Holy moooooooly. Chiang Mai. I freaking love this place. Excuse me for what is essentially about to be a photo essay of sorts, but I kind of can’t help myself.
The temples! Maybe I AM a Temple Person.
We saw so much old stuff.
And ate, like, SO much food.
Behold: the scene of the crime of one of our Top 3 Most Memorable Meals in Thailand (we kept a list of all of them. Literally every meal). This was one of the absolute top contenders.
BEHOLD. Apologies for the cell phone picture, but also whatever. Khao soi (a soup-like dish with a mix of deep-fried crispy and boiled egg noodles, pickled cabbage, shallots, lime, ground chillies, and meat in a curry sauce), minced spicy pork dip, sauteed baby eggplants, fried chicken (the best I’ve EVER had), and some kind of veggies something or other (there, now you can make it at home).
And STICKY RICE. Oh, the sticky rice. A few of these items were designed for eating with your hands – you take a wad (sorry!) of the sticky rice, dip it in the food, and then eat it. It is delightfully caveman-like. And I LOVED IT.
Please excuse me. I am having a moment.
Oh, these old things?
I really love elephants. I used to think that they were sort of my spirit animal, but I think I realized on this trip that actually I’m a little bit scared of them, and that I will stick with otters.
We spent Christmas Day riding an elephant in the jungles of northern Thailand. And that is a sentence that I just actually wrote.
That’s a baby elephant trying to escape over that fence and come live with us in California.* Have you ever seen anything cuter? The cuteness almost gave me hives.
We also played with tigers. Here are a whole bunch of pictures of my husband playing with this baby tiger. Because. Husband! And baby tiger! Swoon.
All of that is fine and good and great, but what I REALLY want to tell you about is the cooking class we took. Because it was THE BOMB.
A little Thai lady named Amporn came and picked us up at our hotel, and then picked up the 6 drunkest Australians who have ever lived. They were awesome.
She took us to her house/cooking studio out in the country area of Lanna, right outside of Chiang Mai. First, we stopped at the market, where we saw all kinds of funky Thai stuff. Then, the drunk Australians made us stop for beer (“It’s Christmas Eve, after all,” they said – in hindsight, this was a very good idea).
Then Amporn yelled at us a lot and taught us how to make spring rolls, tom ka and tom yum, red and green curry, and pad thai. She spent a lot of time making fun of the drunk Australians. It was awesome.
Here’s Amporn teaching everyone how to make spring rolls. LOL about all the chef’s hats (and the one Santa hat, for good measure). Also, the man on the end on the right was so intoxicated that he was basically sleeping standing up.
[Ready to wok and roll (ducks and covers)]
[Look what we made!!!!!!!!]
I think that this class really drove home for both of us how much we love cooking, and how much food connects us to different cultures. We were totally giddy when we got home – it was the same way I feel after a great concert. Totally inspired. So inspired, in fact, that we are now cooking our way through Pok Pok, Andy Ricker’s super crazy awesome Thai cookbook. It’s a dream.
Can you tell we liked our cooking class???
Let’s talk about Deep Relax.
Here’s a sample conversation that happened between my husband and me on our second day in Chiang Mai:
Me: Massages are so cheap here! Like $10 for an hour! We should totally get one.
Him: I don’t want a massage.
Me: When are we getting massages?
Him: Why don’t you just go?
Me: You mean, on my honeymoon? Go to get a massage? Alone? When we should be getting couple’s massages? Because we’re on our honeymoon?
Him: It’s not a big deal. I could just walk around.
Him: Well, maybe we could both go.
Me: (Silence. But smug silence this time.)
Here is a real conversation that happened towards the end of our honeymoon:
Him: Man, I could really go for a massage right now. Do you want to go get a massage?
You know what? I don’t even like massages that much, it turns out.
I think he liked it more than I did.
Anyway! Thanks for letting me tell that story.
Here’s where we went on our last day: Doi Inthanon National Park. We took a very, very, very slow minivan ride up into the mountains outside of Chiang Mai.
Here is the temple for the current queen of Thailand.
ANNOUNCEMENT: When a temple is built for me, I would like it to look exactly like this. But to preferably be located somewhere more convenient than Thailand. Thank you in advance!
In Chiang Mai, we had a little tiny (both of those) tour guide named Lek. Lek always wanted to make sure that we ate good food, and not food that wasn’t “good for foreigner’s stomachs.” I was offended by that, so we ditched her lunch solution and went to the place below instead.
Lek wasn’t very happy about that. Here’s what we ate:
Papaya salad, pork and some other things wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled, and a flat chicken chopped up.
To be honest? It was the tiniest bit sketchy. I’m still pretty glad we went.
In summary, Chiang Mai was AWESOME. Full of delicious food and nice people and cool stuff. There were castle walls! That was great, too. I seem to have suddenly gotten very awkward in trying to end this, so I’m just going to leave you with this:
LOL! What does it mean?! (Just kidding. I know what it means. Bye!)