Thailand and Laos 2017

Thailand and Laos, day twenty-two (Chiang Mai, Thursday)

Our last day in Chiang Mai was a low key one.  We weren’t leaving until 4pm, so had a leisurely morning at Baanbooloo until we needed to check out.

Chiang Mai Thursday

I’ve really enjoyed having soups and similar meals for breakfast!  SO much better than the berry and muesli shakes I often have at home.  I just feel better for longer with this type of meal – but at home there isn’t anyone cooking this for me!  Might just stick to what I’m already doing…

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

I’ve mentioned before how much I love the way that Baanbooloo has reused and recycled building materials.  Apparently many building materials are reused in Thailand, particularly timber – teak being especially prized.  The woven decorations hanging in the below photo are pieces of a simple bamboo screen, but up and reconfigured.  They look fantastic, and are an excellent example of creativity and lateral thinking.

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

It’s lovely to sit on the couches or around the long dining table chatting or reading.

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

The big covered urns are traditionally used for water storage.  The covers are particularly important for keeping mosquito numbers down.  There are already plenty of mosquitoes in Thailand!

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

Open air living is such a contrast to how we do things in Victoria (I am sure that in Queensland and other Australian states people are outside much more).  We build our houses in ways that can be completely sealed from the elements, then divide them up into rooms.  A very clear inside and outside delineation.  But here, it seems that more often property boundaries are built or defined, then rooms as separate buildings within the property, often with open sides.  Air flows around you all the time, lines of sight are often unobstructed, or there are screens to define boundaries.

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

I remember that even these ceramic tiles have ground glass from recycled drink bottles in them that give them their sheen and colours.

Chiang Mai Thursday

We decided to spend a few hours just walking around the streets of the old city.  Stella wanted to have one more try at the fish spa.  This was attempt number three.

Chiang Mai Thursday

Unsuccessful.  But good on her for persisting!  The girls had noticed loads of school kids with delicious looking ice-creams the day before – so we tracked down the source.

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

The streets are interesting places.  So much going on all the time!  We heard this vehicle approaching, as it had speakers playing music.  I wondered what was going on – as it passed we realised that it was a hearse and was carrying a coffin.  We presume that it was heading toward the south gate of the old city, as that is the gate that people leave by when they die.

Chiang Mai Thursday

We had noticed many shops advertising and selling latex.  This was primarily in the form of latex pillows and mattresses.  Rubber production has been increasing steadily in Northern Thailand over the past few years and many farmers are shifting from rice production to rubber.

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

We spotted three of these utes driving around Chiang Mai advertising “Prooooooooofessional!  Thai Boxing!  Tonight!”  You could hear them a mile away.  Imitating the recording is still causing great mirth in my family.

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

I really love these little floral offerings.  You often see them hanging from the rear vision mirror in cars or tuk tuks.  I have noticed that drivers often touch them just before they go around a blind corner.  Not sure that taking one hand off the wheel in those situations is actually helpful…..

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chinese New Year was about to commence, so many restaurants and shops were being decorated accordingly.  This particular restaurant was absolutely stunning.  So many umbrellas!  They looked spectacular en masse.

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

The old city in Chiang Mai was built over 700 years ago.  It was a walled city, with a moat around it and gates in the centre of each side.  Each side is approximately a mile long, which makes the old city extremely walkable.  The main gate, Tha Phae, has been rebuilt along with a section of wall, to show what it was like when first constructed.  In other parts of the old city there is still evidence of the original wall, especially at the corners.  The moat is still there too.  Good old Wikipedia tells me the following history of Chiang Mai: King Mengrai founded the city of Chiang Mai (“new city”) in 1296[1]:209 on the site of an older city of the Lawa people called Wiang Nopburi.[10][11] Gordon Young, in his 1962 book The Hill tribes of Northern Thailand, mentions how a Wa chieftain in Burma told him that the Wa, a people who are closely related to the Lawa, once lived in the Chiang Mai valley in “sizeable cities”.[12]

Chiang Mai succeeded Chiang Rai as the capital of the Lan Na kingdom. Pha Yu enlarged and fortified the city, and built Wat Phra Singh in honor of his father Kham Fu.[1]:226–227The ruler was known as the “chao”. The city was surrounded by a moat and a defensive wall since nearby Burma was a constant threat, as were the armies of the Mongol Empire, which only decades earlier had conquered most of Yunnan, China, and in 1292 overran the bordering Thai Lü kingdom of Chiang Hung.

With the decline of the Lan Na Kingdom, the city lost importance and was occupied by the Burmese in 1556.[13] Chiang Mai formally became part of Siam in 1775 by an agreement with Chao Kavila, after the Thai King Taksin helped drive out the Burmese. Because of Burmese counterattacks, Chiang Mai was abandoned between 1776 and 1791.[14] Lampangthen served as the capital of what remained of Lan Na. Chiang Mai then slowly grew in cultural, trading, and economic importance to its current status as the unofficial capital of Northern Thailand, second in importance only to Bangkok.[15]

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

Also from Wikipedia: According to Thailand’s Tourist Authority, in 2013 Chiang Mai had 14.1 million visitors: 4.6 million foreigners and 9.5 million Thais.[43] In 2016, tourist arrivals are expected to grow by approximately 10 percent to 9.1 million, with Chinese tourists increasing by seven percent to 750,000 and international arrivals by 10 percent to 2.6 million.[44]Tourism in Chiang Mai has been growing annually by 15 percent per year since 2011, mostly due to Chinese tourists who account for 30 percent of international arrivals.[44]

