Day 80 – 500 monks and 1 cooking class

Chiang Mai, Thailand

So, after yesterday’s profound day – today was a little less emotional and more of the “hey, let’s go do stuff” kind of day.

I started the day bright and early thanks to a brutal nights’ sleep.  The place here is so popular that when I booked my 5 nights here, while the first 2 were in a nice air conditioned dorm, there wasn’t room for me in that room for the remaining time.

So yesterday I moved over to a fan cooled room instead.  The difference between the two rooms is very noticeable as I lay in the room sweating, trying to sleep.  Just out of curiousity I checked the temperature on my phone at midnight and, sure enough, it was 30C.

Even though I had the room to myself because everyone else was out, I wasn’t able to take advantage of it as I lay in bed wide awake.

I eventually did fall asleep around 2am but that was short lived as the guy in bed number 5 crawled in a little later.

But he wasn’t done yet interrupting my sleep…

Nope.

Around 5:30am I woke up to whispers.  Seems he didn’t come back alone and he and some girl were having a conversation just 2 beds away.  At least it was just a conversation and I slept through the other stuff, but still…

Thanks buddy.

My alarm was set for 7:30 so there was no chance to go back to sleep.

So, that’s how my day started…

Luckily I had something truly amazing on tap to get me excited for the day!

Songkran, the Thai new years, is just around the corner and there’s different events happening around the city leading up to the weekend.

One of them was a procession of 500 monks walking 16km around the city.  The procession started at 9am so I left the hostel a half hour earlier to see it all unfold.

When I arrived I was met with blocked off streets and hundreds of locals lining those same streets.  There were people sitting on the sidewalk adorning a pathway for the monks to walk with yellow flower pedals.

I took up a spot near the beginning of the procession standing behind a barricade with a bunch of locals sitting in front of me on the other side.

A short time later, the procession started and, in an orderly fashion, the monks filed out of the temple one by one walking barefoot along the yellow flower-pedaled path.

Although it was morning, it was still pretty warm and I can’t even imagine walking 16km in full robes.  Hell, I was ready to find a cool spot after an hour of just standing there and watching!

I bowed my head and clasped my hands together to my face as I exited the area.

After a great breakfast of eggs and toast with smoked salmon and cream cheese, it was back to the hostel for me.

By then it was about 11am and I didn’t have any plans for the rest of the day.

I know, shocker!

Tee, the man who handles all the different event bookings here, asked me what my plans for the day were.

I told him I had a big fat zero on my plate and he asked if I wanted to do another cooking class.

I had taken one on my earlier stay here last month and had mentioned in passing the other day that I may be interested in doing a second class.

He said this class was different as it was just for people at this hostel and he was actively looking for more people to join the one french girl who had already signed up.

A few people in the hostel had gone to this particular class yesterday and were saying good things about it so I figured, what the hell, and paid my 800 baht ($26).

I won’t lie – the fact that there was a french girl going might have swayed my decision too…

When 2:30 rolled around, Da, the man running the cooking class came to pick us up.  Turns out I was the only other one to sign up so it was just the two of us – myself and Alice.

I used this opportunity again to practice my French as I tried to talk to her in French as much as possible.

Like the other cooking class I took, we also stopped at a market and did all the cooking at a farm outside of the city.

This time around I chose different items to make from the ones I did last time.  I also suggested Alice pick items that were different from the ones I was doing so we could try a little bit of everything.

Rather than describing step by step what we did I’ll just show it to you in pictures…

Yellow curry chicken


Ingredients for the yellow curry paste


Ingredients for the chicken curry with the prepped yellow curry paste already done


Finished product! Yellow curry with chicken


Ingredients for soup (the squeeze tube is an egg/tofu mix)


All chopped up


Finished product! Clear soup with egg, tofu and minced pork

Stir fried chicken with cashew nuts


Ingredients


All chopped up


Finished product! (No I didn’t do the little garnish artwork)

Banana in coconut milk


Finished product! Not much prep to be shown (it was just cutting 2 bananas.)

Unlike the last class we didn’t eat between the making of our courses so even though we were picked up at 2:30pm, we didn’t get to eat until 5:30!

Needless to say, we were both hungry!


All the dishes both of us made. This beautiful site didn’t last long as we were starving!

After almost an hour of eating we were done and ready to head back into town.

Da had one last little surprise under his sleeve.

He took us outside where he had set up a lantern for us to set free into the dusk sky…

Pretty cool way to end the afternoon out.

We got back to the hostel at 7pm and, for me, that was it for the day.  I had no more energy.  It’s crazy to be calling it a day so early in the night every time but I just don’t have it in me.

I retired to the good ol fan room, ready to endure another hard nights’ sleep.  I did change my room for tomorrow to a private room with a/c.  It cost me about $10 because I had to pay for 2 people but it will be worth it for that beautiful a/c (and privacy).

Can’t wait!

Crazy that my only plan tomorrow is moving into an a/c room and I’m excited about it… Yup, that’s where I’m at on the trip right now..

Yeehaw!

Asia Trip 2014, Trip Journal

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