-west corner and up the mountain. I was on a heavy mountain bike with a backpack so wasn't exactly flying. The road up was actually quite steep in parts. I passed the zoo, a big monastery, saw some monks going for a dip in the river, and after another 10-15 miles of not-a-lot I made it into a national park and got off my bike for a quick hike to a very pretty waterfall in the jungle. After rolling back down to the city, I went to find my Thai food!

They'd saved me a bit of the starters they'd made; some nice spring rolls and proper folded pad thai. I was in time to see them cooking the curry. As well as Oksana, there was a grumpy old American man who didn't actually seem to like Thai food, and two nice french Canadian girls who were traveling for a year. They made beautiful spicey red and green curries - also nice sweet sticky rice dessert with mango. Lovely! Oksana learnt a few things about the different ingredients they use, like galangal, lime leaves, lemongrass etc. And how to make proper pad thai. I'm sure I will benefit from these skills in the future!

We spent the remainder of the afternoon wondering around Chiang Mai. It's not an impressive city - too dusty, busy and full of taxis. Every middle-aged Thai male in Chiang Mai seems to be a taxi or tuktuk driver. Every Thai female is either a trained masseuse, or married to a old british man, or perhaps both! There a lot of western bars and almost as many western faces as asian ones.

In the evening we went to the night market. It's quite a vast array or stalls selling ornaments, clothes, paintings, etc. - some quite impressive, some not so much. Oksana bought a couple of dresses (for the eq. of 2 each) and some similarly priced jewelery. We went for more thai food. It was quite funny when Oksana asked how big the fish was and the waiter pointed to the fish tank at the back and said "well you can see him there!". He tasted very nice! We had to downgrade to Chang beer for the evening. We had our first tukuk ride back to the hotel. Bit like a rollarcoaster but without the safety featues! What's funny is they have the brake lights inside the cab, as if it's not the drivers behind that need to know that they're braking, it's you that needs to know that they really do use the brakes sometimes!
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