Monday, February 28, 2011

Sleeping in Gravy

I didn't quite get the jest of naming the room
Yesterday the honeymoon was over. We moved from our "honeymoon suite" to a "superior" room within the same hotel. The difference was identified in so many ways such as the Americanized bath with separate shower now is the Thai all in one, toilet, shower, and sink with the floor drain. This bathroom design is just fine...just not for honeymooners. The television is no longer the flat screen but the ceiling mounted box you once saw at outdoor bars through out the world and the Aljazzeer news network looked to be broadcast in multiple tones of gray. The biggest laugh at all this is the name of the room other than the room number 12. The rooms have names such as rosey, lily, latte, pastry, earth, stone and even room number 1 is called "Woody". I thought that would be more appropriate for the honeymoon suite. Our replacement room is called.....ready for this..."Gravy."

Sammy and his class
Class assignment completed

A couple days ago we attended "Sammy's Thai Cooking School" located on his organic farm about 30km south of Chiang Mai. Sammy picked Sharon and I up at our hotel in his personal Nissan car and we met up with the rest of the all young internationally mixed female class waiting for us at the remote local market for the village of his farm. These tours of the markets are very interesting and this one especially was nice since it was a rural market in lieu of the hectic city markets. Sammy's wife escorted the class of nine through the market while I took photos. I took a class last year and did quite well so I didn't need the class room refresher before entering the kitchen. Sharon was amazed at how many different types of basil they used and the variety of fresh ingredients. After the market run down we boarded "sung tao" an open air pick up with benches in the bed to haul people efficiently, and wound our way through the lush agricultural countryside single land roads eventually turning through a mango grove into a clearing of Sammy's farm. The cooking school itself has an organic look about it which was a nice change from the concrete and steel city. Everyone has already chosen what they were interested in preparing and after a quick monologue from Mr. Sammy we got to work with Mrs Sammy instructing the class of four British birds, two sweet Dutch sisters, and a Finnish Russian girl about as tough as they come though very funny. I would have loved to knock down some vodka with her to really get the full flavor of her culture.

All the dishes were prepared by the students and then it was time to eat what we cooked. Everything was really tasty including my green curry, hot and sour vegetable soup, and phad thai. Then when all the students finishing eating, Sammy had a number of hammocks strung below his house on stilts next to a small pond. It was very relaxing. Desert and appetizers were next and I prepared mango sticky rice and chicken wrapped in banana leaf. The last was a lot of work for little bit of chicken inside the woven casing but it was flavorful. After all this it was back in the bus to our hotels.
Dutch sisters and Sharon relaxing between classes

Thai Dancer at Doi Suthep temple
Yesterday morning after packing up to move to the "Gravy" suite, we walked out to the main street and hailed a sung tao to take us up to the most important temple in Chiang Mai called Doi Suthep. This impressively constructed temple is built on a mountain top overlooking all of Chiang Mai. Because yesterday was Sunday, many musicians and dancers performed while we poked around and enjoyed the entertainment.  Once we returned to our hotel to relax in "Gravy", I dragged Sharon down to the Sunday night market which is the most fun of all the markets in Chiang Mai. It's a social occasion for everyone with great arts and crafts, endless racks of clothing, live music performances and tons and tons and tons of food. The Thai people will never starve. We ate from little vendors on the street which each little items costs between 30 cents and one dollar. Everything was delicious.

Today was the last full day for Sharon to pick up those last minute items and for me to arrange our next logistics to travel to the Laos border, cross to Huay Xai by boat, board a large slow boat (two days) to Luang Prabang on the Mekong River. Sharon is going to miss Chiang Mai for the incredible shopping and her daily massages. Tonight we shall cherish our last night in Chiang Mai by sleeping in "Gravy"

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful experience! I don't think I would have ever thought of attending a cooking school while traveling.....I will next time though.