|Chiang Mai day 2
Up a bit later today, we were both pretty tired. I headed off to get my camera looked at whilst Ruth went for breakfast and a haircut. I found the camera dealer who agreed to check it over, but it would take two days but after a brief discussion in which I mentioned the main dealer in Bangkok told me it should be done in one day, wE agreed I could return at 5pm. (Well you have to tell them, eh Victoria?)
Back to meet up with Ruth and grab some breakfast - a very nice banana peanut butter and chocolate sauce pancake and a really good coffee. Good, now ready for the day.
We walked around the northern perimeter of Chiang Mai, visiting several Wats (temples). They were beautifully decorated and complete with a large statue of Buddha and many smaller statues. The artwork was stunning but all seemed totally unreal given the poverty evident in the streets outside. Otherwise that part of Chiang Mai seemed a bit boring, nothing very interesting, or maybe we have become too familiar with the sights and sounds of Thai cities.
I returned to collect my camera and I was delighted to find they had managed to fix it. Great stuff. Ruth in the meantime wandered to another market and back to the hotel for a nap.
We tried to book a trip to a particular elephant park but it was fully booked (they only take 9 people at a time, and they were booked solid until the middle of December!). Same with the cookery schools we tried. There was a travel agent next to the hotel so we asked her to do what she could and she turned up trumps. So now we are cooking tomorrow afternoon/evening and off to see the elephants the following afternoon. Good result.
With those things sorted we decided to sample the delights of the night market. It was big but there weren't as many tourists as we expected and I think trade was down. We did buy some things and enjoyed a bit of haggling and then we found the food market, sat down and enjoyed freshly stir-fried chicken and cashew nut with stir-fried vegetables and a mango shake (which is puréed mango blended with crushed ice - very refreshing). Really good, though there was a bit too much chilli for Ruth who went even redder than usual.
Chiang Mai day 3
Another late morning; just couldn't separate Ruth from the bed! Off to the little cafe down the road for the same banana pancakes and their excellent coffee. Ruth decided she needed another visit to the hairdresser, this time for highlights (?), oh, and while there might just as well have a pedicure. I wandered off to try out my now repaired camera. Ruth's hair did look good and very pretty toes!
A nice lunch in another little cafe nearby, Thai green curry and Khoa Soi (the Chiang Mai version of chicken with noodles). Both very good and washed down with our favourite drink, mango shake. Delicious!
We returned to the hotel to be collected by the cookery school and after a very long drive to pick up another four people then to go on to a local market where we were shown typical Thai food ingredients. It was interesting to see the different sorts of vegetables and all the various spices. Finally to the school itself. It was just a private house, with a makeshift kitchen outside; a horseshoe of gas rings with woks.
The cooking was introduced by looking at, smelling and/or tasting the ingredients for the meals we were about to cook. Some of these had very strong flavours. We then selected from a list the dishes we each wished to make and then e fun began. Ruth had chosen Thai green curry, fried chicken with cashew nuts and Tom Yam soup (sweet and sour soup). I chose Khoa Soi (Chiang Mai noodles), Pad Thai (fried noodle Thai style) and Thai noodle soup - an awful lot of noodles!
We prepared the first two dishes, cooked them and the all sat down together to eat them and swap notes. The third dish plus some spring rolls were then prepared, cooked and the eaten. All delicious though Ruth's Tom Yam soup proved to have just too much chilli.
It was a lot of fun, laughing good naturedly at mistakes, ingredients in the wrong order, dropped pans etc. Our teacher was a bundle of energy, rushing from one pan to the next, correcting and advising and joking about some of the errors. Most of the participants were French, so Ruth was in her element, but I was still able to enjoy the evening too. All too soon it was time to go and the ride back in the songthaw didn't seem to take nearly as long as the outward journey.
We might need a bit more practice at the Thai cooking lark before we can inflict it on any guests, so please be patient. (Victoria still hasn't demonstrated her Thai cookery skills to us)