Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Retreat to Chiang Rai - Mae Sai

After last night's belly full of good tucker and an excellent sleep we headed off to Mae Sai, on the Thai Burmese border. 'S' borrowed his Mum's pick up truck which seats five. There were seven of us. We were invited to ride in the back with our young Rastafarian friends but decided we're getting a bit long in the tooth for that sort of thing.
We've been before, and over the bridge to Tachileik, but this time we were visiting the I didn't know existed. To the south and left of the bridge, behind the main street buildings, lies a labyrinth of stalls, hundreds of them.
'S' and his friends are the nicest, gentlest bunch of people you'll ever meet. However, it was amusing not being the farang focal point for a change. The  locals were too busy staring at the ear stretchers and dreadlocks to pay Stray and I any attention.

You become immune to the thrill of haggling for a market bargain after a while, so we returned with only a blanket. On the way back to Chiang Rai 'S' went off the beaten track to show us his mother's current house...that's when my camera battery died and I had to resort to my mobile phone.

The dam near by
Back at the Chiang Rai house I wandered around, again, and took some more photos.
One of two carved dragons that hug the pillars near the entrance.
An old tea setting with ornamental eggs
Looking out from the veranda down to the second of the three houses
Back in the day, peacocks used to roam the grounds and birds occupied the aviaries below. A large pond with a Sala (pergola) island is being refilled and restocked with fish. Chai, one of  'S's older friends, happily and enthusiastically machetes down the overgrown vegetation around the house. They joke that if you ever get lost in the Thai wilderness, that you should pray that he's out there with you...a jungle version of Macgyver if you will. His energy should be bottled and sold to NASA.

Recently Mike wrote about khaao laam (rice cooked in bamboo) and I joked about it being the equivalent to throwing spuds wrapped in tin foil into a fire, like we do back guess what we had with dinner that night? Both!

One of the bamboo tubes over heated and fired off a portion of rice like a small cannon ball. It's ready to eat when the rice reaches the top of the bamboo tube. Ours were without sugar and coconut. The sticky rice was presented in a tube of inner bamboo skin, which definitely added a different and subtle flavour. 

The spuds (*man farang ...can't think of a better name for potatoes) where delicious, and smothered in butter and salt like they ought to be.

A big thank you to 'S', his Mum and friends. for their warm friendship and gracious hospitality.

*Varieties of food/produce which were introduced by Europeans (and Europeans themselves) are often called 'farang'. Potatoes are 'man farang', 'man' alone can be any variety yam or tuberous vegetable.

Snap's other blog Chiang Mai Thai


Mike said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap sounds like great fun, glad you enjoyed the Khao laam and jacket spuds.

Sometimes I find markets a bit wearing, to be honest like most Brits I don't like haggling.

Now I tend to just use food places or where everything is fixed prices.

Thanks for the link too.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

Mike...I love price tags! I think that markets/shops that have them probably get more trade from expats, than those that don't.

The link: mai bpen rai kha

Talen said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap, great read and wonderful photos. Khao Laam is so yummy.

You guys have to get into the market spirit...haggling can be great fun. I was once told by a merchant in Mukdahan after I countered his price " I can not do, my family die if I sell for that...why you want kill my family" Priceless...I paid a bit more just because he made me laugh so hard.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

Talen that's hilarious! your Mukdahanian merchant sounds like quite the drama queen...what a great sales pitch!