Chiang Mai is estimated to have 32,000-40,000 hotel rooms[43][44] and Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX) is Thailand’s fourth largest airport, after Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and Don Mueang (DMK) in Bangkok, and Phuket (HKT).[45]

The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) aims to market Chiang Mai as a global MICE city as part of a five-year plan. The TCEB forecasts revenue from MICE to rise by 10 percent to 4.24 billion baht in 2013 and the number of MICE travellers to rise by five percent to 72,424.[46]

The influx of tourists has put a strain on the city’s natural resources. Chiang Mai is faced with rampant unplanned development, air and water pollution, waste management problems, and traffic congestion. Local government is seemingly powerless to enforce zoning and construction.

Chiang Mai Thursday

Time for lunch!  After wandering the city for a while we diverted away from the larger roads and went down some back lanes.  We happened upon this restaurant, Angel’s Secrets, and made our way to the only available seats, right at the back.  There was one woman sitting there – and serendipitously it was Amy, the American woman we’d met the night before at dinner!

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

Clearly there are some people that you are just meant to meet – and Amy was one of them! We’re sure that we’ll see her again one day (maybe here in Australia).  This restaurant served a variety of food so there was something that suited every member of the family – especially the youngest one.

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

I think that one of the most striking things that differentiates streetscapes in Southeast Asia versus Melbourne is the cables.  In Southeast Asia there seem to be multitudes of power, phone, communication and television cables lining the streets, complete with loops of spare cord attached to fix any breakages.  In Melbourne there are main poles with cables attached at regular intervals – sometimes the cables are underground and you don’t see any overhead cables at all!  I have pondered why there is such a difference for some time, so eventually googled it.  I’m not the first person to have asked: you can read some answers here and here.

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

At this site in the old city a construction had been demolished, but it was easy to see that all the materials were being sorted into groups for recycling.  Impressive, I thought!

Chiang Mai Thursday

These apartments were around the corner from Baanbooloo.  I suspect that they are simple bed-sit units, with the higher levels reached by stairs.  I enjoy trying to work out the different ways that people live in a city like this one.  It seems to be incredibly diverse.

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

Chiang Mai Thursday

And that was it!  Time to farewell Baanbooloo.  We headed to Chiang Mai airport, then had our next minor adventure.  When I presented our documents for check in, I was asked if we had a connecting flight.  Yes, we did, three hours after this one arrived at Bangkok.  On production of our onward travel documents, there was a great deal of activity and chatter between the Bangkok Airways staff.  People were on the phone, into and out of offices, and up and down to other counters.  One lady took our passports to a reservations desk, and we eventually figured out what was going on.  Our flight had been delayed by two hours, so the incredibly helpful Bangkok Airways staff were booking us onto another flight with another airline, and making all the arrangements.  And as it turned out, we ended up on a Thai Smile flight – in business class.

Chiang Mai Thursday

We told the girls to not get too used to it!  I have to say that I was super impressed with the service from both Bangkok Airways and Thai Smile.  And our meals were delicious!

Chiang Mai Thursday

We made it to Bangkok airport in plenty of time to check in to our international flight, get through security and immigration, and onto the plane to settle in for the night.  Yes, attempting to sleep sitting up was pretty dismal, but it was truly worth it – money that could have been spent on a more luxurious airline than Jetstar had instead gone toward the content of our holiday – one of the best holidays that I think my family has been on.  It was superb.

Chiang Mai Thursday

Thailand and Laos 2017

Thailand and Laos, day twenty-one (Chiang Mai, Wednesday)

Our holiday was quickly drawing to a close, but today was a day we’d been looking forward to with great anticipation.  Last time we were in Chiang Mai, Orn looked after us beautifully at Baanbooloo.  She now has her own cooking school, Auntie Orn’s Organic Family Cooking.  Orn is passionate about fresh organic food, cooked in ways that the whole family will love.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

We were collected in a songthaew and headed off to meet with Orn at her local market.  No other tourists there!  It was lovely to see Orn again, and she enjoyed seeing how much the girls had grown over the past two and a half years.  Firstly we went into the ready-made part of the market, where you could buy desserts, sausages, cooked meats, and similar items.  I really enjoy those glutinous coconutty sweets in little leaf packages.  So delicious! As it was almost Chinese New Year there were lots of appropriate treats being prepared.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

The items in the below photo really look like “natural” cigarettes to me!  What do you think?  Do you know?  They are parcelled up with rolled up tubes, dried leaf matter, and boxes of matches.  I really should have asked.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

The fresh food section of the market was also quite extensive.  There are always fruits and vegetables that I’m not familiar with in among the ones that I know.  This is very much the local Coles or Woolworths – everything that you need can be found here.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

