Sunday, January 22, 2017

Just Another Couple of Days in Chiang Mai

My daily routine here includes walking to and from my Tai Chi class, observing various things along the way, a massage or some loafing around in the afternoon, and heading out for dinner in the evening. (We do our own breakfast and a light lunch in our apartment.)

Generally I try to walk on the sidewalks, but it isn't always possible. One of the three 7-11s close by always has scooters parked in front. If I can't squeeze between them, I just walk on the street.


One evening recently we went to the Max Restaurant, which we first found last year. It is only a couple of blocks away. The seating is all outside.


Max is run by a couple, and the wife spends a lot of her time at the front grilling various food items. While we were there I saw a number of people stopping to pick up something for supper. Some took the food cooked, others took it raw, presumably to cook at home. There is bacon wrapped around a green vegetable of some kind, sausages, and a few other things I couldn't easily identify.


One of the places we've been to a number of times in the past two years is Spoon de Best, just inside the Old City. I have no idea where the name came from.


We had delicious spring rolls to start, then I had the Pad Thai with shrimp. Instead of the egg being cooked into the noodles, it was like a piece of egg lace on top.


Dan had a Penang Curry fish dish that was very good.


They were doing some work on the moat near Chiang Mai Gate this week. When I first saw it, there was a man standing on the raft poling it to the side. 


In the evening as we walked toward the restaurants, we saw this pickup truck loaded up with scooters being delivered to the very large dealership in front of the Noble House Hotel. They had already unloaded three bikes when we got there. I think they had about a dozen crammed onto it, quite amazing.


The men who were unloading it saw me taking a picture, and quickly got up on the truck so they could be in it!


Friday, January 20, 2017

Rimping Supermarket

On Sunday afternoon we took the scooter to the Rimping Supermarket just across the river near the Iron Bridge. Even though I've been in various Asian countries many times, my expectations are still influenced by our first experiences in India in 1968. At that time there was nothing available that was prepackaged or ready-made. There was a mail-order company in Singapore that some people ordered from, including mustard, cocoa powder, and similar items. Although Thailand is a very modern country in most ways, the markets that we buy from are mostly local. (Not to mention the dozens of 7-11 stores, however, and the Tesco Lotus Express where I get milk, dishwashing soap, and other items.)

So the Rimping Supermarket was quite an experience for me.

The bakery had gorgeous bread.


Cooked crabs available in the seafood section.


Two pictures of desserts in the deli area. The baht is about 35 to the dollar, so these desserts are a bit over $2.00 each, not exactly cheap! (But they look delicious.)



I have no idea why these eggs were colored. I do know that eggs are sold both fresh and pre-cooked, but I can't read the info on these to tell which are which. When I get eggs at Tesco Lotus, I am careful to look at the carton; one time I got eggs that were soft-boiled, not what I was looking for.


This gift basket at around $30 appears to be essences of mushroom and probably other things.


The produce was very nice and beautifully arranged. They had almost everything I could think of.


Ready-made soup definitely for the foreign trade.


At the checkout we found out that any produce must be weighed and labeled in the produce department. I had picked up an onion and a pepper. The cashier was very helpful; she put a closed sign on her counter and took off for the produce department to get it weighed. Dan went along and I waited with our other things. She did not seem at all put out, just eager to help.

While I waited I took a photo of the sign below. Alcohol can only be sold at specified times during the day, not between 2:00 and 5:00 PM. 


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Street Sights

As I walk around this city, going to my Tai Chi class or just out and about, I constantly notice interesting little things that I've not seen before. Here are a few.

Last year I posted a few photos of an addition to the wall between the Tai Chi studio (Mind and Body Healing School) and the place next door. Rod told us a restaurant was going in and they wanted a little more privacy. The place is now open and is vegetarian. So far I haven't seen anyone there, but I walk by at about 9:45 and 11:15, so it isn't really a mealtime.


We had an amazing amount of rain last week, unprecedented for this time of year. The next day after I took the photo above, this sign was on the gate. 


In the soi (alley) off the main moat road, I saw this cute little kitten sitting on the wall by a banana tree.


This shows the moat road during a heavy rain. I was walking to class in a very light drizzle but managed to stop at this sidewalk restaurant to sit under cover when it got heavier. After about ten minutes I was able to proceed. (Because I use walking sticks, I can't easily carry an umbrella, so I just take my chances!)


This grouping is in front of a shop across from several restaurants we have patronized. I'm not sure if these little monkeys are for sale or what they are doing here!


We love the view from our balcony at all times of the day. This sunset was after the rain had just cleared off. The little strips of light are signs on the Airport Plaza Mall. The airport is not much further just to the right of it.




Monday, January 16, 2017

Buildings

Now that we are in Chiang Mai for our third winter in the same location, we are noticing the changes that go on around us. It seems there is always building going on.

For the past two years, there has been a large vacant lot on the small road I walk on daily. It was being used as a parking lot for Noble House, a nearby large hotel. Something big is going in; I took this photo when we first arrived.


