Make Fire Like Master Chef
Trip Start May 07, 2009
15Trip End Aug 03, 2009
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On one of our first days in Chiang Mai, we located and bargained with a songthaew to take us to Doi Suthep. First off, we have to explain about the songthaews, or shared taxis. Red songthaews are basically the yellow cabs of Chiang Mai, and besides the obvious color change, their only real difference is that passengers ride on two hard, wooden benches in the back of a covered pick-up truck with no seatbelts and only the most natural of air-conditioning. To top it off, 15 people squeeze into one vehicle with the hot, Thai sun beating down on them. Couldn't imagine seeing THAT in New York City! Plus, songthaew rides are almost always followed by a bruised bum, so decisions to take the songthaews must be made carefully. In many cases, we chose to walk. Anyways, back to our story... Located a short ways out of the city on top of a mountain is the beautiful Wat Phra That Dio Suthep, the holiest shrine in the north of Thailand. After a 300-step climb up an intricately decorated Dragon staircase, we reached the temple grounds where we were surrounded by an abundance of filigree and gleaming metal, altars and spire rooftops. In the center of the temple stands the giant, gold chedi of Chiang Mai- pictured in many guidebooks and postcards. We walked over to the viewpoint, where we were able to see the entire city laid out before us, and the landscape of mountains and rivers that surrounds it. Our songthaew driver was waiting for us when we came down the stairs and giggled with the other drivers at our lack of endurance in the humid climate. We began the drive back down the mountain, holding on to dear life as we recalled the conversation we had over breakfast with two Australian gents
Since we have some extra time in Chiang Mai, we decided to enroll in a cooking course, or what might be referred to in the States or Canada as boot camp, in order to discover the secrets of Thai cooking. We learned that besides the obvious ingredients like coconut milk, which we were happy to learn is in absolutely everything, Thai cooking uses ingredients like one-year aged shrimp and rotten fish parts, which we were not so happy to learn about...but we promise not to go there. We would prefer to be happy, even if it means we are somewhat ignorant of some of the items that have made it into our meals. On COOKING CLASS DAY!, we were picked-up from our guesthouse bright and early by a red songthaew and partook in a conversation with a friendly Balinese man sharing our taxi about the possibility of procuring a monkey as a pet while traveling in Indonesia
Anyways, we are absolutely loving our time in Chiang Mai and getting ready for our next big adventure on a jungle trek, where we were told by our travel agent that if we are lucky, our guide will catch and cook a snake for supper, yay (insert: here imagine a very unenthusiastic sound). We'll let you know how that goes... Bon appetit.
XOXO Ay and Ari