Becoming Thai ChefsNovember 25, 2016 in Thailand ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C
Today was our last day in Chiang Mai, and we spent it cooking, on a Thai farm, at a school. That may be obvious from the title of this post.
We were picked up at our hotel before nine, and made our way, via a local farmers market, to the cooking school, which was located on a farm, roughly in the middle of nowhere.
On the bus, we met Nate, an American travelling through Thailand, with his son and wife, though they weren't coming to the cooking school as planned, as his young son had taken ill, and required the loving attentions of a parent back at the hotel. This as it turned it, was a real shame.
As it happened, Nate's wife is a university professor, specialising in disaster management - something that Courtney has recently found herself rather interested in. To be able to speak to someone on the subject would have been incredibly helpful. Of more significance though, is that Nate's wife was taking a sabbatical from teaching, and it was being spent for the most part, in NZ. They were moving to Nelson/Marlborough for 6-7 months, for some fully immersive time in NZ. We offered as many pointers as we could, and made sure to mention that when they eventually made it up to Auckland, we would be more than happy to catch up for a drink, or brunch, or beach day. We are pretty easy.
Aside from Nate, coming from Colorado, in the US, there were people from all over the world, heading to the Thai cooking school on the bus. There were Australia's from Noosa, a Lithuania lady on a world tour, and an American couple from SoCal. Not quite the United Nations, but a reasonable mix of cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives.
After about an hour on the bus, we arrived at the farm, and set to being taught how to cook. On the bus ride in, we had all filled out paperwork to let the school know what dishes we wanted to do, where we had a choice, so we weren't all necessarily cooking at the same time, but we would all eat together immediately after making each course of our five course meal. This was where the best conversation happened, and the table felt very much like a family dinner, only without the relatives that you might otherwise see at such events.
After five hours of cooking and eating, it was time for us to head back into Chiang Mai proper. As we were getting the overnight bus to Bangkok, we had all our gear with us at the cooking school, and were fortunate enough to be dropped off at the bus terminal, as the bus made its way passed hotels dropping off everyone else. After a bit of hassle finding the correct terminal for our bus company, we found the ticket office, got out tickets, and set about wasting away the next two hours until our bus departed. Unfortunately, the bus terminal was rather spartan, and definitely warm, so we thought that the best thing to do would be to find some more comfortable surroundings for our wait.
This we found in a nearby shopping mall. Inside was a Tom N Tom's Coffee, the rough equivalent of Starbucks in Thailand, with prices to match. You could be forgiven for thinking that you were back in the western world, given the prices, but the place is clearly built for the Western crowd. It was air conditioned, and had wifi, and those were the most important things for us.
When the time came to get on the bus, we were relieved to see that our seats were much better than for the ride into Chiang Mai. We were on the top deck, at the front, with a huge window to watch the trip back to Bangkok, The seats were a bit narrow though, as there four in such row, which made it impossible for us to fit into the contours of the seats. This was uncomfortable. Similarly uncomfortable, was the fact that with nothing in front of us, and with slippery vinyl seat we didn;t fit into properly, we were forever sliding off the front of the seats, held in only by our seat belts at the waist. It quickly became apparent that tonight was not going to result in a great deal of sleep.
We lack the ability of people in this part of the world to sleep in almost any position, on almost any surface, in almost any local environment. Tomorrow morning is likely to be difficult.Read more