Travel Blog: Week 64

Northern Thailand – Chiang Mai Week 64: 27.01.2014 – 02.02.2014 So, this was a strange week. I got a cold, as did many people here – it’s almost customary when the weather changes. The cold snap was now well behind us and the warmer days and nights were in full swing. Not only did I get a cold but one day I woke up feeling bad and spent the morning throwing up. This was not how I wanted to feel in

Northern Thailand – Chiang Mai

Week 64: 27.01.2014 – 02.02.2014

So, this was a strange week. I got a cold, as did many people here – it’s almost customary when the weather changes. The cold snap was now well behind us and the warmer days and nights were in full swing. Not only did I get a cold but one day I woke up feeling bad and spent the morning throwing up. This was not how I wanted to feel in the run up to my birthday.

So, much of the week I spent resting up but I did venture out a few times….

I took a walk around the local area with Fla, my housemate. There are some pretty significant temples around here and so there are always a few monks milling around. It’s also really Thai. Lots of locals and not many Farangs (foreigners). There are loads of stalls selling food where there are usually at least one or two men chewing the cud at tables. There are always dogs, a few cats and chickens so it all has a very organic feel.

  

  

 

 

The flowers were out and colourful and their fragrances mixed with the smells of cooking and laundry. I love travelling down these roads getting blasts for the senses. We bought locally grown vegetables which, can you believe it, are even cheaper than the markets. With our bags ladened we meandered back whilst getting to know each other.

  

  

  

  

 

  

Fla also took me along the back roads, on scooters this time, to the Royal Project shops. These are shops which sell fresh organic produce which has been sponsored by the King. It’s reasonably priced although a little more than the markets. This is the place to buy if you want pesticide free stuff – this is something worth considering in Chiang Mai.

  

  

I managed one meal out before the end of the working week (whatever that is!). I met Leo at Smoothie Blues for eggs Benedict and a natter. I also made a trip into the old town for a quick visit to Waew.

With so much time on my hands though, it did mean I had the chance to hoover my room (thai style) and clean the kitchen (I think my OCD kicked in!!!!!). I also started my photo book. A 100 page book with carefully chosen photos from my trip. This will be a labour of love!

The highlight of the week was my birthday. Thankfully by Friday I was all but back on my feet. I woke to discover that nurse Fla (bless her for keeping me dosed up during the week) had made me a super healthy birthday breakfast, complete with flowers and boughs of limes from the garden (presented in an old Nescafé jar), and candles. She is such a sweetie but I think all the excitement went to her head!!!

  

The morning passed by, as they do for me here, and I spent the afternoon visiting the venue of my party, buying cups and cutlery etc from Big C, and making potato salad. I was determined that someone other than me would get to sample my picnic style speciality dish. The trip to Big C (which is a bit like Tesco) was a new venture for me. I hadn’t been that far south on the canal road but with Fla’s directions I found it easily. What wasn’t easy was finding the scooter parking entrance. No matter how hard I try I continue to be DIPPY! I did at last find it but not before doing several circuits of the area. Big C was clustered with a few other large stores and I ended up buying myself a couple of birthday presents – some hair straighteners (a bargain at £6 – not bad eh Ange!!) and a blender. The blender was actually a joint present for me and Fla. This is the one thing Fla didn’t have in the kitchen – not an operational one anyway.

I’d sent out the party invite a few weeks ago only to find it was going to clash with another Chinese New Year party, which was at John’s house. As it happened John and I came to an agreement and we decided to have a joint party – no, I don’t mean everyone brings some whacky baccy! We kept John’s early start time, John’s house for the venue and John’s ‘wear something red theme’. My invite had gone out via Facebook and as I haven’t linked up with many people on Facebook there were only 20 invites. Well, it started as 20. Within a few hours it had been grown to 50, and by the following morning 120. Together with John’s invitees this could be some party.

Anyway, because I’d not been on form I only got to see John’s place the afternoon of my birthday. Wow, his house was A-MAZ-ZING. He’d designed it himself and it was beautiful. Set at the end of a narrow road full of tiny Thai houses, it was a real surprise. Two storeys, with huge rooms exquisitely furnished, a plunge pool (which was thankfully empty at the moment), steam room, 3 toilets (essential for this many people) an outside courtyard which at night gave spectacular views of the clear night sky and the stars and a kitchen garden. It really was to be open house – access all areas. How wonderful that I could share this event with John at this location. Lucky girl!!!

The added bonus was that John lived just around the corner from me and so I didn’t have my usual 30 minute journey – it took me less than 5! So I arrived around 5:30. The invite was from 5 onwards so I was expecting to be the first. I was wrong, as there was already quite a gathering of eager party goers and the numbers just continued to swell. The party started down on the ground floor, a vast space with music, sofas and cushions galore and all the food. This was a potluck party which basically meant everyone had bought something with them. The food people produce here is amazing and mega healthy. There is so much generosity which is why these parties work so well. I’d ordered in some pizzas too to balance the selection so it wasn’t totally based on just getting our 5 a day!

The singing soon started downstairs with guitars, ukuleles and drums. It was only disturbed when a) I was presented with a ‘raw’ birthday cake, complete with the gathering of my friends around me, a blindfold, and a request to make a wish as I blew out the industrial strength candle which had hurriedly been found from somewhere, b) I got a bag of those long twisty sculpture balloons, and c) I was given a beautiful thai wrist bouquet!!!

  

  

  

 

 

The party then moved upstairs and was split into a number of groups within each of the rooms. After a group bundle on Johns massive couch, we gathered outside and the singing continued under the stars. There we stayed until the early hours until John wanted his house back and kicked us out. What a night!!!

The following weekend was low key, although we did surprisingly all manage to get up early enough to regroup at the bakery on Saturday morning. I also managed a swim and a quick stop at Sangdee cafe to listen to Clare’s Bulgarian choir practice.

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