Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day 9- ELEPHANTS!!!!

We woke up and had breakfast on our Terrace once again. We had to get up early (only thing we scheduled in the morning while on our honeymoon) for our private tour for a day full of Thailand goodies! As we drove north out of Chiang Mai we could smell and see a thick haze in the air. Our private tour guide/translator informed us that it was the burning of the fields (rice fields). Apparently, it is illegal to burn in Thailand so we were probably smelling/seeing the consequences of burning in Burma. Our first stop was at a place where they made paper out of elephant dung. We witnessed the whole process and even bought some paper. Quite interesting, to say the least. Then it was onto Chiang Dao Elephant Camp (about 1.5 hours away from town). This camp is very highly thought of as they are extremely nice to the elephants and the trainers actually live among them.                                                            

We got to feed the elephants, but I was very nervous about sticking my hands anywhere close to them. They eat the entire bananna clusters, we just had to put them within reach of their trunks.

We got to watch the elephants get baths in the river and then put on a show for us.


Framed and ready to be hung. 
The show included this painting which we bought to go in our bedroom. This is proof that the elephant actually painted this!

Then we finally got to ride!! Loved every minute of this, we both did!!

We rode the elephants to this little 'village' where they were selling some of the same Thai goods.

After an authentic Thai lunch we started our way down the Ping River on our bamboo raft. This was a unique experience. We floated by some locals who were selling 'friendship' bracelets and they ran up to us saying '5 baht, 5 baht'. G immediately loved the little girls and bought one for each of us and one for the little girl. He still has his tied on his wrist and wears it every day.  

Our next stop on our all-day private tour was at an Orchid Farm...interesting.

Then it was finally time to go pick up G's suit. Final Product:       Love it!!! And that boy :)

We had dinner at The House (by recommendation). We had already bought tickets to Thai boxing for later in the evening and reserved our front row seats in the VIP section. Our last dinner in Thailand was amazing!!

Yes, we sat front row. I was nervous about what was about to happen, but it turned out to be so much fun! Thai boxing is not like American boxing AT ALL. They kick and slap and I found myself cheering. Yes, cheering, like arm in the air and 'whoo whoo- ing'...

 A Thai vodka/Red-bull

Yes, we were those people who went and took a picture with the big winner of the night. It was Spain vs. Thailand in the final match and Spain won in the first round. Very uneventful. Thai boxing was such a surprise treat. What a great last night in Chiang Mai! We have loved the city and look forward to coming back!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 8- Learning how to cook

G and I woke up in Chiang Mai ready to start our explorations. We had reservations with a cooking school at noon. We didn't want to do the full day class because we wanted to explore on our own that morning. We started with breakfast in the courtyard of our boutique hotel. Even though tables were set for other people, we always had breakfast alone and enjoyed each other's company and reflecting on the previous day's amazingness.

I had fried rice with a fried egg on top, miso soup, and mango. nom nom nom. Seriously awesome and worth every calorie that it contained. We were in Chaing Mai March 29-April 1 which means that we got to witness all of the mayhem before the Songkran, Thailand New Year Celebration, which is April 13-15. Here is a tower of sorts that they make all across the city to be able to shoot fireworks as it is made of bamboo and filled with sand. We got most of our information from locals who stopped us on the street to make sure we were finding everything that we needed. At first we were skeptical of all of the unsolicited help, but we realized quickly how genuine Thais are in Chaing Mai.
 They were holding elections while we were there and these are the only election signs that you would see. Much better than what we see for elections here in the States.

We came to LOVE tuk-tuks. They were quick, cheap, you got fresh air while getting to see all of the sites. I also loved it because Chaing Mai is the most difficult city that I have ever navigated. I had read in multiple places that we needed to get a Nancy Chandler map to be able to get our bearings. We went to a couple of 'bookstores' and I finally found the much needed map. We didn't go anywhere without this map and I would highly recommend spending the 300 baht. We went back for G's second fitting for his suit. My pants were ready as well as his shirts. We loved they way his shirts fit him so much that we got them to make 3 more for us to pick up with the final suit product. 

After exploring all morning, we were ready for our cooking class. G was a only being accommodating to his wife when we agreed to the cooking class, but I think he ended up having more fun than me! We chose the Siam Rice Cooking class based on a recommendation from The Seattle Smiths. It was absolutely awesome! I will leave it to these pictures and videos to show you how much freakin fun we had. *And we learned a little something! We have purchased a wok and have made some amazing Pad Thai and G has surprised me with some tasty stir fry!                                                  



We earned our certificates!!

After cooking class we walked around the Old City shopping and looking at temples. G and I stopped in at the Writer's Wine Bar where we met Cat, a 72 year old from Oregon. She moved to Thailand 5 years ago for the healthcare. She was very interesting to talk to as she has traveled around literally the entire world. G and I love meeting new people!                                       


G thought he was real, but I quickly knew that it was a wax figure. Kind of creepy.....

We got ready for dinner and took a tuk-tuk to The Riverside which is a restaurant located on the Ping River on the other side of town. We sat outside and enjoyed fish (yes, the whole fish. Eyes and all) and fresh veggies. The Riverside was also known for their live music and we enjoyed dancing and hanging out with the locals. The music was all American and we knew almost every song. Naturally, I didn't want to leave. 


Today was my most favorite day. G and I had so much fun exploring Chiang Mai and spending time with each other. The best thing about ending this day was knowing that we were going to ride the elephants in less than 12 hours!?!?!?!?