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Irene's Adventures

Thailand - Chiang Mai

THAILAND | Tuesday, 15 December 2009 | Views [562]

Chiang Mai

One of the things that Irene was looking forward to most about this whole trip was taking a cooking class (or two.... maybe three.....:) )  We were picked up at our guesthouse at 9:00 am in a ChiangMai style taxi - a truck with a coverd box and bences on either side.  There were 3 other English speaking couples so it made it just a bit more enjoyable chatting.  We were taken to a local market to purchase most of the ingredients that we would be using.  This was very valuable experience, as now we can actually recognize them for future purchases at home.  The market was indeed "local".  One could buy everything there from vegetables, noodles, rice (who knew there were sooooo many kinds of rice??), desserts, and meat.  I want to pause on the meat for a moment.  We saw pig heads being boiled, we saw chickens with heads attached - but plucked. We saw huge aquariums of fish, with a fellow pulling them out and smacking them on the head to kill them.  Sara, I thought of you and Grandpa after his ice-fishing trips. One young fellow from a different group, but going to the same cooking school almost lost his breakfast at the sight. He kept gasping, almost yelling breathlessly "oh my God, OH my God, OH MY GOD!!"   We saw insects.


I digress again.  Yesterday we were on a quest to find Ed another pair of pants and since we are still in the land of Liliputt, someone suggested we go to the department store outside the old city.   By the time we were leaving the department store a whole food market had set up shop on the steps leading to the frond doors of the mall.  One of the stalls had insects; and not just a few.  Cockroaches of various sizes - and genus .  Silk Worms, Bamboo worms, crickets, grasshoppers.  I was interested in trying one - ONE!! - but they seemed to only come by the bag.  Our cooking teacher told me today that they are very good, deep fried and kind of like a potato chip.  He said I could have just asked for one, and would have been given ONE.  Maybe tomorrow....

Still digressing....  At the mall we found a store that could be compared to The Bay.  The staff does not have uniforms and it was difficult to tell who was a shopper and who was a sales clerk.  But I guess that would keep shop lifters guessing as well.  As soon as they realized that we were serioiusly shopping for trousers, we had 5 clerks attending to us.  When Ed finally found the pair he wanted, they promptly measured him to hem them up, told us to come back in 20 minutes and they would be ready.  Wow! 

A few months ago Ed commented that his wallet was getting so fat with business cards, receipts, and every other thing that one collects, that he was having trouble driving due to his hip being 2 inches higher (reminds me of George on Seinfeld).  So he made the comment that he cannot understand why men cannot carry a purse like women.  His argument being that there is just too damn much stuff to carry in this day and age.  Money, credit cards, Safeway card, business cards, cell phone, daytimer, pen, keys, etc.  I told him that in Europe it is quite common to see men with a "man-purse"  It is generally slung over the shoulder or carried by a small strap and resembles a men's shaving kit.  Well....   after buying the trousers, we were wandering out of the store when Irene spotted a man-purse.  "Look at this, this is what I was telling you about"  So Ed began having a closer look.  We hadn't yet realized that we were in the man-purse section of this store, and it was HUGE!!  As a woman, I say that this man-purse section rivalled any female purse section I have ever seen in any huge department store.  It got rather comical after that.  Ed was maticulously checking all the details of different styles.  This on was too bulky, that one didn't have enough interior pouches, another wasn't big enough.  Irene said "now you know what women go through in seleting a purse"  The purse he finally settled on has 2 zipped compartments, 2 velcroed pouches on the exterior for cell phone and calculator, and a couple of pouches on the interior of one of the zipped compartments.  It has an over the shoulder strap and sits quite nicely on his hip.  Sorry Mom Skarsen, Ed said I had best explain this so you don't have a heart attack. The only problem now is that Irene gives everything to Ed to carry and it is quickly beginning to resemble a woman's purse on the inside.  Irene does not understand the problem....???... (chuckle, chuckle)

Back to the cooking school. After the market we drove about 15 kilometers out of the city to an organic farm, where they picked the herbs, chili peppers, ginger, lemon grass, basil, and other stuff.  Talk about fresh, huh?   We could choose from 5 different menus in 3 different courses.  Naturally, we chose totally different things from each other, so as to gain the most bang for our Bhat.  The instructor was really good and spoke very good English.  He added a sparkle of humor to everything.  While making our own curry with mortar and pestal, he kept saying, "pound and smile, pound and smile"  While we were stir frying it was "stir and smile"  We made Green Curry Vegetgable, Red Curry Vegetable, Tom Yam soup, Coconut mild soup, papaya salad, chicken with basil, spring rolls, pad thai noodles, bananas in coconut milk and mango with sticky rice.  There were 5 other dishes that we did not make, but during lunch everyone was sharing what they made so we got to try the other dishes from other students.  Then we got to take home our left overs.  It was so yummy.  Ed likes more spice, Irene does not, and we were shown how to use the same amount of chili pepper and have it come out more spicy or less spicy.  Then we were given a cookbook (complete with pictures of the dishes AND the foods that went into them)  and driven back to the city and dropped at our guesthouses. 

During the travel, cooking time and lunch we had fantastic conversations with the fellow students.  At the end of the day e-mail addresses were exchanged and promises of keeping in touch. One couple is coming to Canada in the spring and we certainly hope they take advantage of the hospitality we offered to them.

Tomorrow is Thai language school.... that ought to be a hoot....

Thai Cooking School - Chanisa sexton, owner - Grandma's Thai Recipes

Ben Guest House & Restaurant

Fah Lanna - massage place (Rung was the best!)

Irene & Ed


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