Thursday, June 25, 2015

khao soi and ladyboys

{layover in dubai}

{old town chiang mai}

{wat chiang man}

{wat chedi luang}

{wat pha lat}

{the grand canyon of thailand}

{elephant reserve}

{walking market}

we took a 13 hour flight from jfk to dubai, had a 7 hour layover, landed in bangkok after a 6 hour flight at 2 am, and then took a 6 am flight to chiang mai, the second largest city in the country in the northern part of thailand.  our "guide" was cara, high school friend of rachel, who has a penchant for finding friends in international cities to show us around. our hostel was in the "old city" of chiang mai, a tiny section of the city that is bordered by a square moat and is at most 1 mile wide.  we saw temples on temples on temples, played with elephants, and eventually learned to embrace the sweat that was a constant presence on every inch of our beings.

since returning from our trip, i've told multiple people that traveling through southeast asia without a doubt trumped my euro travels last summer - not that i'm not grateful for or in awe of those adventures as well.  i think it's something about the different cultural norms, the personal connection i feel to asian culture, or the food that is much more tempting to me than a baguette and a pat of butter.

this trip to thailand was also the first time (minus my 8-year-old trip to taiwan, which i hardly remember) that i visited a country that resembled the third world, which was really eye-opening.  a majority of the restaurants we visited in chiang mai looked like they were closed as we stuck our heads in the doors of the empty rooms - but just as we were about to walk out again, the restaurant owner would flick on the lights, the fans, and ask us to sit down.  it's almost as if a few friends had been sitting around a few weeks back, eating the food that one of them had just made, and someone suggested that the cook open their kitchen to the public.  i'm not complaining.

"better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times."
- asian proverb 

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