Earlier start than planned courtesy of the spoilt brat 3 yr old in the room next door who decided 6am was a good time to chuck a tantrum! Another beautiful day and we had planned to visit Wat Umong. Negotiated a reasonable rate with a songthaew and headed off about 9.30am for the twenty minute trip. Wat Umong has a number of underground tunnels and a big chedi on tip of them. Surrounded by trees it is a little reminiscent of some of the Angkor temples and the work the monks do to stop the jungle encroaching is quite evident. There are also heaps of ‘message trees’ .. in reality just regular trees with messages painted on signs that are attached to the trees – all spiritual/philosophical in nature as you would expect at a wat.
Not attached to a tree, but this was my favourite
There are lots of dogs living at this monestary and we saw a couple of litters being cared for very gently by the resident monks, but the most priceless thing we saw was a young monk bringing one litter from the house down to an area where they could be outside.
We got the songthaew to drop us at Nimmanhaemin Rd with the intention of exploring this area a bit and then checking out a department store – it’s supposed to be the hip new up & coming part of Chiang Mai with lots of cool eateries & shops – it really didn’t live up to our expectations so we stopped for some lunch (the little place we ate at did make a damn good iced coffee) and we ended up getting hopelessly lost trying to find the department store so we grabbed a tuk tuk and headed back to the hotel.
Had a swim and Tony had to go back to the tailor to collect his trousers & shirts. Lots of thunder, wind and a short blackout suggested we were in for a really good wet-season storm but in the end it came to nothing more than a few drops of rain.
I’d booked a cooking class and at 4pm we headed down to reception to wait for our pick-up. Aon (the lovely young chef who ran the classes) arrived on time and we headed to his local market for a mobile lecture on Thai ingredients. Lots of goodies to look at and check out including bags of Thai 'snacks' ... we would call them fried silkworms!
And this guy preparing deep fried crackling strips - now these ARE yummy!
Aon has only been running his school for about 9 months and already it’s ranked #2 on Trip Advisor – and after tonight we can absolutely see why. He has a really cool outdoor kitchen with 8 concrete work stations and a dem station at one end and a big table in the middle. There were only 3 students tonight – us and a young New Yorker and we had a ball. (but for some reason, this blog won't let me upload any more pics.
We cooked and ate each dish one at a time – Tom Kha Gai (Chicken Coconut Soup - me) or Tom Yum Goong (Tony) then Pad Thai, followed by Red or Green Curry Paste (made onto Red or Green curry Chicken) and finally Gai Pad Med Mamuang (Stir Fried Chicken with Cashew Nuts).
My favourite part was learning how to flame a wok when we made the Stir Fried Chicken & Cashews .. not giving the secret away, but a picture is worth a thousand words.
After a great meal and a very informal discussion on his menus and the school as a whole, Aon dropped us back at the Tha Phae gate about 9.30pm. We grabbed a coffee at the Coffee Club and headed home. Tomorrow we're off to Doi Suthep (the temple on the mountain)