Saturday, January 3, 2015

First Day in Thailand

We were both a little bleary yesterday due to jet lag, but we had a good day. After a bit of a rest in the morning, we went to our sister hotel, the Smith Residence, not far away. There are a lot of restaurants in the area and we had lunch nearby. For our first real Thai meal, we both had the standard Thai dishes we tend to order and re-order in US Thai restaurants. (Not very adventurous, I know.)

My Pad See Ew (chicken & vegetables with wide noodles)

Dan's Pad Thai (pork, bean sprouts & peanuts with narrow noodles)

Carvings on restaurant wall

Novel condiment holder on table
After a bit more rest in the afternoon, I went to the rooftop pool and had a good swim. It isn't very large, but big enough to swim back and forth. Dan even came up and got in the water (unusual for him!).

We headed out and into the Old City in the evening for supper and to take a look around. 11 years ago we stayed in the Top North Guesthouse and enjoyed many massages at Seenuan's massage school right across the street. I wanted to see if it was still there. The hotel was there but the massage school seems to be a large restaurant now. I wonder what happened to the owner. It was a very interesting story:  she had been a nurse working in a local hospital when an Englishman was there for surgery. He had a bad turn in the night and would have died except for her coming into the room and getting him some help. He was very grateful, and set her up in a lovely traditional Thai wooden house for a massage school. Two of her daughters trained and worked there with her. They were lovely, friendly people and we enjoyed getting to know them. The Englishman came by most days just to chat. It wasn't a setup like many others we see – middle-aged to elderly western men are frequently seen squiring around young Thai women. We even heard one yesterday talking with an older woman to see if his young woman could go on a 5-day trip with him. He would pay her expenses, but could she afford to miss out on what she usually earned giving massages? One wonders...

For dinner we stopped at a restaurant that offered Indian, Thai and western food (?!). Dan had Massaman Curry and I had Green Curry (Thai, not Indian). Both were vegetarian and quite good. The evening's walk was relatively long. I was a bit tired, but it helped a lot to get out and move after being inside so much in Spokane and the long trip. We both slept quite well.

Thai homes and businesses nearly always have a Spirit House on the premises, a shrine to the protective spirit of the place. Below is a photo of the one for our hotel. They are often quite elaborate, and flower offerings are frequently placed in/on it.

This morning (Saturday) we went back to the same place as yesterday for breakfast. The muesli/yogurt/fruit is delicious. I hope today we can find someplace to get a few more provisions. The Tesco Express and 7-11 have some things and we managed to have our morning tea in our room. But we'd like to be able to do a bit more of our own food.

We are looking forward to two special things today – Darab's friend Ming from the Goshen College Environmental Center is meeting us at 10:00 to show us around. And today is the Saturday Walking Market, not far away. I hope to have lots of good pictures to post tomorrow!

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