More mystery parcels in the photo below!  We did ask what was inside those leaf wrappings – I think it was sticky rice and coconut.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Kaffir limes – these are such a great fruit.  Both the fruit and the leaves are used extensively in Thai cooking.  As per Wikipedia: The leaves are the most frequently used part of the plant, fresh, dried, or frozen. The leaves are widely used in Thai[10] and Lao cuisine (for dishes such as tom yum) and Cambodian cuisine (for the base paste “krueng“). The leaves are used in Vietnamese cuisine to add fragrance to chicken dishes and to decrease the pungent odor when steaming snails. The leaves are used in Indonesian cuisine (especially Balinese cuisine and Javanese cuisine) for foods such as soto ayam and are used along with Indonesian bay leaf for chicken and fish. They are also found in Malaysian and Burmese cuisines.[11] It is used widely in South Indian cuisine. The rind (peel) is commonly used in Lao and Thai curry paste, adding an aromatic, astringent flavor.[10] The zest of the fruit, referred to as combava[citation needed], is used in creole cuisine to impart flavor in infused rums and rougails in MartiniqueRéunion, and Madagascar. In Cambodia, the entire fruit is crystallized/candied for eating.[12]

The juice and rinds of the peel are used in traditional medicine in some Asian countries; the fruit’s juice is often used in shampoo and is believed to kill head lice.[9] The juice finds use as a cleanser for clothing and hair in Thailand and very occasionally in Cambodia. Lustral water mixed with slices of the fruit is used in religious ceremonies in Cambodia.

I enjoy the aesthetics of the wrinkly skin.  They look like tiny brains.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

I had to ask what this vegetable was – it’s bamboo shoots, prepared in different ways.  Not something that we can easily buy fresh in Australia at all!  Wikipedia tells me in Thai cuisine bamboo shoots are called no mai. It can be used in stir-fries, soups such as tom kha kaicurries such as kaeng tai pla, as well as in Thai salads. Some dishes ask for fresh bamboo shoots, others for pickled bamboo shoots (no mai dong).

And look closely at what is inside the bag in the next photo:

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Yes, those are frogs.  Frogs were on many of the menus we encountered in Thailand.  I’ve found a terrific blog post here that details their use as an ingredient.  I did not indulge.  I just can’t go there.  I know it’s all in the mind, but still.  The below photo is of another interesting Thai ingredient, chicken blood, that is used in conjunction with a particular type of noodle.  I am pretty sure that the name of the dish is nam ngiao.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

And of course, chicken feet!  Every part of the animal is used in Thai cooking.  Stella was rather perturbed that the chickens were sold with the head and feet on, looking extremely identifiable as chickens.  Of course, the rest o the meat section of the market was the same.  Every single part of the animal was available for purchase.  No wastage here!  We were rather pleased that this section was cooled and enclosed to keep insects to a minimum.  Appealed to my western food safety and hygiene sensibilities.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

There were also terrific clean pay toilet facilities at the market – including a toilet with disabled access.  I think that was the first time that I saw any provision made for people with physical disabilities while we were in Thailand.  I often wondered how people cope with the uneven streets and pathways and the multitude of steps both outside and inside houses.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

After we’d decided on what meals we would cook and had bought all the ingredients, Orn’s friend Lek picked us up in his car and we drove to Orn’s home and cooking school.  There was a very special surprise waiting for us there in the form of two puppies!  Stella was ecstatic.  She’s been missing Buzz.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Orn and Lek have constructed all the buildings on their land themselves, primarily from simple materials in straightforward traditional styles.  The climate certainly helps with this – most living is outdoor living, with the bathhouse and bedrooms the only rooms that can be enclosed.  They’ve used plenty of bamboo, mud bricks and plaster where appropriate, and are embracing an organic and permaculture lifestyle.  They have all the things that they need – including a fridge, beer, computers – but not a great deal of excess.  Enough, but not too much.  It’s pretty inspiring.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

The gardens are extensive and Orn and Lek plan to grown pretty much all that they need.  There are all sorts of trees, planted in a companion planting style, along with ducks and chickens.  The kitchen at the back of the property has a solar powered battery to help with electricity where needed, but cooking is done on gas or charcoal.  Food scraps are composted, and activated charcoal is being prepared.  There is no plumbed water but instead a couple of deep bores, and water is stored in large ceramic urns.  They purchase drinking water, but are otherwise very self-sufficient.  We gathered the rest of the ingredients that we needed from the garden.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

So, on to the cooking!  Dan had done the class last time so after a little while handed over the reins to the rest of the family.  He was also feeling a little intestinally challenged (as is often the case when travelling – not sick, but not how things usually are) so was happy to sit back and let us do the work.  Actually, the girls did most of it!  Ingredients were collected and prepared for a papaya salad, Penang chicken curry, chicken and thai basil stir-fry, and stir fried morning glory (pak boong), all to be eaten with rice.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday Chiang Mai Wednesday

There goes Stella chopping up the morning glory, as as it’s know in Thai, pak boong.  It’s also known as water spinach.  We’d eaten the same vegetable in Laos and really enjoyed it there too.  It’s a green leafy vegetable with tender shoots and leaves, and if you google pad pak boong you’ll find plenty of recipes for the classic stir-fried version with garlic, chillies and oyster sauce.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Orn and Lek had a volunteer WWOOFer staying with them, Jen, who helped out with the cooking class.  I had never heard about WWOOF before.  From their website: WWOOF organisations connect people who want to live and learn on organic farms and smallholdings with people who are looking for volunteer help. WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. Volunteers give hands on help in return.

