Monday, January 4, 2016

What a Weekend!

At the end of my last post, I said we were heading out to get SIM cards for our phones. There is a huge electronics super store within walking distance, so we went there. They had two companies for phone service, but neither of them had the size SIM we needed. On our way back, we stopped in at IDI and scheduled our first massages for Tuesday.

About 4:00, Dan headed out on the scooter to the Airport Plaza Mall, where there are many phone shops and a good likelihood of finding the right size SIM. I had my first swim and, soon after 5:00, I walked over to Chiang Mai Gate, where we were meeting up with our grandchildren, who have been staying in condos over on the northwest side of the old city. They showed up on the dot of 5:30 and we headed back to our apartment. I made some fresh lime sodas and we caught up on what they have been doing. Dan got back at 6:00 with the phones all set up and greeted everyone. We walked over to the Blues Bar, a small restaurant nearby and had dinner together. More visiting after supper and then they took off to catch a song tao (pickup truck taxi) back to their place. We are looking forward to getting together often!!

Last summer we had a young Thai woman, Ming, staying in our basement while she finished up her program at Merry Lea Environmental Center, an arm of Goshen College. She moved to Vermont for a job in food systems with Americorps in August. She was able to come home for the holidays, and we were invited to her parents' home for brunch on Sunday. (We first met them when they came to our house in the summer.) Her parents are very interesting. Her father is a political scientist, mostly retired professor. Her mother was a professor of city planning and is an avid environmentalist. She designed their home, in a quiet neighborhood near the university.

Built into the home are the fixtures from the mother's grandmother's tailoring shop. She was Chinese and had a very large and popular shop with a wide range of fabrics and tailoring services. I would have loved to see it! As we entered the living room, we saw this large standup desk that was used for accepting cash from customers. I don't know if you can see that there is a gap in the railing in the center where the customers could hand over their payment.

The carved wood decoration above the doors is also from the shop. In the background of this photo, you can see some of the fabric cupboards, now bookshelves, that are in the study. They are very tall, necessitating extra-high ceilings in the Thai-style house.

The living room also has an old howdah, or elephant saddle, that two people would ride on.

The dining room is also lined with the shelves. They have a lot of books! Here the family is at the table.

We had a wonderful meal. These dishes were already on the table. Clockwise from the top left are shredded dried pork, pickled cabbage, pickled duck and chicken eggs, special chickpea and peanut condiments and another crunchy topping. The cucumber and tomato dish is centered with Chinese-style fish sausage, very delicious.

This stir-fry dish has tofu, mushrooms, and several other ingredients.

My plate has a mix of rice (purple and two others) surrounded by some of the dishes shown above. We also had a noodle dish I forgot to photograph.

Three fruits -- starfruit, peeled guava, and green mango.

 We toured around the house after eating and I liked this shelf of (mostly) pottery in the kitchen.

Both parents used to paint a lot of watercolors and they are in many rooms of the house. In later years, Ming's grandmother took up watercolors, too, to help her with the loss of her husband.

After lunch we toured the garden. But this is getting long, so I won't put up all the pictures, just this pot of lotus blossoms.

We had a wonderful visit and so enjoyed spending time with Ming and her family. We thought that was it, but then Ming and her mother wanted to take us out for the afternoon. More about that tomorrow!

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