Wow. So different from The Philippines. I’m glad we did Manila first-it eased me into this whole “Asia” thing.
Even though I’d never been to the Philippines, my time in Mexico (along with the fact that everyone speaks English) made it feel somehow familiar.
Not so in Thailand. Very little English, and a very different culture. Spirit Houses, temples, and Monks serve as constant reminders of the spiritual darkness in this country.
We started our Thai adventure by spending a couple days with Bob, Stacy and their kids. It was great to experience their Thailand lives firsthand. Visited their grocery store, went to their church, and saw the school they serve (and practically live) at.
Next, two days of food! Thai cooking school (a MUST if you are in Chiang Mai) and a “Foodie Tour” (great cultural and Buddhist background information. Also fantastic street food).
Wednesday we spent the entire day riding, feeding, admiring, and (YES) swimming with real Thai elephants. Best parts: getting picked up and shaken by the elephants trunk, getting a sloppy elephant kiss, and getting up close and personal with a baby elephant (who also, coincidentally, stepped on Gary’s foot – destroying Gary’s sandal (instead of his foot!) in the process)
As if we hadn’t had a full enough week already, we boarded a bus Thursday and went North to Chiang Rai. We saw some temples (spectacular, but heartbreaking), played in a waterfall (fa-reeeeezing!!), went into the mountains to see some hill tribes, and visited an amazing tea plantation in the mountains. (I can’t wait to share pictures!).
For those of you who have ever made the trek from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai… yes. We did stop at the “pie place”… And, yes. It was the best (albeit, it is the only) pie I’ve eaten in Thailand.
Last night, back in Chiang Mai, we braved the night market and ate way too much. We managed to find everything on our “Thailand shopping list” and are now resting up for the next few days of travel.
Tomorrow we start our journey back- first, back to Manila… And Friday we hit the skies again to return to the US of A.
This has been a fantastic trip, and I will miss having daily “cultural adventures”, fresh fruit, amazing food, and the warm weather. However, I am feeling ready to be home- for predictable schedule, my own bed, family nearby and a big bowl of cereal for breakfast :)
4 more days.
See you all soon!