Our last week in Chiang Mai was one of my favourite weeks, a perfect way to end our trip and a brilliant move on Thailand’s part to really make us want to stay.
As I mentioned in the last post, Rachel and I hadn’t planned on being in Thailand for this long, and decided that a massage school would be good fun. We’d done a bit of research into them, found a few that were an okay price but hadn’t booked anything and weren’t sure if anyone would have spaces at one days notice.
To be honest we were a bit rubbish at trying to book something, we were too relaxed, enjoying Chiang Mai’s beautiful city. Enjoying the lack of tourist traps, the lack of sky scrapers, the local attitude and walkable size of the city centre. And so we found ourselves in a cafe close to 3pm no closer to booking a massage course. I was planning on heading back to Onm (as she’d told me to) to get my shoulder sorted out, and we decide to ask her if she could recommend a school whilst we were there.
When we showed up and mentioned this to Onm’s friend, she suggested we asked Onm herself for lessons. Straight away Omn was happy to take us on! We asked her how much she would like to charge and she gave us a fantastic rate and started immediately!!
Over the course of one evening and the next day Onmanee taught Rachel and I a mix of massage techniques from Thai, to Swedish and so much more! On The second day she even picked us up and drove us to her home out of town, a beautiful flat looking out over Chiang Mai and told us more about styles of massage, behind the scenes of a massage parlour, and talked about Thailand’s culture, food and basically we learnt a lot!
Omn quickly became a good friend and we were just so grateful that we met her! It turns out that she didn’t even work at the massage place we’d gone to, she was just filling in for a friend for a week! At the end of the second day she took us to a lovely thai cafe, and Onm basically ordered everything on the menu trying a lot of dishes that we still hadn’t heard of, the perfect way to end our few days with her.
Of all the places we’ve been, Chain Mai has been the best for its people. We’ve met kind, friendly and interesting people everywhere we’ve been, but chaing mai? From the moment we stepped foot here we met people like Mama, who took us under her wing, Onm, who had the opportunity to scam us out of massage classes, charging a fortune and teaching nothing, and instead made our week in Chiang Mai, becoming a friend and really caring about our time together. Then there are Keith and Noon, travellers who let us couch surf and then organised a meet up with other couch surfers they couldn’t host on top of this!
After our time with Keith and Noon we headed back to Mamas for our last night in the City and met Jack. A thai tourist shop owner from Bangkok who, being Thai, had really struggled to find a hostel that would take him in (apparently Tourist industries don’t like taking in locals) until he found Mamas. And this of course was the beginning of a great friendship (as I feel all are with Mama!!).
We met Jack in the foyer of Mamas and he offered us to join him and some others for some drinks after he finished work, and the next thing we knew Mama had convinced us all to come out dancing! By the evil laugh she gave when we agreed we quickly realised we were in for an interesting night!!
At 9pm sharp Jack and Snooker, his quiet but lovely friend, appeared with a minibus containing an irish couple, a french bloke and mama and off we went!
After a nice drink at a scenic bar by the river we found ourselves in what looked from the outside like a giant warehouse. And once inside we found ourselves in a massive hall, littered with chairs and tables all centred towards a large stage, curtains closed and a DJ playing. This was already quite a surreal experience. I’m almost cetrain we were the only people in this place who weren’t thai, and we were getting a fair few stares for it! We followed Mama, Jack and the others to the tineyest bar where we ordered some beers and we were given some free sausages?!?
At closer inspection we noticed that though serious DJ Cub music was being played, everyone was sat at tables with sausages, beers and random other snacks chatting away, a surreal sight. As there were no tables left we found our way to the centre and stood near a table full of people who seemed pretty chuffed that they were close to the foreigners and were very welcoming for us to join them.
Then the weird got weirder. The stage curtains opened to reveal a beautiful set filled with traditional thai dancers and decorations and the live music began. After a few traditional songs the music seamlessly changed from traditional to Rock, I swear I didnt even see the Thai woman singing turn into a man dressed all in leather, I couldn’t even pinpoint the moment the music switched it was so well done! And then the party started…
In a hall like a strange mix between the Great Hall a club and a Bier Keller, this hyped up mix of pop, rock, trance, disco and more, all remixed, dubbed, tripled in speed, and played live blasting through this warehouse was met by an audience of drunk Thai’s full of sausages moving their upper bodies around wildly, screaming the lyrics at the top of their lungs with their feet planted firmly on the floor behind their chair. Rachel and I were in hysterics, loving life, dancing like crazy as they did with absolutely no idea what was going on but wishing we had something similar back home!
Mama kept trying to buy us all drinks (each worth more than triple what we were paying her for a room!) but as we had a cooking class the next day we didnt stay too late.
The cooking class the next day was also fantastic, we took a short tour round a local market, took a train and then a quick cycle to a very picturesque building with a spice garden and rows of woks.
I can now officially make:
Banana spring rolls
Veggie spring rolls
Chicken with holy basil (NOM!!!)
Ka Kai (gorgeous coconut and chicken soup)
Thai green curry
And sticky mango rice!!
I could quite easily do my usual trick and blurt out a thousand word badly written essay on just how great these last few days were, everything worked out, everyone was wonderful and I couldnt be happier. But I am aware that I’m good at writing a lot of nothing! (Sorry and thanks for putting up with it!!)
So I should probably leave this here.
We got a night coach back to Bangkok for a day there before the ever-nearing flight back to Scotland. 1 day left 😦