chiang mai

monica and i spent a couple of days in chiang mai. cuddling with tigers was definitely the highlight! pretty amazing experience. they seem to be treated really well … the trainers are good with them and they are well fed. supposedly, there is no drugging or maltreatment of the tigers … we are hoping that this is true. it was so crazy to be sitting or lying right next to a freaking tiger! i was definitely nervous about getting so close to the big ones, but it was totally worth it. i wanted to take one of the baby tigers home with me, but no luck. monica wanted to take a baby and a full grown one home with her, along with about 15 dogs and cats, 10 children, and a couple of monks.

we went to a small market where we saw women who are a part of the karen long neck tribe. it’s an interesting thing that i don’t fully understand. the women wear brass rings around their necks. placing these rings around their necks can start from an early age, around 5 years old or so. from what i have read, the weight of the rings presses down on their clavicle and compresses their ribcage, making their necks appear longer. i can’t imagine that this would be comfortable, but obviously comfort is an unlikely factor in their reasons for doing this. it’s a cultural identity for them, but i’m unclear about the exact significance of the rings.

we took a thai cooking class on our second day in chiang mai. it was really good … i would definitely recommend it. the one we did was called thai farm cooking school. for about $30 you get transportation from your hotel/guesthouse to the organic farm where the teaching and cooking happens, about 5 courses of food, a recipe book, and drinks for the day (water and tea). we stopped by the local market on the way to the farm, where our teacher showed us different ingredients we would be using for the day and taught us about the different types of rice, spices, and sauces. the dishes i chose to make were tom yam soup with shrimp, yellow curry with chicken, sweet and sour stir fry, pad thai, and bananas in coconut milk. everything was so delicious. my favorites were the soup and the curry. i loved learning how to make all this stuff … and most of it is super easy. the preparation is the most time consuming part. we even made our own curry paste. i expect that my dad will be hitting me up to make some of these dishes for him when i get back home! a cooking class was something that monica and i had both been wanting to do so i’m glad that we got to experience it together.

that was about it for chiang mai. we did walk around the city a bit, but i didn’t explore it quite as much as i have with other cities. it’s fairly clean with decent restaurants and a night market and probably some other things i didn’t have time to figure out. we wanted to spend a few days in pai before monica headed back home to singapore.

tigers …

karen long neack tribe …

thai farm and cooking class …

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5 thoughts on “chiang mai

  1. Your blogs continually get better & better. Lying with tigers is an awesome experience, more so, because they have always been one of my favorite animals. Thanks for the shout out about craving your new cooking expertise, and you doubtlessly right that I will be bugging you to tears to “feed me, Seymore” ( Little shop of Horrors).” Pai seems to be a wonderful and easy place to stay. And, the Long Neck tribe are culturally amazing.
    Sorry that you had to say goodbye to Monica. You seemed to get along so well. So, on to the next adventure. I look forward to hearing about it.

  2. Really cool stuff. Being with the tigers is something that you will remember for the rest of your life. What an awesome opportunity.
    I googled the Karen tribe for you and this is what I found:
    “There are many different accounts of why the Padaung practice this custom. Their own mythology explains that it is done to prevent tigers from biting them! Others have reported that it is done to make the women unattractive so they are less likely to be captured by slave traders. The most common explanation, though, is the opposite of this – that an extra-long neck is considered a sign of great beauty and wealth and that it will attract a better husband. Adultery, though, is said to be punished by removal of the rings. In this case, since the neck muscles will have been severely weakened by years of not supporting the neck, a woman must spend the rest of her life lying down. According to Paul and Elaine Lewis in Peoples of The Golden Triangle, adultery and divorce among all Karen groups is extremely low.”

    Doesn’t give a real answer, but a few hypothesis on the reason why. Still, I thought you might want to see. 🙂

  3. Gorgeous photos! I’m an acquaintance of Christy Parry’s and I came across your blog when you guys started your trip around the world. These are absolutely stunning 🙂 The long neck tribe specifically.

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