Pineapple stalks growing tall in the field. A pineapple plant can produce fruit for 10 years.
Today we left our lovely resort in Chiang Rai and made our way through the forested hills to Chiang Mai, a much larger city, but still a speck on the map compared to Bangkok.
We stopped by Nanglae, a pineapple producing village, where we saw pineapple fields and the paper products made from pineapple leaf pulp. Pineapple is a lucrative crop for Thailand. The homes in this village were all very nice.
Next, we visited the beautiful white Wat Rong Kuhn temple. This was truly spellbinding. The temple is like a glittering ice castle - all white, with intense ornamentation and all sparkling with little mirror chips. It was like something out of a dream. Amazingly, the architect of the temple, Mr. Chalermchai, was there. This is like visiting the Sistine Chapel and having Michaelangelo show you around.
We tried some new treats when we hit the road again. Moo Yaw - a very yummy sausage wrapped in leaves and Kao Larm, which is sweet sticky rice in a bamboo stick. Happy tummy!
In the afternoon, we visited a gem factory. This was my one and only disappointment in the tour. We had to sit through a
Typical Home in Pineapple Town
Most of the homes in the pineapple producing village of Nanglae were very nice. Ole said a home like this would cost about $100,000 US.
movie promoting the fabulous gems of Thailand and then were ushered into a huge sales room where we were obviously assigned a salesperson. A young Thai salesgirl kept following me around like a spy. Every time I would hesitate over one of the jewelry cases, she magically appeared and would take pieces out for me to try on. Of course, everything "looks beautiful on you." Way too pushy for my taste and the prices were no better than what we'd find in the states. I finally managed to escape to the tea room where I enjoyed a cup of ginger tea while waiting for the rest of the group. The parking lot was packed with tour buses, making me wonder what the commission must be on tourist sales.
Dinner tonight was a great experience, which more than made up for the gem sales visit. It was a Kantoke dinner and dance where we dined at a low table and enjoyed a couple of hours of native Thai dancing. The dancers were so graceful and beautiful. I loved the colorful costumes and the stories told through the dances. At the end, the dancers pulled some of the guests to the
When the pineapple plant no longer produces fruit, its long sharp leaves are shredded into pulp, which is used to make paper products.
dance floor. Cheesy, but fun.
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