Chiang Mai

Trip Start Sep 24, 2008
Trip End Jun 20, 2009

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

06/02/09. Early flight to Chiang Mai so we nap a bit when we get there. We walk around the city later on in the day  and it seems really nice. Chiang Mai is also a base to do many day trips in the area. We walk in Chinatown, give our laundry to a lady with no teeth so very hard to understand (what is up with laundry people these days?) We read a bit before getting a massage.  Sean had a Thai massage and I had a foot massage. It felt strange when she was clicking my toes.  She was good. I think she noticed that my right ankle was not great because she was not as rough with it. We felt great afterwords and went for dinner near the river. Sean had a dish topped by something that looked like rope. He asked if he was supposed to eat that. They laughed and said yes. It was like dry sea food but looked like hair or a rope. They also served serpent head soup there. Sean is convinced this is just a name of the fish but I am not sure and not ready to discover.

07/02/09. We are lucky to be in Chiang Mai this week end because the city's biggest festival is on: the flower festival. We get up early in the morning to admire the parade: many large fleet covered with flowers. The attention to detail is unbelievable. There is a marching band, girls dressed in typical clothes and they look absolutely gorgeous.Tomorrow will be the results of the beauty pageant and the award  for the best fleet. 
We than take a truck to visit the hill tribe and their opium poppies garden. Not great, really touristy. We continue to the King palace. The gardens are beautiful. They really know their flowers over here.  We finish by visiting the most important temple in Chiang Mai,  Doi Suthep. Great view of the city.
In the evening, we found an Irish pub to watch the France- Ireland rugby game.Good atmosphere in the place.Too bad France lost. Sean was delighted: Ireland never bet France since we are together (5 yrs!!)

08/02/09. As yesterday was a late night. We took it easy..reading, walking in the streets of Chiang Mai and visiting the Sunday market. We also visited one of the city centre temples. The final evening of the festival was taking place in a park. You could see the fleet from close as well as the award winning flowers. Orchids seem to grow like bad weed!! It is beautiful. There was also a show with traditional dancing and story telling (not that we got any of that)

09/02/09. Very active day: excursion outside of Chiang Mai. We were a group of nine people (french, Oz, Polish, Swiss). We started with an elephant ride. There were two beautiful babies. They were always begging for sugar canes by lifting their trump(not sure about the word in English). However, we all felt sorry for the animals because the guys hit them with hammer to make them move. It felt like they were even hitting them when they did not need to. We would not recommend to do this kind of ride to anyone, now. Later, we went for a walk in the jungle. That was pretty active and a bit slippery sometimes on the rocks.Only thing missing: the howling monkeys. We felt like we were in Guatemala again! We finally arrived at a waterfall where we all took a dive ( a bit chilly but so refreshing after a walk). After we walked back, we went rafting. Rafting was still not as cool as in Costa Rica. Maybe because it is not rainy season but the adrenaline was not kicking!! The guy in the boat was so funny. Each time we he was about to fall he was screaming '" oh my Buddha!" We had a short bamboo raft ride before we drove to another tribe village. These places are so touristic, we do not even look at the made in China stuff they sell.

10/02/09. Today was my favourite day in Chiang Mai.. We were a group of nine people, all very friendly. We spent the whole day on a cooking class outside of town. First, we all went to the market and the guy was explaining us the various veg and herbs from Asia and bought the ingredients for the class. We made six dishes, all different (you could choose). We made spring rolls, Thai noodles, chicken coconut soup and many other stuff. We even made our own curry paste!!How spicy!! We also carved some carrots for decoration! Of course, we ate everything along the way! Great experience and the guy was super funny and explained things well. Now we have our own recipes to throw a Thai night when we get back (Audrey, je te ferai des trucs sans peanuts pr pas passer la soiree a l'hosto!)When the guy dropped us back, he put a rooster in his van that he was bringing back to his province to breed. Yes, he also does rooster fights! he was tired from the previous night from  a lot of betting!
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