April 4, 2013

After leaving Nepal, we headed to Doug’s cousin’s house in Chiang Mai, Thailand for a couple months. Since we were living there as “residents” it was a completely different and unique experience. This was the time we acted the most and least like tourists…

Since we had months of time there was no rush to pack it all in and we started living like locals. Doug bought a mountain bike to ride the hills north of Mae Rim, I took morning jogs through the rice paddy with Tashi, the dog allowing us to live in his home with his people. We spent our days wandering and eating… the local wet market, the soup lady, the egg lady, and the local restaurant, Sea Pak, were our usual destinations. We made friends with the locals and had some really authentic, really awesome experiences. We spent some time working with the Care for Dogs and Temple Dogs organizations giving baths, food and inoculations to the local pups, and cuddling them a ton! We basically adopted Thailand wholeheartedly, and wanted to share it with anyone and everyone we could get to come visit…

The teak palace… aka… our Thailand home away from home!

The stairs to Doi Suthep, one of the largest temples in Chiang Mai, is lined with hawkers and food stalls trying to entice visitors with their wares, or their fresh coconut juice!

We got really spoiled by the easy availability of fresh, delicious street food.

In Thai Buddhism the day of the week you were born on is very important.  Visitors to Doi Suthep  pay homage to their Buddhas with offerings of oil to keep the lamps burning. Interestingly enough, we both get to visit Paang Harm Samoot, the Monday Buddha.

Only men are allowed inside the temple that holds an ancient pinhole camera of sorts where worshippers can view the temple scene upside down and backwards on an inside wall with the aid of a tiny beam of light.

Inside the temple worshippers can receive a blessing from a local monk if desired.

Inside Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep a golden Buddha adorns the alter that is said to hold an ancient relic, the shoulder bone of Buddha.

During our time in Thailand we took a couple trips south to Bangkok, the bustling capital of Thailand. It was a far cry from the laid back country living were were used to in Mae Rim, but we loved the city. The easiest way for us, and everyone else to get around the massive city was using the ultra modern skytrain.  The skytrain is also a great time to catch up on your social media it seems.

Street food from above…No matter where we went in Thailand, there were a few cultural consistencies. One of our favorites was the always available, always delicious street food.

There was near constant construction happening in Bangkok, in fact there were new buildings going up and new stops on the skytrain route every time we visited.

A street vendor’s stall of fresh fish and crustaceans with asparagus for a side dish at dinner time.

Waiting for the skytrain.

Thai people…well basically all Asian people LOVE tricking out their cars.  Their were wheel and auto shops on every corner.

Scooters are the coolest way to get around in Thailand, especially when they look like these!

A man taking a break during lunch in his machine and metal shop.

We loved travelling from Chiang Mai to Bangkok using the scenic (if a bit slow) overnight train. “First Class” travelling for only 25$!

One of Doug’s favorite dinners- salted tilapia fresh off the street market grill.

Peanuts and fresh vegetables from the garden at a stand in the local wet market.

It’s quite possible we completely forgot how to cook during our time in Thailand. All the food was so good and so fresh it only made sense to head down the street for fried chicken instead of making a mess of it ourselves (side note: is it wrong that I’m secretly hoping one of these pieces came from the rooster that would relentlessly chase me during my morning jog?)

Thais play the lottery too, but they buy their tickets from street vendors at tables or from people walking around with tickets strung around their necks.

Whenever we ventured into Chiang Mai we usually headed to one of the local market. We had a ton of fun wandering the crowded aisles filled with everything from local produce to handmade clothing to imported goods and trinkets. Doug learned all the Thai numbers to help him handle bartering for dinner, and he usually got a better price because the locals were impressed with his effort!

Just another reason why we stopped cooking.

Sometimes we would splurge on dinner in a restaurant, but our daily lunch was almost always pork rib soup from a selection of different soup ladies in the market near our house.

There’s never a shortage of fish, fresh or dried, in the markets in Thailand, and you always know when there’s a market nearby…

Luckily, all the rental bikes come with baskets attached to the front for filling with delicious market treats to take home!

 The egg lady… I (Doug) visited many different egg ladies because I love eggs.  This lady I did not buy anything from but I did stand and admire her “egg stand”.  Egg mafia anyone?

Asia 2012/13!

Wedding season here we come!