Almost templed out

Trip Start Oct 15, 2013
Trip End Apr 15, 2014

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Flag of Thailand  , Mae Hong Son,
Sunday, January 12, 2014

After having our fill of Pai, we headed back to Chiang Mai for two nights to do a cooking course and sort the next part of our trip out. We tried to book onto the most famous cooking course which is run by a Thai celebrity chef, but after taking the booking, they messaged back to say that they were actually full, so we had to book another. This one was run by a lady who comes from a family of well known chefs, her mum being quite famous in the area.

As most of you know, cooking is my passion and is the thing I have missed the most (apart from some friends and family- but you can't video chat with your blender- so maybe I miss it more....) and getting back in the kitchen was like scratching an itch, a tasty, fragrant, sticky rice and coconutty kind of itch. This course was vegan (which I am not as I need to eat cheese, or else my wine would get lonely) but the Thai use coconut milk instead of cows milk, so it's all pretty much the same. We got picked up in a car, which had already made a stop to collect an Australian couple, who were having a holiday in Thailand to look after stray dogs (that is not my kind of holiday!). Despite common belief (due to the fact I grew up on a farm, and refuse to eat them) I don't actually like animals- well, I like a select few, I think I would like koala bears because all they want to do is cuddle, and Nath's family dog Harley. Harley wormed his way into my heart by looking at me with utter disbelief when I refused to make a fuss of him and a look in his eye which said 'but how could you not like me? Everyone likes me, it's just my thing, being liked, now do us both a favour and rub my tummy'. There are several attributes I can relate to with Harley:
*he often gets all shouty and excited
*sometimes he gets so excited he does a little wee
*he is easily confused but pretended like he knows what is he doing anyway
*he doesn't just sit on the sofa, he gets on you, wiggles around, you are likely to get an elbow or bum to the face and then settles down for a few hours
*he also farts and pretends it's not him by looking at someone else with disgusted

I digress- the lady who was teaching us was very nice, she had a winning smile, very good English and a really charming manner about her- can't quite explain it, but I bet all the dads fancy her! We started the day with a tour of the local market which was conveniently over the road, we had steered clear of street food as it could be sitting on the stall for hours before you buy it and it's mostly meat, but she showed us what the locals eat, which was things with beans, rice in bamboo tubes and the best- tempura squash- yummy! She showed us some strange (to us) veggies, but the very enthusiastic Ozzie kept interrupting her excitedly to tell her what aubergines they have in Australia- all I could think was 'alright mate, chill out, you are gay for vegetables, we get it, now ssssssh!'. We made several different dishes including pumpkin humous- that's as good as it sounds, a couple of curries and lastly sticky rice, which is sold everywhere. We hadn't really fancied it, but Nath loved the coconut milk it came in and hoovered up all the leftovers when everyone had had a taste.

The next day we caught a bus to Chiang Ria which was to be our last stop in Thailand. We got there in the afternoon, and had booked into a really nice hostel. Our room was in a little granny annex type thing, and the lady who owned the hostel obviously took a lot of pride in her palace, which is always nice. Chiang Rai is a town close to the border, and is a lot more Thai than the other places we have been- not many people speak English, there aren't as many tourists, and the aren't people constantly trying to sell you tours. Many Thais come here to see the White Temple, which is something we thought we would give a go, although we are pretty templed out, this is a whole different board game.

First of all, it is all white, so on a sunny day, it's really bright, and second of all, it's bloody nuts! The first thing we saw was a statue of Predator sunk in the ground, and concrete heads hanging from a tree, which is a far cry from the peaceful red and gold temples we have seen a guzzilion times before. Then you go along a bridge towards the temple, below the bridge there are lots of hands reaching up from hell and holding skulls which people throw coins into.

You then enter the temple where You can not take pictures, so I have tried to remember the characters that featured in the wall paintings inside:

Michael Jackson, Kung Foo Panda, The Matrix, Jigsaw from The Saw films, the Twin Towers and I think Avatar.

I think it's something to do with the apocalypse, but it looked like someone gave a geeky teenager some paint and told him that this was his Sistine Chappell. It was all very entertaining, and from what I understand this is the temple to do with life, and there is another temple which is all black which is to do with death, but we didn't make it to that one.

The next day we phaffed and then in the evening, we went to the night market. We have done several of there over the last month, but they are always entertaining if you are in a new place, and this one wasn't so touristy. We shuffled along, browsed their goods (I even resisted a super nice t-shirt, even thought it was only £2- grown up skills!) and then we came across a very strange sight. We could hear music playing, and in a kind of town square, lots and lots of middle aged and upwards locals where doing, what I can only describe as an epic mum shuffle. Every female has been born with the ability to mum shuffle, minimum effort, maximum enjoyment dancing, that often comes out at weddings, when she hears those magical words by ABBA 'oh yes sir, I can boogie' or when 'mummy has been on the Pinot again'. It basically involves shuffling back and forward, bobbing and swinging your arms, kind of like a jaunty power walk, but you only ever move 2 feet. There were hundreds of people, so many that there was a kind of ring formation going on so everyone had sufficient shuffle room and everyone was taking it quite seriously. Nath and I thought we would give it a bash, we didn't take it as seriously as everyone else, but we had fun- video attached at the bottom, we mixed it up with some freestyle- you can tell it's been a while since we have thrown some shapes on the dance floor/ on a bar/ on a table in Bolivia!

After that we visited the flower festival they had going on, and a Hill Tribe museum, they were good, but you kind of had to been there, just lots of flowers, and information about opium- so something for all generations really.

This is my last post for Thailand, I have always wanted to go to Thailand, and have not been disappointed. We have seen some wonderful things, been to some amazing places and have had a wicked time. Our next stop is Laos, which was recently voted the best place to visit, so we are expecting big things.

Thought of the day- one of the things that I love and am frustrated by at the same time is Nath's inability to tell a joke. He is so bad it's funny. Nath told me a funny joke, but inevitably get a bit confused, but I knew what he meant.

Nath- how does a welsh farmer look for a horse in long grass- irresistible!

What he meant to say was- how does a welsh farmer find a sheep in long grass- irresistible
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Silver Surfer Bristol on

This blog continues to impress and the photos are really good. Hope they both attract more followers . Thanks for the mention Clare, I think I will add one of those wide necklaces to my ensemble to cover my ageing neck!

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