As it happens there are WWOOF organisations all around the world!  Jen was from the USA, and had been with Orn and Lek for a week when we did our class.  What a wonderful example of two-way sharing of cultures and information, and no significant cost to either party.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

The papaya salad was delicious.  Clare picked the green papaya, and grated it.  This is usually a very spicy dish, but we toned down the chilli and it was extremely refreshing. Wikipedia has more information about this classic South East Asian dish (originally from Laos) as well. The dish combines the five main tastes of the local cuisine: sour lime, hot chili, saltysavory fish sauce, and sweetness added by palm sugar. The ingredients are mixed and pounded in a mortar; The general Lao name tam som literally means “pounded sour”, however, the more specific Lao name tam maak hoong literally means “pounded papaya”. In Khmer, the name bok l’hong also means “pounded papaya”. In Thai, the name som tam, (a reversal of the Lao name), literally translates as “sour pounded”. However, other pounded salads in Thailand are consistent with the Lao naming convention in which the word tam (“pounded”) is listed first.

Despite the use of papaya, which one may think of as sweet, this salad is actually savory. When not yet ripe, papaya has a slightly tangy flavor. The texture is crisp and firm, sometimes to the point of crunchiness. It is this that allows the fruit to withstand being beaten in the mortar.

In Laos, green papaya salad is one of the traditional staples of the Lao. Pounded salads in Laos all fall under the parent category of tam som, which may or may not contain green papaya, however, when no specific type of tam som is mentioned, it is generally understood to refer to green papaya salad. For absolute clarity, however, the name tam maak hoong may be used, since this name means “pounded papaya”.

In Thailand, it is customary that a customer ask the preparer to make the dish suited to his or her tastes. To specifically refer to the original style of papaya salad as prepared in Laos or Isan, it is known as ส้มตำลาว or som tam Laoor simply as tam Lao, and the dish as prepared in central Thailand may be referred to as som tam Thai.[6]

Traditionally, the local variety of green papaya salad in the streets of Bangkok is very hot due to the addition of a fistful of chopped hot bird’s eye chili. However, with its rising popularity among tourists, it is now often served not as hot.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

These dishes would usually contain much more chilli – much hotter chilli!  Orn kindly catered to our (children’s) bland tastes and there was enough chilli for flavour but nothing was terribly spicy.  As a generally rule Thai love their food super spicy – and their desserts are super sweet!  It seems that there is not much in between – the flavours are intense whatever they are.  The chicken with basil was pretty much like this recipe, and the stir fried morning glory similar to this.  The penang curry was also toned down heat wise.  It was all delicious – and incredibly fresh.

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

It was such a pleasure to see Orn and Lek again and to meet Jen and to share in their hospitality.  You can find more information on Orn’s cooking classes here (she is also on Facebook) and I thoroughly recommend them if you are interested in how to cook family style meals in a traditional, fresh way.  We left the farm with very full bellies and a whole lot of cooking inspiration!

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Some of you probably know that Thailand is famous for its Ladyboy cabaret shows.  Louis kindly offered to take me to one of his local favourites to have a cocktail or two and see the show.  There were six exquisite ladyboy performers and four equally gorgeous young men as backup dancers.  Wikipedia tells me that

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

These ladyboys put on a really stunning show!  Amazing costumes with lots of quick changes between acts, loads of energy, terrific routines, a bit of humour, excellent lip-synching, and they are absolutely beautiful.  The bar was packed.  It is open to the street on two sides, and the performers were very happy to have their photo taken in the street with audience members after the show.  Jeepers, I look so short and plain next to them!

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Chiang Mai Wednesday

Thanks Louis – it was loads of fun (and it had been a LONG time since I’d last headed out at 9.30pm in the evening to go to a bar!).  Now I know why all those sequinned fabrics and glittery trims are available for sale in the market – there are so many cabaret costumes to make!

Thailand and Laos 2017

Thailand and Laos – day twenty (Chiang Mai, Tuesday)

Those of you who have been reading along for some years might remember that last time I was in Chiang Mai I went fabric shopping with the lovely Gaye.  Unsurprisingly, we lined up another day of shopping for this trip!  Gaye kindly drove up from Lampang where she lives, and met us at Baanbooloo shortly after breakfast.  Then it was on!  We all piled into a songthaew and headed off to Warorot market.

Chiang Mai Tuesday

We popped into a pharmacy to buy a couple of cold bottles of water.  The pharmacist spoke good English – said to Dan “you Aussie, no tip!” with a grin and a wink.  Then asked “who do you go for?  I go for Bulldogs…”

Then it was around the corner to stop number one – notions.  This shop was PACKED with notions.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen as many in one place!  You name it, they stocked it.  I bought YKK metal zippers for my planned Ziggi jacket – a long separating zip and four shorter ones, all with nice zipper pulls – think the total cost was around A$6.  Absurdly cheap.

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

From there we went around the corner to the Hmong market.  All the components for making traditional Hmong clothing can be found there, as well as clothing already made.  It is where the locals shop.  I am sure that we are charged farang prices, but that’s fair enough.

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

We bought embroidered shoes here – for Clare, for me and for Stella.  It’s hard to find things to fit Stella in Thailand, so she was thrilled with these.  I also bought two lengths of pleated embroidered skirt fabric – but I left them behind!  SOB!  Either at the cafe where we had lunch, or at Baanbooloo.  They are checking for me.

