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¢.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tuesday Update

Saturday evening we went back to the Walking Market again. I was feeling better, up to the walk (about 2-2.5 miles altogether). We didn't buy anything, but it is always fun to see all the crafts and other goods for sale. We went a bit too early -- some vendors were still setting up, and the food courts weren't really ready. We ended up getting three sausages (Chiang Mai, German, and Garlic) and some spring rolls, all from the same vendor. The rolls were quite large -- two dots means shrimp, one dot means chicken. The sweet/sour sauce comes in little plastic bags, ripe for a spill, so we dumped them both into one of our bowls. This is my plate, with a bite of each sausage and half of each spring roll.

Sunday afternoon I had the last of my every-other-day massages; now it will be twice a week. I am back in my tai chi class Monday-Friday mornings and for now don't want too many other activities on my schedule. I am definitely feeling better, able to handle the .9-mile walk to class, an hour of tai chi exercises, and the walk back. I usually do a little shopping on the way back -- milk or fruit mainly.

It has been interesting to notice changes along the way. Old shops disappear and new ones take their places.

This rather odd place has opened. It is some kind of Hindu thing, not likely a shop or even a temple, more like a museum. It says "Lord Ganesha Free Entrance" on the outside. I haven't gone in, but must look in one of these days.

This corner used to have a store I didn't really notice. Just behind the white pickup there was a fried chicken vendor, who was set up there every lunch time. Now it is a new hostel.

When I walked by Le Light on my way home from class, they were setting up lunch for a large group of people. This table was right outside, but under their roof.

I've always walked by the fire station. Can you tell what is wrong with this picture? The white truck is blocking egress for the engine on the left.

Looking across the moat, I saw these enormous double-decker tour buses. We saw a couple of them last week on one of our more narrow streets. They usually seem to be filled with Chinese tourists, who love to come to Chiang Mai.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Saturday Morning Market

This morning I walked over to the Chiang Mai Gate market earlier than usual. On Saturdays there is an extra row of stalls behind the large indoor space.

I went a different way than I usually go and passed an antique shop with these wonderful big lions in front.

I didn't take many pictures in the market itself, but I couldn't resist these colorful jellied sweets.

Out in the back there were lots of fruit and vegetable stalls. And meat! Here are fried fish, raw pigs' ears, and raw pork ready for you to cook.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

First Week

We have been in Chiang Mai for a week now. Dan has been doing a fair bit of shopping when he is out on his scooter -- some more hangers, new shoelaces, bottle opener, other miscellaneous items that will come in handy. I am still taking it quite easy, enjoying frequent massages. I walk out to a market at least once a day.

Flowering shrubs along the way:

Scenes at the Chiang Mai Gate market, lots of fried things!

We've been eating quite a lot of takeout in the evenings. (Yes, I'll get more pictures of that food.) Last night we went back to the Doo Dee, one of our favorite restaurants. Only one of the two servers we've gotten to know was there and she told us they had a new owner and new menu. The food was very good, but similar to so many other restaurants around. There was only one other customer during the 45 minutes or so that we were there. It used to be hopping in the evenings. The old Doo Dee had some unusual and different dishes that we enjoyed. Not sure we'll go back...

Dan's Massaman curry was delicious and presented beautifully.

My Pad See Ew also was presented well and included a small salad. It was large and I brought some home for lunch today.

At the end of the meal they brought us this fruit plate. It was lovely, but the watermelon wasn't the best.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Settling In

We've been in Thailand three days now and our routine is beginning to be established. This year we are back in a studio room rather than a one-bedroom apartment. The place we stay, Smith Suites, has become so popular that a number of ex-pats are staying here year-round and all the larger units are rented. We are on the third floor, so our view isn't nearly as good as it was from the sixth. But there is lots of storage space and the kitchen is well-equipped. The electric hob has two burners instead of the four we had last year, but we never use more than one anyway. I do miss a more comfortable place to sit and lounge. It is either the bed or a chair at the small table.

