Thailand Update #2

Lisa writes:

We are here in Chiang Mai.  I think this is our third day, but it feels that we’ve been here longer.  Perception is influenced by fatigue, airplanes, and the International Date Line.

Today is National Children’s Day, so there are many activities planned to celebrate.  Yesterday we saw a band parade, jets flew overhead, and the museum offered free admission and games and activities for kids.  Our students joined right in. They played a rhythm/hopping game similar to jump rope, with two long bamboo poles which are beat against the ground in a specific rhythm while the jumper jumps in between them and out.   I remember playing a game like this during grade school.  The clacking sound particularly stands out.

From there we headed to a sister guesthouse to the one in which we are staying for a Thai cooking class.  Each pair of students picked out a main course, a snack and a dessert to prepare.  Think: steamed whole tilapia, panang chicken, pad Thai, sweet & sour soup, green papaya salad, spring rolls… is anyone hungry yet?  Sweet corn and chicken patties, golden delights, sticky rice and mangoes…

After choosing dishes we headed to the market to purchase what we needed.  It was a small market, clean and orderly.  Each stall sold an array of things in any given category.  One stall for curries, one for different kinds of rice.  One for vegetables and one for seafood.  Another for coconut, still another for fruit. It was very much a “one stop shopping spot!”

We took our ingredients home and started by learning how to chop them. Mr. Visutt would demonstrate and we would do our best.  Despite his speed and accuracy — and the fact that he did not look at what he was doing while chopping — he still has all his digits.  So do we, for that matter, but we were far slower and less precise.  The teacher was amazing in keeping the meals organized and tracked. After each course was completed we would gear up to cook the next.  It was really fun, and the flavors were amazing.  I was struck by the artistry, finesse and nuance that is inherent in Thai cooking.  We were so full by 4:30 that we opted out of dinner.

We left and walked for about a mile to an evening market.  After setting boundaries and a meeting time, we entered into the fray.  If it was busy at 5:30, it was absolutely nuts at 7 pm. We were all struck by the presence of so many young Thai at the market.  It was not a tourist event.  I was further struck by the similarity of some of the wares to those found in Guatemala, though again, here the pressure to buy is quite relaxed.  It was a great day.

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One Comment on “Thailand Update #2”

  1. Chanda Hart Says:

    I am feeling inspired to cook! I hope you all are having a wonderful food filled trip!

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