Day 291, Mon 25th Nov

The day was meant to start with the first day of our massage course but they cocked up the booking… so a day of admin & trying to sort out our visa extension. Oh, & Tracey took us shopping… bought a T shirt to replace the 2 that Tracey ruined in the washing – my Brazil T shirt & new T shirt are now tie dyed!

(Or in fact Thai-dyed since the dye seems to run on all new clothing…)

Chiang Mai - Hot Chilli (4)

Met a lovely American couple (Will & Candice) in the Funky Dog café who told us of a cute restaurant with swings… T duly had us off searching for it & reserved a swing seat for later.  We arrived to find a large queue; which we bypassed to take up our

reservation on the highly sought after swing seats.  A lot of jealous looks later from the queue, T was ensconced in her red swing seat wearing a new red dress & her red shoes… she didn’t stop smiling all night! :)

The restaurant is Hot Chilli if you want to try it – expensive by Chiang Mai standards, but worth it for the swing and the beautifully presented (extremely tasty) Mango Sticky Rice. I was obviously in my element :D

Day 292, Tue 26th Nov

So, eventually started a 2 day massage course – it’s really good; worked on the legs & arms… T’s very happy.  Finished mid-afternoon & took in some temples.

The massage course was good, but surprisingly tiring, and there is a lot to learn (much practice needed!). Keir seemed to get a slightly worrying sadistic pleasure out of pressing excessively hard on my muscles too…

I don’t remember any temples today, maybe his mind is going ;)

Day 293, Wed 27th Nov

Final day of the massage course – head, neck & back… I think T will be expecting a massage every day now, & I have no excuse… damn, how short-sighted of me!

Then Temples, temples & more temples….

Said goodbye to our massage teacher, Miss Wanna, and promised to practise – let’s hope we do! Then off to visit a few temples – definitely NOT time to go and see the tigers today – decided we will stay in Chiang Mai a couple of extra days anyway – the prospect of rushing off to Sukhothai and back just seems too exhausting after all these activities!

Chiang Mai - Siam Rice Cookery Course (40)Day 294, Thu 28th Nov

Thai cookery course day…. Wish I read the references on the website that said miss breakfast!  There were 7 courses to cook & eat; I felt stuffed after the 1st course.

Who knew that I was such a great cook? The Penang curry and Hot & Creamy soup were fabulous – obviously I couldn’t taste Keir’s food as he put chicken in everything, grrr  – and Mango Sticky Rice for dessert – my new favourite.

 

Tracey & Rob

Tracey & Rob

 

Unfortunately Rob picked tonight to have dinner with us – it was a struggle to eat any more – but we had to try the tea salad at the Burmese restaurant (The Swan), very tasty. Bit knackered after all that eating, but we managed a few post-prandial drinks before Keir started nodding off in the bar

 

:)

 

 

 

Day 295, Fri 29th Nov

Chiang Mai - Tiger Kingdom (132)At last, a lie in.  Then we sorted out our visa extensions & headed off to Tiger Kingdom, where you get to get in & up close to anything from baby to fully grown Tigers… when I say get close, I mean get close – i.e. cuddle, stroke & lie down next to.  Supposedly they aren’t drugged in anyway, just been hand reared next to humans.  Had to keep telling T that, “No, they are giant teddy bears or pussy cats & that we can’t have one…!”

Was a bit awe inspiring when you see the majesty of these beasts, also it was very difficult to be at ease when you know how quickly cats can just turn on you & put their teeth/ claws in… they were just like giant ‘cats’ in everything they did.

Left the place though feeling sad for them; they are out with humans all day in medium sized enclosures then locked up in cages at night…. Not even a giant enclosure for them to run around in.

Whilst being in two minds about visiting the tigers, we decided to see for ourselves. There are obviously lots of reviews on Trip Advisor, some of which suggest drugging, some of which refute it…I am no expert, but the baby tigers certainly seemed playful enough and wouldn’t stay still for long. The big cats were moving around, going for the occasional swim – to the surprise and sudden soaking of the hapless visitors standing next to them at the time :) – and the guardians are very alert (one accompanies every group), so you definitely feel a sense of your own mortality. The urging of the keeper to put my head on the tigers stomach was not something I felt inclined to do! But it is true that they do not have much space to wander in, and even if they have been hand reared and well-fed, it is obviously not a natural environment for a wild animal to live in…

Last night in Chiang Mai, so Keir got me mortally drunk in the Roots Rock Reggae bar on slushy cocktails – I had hoped that the high water content would save me; a foolish assumption :(

Chiang Mai - Wat Pra Singh Voramahavihara (38)Day 296, Sat 30th Nov

Went off to see a final few temples – they really are lovely; but starting to feel a little templed out now – & then the afternoon at the Sat market… how happy was Tracey!

Night bus to Bangkok; going to miss Chiang Mai. It has a really relaxed air about it. Far more to do than we’ve even scratched the surface on & it’s a fun place to be.  I really feel on holiday now… beach & diving next!

Damn, I have a hangover :-(

After a very late breakfast, we made it to Wat Suan Dok temple – really beautiful, but undergoing some restoration – and the rest of the day just seemed to disappear before we got on the Nakonchai Air bus to Bangkok. No first class left unfortunately, so we are slumming it on Gold…

Day 297, Sun 1st Dec

Got off the night bus to find the Gooners won 3-0 at Cardiff – A Ramsey double with Ozil pulling the strings. What a great start to the day! :-)

Arrived in Ko Lanta, picked up our dive books & ensconced ourselves in an excellent hotel chosen by hers truly… basic double cabin, but beautiful view from the hotel across the bay & an infinity pool in front of the restaurant… result; all for £11 a day – I love Thailand!

Slept really badly for some reason, I guess I have become unused to overnight bus travel in the last couple of months, and arrived in Bangkok about 6am. Our flight is in 7 hours, but we figured with the protests in the city centre and possible traffic issues, that it might be best to just head to the airport early.

We managed to kill several hours in a nice café, with a waitress taking photos of us and our food; it was almost like being back in China! Unfortunately I think she may have been doing the same in the kitchen, that is the only explanation for the stone-cold, but perfectly presented poached eggs presented to me :)

Chang Mai, Thailand – Nov ’13

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