Saturday, December 11, 2010

"This isn't how everyone dresses in Asia?" - Thailand Summary

*Unfortunately, my laptop was stolen in China so the video posts are on hold until we're back in Canada and that explains the delay in posting! Here's hoping for decent internet cafes in the rest of Laos and Cambodia so we can catch up with our posts.

Thailand was very special for us. Not only was it Hallowe'en, T's favourite day of the year, but we were also visiting Chiang Mai where our good friend Leslie had been on his work placement in 2008-2009 and Mae Hong Son where our friend Brandon is currently doing his placement. We got to see the country like we never would have without the company of Leslie's friends and Brandon. Thanks y'all!

 Country Summary with Ange

1 word/sentence: Majesty – royal influence and astounding nature. Also, where I ate my weight basically every day.

Where we went:
Instead of our usual more touristy adventures, we spent all of our time in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. We didn't hit a lot of the sights of Thailand but we got a different perspective and had a blast hanging out with friends!

Bangkok (Khao San Rd): We didn't end up actually doing much in Bangkok. Ania and T checked out some of the temples and more touristy areas. The most local thing I probably did was sit on grass with T in the middle of a round about and read Margaret Atwood. I.e. not much. I arrived two days before the girls. Still recovering from my ridiculous departure from Indonesia, I spent a lot of time at the hostel, working on writing an article. When they met up, we went out for a great night of clubbing thanks to Big, a local modeling agent that we met while getting drinks on the road.

Chiang Mai: After a first great night out karaoking with Leslie's friend Ying in a private room with an igloo theme (patriots at heart), we spent the next two days working on T's favourite day of the year: Hallowe'en. Not actually celebrated in Thailand, there were bars around the city having parties nonetheless. After dressing up as the stages of evolution last year, we had a lot to live up to and not much time. Inspired by a top I purchased in the Philippines, we decided to go with “Sailor Moon”. Fortunately, the hair matching is quite striking for Sailor Moon (Ania), Sailor Jupiter (T) and Sailor Mercury (yours truly) so all we had to do was buy many metres of fabric and spend two days sewing entire outfits by hand. What do you do on vacation?

This isn't how everyone dresses in Asia?! How embarrassing!

It's an understatement to say the costumes were a hit. Apparently Sailor Moon was big everywhere except the UK (Wonder Woman?! Really?!) including Thailand. I thought we were going to cause accidents with all of the people rubbernecking trying to get a glimpse. My favourite quote of the night comes from a local taxi driver who mumbled something at Ania. Translation from Ying: “Where are you going Sailor Moon?”

Mae Hong Son: Brand-oh-n brought us back to Chalet Brandon in Mae Hong Son once the weekend was over. He's sweet crib will be featured on this blog at a later time. He played awesome host and we used Mae Hong Son as our base while we motorbiked to a bunch of sites around the area. I rode a motorbike for the first time, hitting the chief's wife's truck on the first day, killing $100 of my trip budget. The hot springs burned the bottoms of my feet. I rode an elephant that really wanted to go eat on a different route so Ania and I had guilt issues. Ania and T visited a long-neck market. And we saw a small, pretty waterfall. It was a packed time, to say the least.
But the highlight for all of us was visiting Brand-oh-n's work near the Burmese border where we talked to refugees who work there and those who work on their behalf about the conflict in Burma, specifically involving the Karenni people. We got to spend half a day on the strip where a number of NGOs all work together and the nearby Bible College with Tim, who is finishing up his English teaching mandate and starting online distribution of Burmese woven products to raise funds for refugees.

Overheard on the Radio by T
I was quite surprise to hear that wherever we went out, gangster tunes were the order of the day. That said, here are the most overheard songs we encountered:
1. Justin Bieber, yep...there is just no escaping the Bieber Fever!
2. Eminem and Rihanna- Love the Way you Lie
3. Jay-Z and Alicia Keys- Empire State of Mind
4. Thai love songs- not sure what they were about but the videos (constantly playing on the long distance buses we took around the country) were always about a guy cheating on his girlfriend with another woman, and those women finding out about each other and crying. To us, all of the songs generally sounded the same, poppish ballads.

 Food for Thought with T
So far, Thailand has offered the best and most delicious foods we've tasted. Good-bye foods that are too spicy to eat (unless you knowingly order a spicy curry) and hello to sweet, delicious, made fresh on the street foods. Khao San Road, 'backpacker alley', would offer particularly good grub for cheap as the sun began to set. Here are some of the things we ate the most of:

1. Green Curry (yes, this one is spicy, but it's classic Thai cuisine and the girls loved it. Ange's note: and it tastes basically the same as the stuff I've been eating in Toronto so I don't have to go into a depression when I get back!)
2. Pad Thai (cooked freshly in front of you with vegetables and your choice of noodles)
3. Fried Rice (cooked fresh as a meat or veggie option)
4. Roti (filled with your choice of sweet toppings like chocolate and banana)
5. Sticky Rice with Mango (pretty self explanatory)
6. Fresh meat kabobs (you pick 'em, they cook 'em, you eat 'em)
7. Cups of Corn (cup filled with butter and salty fresh corn kernels)
8. Burmese Pickled Tea Leaf Salad (okay, so this one isn't Thai,  but it's the closest we're going to get to the Burmese border, so I figured I'd add it in here. Ying makes a mean one!!)
9. Khao Soy (curry soup with egg noodles that a specialty in northern Thailand -not too spicy and loved by all of us!)

1 comment:

  1. Ya Thailand!! Ange, I can't believe your laptop got stolen! You have the worst luck sometimes. Love the post though. And speaking of Bieber fever, he is the favorite at work - let just say my headphones have come in handy when typing proposals!!