Sunday, January 24, 2010

Chiang Mai by Kathleen

Here we are, in Chiang Mai. We have been here for three days and we have one more day before heading out. It is a great city, small and low key but full of exciting things to do. There is a large foreign expat population here it seems and this has influenced the quality of restaurants and hotel establishments. Unfortunately it has also raised the prices. It’s actually more expensive than Bangkok.

There is so much to do there, there are many wats and an amazing night market that sprawls for blocks. We took an all day cooking course the day before yesterday and learned how to make tasty Thai dishes. I highly recommend doing the same if you ever find yourself in Thailand. Usually I shun these types of forced “experiences” but it was so much fun it was stupid and it gave us a chance to connect with other travelers a bit. It was nice to cook, we cook at home for most of our meals and I have missed it.

Travel is working into a good pace for me, but Fiz seems to be homesick. To be fair the food hasn't been agreeing with either of us. Most Thai food here is not what you think of as Thai back home and you get tired of noodles and fish sauce for 3 meals a day. So our taste buds are a little tired and our stomachs aren't so pleased either. It gets old always feeling a little ill. Hopefully India will be better. The food there is closer to what we eat daily and what we like.

Today we rented bikes and biked precariously ( really me on a bike is like a turtle on roller skates, awkward and slightly dangerous.) around the city from wat to wat. There are so many in such a small space.

The wats ( temples) were magnificent, each with its own character. I have never been to a Buddhist country so its all very exciting. We were thinking of going to an elephant camp tomorrow, but given the price, it looks like we will be finding something else to do. Besides, I don't feel quite right about it. They might be well treated but.... they might not be. Seems like a tourist trap to me.

Traveling is a wonderful thing but sometimes I wonder why we do it. I was wondering that on our way up to Chiang Mai. We took an overnight train from Bangkok and got sleeper class tickets. Figured it would be romantic. It was not. At all. Our seats were at the back of the last car so it was like being the last person on a game of “snap the whip” all night. That coupled with pleather seats that made us sweat and the crew gathering behind us to while away the time.... we were not pleased.

But still, these wats are worth it, even if the food isn't.

Until next time.

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