All posts filed under: Thailand

In a happy fog

We woke up in the mists to roosters. It was a happy reset. The town crier was shouting out news updates incomprehensible to us. The Chiang Dao mountain stood strong, and the locals wrapped in sweaters and hats went about morning market and other activities in this “wintery” morning of low 60s. When in Rome, we we went with the locals to the market and I finally caught the pig! When we’d been in Bangkok, I’d asked our Thai hostess what people do here with pig’s faces as I’d seen a few at markets and couldn’t fathom the purpose. She hypothesized it was just so people would know its pork! And said she hadn’t seen such things. T being ever accommodating held a photo session with the pigs head/face at the morning market so I could provide evidence to our friend. Strangely, he found this photo session easier than my waterfalls pictures, but to each their own. We continued exploring around on bikes, and as we were in the mountains it seemed a hike was …

Shrooms

We arranged an early ride out to the mountain town of Chiang Dao, one hour north of Chiang Mai without traffic. Somehow, I was still in charge of picking accommodations and had found a happy Brit who had built a series of earthen roundhouses that look like mushrooms! As we are on our sabbatical of sorts, it seemed inspirational to stay with another dream chaser. Maggie, our host, wanted to live of the land and spent years planning and building these roundhouses. As we are here she is finishing another and has her own blog to show how! http://maggimck.wordpress.com/ They have the loveliest view of the mountain, and the fresh air, chickens, papaya trees and puppies are a perfect chaser to antibiotics. We went to see the local cave, the main tourist attraction in town. Nice to see, and no crawling on your belly or hitting your head on stalactites. And with that, we completed our touring and had a leisurely afternoon of biking around and reading. Breathing easy again, Chiang Dao was quickly becoming …

Recovery

We knew this day would come. Fortunately, we had antibiotics and nowhere to be. T got to catch up on bad TV and since I wasn’t doing his cleanse (and passed on the cabbage topping which seemed to do him wrong), I went back to the same safe, yummy restaurant three times. And brought him back rice and Gatorade, like any good wife would. In our convalescence, we even managed to see the Thai state of the Union address. Recovery meant familiar things, so back to the mall and even hitting a movie. We got to choose our seats but standing for the King’s song was mandatory. T was impressed to find a co-working space at the mall called CAMP, while I liked the flash mob or performance troop better! We’d had to change hotels, and without T’s insight, I picked a well reviewed spot which turned out to be in no man’s land. Very peaceful, except when the taxi bus asks you to get out as the destination is too far out of their …

Free wheeling

A tour! From options of zip lining to cooking schools, we opted for a bicycle tour just on the periphery of Chiang Mai. With cruiser bikes, a German traveller (sehr gut!) and Wit, our Thai guide, we set off on a leisurely tour. Turns out there was more eating than calorie burning! The leper colony (which now houses disabled and elderly survivors) was our first stop, likely because it was deserted and easy to test out our biking skills on the left side. Or for the less skeptical, the stop clarified that leprosy still exists and a small but significant 100+ cases were found in Thailand this year. I did admire the ADA compliant houses for the folks, and their prosthetics center. After this food for thought, our next stop was for fried bananas, much more satisfying than Goo or a powerbar. Cycling a bit further, we visited a temple to Buddha and his Hindu friends, including the ever popular Ganesh, the famous elephant headed god of wisdom and learning, as well as remover of …

The hacking hiker

We were tempted to just get more massages, but T thought we should work for it first. While the guesthouse offered 50 versions of tours and hikes, my hacker had found blogs that suggested you could find a trail behind the university which would take you to the top of the mountain. So first stop was the Chiang Mai University, and lo and behold Wednesday was graduation day! Balloons, flowers, families but no spare diplomas for us. Onward! We made it to a trailhead. “Did you read the blogpost I sent you about the trail?” Yes, I had. But what he meant was had I memorized it so I’d know if were on the path. Nope. However, I saw a Thai map at the trailhead and took a picture to reference later. Between our two tools (or us two tools?), we navigated a shaded jungle climb up the mountain. On the path, monks had built a monastery by a waterfall; we might have been wise to call it a day here, but we kept going! …

Western refuge camp

Welcome to Chiang Mai, northern Thailand’s populous city (1 million counting suburbs compared to Bangkok’s 8 million and Dubai’s 2 million) and popular destination. When the overnight train rolled in right on time, we and countless other white people with backpacks, GoPro cameras and hipster hats descended on the town. Well accustomed to the daily infusion of westerners seeking solace in the northern mountain climate, the songthaew pickup loaded us up in groups of 8 and deposited us at guest houses throughout the old city. The overnight train put us in early, allowing us to unload bags but not fully check in to our room. With the morning to explore, we finally profited from local strength: massage time! $6 and one hour later, we were new people. “She walked on my butt,” I told the husband when we left the calm of the parlor. I was still awed by her balancing skills and strength. “She cracked my toes. All of them,” he replied. My sister did that for me for free when we were kids, …