We stayed a little longer in Chiang Mai . . . . . . . just too wonderful

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March 23rd 2012
Published: March 22nd 2012
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So it is farewell to Chiang Mai, for little while, we’ll definitely come back to do some cycling, yoga etc etc

We have had a wonderful time in Chiang Mai. Arrived nearly 2 ½ months ago and have really loved it very much.

Since our last post we have really got a little routine going that suits us.

• Rise with coffee at leisurely 9.00am
• Read e-mails, even get to watch ABC News (Australian network)
• Then do some yoga (our own fusion of vinyasa and ashtanga) at the gym in our apartment
• Head off for late brunch at 12.00pm. Our daily haunt has been “Tips”, a smoothie bar in the local Somphet Market. Tip is lovely young lady who whips delicious fruit smoothies and makes the best fresh fruit salad with muesli and yoghurt. Our favourite smoothies were pineapple+mint+ginger+ lime (Robbo’s daily hit) and for Dave, his favourites were Coffee+Banana and Banana+Oreos
• Head back for swim and relax and then head off to yoga class** at 5.30pm.
• Then head out for dinner
• Return home to watch a movie, read and hit the pillow.

Weekends the same including Sunday walking market for dinner and occassionally going to the movies.

We have also been playing scramble on our iPad when we go out for brunch or dinner as we've been dining out now for over 300+ days not that we have nothing to talk about but ....... . Dave is currently the King of this game but now having taught Robbo some techniques, she is holding her own (occasionally).

**We started our entree journey / experiment (?) into practising Ashtanga yoga with the traditional teaching style known as MYSORE.

So we kicked off classes on Mon 21 Feb with teacher, Satu (Suzanne) Rommi at The Yoga Room.

Now Dave and I done some led Ashtanga classes in Rishikesh, Northern India in October where the teacher will ‘lead’ everyone in their practise versus Mysore where you do your practise on your own.

Robbo practised alongside another new yogi, Marcus and we learnt the first seven (7) postures after the Sun Salutation A & B sequences then we did some of the closing sequence postures and breathing. After that we were watching other yoga students (I found out later some of them were teachers) busting out some serious postures. A couple of times we looked across at each other with facials expressions that articulated “No Way” & “Holy Sh8t”.

Dave was pumping out his primary series while taking a sneaky peek** at what Marco (owner of The Yoga Room) was doing to take cues on what posture was next in the primary series. By end of class, Dave was a hot sweaty mess. But his eyes were sparkling with happiness like he had worked ‘hard’.

**You ideally can’t bring the primary series posture / asana notes into class so you have to memorize the primary series. I think this is good for the little grey brain cells to try to memorize, what did you just tell me?.

Thankfully we did not get to practise the following day as we were shattered. We have the moon cycle to thank for that as on Tues 21 Feb it was a NEW MOON DAY. There is NO practising on Full Moon or New Moon days and Saturdays. Also goddesses can take break during the first days of their monthly cycle. Also the traditional Mysore style, on Tuesday’s NO new postures are taught to students as it is not good due to Mars being in the astrological profile in Hindu calendar.

We have progressed quite nicely with Satu. She is a very patient and thoughtful teacher.

There are days when you really get into it and feel light and free in your body and then days when you feel like a truck of wet cement but for me it is bit like golf, if you hit the sweet shot you will come back and equally when you use your breath and being present to your practise you love the process when your body opens up little more.

The object of Mysore style is to perform each posture/ asana as close to the original posture as you can AND in the order they appear. If we were in a vinyasa flow class you would have blocks, straps, a wall even and so forth to assist but here, it is old school. Your teacher will determine whether you proceed to next posture(s). It is very individualised style of teaching and more one-on-one bespoke approach than styles of classes we have taken to date.

Note to self: Got to remember it is a journey, it takes people years for some postures to be
Sunset over Doi Sutep rangeSunset over Doi Sutep rangeSunset over Doi Sutep range

View from our apartment / hotel while we've been in Chiang Mai

The primary series really challenges our bodies, as you have to work into full lotus for many of the postures. Sadly for all office workers our hips are so tight that it takes a while to open up. Our lifestyle sees most of us sitting in chairs or cars, buses all day; we don’t sit crossed legged on the floor or sit in long meditative states.

Other highlights

“Paradise in Chiang Mai”, translation, yoga teacher, Danny Paradise weekend classes. Dave attended his two 4-hour+ classes. Danny is a very well known yoga teacher and travels the globe taking workshops.

