|Flew up to Chiang Rai to visit Peter R (as opposed to Peter H!) who we met when we all worked at CSIRO in Merbein. Had a fabulous 3 days with Peter R and his Thai partner Ooy. They live in a small village within The Golden Triangle, which is near the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. We stayed in a nice little adjoining village in a “resort”…..ahem, 8 small cabins and an outside restaurant surrounded by trees and bush. Only a 2km walk to their house which in itself was interesting, surprised villagers offering beer and a seat as we strolled past. Had a wonderful time – essentially Peter R drove and Ooy acted as interpreter, food selector and chef. Ate at places she knew so got to eat the most amazing dishes, deadly cheap and huge portions. On both nights Ooy cooked for us at their house with more fantastic food.
As her English is good, we got to discover so much that’s hidden from your average tourist. How things work within the village, hierarchies, family structures not to mention a walk through her garden in which pretty much everything is edible from leaves to roots which she uses in her food stall in front of the house. Went for a walk into a small forest where she then pointed out various plants which have medicinal as well as culinary uses. Boy oh boy, what little we know.
We then bussed down to Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city and a haven for Western retirees as the living is cheap and it’s much cooler than Bangkok. Been about 5 years since we were last here and of course things have changed – hordes and hordes of Chinese package tourist for starters. Still a nice city but as we couldn’t crack the public transport system stayed within the touristy parts.
Back in Bangkok now. Continuing the saga of our morning exercising, we have, it seems, officially joined an aerobics class in the park. For several days we just watched as we walked past, then finally asked if we could join in……..was met with cries of “welcome” and clapping!! Been star jumping, squatting and stretching ever since. On the first day the others constantly took photos but the novelty has now worn off. The man who runs the class apparently does it for free as he is retired and just likes to teach good health. How nice.
Hope everyone has a happy Christmas. Safe travelling to everyone on the move.