Chiang Mai was fun. How much fun, you ask? This much fun:
Lots of awesome markets. Lots of moats. Lots of wats (temples). How many temples, you ask? One afternoon, we played a game – while strolling down the street, hold your breath. You are only allowed to breathe when you can see the next wat. And we didn’t die. We didn’t even get light headed. That many temples. Some are glitzy.
Some are old.
These spikes protect the temple from falling spirits.
Other things we discovered in Chiang Mai: Sidewalk laundry.
Steam bun stores.
Another whole new sport!! This one is sort of like tag meets red rover, but with tackling. Team A sends a single player across to Team B’s side, where everyone is in pairs holding hands. This player must tag someone on Team B, then retreat back to his own side. Once a member of their team is tagged, any member of Team B can tackle or otherwise stop the player from retreating. If player A is tackled, he is out for the round. If he is successful, the tagged player from Team B is out. A popular move is to tag with a foot, by kicking. This can, and does, backfire when the tagged player grabs your foot and you end up on your head.
Alas, we didn’t do much else in Chiang Mai because J and I each had a bout with Thaiarrhea and spent some QT curled up in our guesthouse, not moving much. Traveller’s badge of honor – didn’t regret that street food for a second. On to Pai!
Pai is beautiful. It was cold at night. Its a little hippie haven full of artists nestled into rice fields and lush jungled hills. So friggin pleasant. How pleasant, you ask? This pleasant:
Our guesthouse looked like this. Our neighbor looked like this:
Harvesting rice. The stalks are cut and brought to a central bowl, then beat against the edge of the bowl until the grains fall off. It’s super labor intensive and also pretty bucolic.
There’s a market pretty catered to hippie buying power and we discover more new and delicious street foods. Sadly, our visa was about to expire, so we had to say goodbye. Three buses later, we ferried our way out of Thailand and into Laos.
Farewell Thailand! (Sunset over Thai hills as seen from across the Mekong, on our patio in Huay Xia)