Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Last Week in Chiang Mai

We are on the countdown to our departure on Sunday. In spite of my setbacks with health and knee, the two months here have gone by quickly. Sunday morning we fly to Penang, where Dan will get his next visa in Georgetown and then we'll enjoy a couple of days at the beach.

This morning I went to a print shop near my tai chi school to get our boarding passes and a few other things printed. (We couldn't get the Air Asia passes to come over electronically.) I was surprised to see that they were draining the section of the moat nearest us. When I got a bit further along I could see a digger scooping up the mud, but I didn't see where they were putting it. Traffic was backed up, as the road was reduced to one lane in that area.

Graffiti on a lamp post. I'm not sure if the perpetrator wanted us to know that he was "bad," or just wanted to write something randomly.

I like this street sign:  "Share the Road." Indeed there are cars, trucks, buses, motor scooters and bicycles everywhere (not sure how I happened to catch this road with almost no traffic, though!). Thailand is a pretty laid back place and there seems to be no sense of road rage. I think I heard a horn beep three or four times in two months. (Not quite like India!)

Earlier I posted about a new Ganesh temple, and today I finally went inside. There is an open area with a sign that there is a gathering at 8:30 every evening. The golden Ganesha is attractive.

There are niches along the entry way walls with different Hindu gods and goddesses. And of course there is a shop at the front selling lots of small idols and baubles.

This is a typical produce seller along the road in front of the Tesco Express where I regularly shop. Today I was looking for pomelo, but no one had any. I hope I can get it once more before I leave!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Belated Valentine Post

For Valentine's Day lunch we went back to the River Market, a nice place we found last year when Anjali and Domingos were here with us (well, Anjali found it!). We had wonderful curried chicken roti rolls to start. Dan had the Burmese curry (again) and I had the eggplant tapenade with barbecued shrimp (again). All wonderfully delicious.

Tuesday afternoon I was surprised by these beautiful roses Dan brought from a florist near his massage place. They are fully open now and won't last too long -- it is quite warm.

Yes, in fact, it is getting hot. The weather report says it gets up to 95 during the day and it feels like it. The water in the pool was noticeably warmer today than yesterday. I have run the A/C in our room a few times in the afternoons. There is a pretty good breeze in the morning, especially if we leave our door open to increase the flow.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Weekend Update

It's been a quiet week. I met up with Marti again at the Grill of India for lunch on Wednesday (the baigan bhartha was very good). On Thursday evening we tried Aum, a vegetarian restaurant highly recommended by Hope and David, a Canadian couple who swim almost every afternoon when I do. It is near our old favorite, the Doo Dee. (We haven't been back there since our first disappointing visit under the new owners.) We had the fried spring rolls to start.

I had the wonton soup, which was delicious.

Dan had the kaow soi, which was also delicious. However, he prefers meat to tofu.

One evening I decided to get creative in the kitchen. I boiled up a carrot, an apple, a potato, and an onion. Then I sautéed more onion and added the vegetables. When they were ready, I added beaten eggs and some chopped-up cheese (we don't have a grater). It made a very satisfying meal. And Dan picked up fresh strawberries that day -- they are super flavorful!

I have been fascinated every year by the shrubs that are in pots beside the pool. The leaves sprout only from the ends of the branches and the flowers bloom on long stems, also from the branch ends. Right now the white one has one bloom and the pink one has four. Neither has very many leaves.

After my lunch on Wednesday, I detoured through the Chiang Mai Gate Market on my way back. Most of the vendors are gone before noon. This man was taking advantage of the tables to have a nap.

The space between the old wall at Chiang Mai Gate and the road has topiary shrubs. They are always nicely trimmed.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Flower Festival

The Chiang Mai Flower Festival is held every February. There are many displays at the park Friday through Sunday and a big parade on Saturday. I've posted quite a few pictures other years so don't have so many this year. In fact, I only went to the parade for a short while. Dan was at a cricket match. I walked down to the main street on the moat, which is quite near us, and watched a bit. But by the time the parade gets here, fairly near the end, it has stretched out so much that there are huge gaps between the marchers and the floats. I wasn't feeling very patient, so watched a few go by and then went back to our room.

On Friday, I realized everyone was getting in the spirit -- this display was in front of IDI, where I get my massages.

Some of the trees along the moat even joined in. Maybe this is one of the reasons the flower show is held at this time of year!

These two boys were carrying a large drum. I can't imagine walking sideways like that for several miles.

This is the tail end of a group that were carrying pictures of the royal family, followed by women dressed in various local costumes.

The back part of one float. They are truly amazing.

We frequently hear the distinctive tune played by the ice cream truck (or more accurately, bike). I had never seen one. I suspect this man was doing a pretty good business going along the parade route.

