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flames, steps and elephants (again)

ok sorry for the delay but it is easy to get caught up and then be too tired!

i think i got up to sunday, which was... cooking course at Pad Thai Cooking School. we got up and they picked us up in one of those trucks with seats in the back and we were taken to one of the local markets to learn about vegies and herbs. there were about 14 people or so in the course, so we huddled around our teacher and she explained about lemongrass, thai eggplant, different kinds of ginger and i can't remember what else! she was very funny, every time someone pointed a camera at her she stopped mid-sentence, put her fingers up in the peace sign and said 'sexy!'. she then showed us some curry paste and how they make coconut milk.

after letting us roam around the market for a while, we were bundled back in the truck and taken about 20 minutes out of town to the cooking school. it was a big room with woks and stoves on one side, a tall table with stools in the middle and a low table with cushions on the other side. we learnt how to make pad thai, tom yum soup with prawns, spring rolls, green curry, chicken with cashew nuts and banana in coconut cream. it was all delicious! they made it really easy for us, everything was in seperate bowls and step by step instructions. the teachers were really funny, when we were crushing garlic with the side of our knifes she says, 'STANDBY' then.. 'SMASH!! SMASH!! IT IS YOUR EXBOYFRIEND!! HARDER!!' then when we were chopping something into small pieces 'FASTER!! FASTER!!'.

the other people in the course were pretty nice, lots of aussies, some czechs, some french, an american, a canadian, and some israelis. all in all the day was really good and not very expensive either. don't expect me to be cooking for any of you - james had kindly volunteered his skills though!

that night we went shopping at the night bazaar which wasn't as good as i had been expecting, so much of the same touristy stuff. james bought a singha t-shirt which i have claimed as mine, and a chelsea soccer top. he was very pleased. we took a tuk tuk home and organised for the driver to pick us up the next day at noon to take us to doi suthep.

so on monday morning we did a bit of shopping i think maybe.. it seems like a long time ago. anyway the tuk tuk picked us up and dropped us at chiang mai zoo, where we got a pickup truck to take us up a mountain where the temple of doi suthep is. the ride was horrible. twisting and turning while staring out the back of the truck. i felt so sick! so when we got to the temple i had to sit down for a while. then we tackled the 300 steps up to the temple. woohoo! the view of chiang mai was pretty cool but it was hot so we gambled and bought icecreams when the labels were in thai. i got a really nice coconut one but james got a weird mint/listerine one. haha.

anyway then we had a look round the temple - very pretty and back down the steps to another horrible ride down the mountain. yuk. then we grabbed another tuk tuk and went to central airport plaza - a big shopping centre. felt very western there. i bought a skirt and then we went back to julies for sleep.

on tuesday we had to get up bright and early because we were going trekking! i love that they call it that when you do barely any trekking type things. anyway, we got picked up in a minibus with 4 french peoples, and taken to an elephant camp. it didnt feel really good seeing the elephants chained up and then having to carry us, but we swallow our consciences and got on. woo! it was fun! it was a bit scary, hoping to not fall off, but we walked around for about an hour and took lots of photos.

after that we got back in the minibus and went to a village of a local hilltribe. it didn't really look like a village with homestay huts for overnight treks and a long stall with souvenirs set up but we saw roosters that they breed for fighting. we then set off for the trek part, up a hill bit and to a waterfall. really pretty. after james fell in (no not really) we trekked a bit more to field of soya plants, said hi to some buffalo and then to another hilltribe village. little girls about 6 or 7 years old ran up with bracelets made from cotton and seeds yelling '5 baht! 5 baht!'. it was a bit sad. after that we got back into the minibus and went to have lunch at a local restaurant. it was yummy, sweet and sour vegies, soup and potato curry. we chatted to some english people who are going to australia next. they were nice.

then we went to the pier for bamboo rafting! yay! we took off our shoes and valuables and sat down on this long raft made of bamboo sticks tied together and our driverman set off down the river. it was fun, your bum gets very cold and wet and the thai guy kept leaning his weight to one side so that you got drenched. he thought it was very funny.

after that we went back home. it was a really good day, but tiring. on wednesday we got up to do a bit more shopping and then pick up some laundry (yay! clean clothes!) and then get the train at 3.40pm. we'd only been able to get aircon tickets, but it wasn't very bad. we played dice and cards and then got some dinner from a really nice and funny thai guy. after that, we pulled out the beds and slept. apparently i threw my book at james' bum but i have no recollection of that whatsoever.

woke up early because the train was arriving at 6am, and got off the train and then left our bags at the left luggage stand and headed to khao san for breakfast. we had booked a room for that night but we couldnt check in till after 12. had breakfast, used the net a bit and then decided to see a movie. ah yes what we always do in bangkok when we are tired and have time to kill. we saw a thai documentary called Final Score, about 4 thai students doing year 12. it was pretty good, one scene i liked:
son: why do you guys love each other? what made you fall in love with mum, dad?
dad: some one farted on the boat.
son: was it you mum?
mum: dont be ridiculous!
hehehe.

anyway then we check in to donna guesthouse, very clean and nice, only 2 minutes from khao san. had some dinner, got another henna tattoo (butterfly - hey i'm trying to be a real khao san backpacker!) and went to bed. we had to get up early in the morning for the flight at 10:50. we got to the airport at 8 and checked in no problems. the flight was short and we got a taxi really easy to come here. khao lak sunset resort. it is strange staying a resort. you don't have to see any thai people besides in the reception and restaurant if you dont want to. weird. full of brown middle aged europeans wearing skimpy bathers.
last night we walked into town and bought some groceries and then had some dinner after a swim in the pool.

today we got up for free buffet breakfast (came with the room) and then james went for a swim and i read a while before coming to write this.

miss you all so much, under 3 weeks to go now

xoxoxo
mad.

Posted by madandjaap 17:48

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Great pictures. I want more of Aaron's house and Aaron. Please post. I am getting excited about all the presents I am going to get. Buy me lots. You both have to buy me lots. Love you
Mum
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by mcculloch

oh i love pad thai! i want you to make me pad thai when you get home! oh and you can teach me so that i can make it too! the pics look beautiful.
lots and lots of love, M xxxooo.

by Moya

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