Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Retreat to Chiang Rai

One of Stray's TEFL class mates, 'S', has returned home to a quite village just outside of Chiang Rai, now that the course is over. We were lucky enough to pay him and his friends a visit over the weekend. At the Chiang Mai bus station Stray goes off to find out at which platform our bus will be arriving, because this time he bought second class return tickets and tells me he doesn't think its the usual VIP Green Bus. Instead he points to this...which looks much nicer in the photo, than in real life.
..."and we only have second class" he says, "we'll be up the back with the chickens." I know the bus is going to Chiang Rai, because I can actually read the writing now.


I know him well and wasn't surprised when our real chariot arrived. Even in second class, the Green Buses are cheap, comfortable and air conditioned, you just don't get the first class snack and bottle of water...whoop dee doo.
'S' has reclaimed the main house on his Mum's property, which has been uninhabited for many years...she has retreated further into the hills to a small house in amongst farms and utter silence.
The river behind the property, which is not visible from the house because of a high earth wall, built to help stop flooding.
On our first night we were treated to a BBQ. Soup stock is poured into the outer section and filled with tofu and vegetables. Pieces of fat are placed onto the peak of the BBQ, to lubricate the prawns and meat being cooked on the grill section...all is placed on a clay pot cooker, filled with hot coals. Of course the meal wouldn't be complete without sticky rice and various chili condiments.
Then it's just a case of sitting around talking, cooking, drinking and eating, until you can't eat or move any more. The soup just keeps getting better and better as the night goes on, and as meat accidentally plops into the broth and the flavours intensify.
The house is huge! Every time I turned around there seemed to be another room...or door to another room. I would have loved to have seen it in its hay day. It's still filled with some beautiful furniture and old, unique artwork and ornaments...and I couldn't help but poke around a bit.
Lamp and carvings
Musician ornaments
Traditional painting
Old man painted on paper which has been overlaid with leaf skeletons
More musicians

Good company, good food and no loud Korean neighbours or traffic noise. What better way is there to chill out and relax?

Tomorrow...Mae Sai.

Snap's other blog Chiang Mai Thai


Martyn said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap I travelled on the second class buses quite a lot in my early Thailand days and in general they aren't too bad at all. You've just got to try and avoid getting on a bad one in the heat of April.

Wilai and her cousins adore Thai BBQ's and I can see the attraction in them especially for the fairer sex. Food and a good natter are the perfect recipe for most close knit female friends.

Paul Garrigan said... Best Blogger Tips

Sounds like a welcome break Snap. I lived in my wife's village for five years; it is over a 100 km from the nearest big town. I sometimes miss the peace and quite; even though I'm probably a city guy at heart. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

Martyn, truth be told, the bus in the first photo didn't look tooooo bad, but in summer I don't think I'd cope well without air con.

I adore Thai BBQ's now also and am going to take a couple home with me, minus the clay pot of course.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

Paul, I didn't realise just how much I miss the peace and quiet...something I take for granted back in Australia. We did enjoy the trip, we're back :)...back to those noisy neighbours ggrrrrrrrr!

Mike said... Best Blogger Tips

Snap, I love using the type of BBQ you have pictured, needless to say we have one.

We often spend an evening sitting in the garden eating as and when we feel hungry.

Not too noisy here most of the time too.

Snap said... Best Blogger Tips

Mike, I can hardly wait to use a couple of these back in Australia (where I have a yard)...but perhaps, minus sitting on the mat. It's getting harder and harder to get up from ground level, with these old knees ;)