The first night we went back to a nearby place we like, the Blues Pub. I had my usual chicken with cashews, stir-fried with lots of veggies. Always delicious. It's nice to be recognized and welcomed back.

Not far from us was a new building going up last year. It is finally open, a hotel called just Bed. It is pretty expensive for here (around $75 a night) and looks really nice. The parking lot for five or so cars is right off the street.

This year we are doing less restaurant eating and more take-out. Friday we had chicken wraps from a vendor we've used frequently before. They are delicious. Tonight (Saturday) Dan went to a nearby market and brought back several delicious things. The first were five veggie wraps for salad. There were two dipping sauces. There is a small piece of meat in with the carrots, cucumbers and nice lettuce.

He got a bag of noodles. I'm not sure what the flavor was, but they were tasty. We also had barbecued chicken, about five pieces. All of this cost about $3.

I had my first massage today. I was happy to be back with Dang, who knows my body quite well and does a good job. She could tell it had been too long since my last massage! I haven't done a lot more yet, as I am still recovering from walking pneumonia. It is getting better every day; I still don't have a very high energy level.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Goodbye Hawaii, Hello Thailand

On our last day (January 1) in our rental house, we did laundry and packed up our things for the trip. The first place we went was a waterfall north of Hilo. It was beautiful from a distance. The path was fairly long and of varying altitudes, so I passed on it. (I am better, but still quite short of breath.)

As we left the waterfall park, we saw a local bakery in a small town. It was open (it seemed most places were closed on New Year's Day.) We stopped in and had some early lunch treats. Their baked goods were outstanding. Dan finally had a Hawaiian spam sandwich, sort of like sushi wrapped with rice and seaweed. Spam is very popular in Hawaii; it is on many menus.

On the way back into Hilo, we took a side road designated "scenic route." It certainly was. It went by the Botanical Gardens, which Anjali, Dirk and Tracy were planning to visit on Tuesday.

We also drove to some beach parks in town. One had an interesting kind of moat pool around a tree.

We sat in the shade for a while and watched people swimming and snorkeling. We talked with one woman after she got out and she said the water was quite cold.

We planned to eat a very early supper at a pancake house, one of the few places open on the holiday. Everyone enjoyed our meal, and a few even had pancakes! When we were finished, we headed for the airport, where Domingos, Dan and I checked in for our flight to Honolulu. Domingos was heading home to work. Dan and I stayed in a hotel near the airport before our late morning flight to Thailand.

We flew Korean Air, as we have the past few years, as it flies from Seoul directly to Chiang Mai. We like not having to change planes in Bangkok. We got in about 11:00 and had a fairly quick run through immigration and customs. We didn't have to wait for a taxi, and we were in our room by midnight. Today (Thursday) we are buy getting set up -- Dan renting a scooter, changing money, both of us doing some grocery shopping. We'll be settled by evening.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New Year's Eve

On Sunday we had a quieter day, staying in our area in the southern part of the island. After a light lunch at home, Tracy went for a run toward a nearby beach. The rest of us drove there and dropped Dirk off. Then we drove along the coast road until it ended. We were a bit surprised at the number of residences in the area, as it is quite near the lava flow. We stopped at a number of spots along the way; the scenery was breath-taking everywhere.

This marker remembering someone was at one of the beaches.

This area was a more recent lava flow, as you can see, the vegetation is much younger.

At the end of the road there were several cafes and a parking lot. A sign said the black sand beach was a quarter of a mile away, so we walked on the path. This painting was obviously done by native Hawaiians. We saw several signs wishing they could have their islands back.

Here is Anjali at the black sand beach. There was definitely sand but the beach itself was pretty rocky.

On our way back, we picked up Dirk and Tracy. After some more downtime at the house, we went for an early dinner at Kaleo's, a wonderful restaurant in nearby Pahoa.

My coconut-crusted ono fish with liliko'i sauce was fabulous. (Liliko'i is passion fruit.)

Dan had Korean short ribs, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

None of us stayed up to see in the New Year, but the others all heard some very loud firecrackers at midnight. I never heard a thing!

This evening we fly to Honolulu and tomorrow on to Thailand.