(Chiang) Mai, Mai, Mai!

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Up in the mountains for meeting the elephants.

Wow! So so much has happened since the last time I blogged. I went to meet the elephants which was a scary but moving experience. There were lots of comedy moments as my shoes, yes my walking shoes, were not suitable for walking the kilometre down to the spot where the elephants were. I basically slid, fell and at times had to have both my hands held to get me there.

The fun didn’t end there. At the mud bath the Thai keepers thought it would be great to start throwing mud around so imagine me covered in mud from head to toe in a stream with several elephants.

It was one of those experiences that is both surreal and fills you with awe. The elephants weren’t afraid of us at all, especially when we had bananas on us. They absolutely adore the water and would have happily stayed bathing for hours. The trip we took was a non riding one and the elephants roam wild so it was unique experience to be so close to them and observe them in their natural habitat. For example I didn’t realise elephants have hair all over their bodies, nor that their skin glistens when wet.

The alfresco lunch was amazing, especially when one of the clever elephants came to join us. After he had raided our table, he ambled over to the kitchen and would have eaten all the food there if not ushered away!

I continued to slip in the stream, in the rocks and pretty much on every surface I could. We were taken to an amazing waterfall to wash off. The water was so powerful it was like getting a massage.

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If you can’t take the heat- stay out of the kitchen!

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Drunken noodles

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Spring rolls made by my own fair hands

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The prep for chicken in ginger

So the day after meeting the elephants I I went to my cooking class. I haven’t got pics of everything as I learnt how to make 6 dishes! Not pictured is the hot and sour soup, yellow curry or banana in coconut milk. All fantastic. The class was great fun and I was absolutely stuffed afterwards.

The secret to Thai cooking? Heaps of fresh ingredients, sugar and oyster sauce. I couldn’t believe that sugar was added to everything as was oyster sauce. Claire D- add both of these and dark soy sauce when cooking rice noodles! Will post a recipe you can try. I am keen to try out my recipes again in the UK though I fear that I will not be able to replicate the taste with the ingredient equivalents…

I won’t be able to post for a while as I am going to my meditation retreat tomorrow. No smoking and only two meals a day means that I am going to have a very large breakfast and lunch
before I arrive. Here are some pics of the last few days:
Monks celebrating Buddha’s birthday

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Detoxifying vegan salad at Amrit cafe- a perfect haven when I needed it today.

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Learning about Lanna culture at the folk museum this afternoon- i think we should bring back this form of courtship!

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Next time I blog it will be post meditation- wish me luck!

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