This past Saturday we spent it on the busy streets of Chiang Mai for their annual flower festival. Exotic flowers and traditional music filled the streets as beautiful traditionally adorned Thai locals showcased their culture. When we first heard about it, we were told it started at 8AM, so being the night owls that we are this was a challenge to be up and fight a crowd. Funny thing is, it didn’t start until after 5PM! haha We’ve gotten used to the relaxed concept of time around here, so we didn’t mind at all. We spent most of the day temple hopping, sipping smoothies, and finding new discoveries in our own neighborhood. At sundown, the exotic blooms made its way down the streets of Tha Pae. The parade was a beautiful representation of their vibrant culture through people, through artsy floats, music, and yes, their beautiful ethnic threads!
This is the longest we’ve sat still in the past year and we’ve gotten to know the four walls of our apartment very well these few months. We love how the sun shines in through all our open windows and the noisy street noises remind us of the chaos that sits right outside of our balcony. We had found our groove, found our work and life routine, and even made some neighborhood friends. And then it hits us. We’re antsy to leave, antsy to pack and ready to hit the road, the sky or the sea. Not that Thailand is any less exciting since we got here, but our cameras has had time to collect some dust, and blank pages of our journals are still left blank awaiting more stories to be told. Wanderlust, you fickle thing. It’s time to go once more, so we booked a train and it’s leaving Tuesday.
It dawned on us that is has been four months since our last camping trip. It was a beautiful night on the shores of Palau and we felt like we had the island to ourselves. I will never forget the “two-person” tent that we bought at a local store and once we popped it open we realized it was only big enough for one small child. Needless to say we to slept toppled on each other in random angles. Like playing twister, in a half awake state haha!
The holidays were here and though it didn’t really feel like the Christmas as we knew it from home, we were happy to spend it together for the first time.. ever. We decided no gifts, accompanying each other through this journey and experiences thousands of miles away from home was a gift that we couldn’t have imagined asking for. This year we traded the Christmas tree to for a teepee, we weren’t with family, but we had each other, and we didn’t exchange presents but grateful for intangible moments that continue to fill the pages of our journals.
The night we camped got down to a chilly 40 degrees(F)! We found this little compound called Maetachang which consisted of straw huts and tepees made out of leaves by serendipitous luck. Aaron was taking random back roads on the motorbike when he drove past this little commune already set up with tents and a huge campfire. We needed a place to shoot our hill tribe dresses that we added recently to the shop, and this place couldn’t have been more perfect to mix work and play. It was ran by a sweet lady who was an amazing cook, and a man full of smiles and the only thing he was serious about was keeping the campfire alive. Everything on site was made by materials found on or near the compound, the tables and chairs in the lawn were imperfectly made from scrap wood, wild chickens roamed, and they even offered food which they cooked on the campfire. Such a whole chicken for 200 baht (about $7). It was settled by a rice field and right beside a serene creek which we were lucky to have the place to ourselves. It was a beautiful day and night spent on this magical space of nature. We will definitely be back for more stargazing with beers and stories around the campfire.
Hope everyone had an amazing holiday!
To better spend my time here in Thailand, I joined an The Christopher Robert Project which is an organization that visits Thailand’s hill-tribe communities on the weekends and offer in-village tutoring classes for the kids. Many of the hill-tribes reside far distances from schools, therefore making it difficult for the children to attend school. This past weekend, I had the pleasure of working with the Karen Hilltribe in Baan Mae Jok Village. The children stole my heart on the first day. I was shocked at how enthusiastic they were about school. They eagerly arrived to class an hour before we were supposed to start, and were so well-mannered. The most special part about this weekend visit was spending all day with the children in their village and seeing how they lived. Each morning the adults would set off to tend/gather crops, men would head out with their handmade rifle to hunt, and the children spent the day swimming in river and playing in the sun. Everyone had an important role in the village, and even the kids learned early how to cook, hunt, and be an asset to the tribe. It’s always reviving to be surrounded by such simplicity. No excess, no waste. I also had the pleasure of doing day to day activities with the families such as going to church, helping with dinner, and kicking it over fresh grown tobacco rolled in banana leaves!