Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Big Chill-Out in Chiang Mai

Chilling out in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Sunday Walking Market, Chiang Mai Thailand
Have I mentioned before how much I love Thailand? I'm not sure I have said it here on the blog, but just in case, I love this country with its spicy coconut curries, its welcoming boutiques and rocket fuel street coffees, its flower stands and bustling night markets filled with hand carved slingshots alongside knock-off Beats By Dre speakers. It is a country made for those who favor the olfactory sense above the other four. One stroll down a street will tickle your nose with the sweetness of roasting peanuts, refresh your eyes with the chili peppers cracking from their frying pans, along with smoky incense wafting from temples and roadside shrines. It is a country that blends the sophistication of the cosmopolitan with the grittiness and color of the street, the attitude of the beach, the seediness of the sex industry. There is corruption to spare and politics to be mended, but the culture of the country is something I have jived with from the moment we landed in Bangkok over a month ago, to the trip up north to chilled out Chiang Mai last weekend.
Mike sampling the fine street fare in Bangkok
On a tip from a friend, we stayed at the Parami Guesthouse in Chiang Mai, a relaxing guesthouse run by a husband and wife team. He, an ex pat from Switzerland who just couldn't stand the cold in his homeland, and she a native Thai woman with a spa next door. The guesthouse had a wonderful backyard strung with hammocks and a "serve yourself" honesty policy: whatever you take from the fridge, write down in the book and pay at the end. Not since our trip to the British Virgin Islands years ago have we seen that honesty policy. It was a nice reminder that it is better to put your trust in people than not.
We did a massive tour of all the temples in Chiang Mai stopping occasionally to admire textiles (love the clothes!), stop for a cappuccino, or try the khai soi, one of my favorite dishes on the trip. While there is no topping the food in Italy, for me, I think Thailand has come a close second. At night we strolled through the markets, never really buying anything. But that's just it. It's enough to just walk and enjoy the sensory stimulation. By the end of our days in Chiang Mai we were exhausted but happy. With the help of some hammocks and some good books, the quick trip to Northern Thailand was a pure delight!
Hammock Time at Parami Guesthouse


Carmen said...

so nice! glad you guys got to treat yourselves!!

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