MESSAGE : Chiang Mai *Video*
Thailand has two calendars – a solar version and a lunar version. The legal one is the solar calendar adopted in 1888 by King Rama V. The Thai calendar counts years in the Buddhist Era (B.E.), which is 543 years ahead of the Christian Era.
Therefore according to the Thai calendar this year is 2555 (2012 + 543 = 2555). In the Thai language the number 5 is pronounced Ha, therefore 555 is Ha Ha Ha. So this year is the year of laughter in Thailand = Fun!
MEET (Cool Meet Ups) – Riverside Dining. Chiang Mai is a pretty mellow place. We were in the quiet section of town, away from the backpackers. For about a week, we did a lot of strolling in the streets, eating on the banks of the Mae Ping River. There are 3-4 restaurants there – take your pick! Most of them are bargain and the view is lovely.
EAT (Tasty Eats) – Thai Larb Salad. Larb is a type of minced meat salad that comes from Isan in Northeastern Thailand, so far east, in fact, it originally it came from across the border in Laos. The salad is flavored with fish sauce, lime juice and fresh herbs, including Thai basil, mint and chili – lots of it!
The salad is served with ground toasted rice and it’s served room temperature. There’s one type of larb made with minced raw beef mixed with blood, bile, and spices. I truly hope that wasn’t the kind I had…
SEE (Must-see Sights) – Hill Tribes. Northern Thailand is home to 7 “hill tribes” – communities that have migrated from China, Tibet and Burma over the last several centuries. The hill tribes comprise at least half a million people and their treatment is controversial. For details on the debate, read the post: Thai Hill Tribes: http://www.goeringo.com/2012/03/05/northern-thai-hill-tribes/
SHOP (Gotta Have) – Sunday Market. Chiang Mai is famous for shopping and so I let loose a little during its Sunday Market, buying up all kinds of flowing skirts, colorful blouses, and ethnic jewelry. In truth, I may have gotten a little carried away. Check out my new wardrobe at: Ms. Chiang Mai.
ACTIVITY (Gotta Do) – Elephant Sanctuary. Since we had a number of elephant encounters already during our travels, we didn’t make to the elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai. Several of my friends recommended the place, and my friend Teresa says “It’s a beautiful life experience!” Next time, I’ll hit it for sure! If you’re interested in reading how you can feed and observe the elephants, visit the Elephant Nature Park’s web site at: http://www.elephantnaturepark.org
GIVE (Greatest Need) – Burmese Refugees. Approximately 3 million Burmese have been forced to flee to neighboring countries due to human rights violations by the Myanmar government. Conflicts with ethnic armed groups persist, forcing the current Myanmar government to make a significant political effort to bring sustainable peace to the region.
The refuges are split between east and west of the country. There are an estimated 800,000 west Burmese Muslim refugees, known as the Rohingya, which are currently stateless. From east Burma, the number is supposed to be near 500,000. These eastern Burmese refugees may have difficulty in returning to their homes because of the extensive use of landmines by all parties to the conflict.
ENJOY (Extra Fun) – Thai Massage. Nowhere else in the world but Thailand (OK, maybe Laos) can you get a $3 foot massage! Sam and I stopped in to give our tootsies a rest and were fully pampered during our half-hour foot massage. I also hear that Chiang Mai has a spa that employs the ladies from the women’s prison. Wish I had gone there too!
Check out my pampered feet!
Can’t see this video? Click on the Link: Thai Foot Massage: http://youtu.be/7Gfwa19rFaY/