A roundup of the week

The last few updates have been a little negative, so this one is going to be a round up of the more fun things that I’ve done over the last week.

In as much as the stories behind the founding of the elephant sanctuary and its inhabitants were shocking, it was also an amazing day out. 

The elephants were wonderful, very personable and the cause of a few chuckles as their trunks would appear out of nowhere in search of food, giving a little tab on the shoulder, or trying to grab cameras as they thought they were food.

When I was on safari in Kenya, and seeing elephants in the wild for the first time; Jumping into a river and giving one a wash was something that I never imagined that I’d be doing in a couple of years time.

Cleaning and feeding elephants was a unique experience and one that was a lot of fun. 

The day after I decided to finally go out and take a look around Chiang Mai’s temples and the rest of the Old Town. 

I liked Chiang Mai a lot. It despite being Thailand’s 2nd largest  city, it is a much more laid back place than pretty much anywhere else I’ve been in Asia.

I cannot tell you how refreshing it was to walk down streets and not have someone hassling you every couple of seconds. Not to be bitten by a hundred bugs. Not to be sweating due to unbearable heat.

The food is fantastic. 

I’d been tipped off to this by Ae. I had planned to take a cooking class when I was in Krabi, but when she heard I was going to visit Chiang Mai she told me to take one there instead. 

I signed up for a class with http://www.thaifarmcooking.net and I still managed to have a good time out, despite the loss of my camera which you may have read about in my previous update. So please excuse the photos accompanying this!

The farm is somewhat out of town, and you get picked up and driven there in the morning. On the way you stop of at a local market and are given an introduction to the ingredients that are used in Thai cooking.

Upon arrival at the farm itself, we enter the classroom and choose what we are going to make. Then we take a walk around the farms herb garden and pick herbs to be used in the cooking.

I had fun with the cooking, and I surprised myself by how much I’d picked up and remembered about using a wok from my class in Yangshao.

I’m still not going to profess to having any proficiency in the kitchen, but again I managed to turn out something that both surprised me in both look and taste. I was amused to hear my Red Curry described as Thai Medium, Tourist extra hot. I’ve also realised that Thai ginger is far different to the knotted root that we westerners know as ginger. I’ve avoided a fair few dishes at home because they contained ginger. Now I know the difference, I look forward to expanding my palette when I get back.

Skipping forward a few days and a few hundred miles now, I visited the temples Ayutthaya on a day trip. 

Ayutthaya is nice, but the whole experience was my travel nightmare. Hundreds of tourists poured over everything hunting is huge braying packs, they swarmed. They climbed on ruins with signs asking people not to climb on them. 

I went to make my various excuses, realised that I needed none and split off from everyone at the earliest possible opportunity.

It was my first time using my new camera and it took a little while to get back into the swing of it. Despite being an identical model, it takes a while to remember every setting that you’d changed and there are other little things that you tend not to notice. Such as the pressure required to move dials, or trigger the shutter being ever so slightly different. 

I guess its the same for anyone that uses one particular item, be it a guitar, a camera or a pair of football boots.

At the moment this is a camera that belongs to me, but is not yet ‘my’ camera.

I hope that makes sense to someone!

I’ll post a proper gallery of Ayutthaya as soon as I find the time.

In the afternoon we took a boat back into Bangkok. I’d been looking forward to this, but in all honesty it wasn’t very good, although I did get to speak to some interesting people at the dinner table, so it wasn’t a total loss.

I’ve just moved across the city to meet up with the group I’ll be heading into Cambodia with. I’ll meet up with them later today, and then tomorrow its a (you’ve guessed it) 8 hour bus ride into Cambodia and Siem Reap. 

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