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Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

One thing I really wanted to do in Thailand was take an online cooking class. I had found Sammy’s Organic Thai Cooking School via a blog review before we arrived in Thailand and after looking at some brochures, and reading more reviews I decided that this was the one I would book into. The school takes place on Sammy’s farm which is a short drive out of Chiang Mai. Sammy picks up the students from their hotels and stops at a traditional market on the way to his farm.

We arrived to find the large under-cover cooking area set up ready for us to start cooking.

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We had a brief lesson about local ingredients.

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Everyone got their own station. There were two students from Belgium and one from South Africa in addition to Gorgeous Girl and I from Australia/South Africa/Papua New Guinea (answering the question “Where are you from?” is kind of hard for us).

Gorgeous Girl had her own station. First we made a curry paste from scratch. I opted for a red curry while Gorgeous Girl made a yellow curry paste.

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The two dishes.

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I made my red curry a little too spicy for my taste, but Gorgeous Girl’s yellow curry was fabulous. She did it all by herself too.

Next we made dishes using the wok. Gorgeous Girl opted for her favourite dish, cashew chicken.

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While I made the best pad thai I’ve ever eaten (good recipe, not my exceptional skills).

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All up we made 5 dishes each including one dessert. We got a recipe book to take home. I’ve tried one of the recipes so far – it wasn’t a huge success because I didn’t have all of the ingredients. But I will be working on incorporating more of our day out into the regular home menu.

 

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Chiang Mai

From Bangkok we travelled to Chiang Mai. Once again we rented a house through Airbnb. This one was easier to find than the one in Bangkok. One thing we really wanted to do in Chiang Mai was to see elephants, but we didn’t want a place which gave elephant rides or forced the elephants to do tricks for tourists. Riding is bad for the elephants’ backs and we wanted a more natural experience. After reading numerous brochures at the local coffee shop (best coffee I had in Thailand – actually probably one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had anywhere), we settled on Dumbo Elephant Spa. We were picked up from a hotel near where we stayed and driven out of Chiang Mai into the mountains. Once there we were given traditional Karen clothing to put on.

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There is a family group.

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The baby one was really cute.

Then the guides brought out fruit to feed the elephants. I have to admit that I found the elephants rather huge and intimidating. Gorgeous Girl had no such inhibitions.

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Elephant hug.

They have a mud pool that the elephants like to swim in. On the day that we visited the elephants didn’t want to mud bathe. Gorgeous Girl and the two other children who were on the tour made full use of it though.

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The elephants also used this as a toilet…

After a while the elephants wandered down to the river so we all followed them. The elephants went swimming and were scrubbed down by the guests. In return they sprayed the swimmers with water. I stayed dry taking lots of photos.

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This was a real highlight and well worth a visit.

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More Bangkok

I think I mentioned that Gorgeous Girl had the chance to catch up with a friend who used to live in PNG. She was invited to his birthday party and got to experience the magic of laser tag.

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She had a great time.

One one of our trips down the river we got off at the stop to see the Wat Traimit – the Golden Buddha. My advice is to walk out of the car park by the mall to hire a taxi or a tuktuk (you will save yourself several hundred baht) to take you to the temple. The Wat houses the largest golden buddha in the world. For most of its history this magnificent statue had been hidden by a layer of plaster.

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Around 40 years ago it was dropped while being moved and the plaster cracked revealing the gold underneath.

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The story goes that it was originally covered up to protect it from invading armies during the Sukhothai period (1238-1438).

We also visited some night markets and partook of some delicious food. I’m a terrible blogger and forgot to take a picture before I started eating.

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I did get a shot of Gorgeous Girl’s though. Thai food isn’t usually eaten with chopsticks, and this was kind of like Thai/Chinese fusion street food.

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There were also delicious little snacks eaten on the go, but no pictures of them.

After a several days in Bangkok it was time to fly to Chiang Mai.

