Ahhh, Thailand. Land of smiles, street food, street cats, and bags. EVERYTHING in Thailand comes in a plastic bag. Curry in a bag, bag in a bag, coffee to go in a bag, bags for everything! As a self proclaimed "bag lady" and environmentalist, I found myself simultaneously loving and loathing the plethora of bags I was receiving. As I'd unpack from the day's journeys, I'd toss all the bags inside of another and images of the Great Pacific Trash Vortex would flash before my eyes.
But, I digress. The first week was spent in bustling Bangkok. An assault to the senses! As we waited in the customs line at midnight, eager to crash at our Air BnB, a woman, maybe 65 or 70, stood on a small stage singing with an eerie cadence into microphone beneath a sign that read, "Welcome to Thailand love at first sight." This is at midnight on a Tuesday. All I could think was, "Wait, is this her job?!"
Street food vendors lined the streets at all hours. A menagerie of smells sights and sounds mingled through the heavy, humid air: Fried meats, fresh fruits, hot charcoal, sewage, exhaust. The sounds... sizzling vats of oil, clattering cookware, the constant hum of heavy traffic. Motorbikes revved and rumbled in thunderous unison, weaving through traffic like a school of fish.
The last week was spent in peaceful, expat central Chiang Mai. With over 300 wats (temples), we found ourselves meandering through the grounds of several every day. There was no shortage of delicious vegan friendly food and fresh juices! Some of our favorite spots were Kuhn Kae's Juice Bar, Catmosphere (a cat cafe!!), Morning Glory, and of course the many street food vendors. It was here that I discovered the BEST vegan street dessert, Kanom Krok!
We rented a motorbike in Chiang Mai and took that poor thing all over the place, including the highest point in Thailand, Doi Inthanton, 8,415 feet. Motorbiking is definitely the way to go if you plan to visit Chiang Mai, it's well worth the $5-$10/day. Among my favorite places we visited in and around Chiang Mai were Wat Umong (cave temple), Bua Thong Waterfalls (the sticky waterfalls) and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (at sunrise).
I have many more photos to edit, but I could wait no longer to get the first handful of images up here on the blog! More to come soon and after that will come my images from Cuba!