Chiang Mai Tuesday

By this stage Louis had joined us, and took us around to one of his favourite fabric haunts.  This place is a wholesaler but is happy to sell retail as well (I think that everyone is happy to sell in whatever manner provides income).  They had masses and masses and masses of old textiles and new textiles and fabrics – but Louis knew to ask to go upstairs, which is where we found the motherlode and where Stella made herself a comfy bed.

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Most of the fabrics don’t have prices on them.  You take what you are interested in to the lady at the back counter, who feels them and assesses them then gives you a price.  You then accept or decline.  If you accept you tell them how much you want, then another person takes it up the front and measures it out for you.  Then another person brings it back to the first lady, who totals it all up.  She accepts payment – unless you want to pay by credit card, in which case another person takes you and the credit card around to a shop nearby to pay – another person does that transaction.  Meanwhile someone else is packing all the purchases into a bag for you.  Thailand has loads of staff in each shop – customer service is excellent!

These are all silks or silk/cotton blends (I like a bit of cotton in my silk – provides a bit more strength and ease of care).  Clare chose the stripes for her, and the rest are mine!  They are only around one metre wide, so I bought a fair bit of length.  The green one is super soft and floaty – there are around twenty metres of that one!  I also bought some yo-yo trim and a table runner.

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

We had lunch in the same upstairs cafe as the previous visit, and Stella repeated her previous effort of getting chocolate sauce all over her face when eating waffles.

Chiang Mai Tuesday

We piled the rest of the family into a tuk-tuk and sent them back to the hotel with our purchases.  Then Gaye and I continued on our merry shopping way.  Some shops sold both ready-made clothing and fabrics, so it was always worth taking that second look past the clothes to see what other treasures might lie within.

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Art By Hand was one of those shops – Gaye had sussed it out on a previous visit, and we discovered a number of lovely handwoven fabrics that were hard to resist.  I bought a double gauze that was red on one side and navy on the other, three lengths of handwoven striped fabrics, and a length of printed cotton that was only 40 baht per metre (A$1.50).  When we exclaimed at the low price the shop assistants said “not hand printed, printed by machine” – therefore they felt that it was extremely well justified.  Five metres later I was happy!

Chiang Mai Tuesday

I giggled at the models on these packets of hair dye.  What were they thinking?

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

We found this length of Ikat at another shop.  It’s around a metre wide, a couple of metres long.  I am still trying to figure out what some of these skirt lengths will become.  I figure that many of them will need to be pieced with other fabrics.  Pattern suggestions very welcome!

Chiang Mai Tuesday

And here is the fabric that I bought with a purpose.  While I’ve been in Chiang Mai, Susan Kahlje has been teaching in Melbourne.  I would definitely have been doing some of her classes if I was home – but that just wasn’t an option since we were away!  Craftsy sent me a discount coupon since it had been a while since I had bought one of their classes, and they had just released Susan Kahlje’s Couture Lace Skirt class.  So I bought the class, then the fabrics!  We tracked down yellow cotton guipure lace, matching silk fashion fabric to go underneath the lace, and eggplant coloured cotton/silk for the lining (I’ll underline to provide support with something else from stash).  Then we nipped back to the notions shop for a matching yellow YKK zip and I was all sorted for around A$40 total.  Stay tuned for a slow sewing project later this year!

Chiang Mai Tuesday

So that was our fabric shopping day!  We headed back to Baanbooloo for some very welcome bottles of Chang.

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Dan and the girls eventually joined us – they’d gone out for a massage while we were busy spending baht.  We relaxed and chatted and attempted to solve some of the problems of the world while the girls either danced or texted.

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Louis had recommended this restaurant Baan Rai Yam Yen for dinner, so Mr Veera kindly drove us there in his tuk tuk (and returned later to drive us home).  It served Northern Thai food with live acoustic accompaniment.  The band and singer were very good – songs were either in Thai or in English.  We heard quite a bit of John Denver and The Carpenters.  The food was delicious.  It’s always helpful having someone who can speak some Thai to assist with ordering too – thanks for that expertise as well as your fabric enabling expertise Gaye!

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

What an excellent day all around.  I think we’ve relaxed right into the holiday spirit.

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Chiang Mai Tuesday

Thailand and Laos 2017

Thailand and Laos – day nineteen (Chiang Mai, Monday) part two

Baan Celadon was very close to our restaurant, so we stopped off after lunch.  Here we were given a detailed tour in English of the process of producing handmade Celadon green, crackle glazed cereamics.  I’ll copy some information from their website.

Celadon is one kind of three main types of ceramics in Thailand. Its production has continued to develop from its early beginnings 700 years ago until the present.

The name ‘celadon’ derived from two Sanskrit words: ‘sila’, meaning ‘stone’, and ‘dhara’, meaning ‘green’. Therefore, ‘Celadon’ means green stone. Celadon comes in many shades and styles, being found in tones of light and dark gray, honey yellow, green and green-yellow, olive green, blue-green and brown.

As celadon is a manmade product which depends upon the skills and experience of craftsmen, it is valuable. Because of its attractiveness, celadon is used both for home decoration and everyday use. Cooking and serving with celadon ware is recommended, even in a microwave oven, since no chemicals are used during production.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

STEP 1: The first step is clay preparation. To produce stoneware, black clay know as “din dam”, mostly found in quarries in Chiang Mai, is needed. The clay is dried, pounded, grounded, and sieved in order to have really good quality clay.