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Bangkok

We took a tourist boat up the river in Bangkok. It was a lovely trip to take.

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Gorgeous Girl was a bit over the photos at this point.

We were visiting Thailand only two months after the king had passed away. The country is observing a year of mourning. There were large signs around the city offering condolences.

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As a sign of respect the people of Thailand are wearing black or dark colours for the year of mourning. We tried to respect that by avoiding bright colours ourselves.

The boat we took was a hop-on/hop-off. Since we didn’t get to see everything we wanted to on one trip we did this twice. While wandering the streets we found the most amazing food in a little hole in the wall restaurant that I’m not sure I’d be able to find again.

I was very taken with the glimpses of life along the river. Houses over the water.

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A petrol station.

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There was lots of construction (as you can see from the crane in the background above) and new sits alongside old.

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A building erected by some of the earliest Europeans in Thailand.

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And the royal palace.

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I have a few more holiday posts (mainly so family can see what we did and where we went) and then regular crafting content will return.

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Growing the (yarn) stash

During our time away we drove down to Gorgeous Man’s father’s place. It’s a drive we’ve taken many, many times. On the way back to Brisbane, instead of passing straight through one of the small towns along the way Gorgeous Man turned the wheels of the car towards the Town Centre. We hadn’t driven more than 20 metres down the side street when I spotted what looked like a yarn store.

Once the car had stopped I hightailed it to the store to investigate while Gorgeous Girl and Gorgeous Man amused themselves in a secondhand books store.

Fibre Delights is a charming little store which sells a variety of handknit and crochet items as well as a small range of spinning fibre and yarn.

The stash grew as a result of this little visit. Some spinning fibre found its way home with me.

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I’m looking forward to spinning this up.

If you are passing through Ulmarra in north New South Wales, this little store is well worth a visit.

 

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Out and about

Papua New Guinea was a major theatre of war in World War II and we took the students to Bomana War Cemetery.

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This is the view from the front of the cemetery. The cemetery contains the Australian war dead.

A friend had asked me to locate the grave of a relative of hers and I gave Gorgeous Girl the name and grave number and sent her off to look while I sat under a tree and listened to our visiting scholar give a lecture. (Gorgeous Girl is on school holidays at the moment so she got to come along on all the tours we did). She located it very quickly and after the lecture I went down and took pictures for my friend.

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This is the view from the row he was buried in. We held our lecture under the big tree at the top of the photo.

We also visited the Museum. Gorgeous Girl was not so impressed with that, she declared herself to be tired, hungry and bored. Finally she spotted a bird in the court yard and went over to stare at it through the emergency doors. One of the security guards who had seen how unhappy she was saw her staring longingly at the bird and took her outside to meet it in person. They came back 10 minutes later to get me so that I could take photos.

So tame and friendly. Apparently he was pretty heavy. I’m am always humbled at the lengths people here will go to keep children happy.

In crafty news I’m putting the final borders on my crochet blanket, so hopefully pictures shortly.

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A tour

It’s been a busy few weeks and I didn’t mean to disappear from the blog. The day after all exams had been marked and grades submitted two visiting scholars from Australia arrived to do an intensive tour and classes for the students in our Papaua New Guinea History subject. We arranged a number of day trips for the students.

On the first day we visited some informal settlements to discuss problems and challenges of urbanisation. We also looked at some training programmes that were being conducted in the villages such as financial literacy and first aid training. After that we went to Parliament House.

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Where we were given a private tour by a former member of parliament and we had lunch in the parliamentary dining room. This was quite an experience for the students.

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After lunch we were taken to a local village. To visit a village such as this in PNG you need to make contact with local land owners first and need a reason for being there, it’s not polite to just wander in.

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In this village the houses are built over the water. Many of the men fish for a living. The house this photo was taken from had the front part on land and the rear of the house and the back deck over water.

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At the end of the day one of the students told our visiting lecturer that it was the trip of a lifetime for him.

 

 

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