Born Again in Chang Mai!

Chiang Mai Travel Blog

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Group photo!
Symptoms of hitting the “Traveler’s Wall” might leave the lone vagabond listless.  Longing for the comforts and the familiarity of home after being on a constant move from city to city and one country to another, a sudden state of inaction sets in; you hit the wall.  It’s the disquieting doldrums of the extended travels that leaves one wondering when and where the next “wind” will pick up the enthusiasm, the spirit, and the zeal found at the outset of the journey.

The “wind” that put the impetus back in the sail was found again in Northern Thailand at a place called Chang Mai.  Situated hours away by flight from crazy Bangkok and the overrun paradise lost beaches of Phuket and Phi Phi islands of the South, Chang Mai offered a slower pace, friendlier locals, and a laid back life style without sacrificing vibrant Thai life that is promised in the travel brochures.
  The quiet retreat to the nearby mountains also offered a dilapidated traveler an adventure to reclaim the soul that is being sold or lost in the more touristy South.

Departing with eight other Germans on our three-day trek with our guide Charan or “Jimmy”, a Bruce Lee reincarnated, it was a great feeling to step off into the lush dense woods.  We stopped 10 minutes into the hike to lather up with mosquito repellent and continued to our first mountain village huts.  Over the next three days and two nights spent in the mountains we:
•    Showered underneath a cascading waterfall.
•    Fought off blood sucking leeches and sprayed them to submission with Deet (it worked like a charm Kevin!).
•    Wondered if any of us will succumb to Malaria or Dengue fever from the numerous blood-sucking mosquitoes we endured.
Baby snake.

•    Rode an elephant and got chased around by a three-year-old baby elephant.
•    Rafted down a river on a bamboo raft in the rain...exhilarating!
•    Played with mountain village children and shared small gifts we brought along.
•    Ate the most unusual uneatable looking fruits.
•    Seen the biggest cockroaches, spiders, and butterflies in my life.
•    Mein Deutsch ist besser; dieses geschieht, Wenn Sie das einzige nicht Deutsche sind.  

One day you’re slipping and falling in the rain soaked soil.  The next day your ass is being pricked apart by the rough hair on the elephant’s head you’re sitting on, as it playfully slaps its ears on your legs.
Leech!
  Then you’re struggling to maneuver a bamboo raft with a bamboo stick as the slick river and the downpour of rain drenches and slaps your soul back to life!  Let’s not forget getting even with the blood suckers and spraying leeches with Deet and watching its rendition of the death dance as the anti-coagulated induced blood spill and spill...and it’s easy to curse at the moment yet you’re laughing and embracing the wild surroundings with your new German friends.  Life changing moments for some and life enhancing for all!  

And exactly how do you top the experience in the wild jungle of Thailand?  You don an apron and take a Thai cooking course with the new German alliance!  First stop is at the market to learn about the variety of nomenclatures of vegetables, spices, fruits, mushrooms and.
Children at mountain village.
..”what was that thing”... before heading into the kitchen to make your first vegetarian spring rolls with peanut sauce followed by six other dishes including Thai soup, curry, among other mouth watering Thai dishes, and topped off with a sticky rice with sweet coconut milk sauce and mango dessert!  It’s all paced optimally and gently guided by the kindest Thai female chefs.  We started at 9 AM and the moveable feast ended at 3 PM.  Needless to say, we didn’t eat for the rest of the day.  

It was possibly one of the most relaxing and satisfying classes I’ve taken and hope to pick up more cooking classes back home.  I understand my next destination, Laos, has their own twist and specialty to the SE Asia cooking.  Might throw in another $12 into the trade.
Peek a boo!
  I’ll be sure to send invitations upon return to share and experiment on those of you who have read this far.  Must send code word “Chang Mai” in your reply to receive invitation as a reward for enduring this far in the email reading.  Ha ha...lol... ☺ ...sorry for the “email prose etiquette moment there.”

Reinvigorated and ready to move on, sort of, I’ll be flying to Luang Prabang (you can really have some fun with SE words: Phuket...need I say more?) in Northern Laos to walk the temple (wat) lined streets of the World Heritage listed city then follow the Mekong River down to the capital Vientiane.  To say I’m going to miss Chang Mai with its friendly inhabitants, the Sunday market, its lush forest, night market, food, etc. is an understatement.  List Chang Mai down for a place to return in the journal and stay at the Chang Mai Garden Guest House for $10 per night and practice your German with the friendly owner who spent three years in Gainesville Florida while her husband got his PhD in Agriculture at U of Florida and you’ll have more insight to comparative culture of Europeans, Americans, and Thais.  Cured of “Traveler’s Wall” and pressing on to Laos.  Phop kan mai...see you later in Laos!

                                   Sung

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Group photo!
Group photo!
Baby snake.
Baby snake.
Leech!
Leech!
Children at mountain village.
Children at mountain village.
Peek a boo!
Peek a boo!
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Chiang Mai
photo by: Stevie_Wes