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Published: February 9th 2010
We came here for two or three days but it looks like we are gonna stay for at least a week. We love this place!
My nephew and his house-mates suggested we stay at Boon Mee guesthouse when we got here. We tried to call ahead to no avail so arrived in Chiang Mai with the name of the place and that was about it. We took a chance and had the tuk tuk driver drop us off at the front desk of Boon Mee hoping they had a room. They did! For 650 baht a night (about $20 Canadian) we have a large room with our own bathroom, double bed, sofa, table and TV (which we haven't even thought of turning on. And the location is incredible, a five minute walk from the Tha Pae gate, the main gate into the old walled city. The night bazaar and the Sunday market are both around the corner.
The place is run by mom, dad and the two daughters. It is like stepping into their family for a few nights. Mom takes every guest under her wing and eagerly gives her opinion on what to visit and what not to
waste our time on. She has been a constant wealth of information from the word go and is interested in where everyone is from and what they are doing.
We tried to escape this morning but were convinced to stay and eat at their little "guests only" restaurant. She said we absolutely had to try the dumplings for breakfast. So we sat, had two great coffees and the dumplings. And yes, they were delicious. They are still trying to get us to try the noodles for lunch but we have yet to be around in the middle of the day.
As we were heading out of the place this morning with our laundry in tow, they announced they would do that too, so it saved us another trip to the nearby laundry. You gotta love this country...wherever you are, there are tons of places nearby that will wash, dry and iron your clothes for 30-50 baht a kilogram (about a dollar) and have them ready for you by the end of the day.
And to top it off, the last three days have been the Chiang Mai flower festival with free entertainment every night, a parade of
flower floats we missed but were still able to view at the local park, and even more shopping stalls than usual.
Chiang Mai is the center of Thai handcrafts and it is an experience to walk around the local markets and bazaars and check out all the beautiful handmade clothing, pottery, wood carving and thousands of other items available. We could have bought the place out but are trying to refrain from too much spending.
Today we visited the famous Bo Sang village where they make hand-made paper and silk umbrellas. It is only a fifteen minute drive outside of town and should cost 20 baht to get there by minibus unless you make a mistake and take a 200 baht taxi instead. For those of you that make the trek to Chiang Mai...taxis are red....minibuses are white...other than that they look the same and we will leave it at that!
The frame and small ribs of the umbrella are made from bamboo which is painstakingly shaped into the many pieces necessary. The covering is made from paper that is made from the bark of the mulberry tree. The bark is beaten and boiled into a thick
pulp from which the translucent mulberry paper or sa is produced.
The people hare are great, friendly and helpful. And once again, unlike Phuket, there are more locals than tourists. It is a laid back city with l And of course as in every other place, traditional Thai massage parlors line the streets. We finally broke down and walked across the street to experience a one hour body massage. After being stretched, massaged and pounded from one end to the other, we both felt wonderful.
For tomorrow, I have enrolled in a one day Thai cooking course. If it is as good as it sounds, I'll be going back for a second day before we leave here. There are two parts to the course you can take. The day starts with a trip to the local market and then we will learn how to make several traditional Thai dishes. It is a hands on course where we each get our own oven, etc. Stay tuned for an entry on this in the next blog!
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