It's been a busy couple of days!

When I last left you, we were off to dinner with a real Thai person (you know, as opposed to a fake one) and it was one of the most amazing dinners I've ever had in my life. One of my CFM students is Thai and was home for the holidays and took us to experience real Thai food. We gave him the task of ordering a bunch of stuff to try and there wasn't a single thing that wasn't amazing. My favourite was some sort of fish in some sort of batter-like thing. I'm so descriptive, aren't I? The moral of the story is - it was amazing. I will have to ask for a list of what we had (again) so that I can remember it better and start wishing that we can get the same sort of thing in Canada (I doubt it). After that, it was off to the bus station to catch an overnight bus to Chiang Mai in the northern part of Thailand. We had VIP seats - this meant we got blankets, seats that reclined to almost 180 degrees, snacks & drinks... It was a great trip - we slept since it was nighttime but it was an excellent way to travel. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, Jay got a bit sick, so when we got to Chiang Mai, we hurried to find a hotel and let him get some rest. Lisa and I took the opportunity to start some adventures.

We started out by going to a temple that was quite lovely - I have a BILLION pictures of it and there isn't much to say other than that there were some beautiful Buddhas and some amazing murals as well. We also looked into trekking and cooking classes. By the time that was all done (we got a trek and a cooking class), we headed back to the hotel for a wee bit, followed by a trip to a market (nothing exciting) and then off to dinner. We finished up our night by getting Thai foot massages which were UNBELIEVABLE. We weren't far from the hotel, but Lisa & I seriously contemplated getting a cab back. Our feet felt amazing and our backs & necks felt better too since the massage incorporated reflexology. It was a great way to end the evening!

The next morning, Lisa & I went off to a cooking class where we learned how to make real Thai food. It started with a trip to the oldest market in Chiang Mai then back to the school. Lisa and I were in the group that learned how to make spring rolls, papaya salad, sweet & sour chicken, some kind of soup that I forget, and curry. We got to eat everything we made and I really loved the spring rolls and the sweet and sour chicken, with the papaya salad coming in a close third. None of it is overly hard to make either, which is nice. I took lots of pictures (duh...) so that I can remember how things are supposed to be. We finished up our class with bananas in coconut milk for Lisa and pumpkin in coconut milk for me. Our instructor also gave us a recipe book with the recipes for both the courses that were taught that day and many good tips and pieces of information in it. We finished up our night with a trip to the Night Market. It was massive and we didn't even put a dent in it, yet I still managed to spend about 4000 baht (honestly, most of it is presents, though I did get myself a silk robe). After that, it was back to the hotel to get a good night's sleep for what I'm pretty sure is the best day of the whole trip...

At about 8 this morning, we were picked up by a car for our "one day adventure trek". We thought we'd be in a tour bus with many others (up to 12) but it was just Lisa and I (Jay was still under the weather). We had a private tour guide for the whole day! Our first stop was the orchid and butterfly farm. Since it is winter here, the butterflies were not out but there were many beautiful orchids. We didn't stay there long as we had to head up the road for the elephant show. We got to pet a couple of baby elephants at the entry - I think Lisa has a couple of pictures of the elephant tickling me. Then, it was inside where we saw a bunch of elephants (imagine that) and we played with a couple more elephants, including a baby elephant that put hats on our heads and then we got hugged by a two baby elephants. After that, we got to see them bathing in the river and they were having a great time rolling around in the water! Lisa has a video of that, so the memory will last forever. After that, it was the elephant show which featured elephants doing all sorts of amazing things, like playing soccer, painting, playing darts, rolling logs, playing harmonicas and dancing (yes, the elephants were dancing... one of them was SERIOUSLY rocking out). It was one of the funniest and most amazing things I've ever seen.

Following our elephant adventure, we were off to see some of the northern Thai tribes that I believe were from Laos or China originally. We saw four different tribes in one area that was a sort of like a refugee camp. Our guide explained some of the different customs of the tribes (in one, the teenage girls get to kick a ball at the teenage boy she likes and if he picks it up, they become engaged. At the time of the wedding, she makes him a shirt and he wears it until it falls off). It was quite interesting to see these tribes (I can't remember their names right now). Then, we drove for a while to go get some lunch before the real adventures began....

Our first adventure was an elephant ride. We had a rather larger elephant that required a driver. Lisa and I took a few minutes to get used to the swaying of being up on an elephant and both of us nearly had heart attacks when the elephant decided that she wanted a snack on a very steep sloping hill and we started going down it. We both leaned way back, because obviously, if we shifted our weight back that way, the elephant would get the hint, right? Our driver had to convince the elephant that it couldn't go down there. We then got a chance to feed our elephant some bananas. She really liked those and spit on Lisa a couple of times in hopes of getting more, but there were no bananas left! Our second adventure was some white water rafting. Since it is the dry season, the rapids were not that rapid (good for a scaredy cat like me). We had a number of gentle passages so we could look at the scenery. Our guide thought he was a bit of a comic and tried to tell us to get out of the raft, etc. We stayed in though! It was quite the experience, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to be bruised and battered tomorrow morning. Our third adventure was a bamboo rafting ride which is supposed to be gentle, but our guide kept splashing us, so it kinda sucked. We were able to get really cute framed photos of us rafting, so I have photographic proof that I did it!

We finished up the day by coming back to Chiang Mai and grabbing some dinner. Jay and Lisa went back to the night market tonight, but I figured my wallet could use a break and since I'm exhausted, it seemed like a good night to take one. I'm off to bed now to get a good sleep. Tomorrow, we have a little bit more time in Chiang Mai before it is off to the beach! Yay! I need to start working on that tan :D

So where were we?

The Previously Mentioned Jewel Scam....