Monday, February 27, 2017

Miscellaneous Things Along the Way

I take a lot of photos, many of which don't end up in my blog. I have quite a collection, some of which I'll share with you today and, probably, in one more post. I leave for Seoul on Wednesday to spend some time with my daughter and her husband. I'll arrive home in Goshen on March 10. Dan is moving to a more modest place and will continue playing pickle ball, having massages, and studying the Thai language until the end of April.

All of these photos were taken during my walk to and from Tai Chi class daily -- almost a mile each way, mostly along the moat road.

These pickups have loudspeakers that are blasting advertisements as they roll along the street. It's a common sight and sound, but there aren't usually so many together.

Two years ago, when we first stayed in Chiang Mai, a new pedestrian bridge was being built over the moat. It now looks as if it had been there forever and the plants along the sides are beautiful.

Looking at the bridge from a distance, you can hardly see the wood for the plants.

This hardy bush is growing out of a small hole in the sidewalk near the corner. The shop behind it was the Baan Bakery for the past two years. When we arrived this year, it was an Italian restaurant. That closed rather soon after we were here and now The Family Cafe has opened. The Baan Bakery moved closer to our place, has delicious baked goods, especially croissants and Danish, and smells wonderful every time I walk past.

A new hostel called Haus opened close to one of our favorite places, the Blues Pub. It doesn't look very big, but by the number of shoes on the outside, there must be quite a few backpackers staying there.

This lovely tree is growing out over the moat. I see it nearly every day, but one day its wonderful shape just jumped out at me.

Another restaurant, this one close to IDI Massage School, where I go regularly (for massage, not for school). We ate there for lunch one day last year and it was OK. When we arrived, it was closed and they've been working on the interior most of the two months. It reopened about a week ago, and there are many scooters parked in front at lunchtime.

I like this little pickup truck on a scooter. It seems safer to drive than the usual ones that have the cargo space on the side.

The building we've been watching transform an empty space is nearing completion. Over the weekend they were installing a septic system, digging a large hole with a small backhoe.

Thursday, February 23, 2017


One thing that is always interesting when traveling is the names given to hotels, restaurants, etc. I've seen a number of internet sites that specialize in photos of signs in garbled English from various countries. I've been collecting photos of hotels and hostels that seem (to me) to be interesting and unusual, so here are a few of them.

Absolute Hostel is right across the street from us. They advertise "Absobloody tours." Australian focus, maybe?

Paan Park Raak is right next door to our place. It is a new hostel since last year.

This is also on our street. I wonder what Big & O stands for? And there is probably a House 1 somewhere.

I walk by this place on my way to IDI Massage School as well as to my Tai Chi class. It's the only place I've seen with roti on the menu that isn't just a stall on the street.

We pass by Cassowary on our way walking home from the Saturday Walking Street Market. It looks pretty upscale.

Cozy is a coffee shop/cafe that we've walked by many times but never noticed until our daughter and son-in-law discovered it for breakfast.

This sign is on the main moat road pointing down a dead-end lane that has these two hotels on it.

Another hostel right on the main road. 500 Baht is about $14, not bad for a private room.

This coffee shop has two entrances -- one on the main road and one on the soi (alley) where the Mind and Body Healing School is located (my Tai Chi class). 

Another new one in our neighborhood, just around the corner. Most of these hostels are very small, not much larger than private homes. There are so many backpackers that come through here; the majority seem to be European.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

It's Saturday!

Last week I posted about the big truck blocking the alley for the house that is being renovated. Later as I passed it, I saw that the door and wall are nicely decorated.

One evening this week we walked into the old city to Baan Nana. This is a restaurant and hostel and we've always enjoyed our food there.

Cashew chicken with vegetables

Penang chicken
We have frequently gone to the Saturday Night Walking Market near us and picked up food to bring home to eat. This week we decided not to go there, but to just go to the Chiang Mai Gate Plaza, which turns into a food court every evening. Tonight the traffic everywhere was heavy, as to be expected when Wua Lai Road is closed for the market (it's a major thoroughfare).

We went to a booth that makes Pad Thai to order, then got a seat at one of the many small tables. Here is a view looking across to the roof of the Chiang Mai Market.

Although we had already ordered, there was a menu on our table for a different booth. I don't know if you can read it, but it says:

Paste of rice flour (twice), Pork noodles, Noodle machine, and Ekaehla. On the other side it said:  Pork porridge, Pork egg porridge, Boiled pork, Rice machine, and Boiled fish. Your guess is as good as mine as to what these things are.

Across the way we could see the KFC Fried Chicken booth -- oops, I mean KFG. Yes, that is a 7-11 store behind it.

This lovely young woman was clearing things from the tables.

Here is one of the two Pad Thai dishes we had. I wish I were better at chopsticks, but I managed.

As we headed home, we passed a booth that was selling lots of fried snacks. We got these cheese balls that came with a nice little salad.

And a banana spring roll. The question was: "Do you want it drizzled with chocolate?" There is only one answer to a question like that!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Another Week

The smoke pollution has started up in Chiang Mai. It is due to massive crop-burning going on all over Southeast Asia and China. We are told it will be bad through March. Dan and I both have 3-M masks to help with the pollution when we are out. Sinuses are clogged; antihistamines give some relief.

Friday as I walked to my class, this butterfly followed me for a while. It finally landed on an old tire along the road and I got a shot. The poor thing has lost part of its right wing.

I posted a few times about the new building along the way. Here is one of the workers taking away the wheelbarrow on his scooter. He was happy that I wanted his photo.

