Friday Farang-ing:

Chiang Mai Travel Blog

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It's midnight and I've just come back from a delightful Thai massage. I asked her would she come back to Australia with me, but she just giggled. Although I did notice her MSN screen showing two western men she was chatting with......perhaps they weren't Aussies?
200 baht = approx $8.00, and yes, that's what it cost! I couldn't bring myself to tell her what I pay at home!

OOps, I'm starting at the wrong end of the day......

Today was a day of rest and sleep-in, slow start. In fact, so much so that we didn't get breakfast - read: lunch/brunch- till 1pm. Leanne and I were desperate for coffee, not having had any for two days, so stopped at a coffee house and waited 15!!! minutes for our ....did they have to grow the beans first? It WAS worth the wait though, or was that just because of the wait, it was good?
And then we headed for the other side of the Tha Phae Gates and more choice of cafes. As we had to walk past the Tribal markets at the end of our street we stopped in to see if they had any sandals- I desperately need some cooler footwear. Instead we I bought Kiara two dolls dresssed as the King & Queen of Thailand. Leanne bought two lovely tops, and I bought two quite feminine wrap skirts. I will go back and try some of those tops on, they looked so good on Leanne! Quickly we detoured to our digs and dropped off our impromptu shopping and then headed through the Gates.
We found a lovely cafe with high ratings from Lonely Planet. It had sate - mine & Kiara's craving for the day, and sticky rice with mango - Kiara's choice for dessert. Leanne was happy with whatever she could find on the menu, which was yummy too.....and the name eludes me but was traditional Northern Thai dish.

After food......we were passing a Temple and stopped in. It was quite fascinating - with Donald Duck in the gardens!! Yes, You read right! I was drawn into the Temple, where I met a local man who worked there - a teacher for the Government - while Kiara and Leanne wandered around outside, looking for more Disney characters I presumed. What a beautiful Temple!! The Man spoke excellent English and was more than helpful, giving us information as to markets, traditional handicraft factories making lacquer ornaments inlaid with gold and delicately hand-painted, silk garment products, etc. He also advised about Tailors as Leanne needed a dress for a wedding she was attending the day she arrived back in Perth. He organised a tuk-tuk driver to take us for the afternoon, wherever we wanted to go,  and we did!

We went firstly to the Laquer goods factory, and watched the workers at their craft. And craft it is. They are artisans, and it is a very warm workshop. Then we are drawn into the extensive showroom, to see the vast array and range of goods they actually do create. From tiny little animals, such as fish, turtles, cats, elephants, to extremely large and ornately painted versions of the small items, as well as jewellery and trinket boxes among other items. I bought a few trinket boxes for gifts for my oldest son's girls and partner, and the more I bought, the more tiny animals they gave Kiara.

Speaking of Kiara, Boy, oh boy is she a hit! W have tuk-tuk drivers begging to take us, I think they see her as auspicious with her curly, flaming coppery/auburn hair, fair complexion and deep blue eyes. She's certainly a fascination for the Thais. We then went to another factory outlet, but it tended to be more middle-eastern (cashing in on the Thai factory outlets, perhaps?), with some Thai silk scarves and clothing. Beautiful items of excellent quality.
There were other outlets such as painted umbrellas, and teak and other wooden carvings, but we skipped those as by now Kiara had fallen asleep in the tuk-tuk. Our driver then took us to the recommended tailor, and we spent an hour and half there while Leanne and I thumbed through their fashion and pattern books looking for a dress that Leanne liked. We showed the tailor her choices and then he drew up a couple of designs he thought would suit her. She ended up choosing a design on a mannequin which was a combination of choices we had made, and those he had drawn. Getting measured was interesting as we have no idea of what he was saying to his scribe as he called out Leanne's boob measurements. He was a funny guy, with a good sense of humour and a ready smile, and joined in with our banter. His mobile phone played Queen's Fat Bottom Girls! which had us all chuckling every tiime it rang. Kiara had found a colouring-in book and was totally absorbed, with only a blacklead pencil.
From there we tuk-tuked back to the end of our street to walk the rest of the way home via the masseurs.  We all, even Ki, had a foot & half leg massage for half an hour. We put our footwear back on and Ki and I commented that we thought our shoes felt too big now.....but Gee we felt good.
Back home Kiara enjoyed playing with her new dolls and lacquer toys for a few hours until it was time for some dinner. We decided to pop back to our lunch cafe and try something different, except Ki who wanted sate again. On our walk home after dinner we spied a sign for a silk outlet down a little laneway, followed the sign to find it closed, but continued on - just to see where it went. The lane wound it's way around and about, and came out about 100 metres from where we went in - on the very same street! Well, at least we walked a rather filling dinner, off!
Once home, I got Ki to bed and popped back to the masseurs.....and the rest, they say, is history.

We're now planning, or a least trying to, our agenda from Monday onwards.
As for tomorrow, well I'm not too sure yet.........but am off to discuss, so You'll just have to wait til it happens!

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Chiang Mai
photo by: Stevie_Wes