Mae Salong on the King's Birthday

Trip Start Nov 08, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Thailand  , Chiang Rai,
Saturday, December 5, 2009

We headed back out into the mountains, this time for a Yunnanese village called Mae Salong.  It's a pretty popular tourist spot as well, so the road in is nice.  The area has replaced the traditional poppy (opium) crops with tea and coffee, so there are tea shops every 11 feet.  There are also tours of tea plantations, which provide beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.  Aside from the several hours of driving and smaller village stops, we hung out in Mae Salong for a couple of hours.  We had lunch, which consisted of the accidental ordering of all sorts of pig parts I don't consider fit for consumption, so our hosts looked confused when we left most of our hoof and tongue on our plate.  But what we did eat was delicious, and we bought an awesome tea pot, which looks nothing like children have always portrayed with their arms serving as a handle and spout.  This is a Chinese tea pot and has the extra compartment in the top to put whole tea leaves, because tea bags are for yuppies.  We also bought some awesome Jasmine tea that we've enjoyed a lot. 

One again, the highway portion of the ride was unnerving at times, but we got back in time to shower before heading out for the King's birthday celebration.  People in Chiang Rai were clearly in a festive mood, but with a subtler reverence than exists in Bangkok.  There was supposed to be a candlelight procession at 7 pm throughout the country to honor the King's 82nd birthday, but we couldn't find the one in Chiang Rai.  They seemed much more focused on shopping, eating and dancing.  So we strolled the street that had been closed off and turned into a market until the crowd made it more miserable than fascinating.  I think everyone in the province was in town for the night.  But while I didn't enjoy the inability to move because it was so packed, I did like watching all the revelry.  I also got to a see a really cute chubby kid busting a move at the park amidst a few hundred people line dancing.  I'll post the video.

To see some of Lindsey's awesome handmade Thai jewelry for sale:
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