STEP 2: The dried clay powder is mixed with water to clean it from impurities such as iron or any others, then passed through a plug mill to press the water from the clay and made into clay slabs.

STEP 3: After being compressed in the pug mill, the clay must be left exposed to open air for a while so that organic matters in the clay can congregate.

STEP 4: The clay is kneaded to remove air bubbles.

STEP 5: The clay is thrown on the wheel. This process is called “Forming on the wheel”, one of the three forming processes. The other forming processes are ‘cast molding’, and forming by ‘jigger’ (rotating the clay under a foaming knife).

STEP 6: After being thrown, the products are left to dry naturally in open air.

STEP 7: Then the products are hand carved, incised or embellished with elaborated decoration.

STEP 8: The next step is biscuit firing. The products are fired at the temperature of 800 degree C for 6-8 hours. The purpose is to harden the clay so that it can be exposed to water. After this biscit fire each piece must be inspected for defects or cracks.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

STEP 9: After inspection, each piece is painted with more elaborated colors. Then the biscuit products are glazed by dipping into the glaze solution mixed with clay from paddy fields and wood ashes of Overcus belutina and Terminalia alata Heyne.

STEP 10: The products are fired at an initial temperature of 1250 degree C, which gradually increased to temperature of 1300 degree C. The total firing lasts 8-10 hours. After the products are taken out of the kilns, the cracking begins, giving celadon its distinctive appearance.

At Baan celadon finishing is the final step in manufacturing the products. All goods are inspected to ensure quality and design are according to our standards. Base ridges are scraped clean of glaze, small imperfections corrected, final touches are added, and goods are hand-polished before packing.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

The finished products were all extremely beautiful.  There were two main ranges of green or blue carved celadon crockery and ornaments, and a c0mprehensive range of the stunning hand-painted ceramics that were more decorative.  We bought a coffee mug each, and each was very well packaged in bubble wrap for our trip home.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

It wasn’t far to the Bo Sang Handicraft Centre, where umbrellas are handmade.  We could observe the whole process of making these Sa Paper covered umbrellas, from making the bamboo struts, stringing them together so that the umbrella will open and close properly, and covering them with paper and waterproofing them.  There was signage in English throughout that explained each step of the process.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Many of the umbrellas have beautiful freehand painted designs on them.  As it turns out, the artists will also decorate other objects for a small tip.  Mobile phone cases, sunglasses cases, folders, t-shirts, caps – or your arm if that is your preference!

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Each of these beautifully detailed pieces only took around five minutes to do.  These women are extremely well practiced and skilled!  The paint was in tiny squeeze tubes, and was applied directly from them.  Let’s hope that this decoration on Stella’s cap lasts!

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

And of course there was a shop selling umbrellas in all sizes, colours, patterns, and type of materials.  We had actually just missed the annual umbrella festival on the weekend.  Umbrellas are used in everyday life here; for sun protection pretty much year round, against rain in winter, and for decoration.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

One last stop!  This time we visited Silk Village.  This was hardly a “village” – it was a massive showroom with an excellent display room and workroom attached.  Once again we had English speaking guides who explained the steps of the silk production process.  From their website: The production of silk begins with a tiny worm know as Bombyx mori: silk moth, the moth lays eggs, which develop into silk worms. The worms are fed on mulberry leaves until they are one month old, when they will build a cocoon from their spittle.

The cocoon is put into boiling water, and the silk thread is then extracted. The length of silk thread in a cocoon varies considerably, from 500 to 1,500 yards, depending on the kind of worm that produced it. In Thailand, most silk thread is hand-reeled by women, the filaments form several cocoons being reeled together on a wooden spindle into a uniform strand of raw silk.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

This is a time-consuming process since it takes about 40 hours to reel one and a half kilograms of silk, but some sericulture families have simplified the job by using a reeling machine. The majority, however, still use the traditional method, which produces three grades of silk: two fine ones suitable for lightweight fabric and a thicker one used for heavier material.

The skeins of silk thread are then soaked in hot water to remove the remainder of the seracin. Since Thai silk yarn is yellow, it must be bleached before dyeing; this is done by immersing the skeins in large tubs containing hydrogen peroxide, after which they are washed and dried in the sun.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Thai Silk is then woven on a handloom, the threads (warps and wefts) that pass across and are inserted during the weaving process. Thai Silk is hand-woven fabric, which means that although if conforms to set standards of width, color, and quality it still retains a degree of individuality impossible to achieve by more advanced technology.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

It immediately struck me how advanced these looms were in comparison to the ones we’d used at Ock Pop Tok in Luang Prabang.  Other than being uniform in shape and size, with timber foot pedals instead of bamboo, they had automated shuttles that were sent back and forth with the pull of a rope instead of being passed from hand to hand.  For plain coloured silks, this was very fast to watch!

Clare was able to tell me a fair bit about the Silk Road, as she’d learned about it at school in Humanities.  I love it when the kids can connect the learning they get in the classroom with learning received elsewhere – and vice versa!

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

The showroom was IMMENSE.  There were many bolts of handwoven silks, both in solid colours and in prints, then room after room of ready made garments in a broad variety of styles.  Luckily for our bank account the shop was about to close, so I grabbed a bolt of fabric and bought two and a half metres.  Remember, this fabric is only about  a metre wide.  Which fabric do you think I bought?

