Thai Cooking Farm (Chiang Mai, Day 3)
It is 17 February 2011, and after an intense, amazing day with elephants, we slowed down a bit and attended a cooking class through Thai Cooking Farm.
As an aside, there was an elephant story that I forgot to mention on that post: April and her Mahout (her elephant’s trainer) had both taken their shoes off and forgotten. When they went to leave, the Mahout grabbed April’s shoes — and in so doing, forgot his. However — to prove that he was smarter than the both of them — April’s elephant went over, grabbed his Mahout’s shoes, and brought them to the trainer! April witnessed the whole thing, and was amazed at the intelligence this massive animal had just shown. Anyway … back to our story:
Once again, weÂ leave our charming hotel, Baan Orapin, and travel a short distance to the local market.
Always a fascinating place for me to visit in any culture, we see the vast varieties of rice available, chickens (and their feet), and amazing varieties of food. (The pictures of the food still make my mouth water.)
(Click here if you can’t see the rest of the pictures)
Another drive, passing ladies riding with elephants in trucks, men “mowing” the rice fields, and children riding standing up on their mopeds …
… and we arrive at the Cooking Farm. We learn about the base ingredients, and spend the morning cooking up our own delicacies. It was fun, and we have a great cookbook to now try at home. The best part, of course, was eating it, with April’s favorite the papaya salad. We loved learning how many different ways you could smack, hit, crack, or crush a pepper to change the fire of a dish; and how if you ate enough lemongrass and peppers the mosquitos — so they say — would leave you alone.
After enjoying our breakfast, lunch, and (early) dinner, by 3pm we had to take off towards Lampang, about an hour and a half drive away. We went to the Riverside Guesthouse (with rooms as low as $12 a night!) and met up with my mom, Marcia, and husband Jack. The Riverside Guesthouse was beautiful … and the service and company supposedly (we stayed with our new family) was even better:
My mom freaked out as Jack and Nick rode on the bumper of the taxi, and we went to the wedding clothing rental shop. They were AMAZING … world-class clothing and makeup artists, in a smaller town outside of a small city far in a not-all-that-large country. (They quite possible did April’s hair better than anyone ever had … including all of her modeling gigs in the States!) We were the “talk of the town” and the ladies couldn’t help but stop in the store and stare as we got fitted for our clothing (yes, we look terrible!) for the next day … our Thai wedding!
Several fun hours of fitting later, we head out to dinner. The town looks like it came straight out of Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride (or would it be the Jungle Cruise?).
We at last get to meet our hosts and new family for the Thai wedding, “Papa,” Tuk, and Tom, all arranged through our local friends Jib, Noi, and Linette of the fantasticÂ Thai This and Thai Juan On restaurants in southern California. Words can only scratch the surface of the gratitude we feel to them for setting up the next day’s more-than-amazing wedding ceremony, and their kindness — which we found throughout Thailand — was the stuff of legends. We are eternally grateful… but more on that as I cover the Thai wedding … next up!