Dave’s outtakes and learning’s: the classes were very refreshing (not pure Ashtanga but fusion), Danny was all about taking it to YOUR edge (no one else’s), don’t hurt yourself!!. Also Danny added some poses from the Ashtanga’s advanced series but they are actually often appearing in Power Yoga class sequences so Dave was ‘at home’ with those. www.dannyparadise.com

Robbo took a break from ashtanga that weekend to assist in the raw food kitchen at the Yoga Tree studio for three days. That was an experience. Loyenda had me preparing some more recipes including nori sushi rolls, energy balls, pesto, gamashio and we set up to serve the yogis who wanted some tastes we developed. How good is that, now I just need some willing victims when I get home to trial my culinary outputs……

Thanks to The Yoga Room’s owner, Marco, he introduced us to a hidden jewel, “Fish in a Barrel”, not this is not the actual name of the café, it is “Lert Ros” but refers to way the owner cooks whole fish over coals in a barrel. We had a delicious whole steamed fish each stuffed with lemon grass to give it tender light flavour. This was a lovely local experience as whole family working in the restaurant and it feels like you’re in their kitchen (literally). We have been back subsequently on numerous occasions and tried their green papaya and bamboo shoot salads – we love it.

Our favourite haunts for bite to eat include:

Lert Ros (refer above) - northern thai cuisine

Tips for brunch and any time really you want a delicious smoothie

Café Compassion – raw food/vegan food

Tizan Zi – macrobiotic vegetarian food

Pun Pun – organic vegetarian food

Aum – organic vegetarian food – they do a yummy Khao Soi, traditional Northern Thai curry with crispy noodles plus an amazing vegetarian pizza.

Lantera – Italian – thinnest pizza crust they make

Sunday Walking Markets – the variety is amazing esp. freshly made sushi

We did venture out to the CM City Hall to Japan Earthquake Disaster Memorial Charity Event, Tenkawa. They were launching 1,000 Komloi, the flying paper lanterns. Sadly we didn't get many photos of the lanterns but they look amazing.

We arrived and watched a couple of performances all in Japanese and Thai, some excellent traditional drumming, then violin and then some young girls wearing their comic book outfits and lip syncing their Japanese pop songs - very cute and sweet but an acquired taste. Dave went looking for a beer to dull the senses but it was a dry event!

One negative we should mention if you’re planning to visit, just watch for late Feb/early March as there is quite bit of pollution from the rice field burning around Chiang Mai. It is done prior to rain arriving. Sadly the smoke haze and dust
Nice WheelsNice WheelsNice Wheels

One of the two scooters we had in Chiang Mai.
created sees both locals and visitors alike being impacted. Think itchy red eyes, sore throats, sneezing. Most people have taken to wearing cloth facial masks. It is not great but life goes on. Happens each year for 3-4 weeks. Just have to grin & bear it.

So why are we leaving?

We received news from our darling friends in Sydney that we are their house sitters while they travel to NYC and HK in April/May following their commitment ceremony. So it will so great to be part of the special celebrations and was a fabulous reason to come home. Now for how long? That is the $24m question. It will be exciting to venture back to Sydney and pop up to Qld to see friends and family but in terms of settling down again or heading overseas for some more adventures, we will see.

So with that news is Dave coming back to reality? He bought some jeans today for 20 baht (or 60 cents). NOTE: Dave has not worn any formal shorts, jeans or trousers since 10 November when he first donned his ashram yoga karate style pants, that is, aside from swimming in his boardies. Nor has he worn any enclosed shoes except his Croc thongs since that date. He has worn yoga style pants everyday with casual shirts, singlets or t-shirts. Will be interesting if his ‘look’ will assimilate back in Australia, especially in Bronte, Paddington, Woollahra neighbourhoods!!!!

Game plan is to head up to Nepal to complete 21+ days of trekking before we fly home. We thought we are so close to Nepal (Only 3 ½ hours direct flight from Bangkok) so we’ll go for it and hopefully have some great spring- time trekking. This trip we are heading to Annapurna and Lang Tang regions and we’re doing the trip with a private guide and porter rather than in a big group.

Smiles, Robbo and Dave

Additional photos below
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The only rain we saw in Chiang MaiThe only rain we saw in Chiang Mai
The only rain we saw in Chiang Mai

two months in Chiang Mai - sunny every day

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