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

 

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

I still need to write a post about yesterday’s fabric shopping adventures with Gaye – but that will have to wait!

Thailand and Laos 2017

Thailand and Laos – day nineteen (Chiang Mai, Monday) part one

So many photos taken on Monday!  I’ve decided to split this blog post into two parts or else it will never load.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

These artist’s impressions of Stella and Clare were done at the night market.  They are both postcard size, and it was delightful watching the artist at work with pen and ink then watercolour.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

This piece of handweaving is folded in half – what shall I make from it?  I love the bold colours and the graphic pattern.  It’s very different from many of the others I’d seen.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Adisak, the owner of Baanbooloo, and Dan in his local market clothes.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Clare in her new market clothes – shorts, sandals and necklace!  The top was made by me.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Mr Veera was taking us out in the car again for the day.  We’d decided it was time to see some more craft manufacturers, and to visit the local hot springs.  Yes, hot springs – in Thailand.  One of the last places that could ever need them.

We headed to the San Kamphaeng district along wide busy highways through built up areas, then turned off and a couple more turns down narrow roads in a small village arrived at Baan Jang Nak, the Elephant Carving Museum.  And it’s pretty much what the name says – full of woodcarvings of elephants, along with larger statues of elephants made from other materials.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

The artist Pech Viriya founded his woodcarving business and museum around forty years ago.  The museum part of the compound was absolutely full of elephants in all shapes, sizes and poses.  We sometimes kept the kids busy counting how many there were in each display.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Once we wandered outside we could see the craftsmen at work.  They were sitting in a beautiful quiet area, busily working away with a variety of hand woodworking tools.  There were a few machines around for sanding and similar, but it was quickly obvious that the carvings were all primarily done by hand without any machinery at all.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Good old Wikipedia tells me that the elephant has been an important figure in Thai society and a significant symbol for many centuries. It has a considerable amount of influences and impact on the Thai cultural system and the whole nation, and the Thai elephant (Thai: ช้างไทย, Chang Thai) is an official national symbol of Thailand. The type of elephant that can be found in Thailand are the Indian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus), a subspecies of the Asian elephant.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

The carvings were all beautifully proportioned with an incredible amount of detail.  The timber was very yellow when carved; it appears that the final product have an oil or stain applied to make them darker in colour.  The timber is from the cassod tree, a hardwood from a plant more often used for cooking.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Baan Jang Nak is renowned around Thailand (and further away) for the quality and detail of its sculptures.  They take an extremely long time to make.  The larger pieces are generally commissions by major Thai companies and are extremely expensive.  Baan Jang Nak has a fancy website – but it’s all in Thai.  Even the small elephant carvings, small enough to easily hold in your hands, were around 6000 baht (approx $225).

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

The larger sculptures had a wire frame made, then something like fabric or plaster strips put over that (there weren’t any in that stage of progress so I am making assumptions) then some type of cement or concrete over that.  We could see a couple of large sculptures being worked on having concrete added and smoothed, but then in other parts have skin texture added.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

We were the only people visiting while we were there.  There is very little signage in English, so we were able to enjoy wandering around the museum and watching the carvers without my usual imperative of “read all the information and learn all the things”.  It was a very calm environment, with buffalo grazing in the fields across the road.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Our next stop was Sankampaeng Hot Springs.  This is a natural hot spring, with water coming out at 105 degrees celcius.  Yes, boiling water – hot enough to boil an egg!

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

The springs are set in a lovely garden area, established in 1984.  There are options for swimming in a mineral pool, taking private spas, having massages, or just sitting and dunking your feet in the watercourse.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

As it turned out, the top end of the watercourse, closest to the water source, was very hot!  It was actually too hot for me to even put my feet in, although there were others who seemed quite comfortable.  A the watercourse winds down, the water cools.  You just need to find the right location for your preferred temperature.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

A fun element of the park is the ability to boil eggs in the water!  There are little baskets of eggs for sale, these pretty little speckled eggs or regular chook eggs.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Just buy your basket, then leave it on a hook in the hot water for the required period of time.  There is some sulphurous smell in the springs around these larger pools, but overall it’s a pretty pleasant environment.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

See those metal rails that the girls are leaning on in the below photo?  Dan realised why they were there when he stepped into the watercourse not holding on to anything and promptly slipped on the bottom and fell right in full clothed (and with camera).  There were lots of laughs from the people nearby.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

The girls enjoyed a swim in the mineral pool while our driver Mr Veera was getting a foot massage.

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

We eventually departed and went to a restaurant for lunch that also involved water – this time on platforms over a lake, with water running off the sides of the platform roof providing very effective evaporative air conditioning.  They were setting up the restaurant for a university graduation ceremony that evening.  Flowers were being brought in, and balloon archways set up.  Every now and then a balloon would pop in the warm air, making me jump with fright!

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

Day 19 Chiang Mai Monday

So, that’s half of Monday!  Back soon with more hopefully.

Thailand and Laos 2017

Thailand and Laos – day eighteen (Chiang Mai, Sunday)

There are squirrels leaping from tree to tree in front of me and skittering along the branches.  The trees bend and sway with their weight.  They are so fast, I have no hope of getting a photograph.  Their bodies are quite small and their tails long and fluffy.  When I look to my left I can see two sleek cats slowly pacing along the verandah edges.  I can see that they have some birds in sight, but of course the birds are too quick for them and quickly fly away well before the cats are in striking distance.  The roosters have almost finished crowing, the sun is now well and truly up, and I’d better get this blog post written quickly!

