I thought that I posted a blog the other day, but it doesnt seem to be on here. i'll just have to write it all again. what a big few days it has been. it now feels like i have been here for months, even though it was only been one week.
since that first night out in Chiang Dao, things have settled down a bit. each day we would have workshops where we would work on different things. one day we learnt traditional thai dancing - complete with the funky pants and face paint, and we have tried to learn a few thai songs. the only one we have fully learnt is the bell song, which pretty much consists of ding and dong. they tried to teach us the elephant song, but we only got as far as the first line which is simply "charng, charng, charng, charng, charng"
the other afternoon we finished early and there was time to kill before tea, so we went for a drive around the area. we all jumped into the back of 2 utes and drove for about half an hour until we came to the top of a big hill that had an amazing view and a temple to top. the area around here is just picture perfect everywhere you look. the problem is trying to take a photo that does it justice in some way.
it was just on dark when we were leaving and just as we reached the bottom of the mountain, the heavens opened and we were subjected to the full force of a thai monsoon. those sitting just behind the cabin were a bit protected, but i was sitting at the back near the tailgate. within 2 minutes I would not be any wetter if i jumped in the river. With 20 min drive still ahead of us, i decided to make the most of it and gave myself a bit of a bath. we passed the time by teaching jumpee some songs in english. she didnt know what we were on about when we tried to sing summer lovin from grease.
we have been out a few more times in chiang dao, and its always fun to try and get away from the mad dogs on the way home. during the day you can step right over them and they dont even bat an eyelid, however once the sun goes down and their owners go to bed, they turn into blood-thirsty farang hating savages. i've worked out that if i shine my torch on them just as they make a move for my let, they back off. we have come to love beer chang which is unregulated. so one beer you may get can be 6% and the next could be 11%.
We just had the past 2 days off which were pretty eventfull. on the first day we went and rode the elephants nearby, before heading to some local hot springs and then to the Chiang Dao caves, where 3 little ladies with gas lanterns lead us around.
That afternoon we caught the bus into Chiang Mai and all got our own room. everyone was very exited to sleep on something thicker than a yoga mat - we all have bruises on our hips from the hard floors, and to have our own room and personal space. But it got even better when we went out and had western food for tea. Avocado bacon burger never tasted so good. juice from the meat was running down our arms and we were in heaven. you could even get a steak.
Afterwards we went to the Simon Cabaret show - ladyboys. it was all pretty cheap and the show had been done to death. the dancers looked like they could not be bothered being there, but it was all an interesting experience.
That night we ended up at a rasta bar drinking buckets, and when that closed we all jumped in a tuktuk to go to some night club. after working out a 10baht per person fare, we were feeling pretty good about our batering efforts, until the tuktuk pulled out, drove 200m down the road, and did a u-turn and stopped outside the place. at least it saved us from getting lost. I dont really remember too much about it all, expect we were probably some of the only foreigners in the club which had probably 1000-1500 people. it was a pretty strange place.
the next day we were going to go bungy jumping, but the hangovers prevented that a bit. we went shopping for some things for the kids day later this week, and i bought a bubble blowing gun. i gave it a test run in the sangtow on the way back to the bus station. it would have looked pretty strange, a sangtow (covered ute that works as a taxi) burning down the road with heaps of bubbles flying out of it. i got a few strange looks from the other passengers and drivers.
we continued our western binging when we got back - i had a pizza at the french cafe before damien drove us back because we didnt have our bikes, then we sat in front of the TV watching DVDs all night. perfect thing to do with a hangover.
it was strange when we came back to makhampom that there was a feeling of coming home. i was almost a bit excited when i saw my yoga mat, mosquito net and backpack.
Today we have to cook dinner for everyone, so we were up early - late by thai standards - to go to the morning market. some of the things there were a bit too much to handle when you have just woken up. i made sure to keep out of the meat section. i stuck to buying as much fruit as i could on my 100B budget.
It was difficult working out what to cook when everything being sold is just the raw ingredients. no jars of sauces etc. everything is made from scratch. plus the fact that we had no idea what 90% of the things were didnt help.
when we got back it was rice planting time. a few of the local women turned up to show us what to do. it was pretty fun, being in the mud and planting the rice. but it didnt take long to turn into a giant mud fight. we attracted a few curious locals who had been working just near us. they were probably wondering what the hell we were doing.
we ran out of rice before we had filled the entire area, so we mustn't have been doing it very well. the locals were doing it all in perfect straight lines, but ours was a little bit more artistic. I'm just glad that the village isnt depending on the success of our rice planting for their survival. I'm sure that it will produce the most bitter tasting, hard rice that northern thailand has ever seen.
after the rice was finished, everyone was up for a bit of mud wrestling/fighting. it felt so wrong but at the same time so dam good. Afterwards we jumped into the pond to wash off most of the mud while the thai ladies went through fixing up all our mistakes. Even after a 10min shower, im still pulling mud out of places i didnt know existed.
I need to go and buy some ice cream, as tonight my contribution to the cooking is fruit salad with ice cream. inventive hey. at least i cant poison anybody.
Tomorrow we break into 2 groups and head to different local hill tribes. we will work with the local kids during the day, then stay with familys that night. on the 2nd day we are the the use of the village, so who knows what is going to happen....