family · Thailand 2014

Thailand day nine – Thursday in Chiang Mai

Compared to the sight-seeing we’ve done on previous days, yesterday was quite different.  It still ended up being busy, however!  We lounged around at the guesthouse for a long time in the morning, lingering over breakfast and further investigating our surroundings. The guesthouse pond contains three turtles and small fish. The fish nibble your toes if you stick your feet in the water. The girls love it!

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They also get to feed the turtles on a fairly regular basis. We keep reminding them of the story of the “Fish out of water” where the fish is fed too much and grows, grows, grows – so they have to remember to feed the turtles and fish only so much, not more! There are also two resident cats. One is super friendly and loves to sit on your lap and be patted. The other is completely disdainful toward humans and doesn’t’ want us anywhere near her unless strictly on her own terms. Which mostly means not at all.

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The coffee is fantastic and we are indulging in a different breakfast each day. although there are common themes of fresh fruit, eggs and meat skewers, sticky rice, and crispy baked goods. We are enjoying lychees, mangosteen, mango, pineapple, watermelon, gac fruit, dragonfruit, and bananas. All are picked ripe and ready to eat – so scrumptious. The guesthouse has its own garden alongside so much of the produce, including herbs and vegies, comes from the garden.

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We used the strongest persuasion technique in our arsenal to drag the kids away from the toe nibbling fish – “how about a massage”? We thought we’d try the massage centre directly attached to the Women’s Prison this time. Our route to get there was as interesting as always, taking us past hairdressers next to corner stores next to schools next to laundries. We were also able to observe a number of different architectural styles.

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The vocational training centre at the women’s prison teaches massage, but also teaches food service and handcraft skills. The masseurs are still serving prisoners, so are supervised by prison guards. We were unable to get bookings there for four people, so they sent us a little further down the street to an associated centre run by an ex-prisoner.

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We all had foot massages. Shoes are always left outside at Thai residences, businesses and temples. Slippers are always provided. Our feet get washed before heading inside for the massage. My calves were still sore and tight from the walk up the 306 steps to the temple a couple of days earlier. They really benefited from the massage! After our hour of relaxation, we needed to refuel. Lunch time! We chose an air-conditioned cafe that we knew would sell food that the kids would like. Clare has been trying food out of her usual comfort zone, but Stella has been subsisting on mango, rice and ice cream. And crispy baked treats. Here they had fish and chips and spaghetti bolognaise respectively.

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After lunch we crossed the road to a clothing shop. Up until then we hadn’t done much shopping. That has now changed! Our planned afternoon of visiting the Arts and Culture museum and taking in some more Thai sights instead became an afternoon of taking in the Thai sights of the shops. At that first shop We found some cool cotton shirts, shorts and pants for Dan, some scarves for gifts, and skirts, headscarves and bracelets for the girls. Well, Clare found a bracelet, and Stella wears hers as an anklet. The shops here have fixed prices, which I prefer. I’m not a great bargainer. And even with fixed prices, things are cheap as compared to Australia. We also browsed in some other dress shops, where I was able to check out the fabrics and styles that were available. There are lots of tourist clothes, but there are lots of current styles in the shops too, although obviously they are all styles that are suitable for hot climates. There are plenty of tailors here as well, so you can order made to measure clothing such as suits or formal dresses. But what I was interested in were the fabrics. There were many colours and types that appealed to me – I’m looking forward to my shopping trip to the fabric markets!

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But then I glanced across the street and spotted a little shop next to the motorbike shop that looked like it had amigarumi dolls in the window. And what would you know, kid bliss.

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These divine crocheted dolls are all made by old ladies from a province near by. The girls were able to choose a doll then choose the hat, clothes, bag and shoes that they wanted it to wear, all for 530 baht each (around A$20). We were there for a while.

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Actually, we were there for a LONG while.

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But eventually two complete dolls (each with a spare dress) were chosen! Meet Emma (Stella’s doll) and Willow (Clare’s doll).

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We then had a fantastic noodle and duck dinner back at the guesthouse. Dan learned how to put on his Thai fisherman’s shorts properly, the kids were taught some yoga and meditation by our friends’ eldest daughter, and we taught the kids games to encourage water consumption.

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So now it’s time for me to eat breakfast – after all, I’m going to need lots of energy for the fabric markets!

 

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7 thoughts on “Thailand day nine – Thursday in Chiang Mai

  1. The next post is the one I can’t wait to see! You have a beautiful family. Thanks for sharing your vacation. As an American, Thailand seems like about as far away as you can get. Your photos are lovely.

  2. Thank you so much for your tales from your travels I am enjoying it enormously, especially seeing Chiang Mai where I did the best fabric shopping ever. Keep an eye out for the fabrics from Laos, hand-loomed and useable. I hope that you enjoy the fabric markets, those dolls are brilliant.

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