Published: June 2nd 2012June 2nd 2012
Hmm After reading the last blog I think I might have got ahead of myself with the photos. But hopefully I can remedy that in this blog and solve the mystery of the remaining photos.
We met again as a group at 3.30pm so that we could go to yet another temple. This one is high up on the only visible hill from Chiang Mai and the temple is an important one with high standing literally and it represents the Year of the Goat. There were people everywhere when we arrived at the entrance and the bottom steps. There was a thriving market taking place with many knick- knacks, food and clothing available. Much stuff was on a religious nature and it must be a great way for the Buddhists to make money from their followers and tourists alike.
The steps went on forever and once again there were over 160 steps to conquer. With all the step exercise we have been getting what with 80 steps to climb alone to our floor in the hotel, I felt my fitness has improved. Due to my slight chest infection though, every time I exercise I start coughing too and it
feels a bit like asthma. With a huff and a puff though the steps were climbed and plenty of recovery time looking around the temple at the top of the steps that had the most amazing view over the whole of Chiang Mai. Heaps of people purchased the religious paraphernalia for praying and nearly every spare floor space had people kneeling and praying and gifting. In one room there was a monk waving a swatch around as though sprinkling the people with holy water. The other observation was the amazing array of technological devises being used to take photos. How life has changed for us with technology.
The trip down again saw me having to say no very firmly to a lady who wanted me to buy a painting. I now know how to say No thank you in Thai. “Mai car” and a firm shake of the head whilst I walked away did the trick. Strange that it was only me that she pestered.
Everyone was present for tea. We all order our own meals and pay for our own so there is not a lot of sharing at this stage. I decided on my favourite dish
which is satay chicken and to help with keeping my weight down I went for a fruit platter too. But amazingly Harold decided to go for the lobster and headed off to make his choice from the range of lobsters sitting on ice. The lobsters were actually dead unlike the crabs that are tied around their claws and if you stare at them they stare back at you. Harold chose the biggest lobster that weighed in at 2.5 kilos. I am unsure as to whether he realised what he was going to pay, but we all calculated that at the Australian rate of exchange he was paying near on ….wait for it….$200 for his tea tonight. Well the lobster was done in a mornay sauce and smelled divine. I just so happened to be sitting next to Harold and when he couldn’t eat any more he offered it to me in exchange for some of my fruit. Well my three mouthfuls would have most probably been worth $20.00. Still as he said it was his holiday and his money and he could spend it frivolously if he wanted to. Good on him.
While we were having tea at the
food court many lady boys came out in their costumes to promote their show that started at 9.30 and was free as long as you bought a drink from their bar. It was hard to pick if they were ladies or men and some were dressed as ladies and some as men and one who performed in the floorshow, definitely had a problem deciding if he or was it, she was a lady or a man or a bit of both. I leave that one to your imagination or you can check out one of the photos and see for yourself.
Casper, Emma’s partner had decided to go to the Thai boxing for the night so Emma and I walked around the market place for an hour or so checking out the local handicrafts and clothing. There are some great bits and pieces to buy but no room in the suitcase and a lot of travelling to still do so I just purchased an ankle bracelet that I quite liked. By this time it was time for the lady boys to start their show so we made our way to their facility.
Earlier on I had had my
photo taken with one of the lady boys. Is she a lady or a boy??? The show though was quite spectacular and it was evident that a lot of time goes into the making of the flamboyant risqué costumes and the dance moves or choreography. Either way the imagination of the producer and the attitude of the participants made it a very worthwhile nights’ entertainment. I had a great laugh and at one stage wondered about Emma as she is only 22 and I am picking she had not seen anything quite like it before.
But now I digress with what I think was a funny story about Emma and her partner. He went off to the Thai boxing and Emma and I to the lady boys. He was told that as he would be coming in late he could sleep with the other person he was going to the Thai boxing with. Oh but fate took a different course and his mate and he got separated at around 2ish in the morning. Due to the late hour and the amount of alcohol consumed he decided to risk getting back into his and Emmas room and this
by now is 3am. So he knocked quietly on the door, she answered, he stood there without moving or saying anything and so Emma shut the door again and went back to bed. Poor fellow took himself off downstairs to wait for his mate on the steps of the hotel. But once again fate intervened and the hotel management rang our guide who duly rescued him and tucked him into bed in his room. Yes he was definitely in the dogbox for a few hours but seemed to manage to claw his way out by the middle of the day. Good on your Emma! I liked the way you handled that. LOL
So once again there is a new adventure for me for the day as I had signed up for the four hour cycle trip around the outskirts of Chiang Mai where there was farm land, villages, housing estates, buried temples and houses with moneyed people in them. Oh yes and did I forget to mention temples? Grrrr. The bikes were mountain bikes and in excellent shape and we were expected to wear helmets. The guide was called Bird and he was 27 years old and single. He
prepared us very well for the journey by giving us careful, clear instructions on how to respond to his signals. I also think he was pleased to see that I could ride a bike and I thought that was funny that he would have thought I couldn’t.
So not much to really say about the bike ride other than we went to several temples, saw orchards, housing estates, roads, lanes, backyards of houses and some buried ruins as well as visiting the leprosy centre which was the area that I was most interested in.
It seems that leprosy has now died out in Thailand and it was caused by a bacteria formed through very poor living standards. The person might get a sore or infection and a particular type of bacteria gets into it and starts the decay of digits on hands and feet and elsewhere I suppose too. We saw several very elderly people at the centre with leprosy which is now controlled. At the height of the epidemic over 100 years ago 1000 people were housed in this facility founded by Americans, but now there remains only 60 people and once they go the facility is
likely to be used for rehabilitation.
As part of the discussion we had during this trip though we talked about the European men who come to pick up the Thai ladies. Just a piece of useless information really and only available to anyone who is still reading this diatribe, that these men are called, “Pussyface”. Well I thought that was hilarious and also that we were made privy to the degrading name given to these depraved European men. It seems that you cannot own property in Thailand if you are a foreigner so if the Thai girls can get the men to buy a house or property for them, they can then kick them out after a period of time. Useless but interesting tattle tale I reckon.
Four hours went very quickly and the local meal at lunch was unique to this region called Chiang Mai Noodle. It is a red curry with two different types of noodles and not only did I have it for lunch and it was delicious, but I learned to make it in my cooking class. Yes. My Thai cooking class.
I will now be able
to display my brilliance as a cook after a three hour lesson and first-hand experience at making four Thai dishes. Maybe I will start entertaining at home and you might be one of the lucky ones to get an invite and experience my Thai cooking? We also received a recipe book with other easy to produce recipes I hope.
To end the day I went for a quick look around the market, had a local beer at the bar and presented myself for a lovely massage and then back to the hotel, working on this blog before bed and now it is nearly 12.00 and time to sleep and in the morning first thing to pack for the three to four day trek and no blogs.
The only thing we need to be concerned about on the trek is the leeches and this will only be if it rains. I have been assured no snakes will cross our path. So watch this space.