Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dreaming about Curry

We are now relaxing in Chiang Mai, in the North of Thailand. We took an overnight train from Bangkok, and although we had an upper bunk again like we did from Hat Yai to Bangkok, this train ride was much more comfortable. The air-conditioning was not freezing us out and the ride itself, although 13 hours long was on-time and relatively pleasant.

Chiang Mai is quite a contrast to Bangkok. Although it's a bustling city with all sorts of traffic the weather is much cooler. It gets hot during the day, but the mornings are very cool; we noticed it right away getting off the train around 7AM.

The train station in Chiang Mai was a zoo - everyone offered us ride, places to stay, tours. Since we didn't know where we were staying we decided to walk the 2 km into town, especially since the weather was so cool. Apparently people don't walk in Chiang Mai; we had to dismiss tuk-tuk drivers and taxi cabs every 100 feet or so.
Walking into town
Eventually we got into town and after looking at one grungy guest house, found Libra House, a very nice place with a lovely courtyard and free wifi! The rooms are small, but adequate, and at 200 Baht per night ($6 USD) it's certainly within our budget.

The only thing of note we've done here is take a Thai cooking class. We had a great time at this class. The class took place on a farm about a half-hour outside the city. They picked us up in the morning, we went to the market to look at the ingredients we'd be using that day, then went to the farm. The class was outstanding. We made green and red curry (from scratch, using a mortar and pestle), tom yum soup, spring rolls, phad thai, papaya salad and mango with sticky rice. We ate part of what we made for lunch, but also brought enough home for dinner later! The class is run by Thai Farm Cooking School and it comes highly recommended.

Other than the class, we've been eating yummy food, drinking lots of fruit shakes and reading in the hammocks at the courtyard of our guest house.

Here are the pictures, mostly of our cooking class, but a few of the Chiang Mai itself. Maybe if we get motivated we'll see some of the temples outside the city, but for now we're just enjoying relaxing and not doing too much.

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