This week a large crane was there lifting piles of concrete roofing tiles onto the roof. The street was blocked off to cars but scooters and pedestrians could get through.


Later in the afternoon as I was walking home from my massage, I saw the crane trying to get out of the street. It was enormous and traffic was backed up in every direction. I'm not sure where it was trying to go. The orange-trimmed building (Smith Residence) is on a triangular area with streets on each side, so if it was trying to go down one of those, it would be nearly impossible to make the turn.


Later I took this photo from our roof. The large building with green shielding is part of the project and shows the roof tiles mostly finished. To its right you can see the stacks of tiles waiting to be installed on the front part of the building that faces the street. Whatever it's going to be, it's big!


This small building was a coffee shop on the plaza in front of Chiang Mai Gate. There is a small bulldozer there taking it down. This is the plaza that has many sellers of used clothing in the mornings and a food court in the late afternoons/evenings. There is a pedestrian light so I usually cross the moat street there.


This derelict property is another that I pass frequently. For the first time I noticed it was slightly open and a pickup truck was parked inside. Maybe something good will happen there.


While I was on the roof, I also took a photo of Doi Suthep, the mountain to the west. After all the rainy days, it was finally clear. (That Smith Residence is often in the way!!)





Sunday, January 15, 2017

Saturday Walking Market - again

We headed over to the Saturday Walking Street Market again yesterday. Anjali had asked me to pick up a few things she saw but didn't get and my sister is interested in some artwork. And the street food always beckons!

We didn't stay too long and headed back at the buffalo shrine, which is about halfway down the market. It's nice to come back through the small sois (alleys), which are much quieter than the main roads. They are not squared off, however, and one can easily get lost. GPS on our phones is helpful! (The walking street starts not far from us, but angles quite sharply away, so coming back is like trying to find the hypotenuse of a very uneven triangle.)

We passed a guest house with a lovely courtyard.


At first I thought this was some kind of big rock, but on a second glance realized it is a tree covered with some kind of dying vines. Rather eerie looking!


We came up to our place from the south side and got this view. The yellow and orange trim makes the Smith properties quickly recognizable. The area to the left is where our morning roosters live. It is one of the few places I've seen within the city that seem to be shacks where some poor people live.


One of the buildings we passed was open to the street. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what this place is! It almost looks like a jungle gym or building frames, but I don't think it is either.


On our walk back we ate the chicken fingers on a stick that we bought. The rest of the food we laid out on our plates:  two kinds of sausage (garlic and spicy Chiang Mai), chicken spring roll, and vegetable fried rice. It made a delicious supper!


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Lots of Eating!

For our last meal with Anjali and Domingos, we headed to a place called The River Market, on the river right beside the Iron Bridge. At lunchtime it was pretty empty. It is a beautiful, airy building. We took an Uber ride both going and coming. It was quick, easy and very inexpensive (about a dollar and a quarter each way). We will be using this method of transportation again, I'm sure.


Anjali had read about this restaurant online, where their special deviled eggs were recommended. We had some as an appetizer and there were indeed delicious.


I was feeling a bit off, so opted to have soup instead of a heavier dish. It was very tasty and hit the spot for me.


Dan has liked every type of Burmese curry he has tried and this one was one of the best. It was a large hunk of meat that was so tender it was falling off the bone.


One evening at Doo Dee I tried their roasted vegetable salad.


On Sunday we met up for lunch with Marti, a student from Woodstock School in India. We visited her when we were in Australia three years ago and this is the second time we've gotten together here in Chiang Mai. (She spent much of her working life here and comes back often.) She recommended a small Indian restaurant called Achaa. It is small - four tables outside a very tiny kitchen space. The food was outstanding.

Paneer tikka

Chicken tikka

Dum aloo and saag paneer

Tandoori roti

Lamb Curry
There was enough food left over for us to have another meal at home a day later. Wonderful!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Food Tour, Post III

After most of the food but before our final afternoon tea, we stopped by the Three Kings Monument, very near the center of the Old City. It commemorates King Mengrai, the founder of Chiang Mai, and two other kings who worked with him to lay out the city in the late 13th century.


Next we visited Wat Chedi Luang. This temple also has elephants protruding around the oldest building.



A large reclining Buddha is in a building at the side of the temple area.


Decorative entrance to one of the temple buildings.


When we went into the main temple, Day encouraged us to sit cross-legged on the floor and meditate for five minutes.


At the side of the temple there were statues for each day of the week. Certain events in the Life of the Buddha are thought to have occurred on certain days. "The Buddha Images representing these events, are thus also associated with the days on which they occurred. People who are born on a certain day of the week, may be most interested in a Buddha Image corresponding to that day." (from buddha-images.com)


Our last stop was the Makka Hotel near the temple. It was a beautiful modern building but with many touches of traditional Thai design.

Lobby area
We headed up the stairs to the library area where we sat around a large table for our tea and to talk about what we had seen. A lovely ending to a good tour. From here we walked back to our place, not all that far (about a kilometer and a half).