Today is a travel day to Chiang Mai
We started off the day with the usual Thai/English breakfast at the hotel buffet, which is good. The mini coconut pancakes, Kanom Krok, are my favorite.
We got in the car for a little bit, and then ended up quickly at a small village to learn about local pottery. The usual person who made all of the pottery was there today, and she gave us a pottery lesson to make a couple things and paint some plates. First we tried to paint some fish, lotus flower, and other things. Aiden drew some nice ones, and then the villager glazed his plates for him. Then she gave him some raw clay, and showed him how to make an Elephant! It took a couple tries, but they got it, and he made his look nice. She let him keep the one she made, and the one he made too for souvenirs. We then browsed in their shop for some things, and bought some gifts for ourselves and maybe others.
Then drove a bit more to another small village on the way. When we arrived, there was a TukTuk waiting for us which was driven by a crank start tractor. The local guide was very nice, and liked to show tourists around. He took us on a ride around the village, and then eventually into the farm land, where we took a walk through some gardens, where Aiden ate some beans again, several times, b/c he said they were very very good. Then we ventured out into the rice paddies and walked for quite a while through the dirt mounds and bamboo walkways over the paddies, which was really neat. There were countless tadpoles in the water of the rice paddies, which Aiden thought was so cool, and kept going “wow” look at them all, and the guide kept pointing out more. We learned that planting rice different ways can yield more, so they do it the more labor intensive way to get more rice eventually for the harvest, which can be up to 3 times a year if there is enough water. There sometimes is not enough water anymore, which they attribute to “climate change”
After a walk back to the TukTuk, we ventured deeper into the village and stopped at a local farmer grilling something on the side of the road. Our guide insisted that we try the sausages, which were “pork”, with rice noodle inside. The way you eat it is that you take a noodle sausage, wrap it in some cabbage, and stuff a hot pepper inside. It was amazing. Aiden ate 2, I had one, and Chrissy had one. We chatted with them about their cooking, and watched them grill a bunch. They were happy we enjoyed them. This is local street food at its finest!
From there we took the TukTuk back to the village, and stopped at the local restaurant for lunch. Our guide got us 3 different types of teas, served inside bamboo reeds. All were good but I drank the coconut one, and Aiden drank the “butterfly pee”; lol. For lunch we watched them cook the local rice noodles over a wood fire, and boiled rice over a wood fired oven. It was very neat to watch a local, rustic kitchen. There was also soup, with noodles, veggies, and spicy-ness. Not sure what the soup was called, but it was very good. For desert, we had “snake eggs”, or sweet potato rice flour balls sweetened with sugar. They were good, but Aiden and Chrissy still got ice cream to-go.
After the drive, we stopped at a local food market on the side of the road, and toured many many many strange things. Animal parts, dried frogs, brains, bugs, vegetables. Aiden ate samples of some pork sausages, and then Waza bought some bugs. She got a whole bunch of Ants, which she tried to get us to eat. I eventually caved and ate one ant, wrapped in rice; which was lemony, sour, and crunchy, not too bad, but not fantastic; I may do it again.
We then proceeded to drive Chiang Mai, in quite a bit of traffic, but that was OK b/c Waza showed us that the van was capable of Karaoke! which Aiden sang Lion King, Frozen, and Christmas songs. There was even a real wired mic in the van, with auto-tune…. kind of crazy. I think the van has wifi, but they haven’t shared the password with us, but that’s OK, I’d rather watch the scenery out the window.
Once we arrived in Chaing Mai we checked into our hotel, the RatiLanna, which is a 5 star resort in the city, and super nice. It doesn’t seem like there are many other people staying here, but that’s OK. We tried the pool, but it’s cold. I took a walk and explored the lobby of the hotel, which had a small shop, a mini temple, and just watched people out on the street.
We’re leaving tomorrow morning for 2 nights for a Home-stay and Eco Lodge, but we will be back for 3 more nights at this resort, which is pretty much over the top nice. Not sure we needed to stay here the first night for so few hours; a more economical hotel for a stop over in Chiang Mai for this first night would have sufficed, but it has already been booked, so we’ve enjoyed it.
We’ve re-packed our backpacks so that they are the only things we need for the next 2 nights since we’re hiking and trekking around.
It’s strange, there are signs on the road “watch for elephants” just like in the US where we have “deer crossings”.