When I got to the soi (alley) where I turn off the main road toward the Mind and Body Healing School there were some traffic cones closing it off. As I turned, I saw why. These roads are not very big and this was a big truck. There is some remodeling of a home going on and it appeared this truck was cleaning out the storm drain under the road. I was able to squeeze by.

Saturday evening we went back to the Walking Street Market. I wanted to pick up another cotton top like one I got a few weeks ago -- very cool and comfortable if not terribly attractive. I noticed that this place haste spirit houses, with plenty of offerings. We stopped by the artists' area and told them that the painting we had ordered was delivered to my sister in Indianapolis a few days before. I think they understood us...

For Sunday lunch we decided to revisit the River Market restaurant, where we went with Anjali and Domingos in early January. The view over the river is lovely and there was a nice breeze.

There are two kitchen areas that open right onto the dining area.

We had to repeat the Son-in-Law Eggs that we'd had before. The eggs are lightly fried, so they are a bit crusty, and are topped with caramelized onions.

This time Dan had the Penang Short Rib Curry and said it was delicious. The meat just fell off the bone.

I had the eggplant tapenade with barbecued shrimp, which was also very good. Each dollop of eggplant had a cashew on it and was topped with a grilled shrimp.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Back in Chiang Mai

The last day in Penang I didn't do much. Dan did the Hop-on Hop-off tour, but didn't get off anywhere. We went back to the Red Garden for supper -- more biriani and some chicken satay. Our flight was pretty early on Saturday and the hotel arranged a taxi for us to the airport. Nothing special about the trip, which is always a good thing. Changing from domestic to international was easy -- we had no lines at immigration or security, which we had to go through twice. We had a few hours to kill in the Kuala Lumpur airport, but the seating was pretty comfortable. I spent our last Malaysian Ringgit on some overpriced chocolate, which is now in our fridge.

Since we've been back, we've visited some of our regular restaurants -- the Blues Pub, Gai's Thai Cafe, Doo Dee, and Spoon De Best.

Gai's Pad Thai

Gai's Panang Pork Curry

Spoon de Best's Sweet & Sour Fried Fish

After leaving Spoon de Best Tuesday evening, we passed by the roti maker's stall again. It was irresistible!

We had banana and chocolate -- sliced bananas are cooked inside the roti, chocolate syrup and condensed milk are drizzled over the finished product. Notice the two sticks supplied so we can eat it right there.

The new building I walk by daily made a lot of progress while we were gone. The cinder block walls are being coated with cement and there are green cloth hangings up to hide the work. In this photo the woman below has just sent a wheelbarrow up by pulley to the worker standing on the second floor. I saw them doing this with all the bricks earlier, but this was the first time I caught a photo.

And to round off this post, two beautiful flowering trees along the moat.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour Part II

I got off the bus at the Penang Hill stop. I knew I wanted to see what this former British hill station looked like. As I headed into the ticket office, I saw crowds of people standing in line. I'd been told I could get a "Fast Lane" ticket if I was willing to pay, and I realized I was! That line had only about a dozen people compared to more than a hundred in the other. Once I had my ticket, I went through the special door and a train came very quickly. We got on first and then the others were allowed to board. Each compartment had benches seating about 8 and standing room for another 10 or so. The train is a funicular installed by the British in 1923 and last upgraded in 2011. I think they said the grade was 27%. There was one tunnel near the top. This photo shows the scenery out the window, with a glimpse on the left of the walking path with many steps.

On the way up I saw these bungalows, very similar to many we are used to seeing in Mussoorie.

At the top there was a huge food hall (with restrooms, yay!) and many tourist-oriented things. I walked on through and saw this beautiful wall with flowers blooming. 

I walked around a bit, getting a sense of the place. This is one view I saw from the road.

It would have been interesting to explore further, to see if I could find any of the places that were used in filming the BBC series "Indian Summers." It was filmed here because the buildings and area were less changed from the time of the British Raj than similar places in India.

I climbed the steps to Gun Hill, where the cannon still sits. It would have been fired daily at noon to give people the correct time.

At the top of the hill was an open area with a playground. There was a mosque on one side and this Hindu temple on the other.

Another shot of some flowers. Everything was very well cared for; it is obviously a good revenue source from tourists and Malaysians alike.

As I headed back to the station, there was a viewing platform to see the city below. Unfortunately, it was very hazy, but you still can get a sense of the views of Georgetown from here.

I only had to wait a short time before a train was heading down. When I came into the line, the woman working motioned me forward and took me into an air-conditioned room to wait. I think my walking sticks classified me with the others in there, one in a wheel chair. But I didn't mind. As I came out of the station I saw one of the Hop-on buses in its parking spot. I hurried across the pavement, hoping I could get on and not have to wait 30-60 minutes for the next bus. I did make it, the driver greeted me, I sat down and he took off. I was grateful.

There were so many sights along the way and it was hard to get good photos. I did notice this doctor's sign, however.

One of the places we stopped was the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia. It has a very tall pagoda and a huge statue, plus monastery and more buildings. I decided not to get off and tour it.

One of the many Hindu temples we saw was the one below. I was fortunate to get a good shot of Krishna and Radha and the gopis (milkmaids), which were on the roof facing the road.

We ate dinner that evening at the Danish Briyani House, of which we had seen several in the beach area and in town. One is just down the street from us. We had very good Indian food, chicken biriani, palak paneer, and tandoori rotis. Yum!

We head back to Chiang Mai on Saturday.