Chiang Mai - elephants, shopping and food
Trip Start Jul 13, 2006
55Trip End Jul 06, 2007
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We spent a few days in Chiang Mai after the elephants which was fantastic. Both kids said "we could live here". Fabulous restaurants and shopping at the night bazaar. The best part was spending a couple nights with the Seibits from Canmore who live in Chiang Mai. In 2004 the Seibits were on a similar world trip with their 2 daughters when the beach they were on was hit by the tsunami. They chose to stay and help out, starting an organization called Build a Boat which raised $110,000 to help fisherman who had their boats destroyed. After more than 500 consecutive restaurant meals we were delighted to have a home cooked meal at the Seibit's.
We spent one night at a little utopia for kids who have been orphaned by HIV, the tsunami and also some poor kids from the hill tribes. The kids were learning to play musical instruments as well as learn trades like massage and hair cutting. We joined their Friday afternoon sing along which ws very moving and had many of the kids (and of course Deb) in tears as hey sang songs about family and the power of an individual.
We were all shaken awake from our beds one night (except for Quinn who slept through it) by a 4.7 earth quake. I finally got to use a line I had been waiting to say to Deb for 20 years - "Did the earth move for you?" Quite a strange feeling to have things moving that aren't supposed to...
We did a 3 day hill tribe trek near Chiang Mai which was quite disappointing compared to the one Deb and I did 19 years ago (perhaps to be expected). While the cold beer was a welcome addition, the only people still wearing traditional garb were the relentless trinket hawkers who often travelled in small bands.