These women in pink with their parasols looked so nice.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Midweek Miscellany

Last Saturday we met up with two former Woodstock students, Marti and Peggy. Marti lived in Thailand for many years and returns frequently. We have had a visit with her each year we've been here. It was Peggy's first trip. We met at an Indian restaurant quite near where we live -- I had just heard of it, and Marti said a friend told her it was the best Indian food in Chiang Mai.

This picture of the four of us isn't very flattering, but I don't have a better one. Thanks, Marti, for sharing it.

Clockwise from center:  paneer tikka, aloo zeera (potatoes with cumin seed), palak paneer, veg samosas, and lamb jalfrezi. Breads were naan, tandoori roti, and chapati. It was absolutely delicious.

Dan headed off to a cricket match and Peggy accompanied me back to our room to rest for a while. Then she took off and a bit later I met her for a visit to the Saturday Walking Street Market. She got a number of gifts for her family members. I liked these T-shirts, but didn't get any. We walked in as far as the bull (where we usually cut off to head back to our place) and then back to the entry. I walked her to where some song toaws (truck group taxis) congregate. The first one we approached wasn't going her direction, but the driver stepped out into the street and flagged down one that was. It didn't get her quite to her hotel, but she managed to find it anyway.

Sunday afternoon I had another massage. They are remodeling the main area where I've always been, so we were upstairs in this big light space. There are a total of 12 pallets here and several were in use. When I went back Tuesday for my next one, Dang wasn't there; her daughter is in the hospital. I hope all is well; I will see if she is back later this week.

Walking home from tai chi class through the back sois (alleys), I saw this very modest home that is covered with blooming greenery.

I especially like this tree along the moat. I wonder how many years until its roots give up and it falls into the water (probably many).

On Wednesday afternoon we went to the Maya Mall to see The Post. The movie definitely lived up to its reputation; it was excellent. One option was the First Class Cinema, more expensive with lounge chairs, popcorn and soda. However, the movie we wanted to see wasn't playing there (I think it was Maze Runner, not my style!). I enjoyed looking at the popcorn, which came in multiple flavors, including caramel, wasabi, paprika, and salt.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Another week

I think it's been a full week since I last posted. We haven't been doing that much differently than usual.

On Sunday morning we went to the JJ Farmers' Market, northeast of the city a short distance. It was very crowded; cars were moving very slowly through, trying to find a parking space, which was nearly impossible. Fortunately, we were on the scooter, and could move through the crowd and park much more easily. There was a wide variety of produce and crafts. Below are packages showing some of the colors of rice available. And some really cute packets!

Eggplant, green beans, tomatoes, tamarind, and maybe jackfruit and some other greens.

This booth had cloth strawberries and tulips for sale.

A woman selling salad rolls.

As usual, I never can tell what these ready-to-eat items are.

On Monday after tai chi class, I went with one of my classmates to a coffee shop called the Clay Studio. It was set in a stunning location, with lots of trees and statues. Tables were scattered around. Very lovely and serene, and almost right behind the Chiang Mai Gate Market.

One of our takeout meals was Pad Thai from a vendor at the CMG market. She packs it up in banana leaves and a separate packet holds the fresh bean sprouts, lime, and small green onions.

They are doing some remodeling at IDI, where I get my massages. As I left on Wednesday afternoon, I saw the manager (on the left) working with a young woman who was pounding/grinding herbs for herbal massage. It smelled good, like something you could happily eat.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Some Food

I think I mentioned before that we are eating our evening meal in more often -- there are so many options for take-away. Dan especially enjoys going to Kom Market in the late afternoon to see what he can find. We usually have some type of noodles, a salad, and a protein. Last week I posted some brown noodles, barbecued chicken, and salad rolls. This week it is a cucumber salad, noodles with a few veggies, and son-in-law eggs (deep fried boiled eggs in a sweet and sour sauce).

On Thursday evening we decided to visit one of our favorite places, Spoon de Best. They served a Penang fish curry that was delicious. Unfortunately, when we got there, it was gone -- no sign of a restaurant; some travel agency was in the spot. We went on down the street to another place we like, Baan Na Na. I had a Penang curry with chicken. The little green balls are tiny eggplants, just larger than a pea. Dan had the same dish with pork. We also had some spring rolls.

I went to tai chi class every day this week. It was very tiring, but good to get back in the groove. It will probably take me most of the time we are here just to correct my form a little bit at a time. In a year some of the moves have lost their perfection. The class this week had people from France, Sweden, Canada, England, Singapore and the US. Here are just a few of us. Most of them won't be back next week.

Saturday morning I went to the market again. The choices are much better early in the morning -- I generally pick up our fruit on the way home from class, about 11:30. Eight bananas for 65¢, four limes for 32¢ (more expensive than some), peeled pomelo for 95¢, and two mangos for 95¢.