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Yesterday we slept in.  The kids didn’t make it to breakfast until after 10.00am.  I took the following series of photos on my way over to breakfast, to give you more of an idea of where we are staying and how it is set up.

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Baanbooloo is a compound of buildings made of timber, on the owner’s family property.  It is essentially a series of two or three story buildings, all made from wood, and surprisingly they are all relatively reconfigurable.  Because it is a building for a hot climate many of the rooms don’t have full height walls or sometimes full roofs.  Much of it is open air, with balcony railings, and the floors are timber platforms.  Even structural elements are reclaimed and repurposed, using sets of doors and windows that were once part of other buildings.

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

And of course, there is so much detail.  SO much!  This overwhelmed Stella the first time that we visited, as she ha a preference for “modern”, but this visit we have all settled in to it quite easily.  It is rustic, but unlike much of what is often termed rustic everything is clean and swept; the many leaves that fall each day are swept up, there are no cobwebs around the buildings, and everything is kept in good repair and working order.

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

I find it interesting to read reviews on travel websites.  So much comes down to expectations.  Baanbooloo is definitely not cheap – especially in a country where you can get bargain rooms – but I think that it is definitely value for money!  I don’t come here expecting television – and there isn’t one but there is excellent wifi – and sometimes things don’t work quite as they should.  But if you let management know they will fix it!  This is Thailand – the plumbing is septic, not sewered, and the electricity and wiring isn’t at the same standard as many of us in the west are used to.  Most people who stay here at Baanbooloo give it a five star rating – and in my opinion it is absolutely worth every star and every baht.  The atmosphere and the attention from the staff is first class.

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Dan took himself off for a midday massage while the kids and I continued to laze around.  Clare was on to a second novel in a series, and Stella was catching up with her favourite youtubers.  It’s a good thing they’d had a rest – because our next activity was a Muay Thai class for all three of them!  No, I didn’t participate – someone had to be available to take photographs and provide mum support if needed.

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Wikipedia informs me that Muay Thai is a combat sport of Thailand that uses stand-up striking along with various clinching techniques.[1][2][3][4] This physical and mental discipline which includes combat on shins is known as “the art of eight limbs” because it is characterized by the combined use of fists, elbows, knees, shins, being associated with a good physical preparation that makes a full-contact fighter very efficient.[5] Muay Thai became widespread internationally in the twentieth century, when practitioners defeated notable practitioners of other martial arts.

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

So yes, I sent my kids off to a class to learn to fight.  Hmmmm.  As it turned out I knew many of the basic moves from when I used to attend Body Combat classes at the gym way back in the day.  It was a two hour class at Chiangmai Muay Thai Gym.  I was actually rather impressed with the setup and the instructors.

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

They were all taught a variety of basic techniques.  Apparently you learn a defence move for every type of attack move.  There was boxing, striking with elbows, and a variety of kicking movements.

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

It was a two hour class, and both kids conked out after an hour and a half.  They really gave it a great go though!  Clare said that she really enjoyed the feeling of strength as she punched and kicked.  However, after she hurt a toe she also realised that she definitely did not enjoy the feeling of being sweaty and stinky, and we headed back to Baanbooloo for a shower.  Dan stayed for the rest of the class, evening managing something resembling a bout in the ring.

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

By last night he was EXTREMELY sore.  Can’t wait to see how he feels this morning once he wakes up!

I found a window of opportunity to go back to Lila massage for an oil massage and facial.  I really do find facials incredibly relaxing.  I don’t know precisely how many applications of different smelling lotions and unguents were applied to my face them removed again, some warm, some cool, some creamy, some smooth and watery.  But it was delightful.  When I emerged from the peace and quiet to meet the rest of the family outside I found myself right in the middle of the Sunday Walking Street Market.

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Chiang Mai is famous for this market.  Every Sunday night a couple of main streets are blocked off and vendors set up stall selling all manner of things, both goods and food and drink.  It didn’t take long to become packed with people, but there was a terrific atmosphere.  Most things are fixed price with the prices on display, so it’s not stressful to shop, and there are definitely plenty of bargains to be had.  Staff at Baanbooloo confirmed that the locals shop there too.

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Unlike the night market in Luang Prabang, where there were basically around ten types of stalls in multiple with a small number of buyers, there was a massive variety of product available.  On our last trip to Chiang Mai Dan had just been retrenched from his job, so we were rather frugal.  This time we enjoyed saying “yes” to the kids when they wanted something, and also enjoyed saying “yes” to ourselves!  Clare is finally large enough to fit into the smallest size of the women’s clothes that were available, so she bought a few bits and pieces, as did Dan and I.  Stella only chose one dress.  She’s not especially in to things but it more interested in experiences and fairy floss.

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Hopefully these photos give you a good idea of the hum and the buzz of the market.  I normally hate crowds, but we just relaxed and went with the flow.  Dinner was a mixture of fruit shakes, buttered corn, nutella waffles, doughnuts, meat on sticks, fried gyoza, and fairy floss.  Excellent.  Each little food or drink stall just sells one thing – meaning it’s super fresh and prepared right in front of you as needed.

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday

Thailand and Laos Day 18 Chiang Mai Sunday