Wednesday, 19th March 2008
I woke up dreading all good things are coming to an end as we would be flying back to Kuala Lumpur the next day. Without further delay, we decided to check out some home industries like other tourists would. Well, I am just very intrigued by the perfect picture in the paper umbrella industry.
Being such a genius, I left my camera battery in the hotel and ended not having a camera to take pictures. I hi-jacked Alex’s new toy, Canon Ixus 960 and took a few pics! We visited the lacquer ware, handwoven silk, gem stones, paper umbrella making and painting villages. I supposed everyone enjoyed the paper umbrella making the most as we get to get artists to paint on our t-shirts, caps, handbags or camera pouch as souvenirs; starting from 50 baht only. All the traveling mates went crazy and purchased unfinished bamboo used as pen holder one after another, to get their favorite designs painted on them as souvenirs. These artists are really talented lot.
As for the gem stones gallery, I was itching badly to get a blue sapphire for myself but I managed to refrain from doing so. I had gotten myself a star sapphire two years ago and I didn’t even wear it, so why now?
After doing the very touristy thingy, we went to have the promised lunch of tom yum kueh teow and phad thai. Each of us had a bowl (tom yum) and a plate (phad thai) each. I guess other patrons in the restaurant were quite shocked as Thais don’t really eat that much. Dave gave up his sense of moderation and joined our gluttony session by ordering two plates of food as well! Well, if you can’t beat us, join us!
Instead of going to the Roong Aroon Hot Spring, we went to Baan Tawai instead, which indeed proved to be an excellent choice. It’s a place where house deco, antiques, small souvenirs, hand carvings and lots more, are sold at whole sale prices. I didn’t intend to buy anything at first but the prices are way too cheap to resist. I ended up getting myself six owls and three horn bills wooden carvings. You wouldn’t believe how much it had cost me! Only 340 baht!
We wish we could spend more time at Baan Tawai but our wallets and purses said otherwise. I think if we were to spend half day at Baan Tawai, we would have made enough purchases to redecorate the entire house! Baan Tawai is THE PLACE for people who are moving into new houses. You will get whatever you want here, at fraction of a cost.
After the fruitful shopping, we went back to the hotel with the boys opting for another session of Thai massage. I went back to the hotel to rest for awhile and then loitered again around town till it’s time for dinner.
For dinner, Tao Pok requested a Khantoke dinner at the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Centre. It’s a northern styled dinner, served on a round pedestal with 6-8 dishes of food consisting mainly pork, fried chicken, stir fried vegetables, sticky rice, mince pork in tomato sauce, rice dessert and much more. Patrons will eat in by sitting on the floor in circles. Since there are 11 of us, we sat in a rectangle instead. Haha! My friend, Jane, happened to make a trip to Chiang Mai the same time as I am, so I invited her group to join us on the last day for dinner.
It was a good experience, having dinner while enjoying cultural dances of hill tribes and native people from Chiang Mai. A bit cliché, but what the hell? It’s bottomless food – so you may top up as many times as you want, much to the Ethiopians children’s delight.
The girls didn’t retire immediately after the show and dinner. The boys complained too tired – even if they were the ones having a massage and the girls didn’t. We went on to feed our shopping frenzy at the Night Bazaar and had feelings that we would miss this forever. The streets are clean, the air is cooling, traders despite not knowing how to speak English are courteous and hospitable, everything is arranged in orderly manner and you feel so safe and not worried that someone might snatch your bags while you cross the streets like in Kuala Lumpur.
Our appreciation goes to Dave for making it possible to have a great time in Chiang Mai – the endless suggestions for great food and accommodating to our insatiable appetite of having second helpings in everything. I bet he wished that he had charged us more on food alone. Lol! Like he said to Gas Stove – you pay only 350 baht for Khantoke Dinner but you ate 1,000 baht worth of fried chicken. Haha!
As for the traveling friends, I do hope that this trip has brought us many fond memories as keep sakes in our hearts and looking forward to more travels in the future together.
I am home now, feeling slightly tight around the waist area in my work uniform… nevertheless, I am all well, sun kissed and happy.