Heather's Thairy

Heather's journey to Bangkok, Thailand: a year of adventure!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Chiang Mai Long Weekend: Day Two

The second day of our long weekend in Chiang Mai was as action-packed as the first! We decided to go to the zoo in the morning. My P6 class is studying the human environment and one of the projects I had them do was create a travel brochure about Thailand or places in Thailand; some of the kids did Chiang Mai and wrote about the Zoo and how it has pandas. I figured it was a must-do situation.
The Zoo is up a mountain and has beautiful landscaping, although there is a lot of upward hiking to see the exhibits. We definitely got our exercise that day!

The zoo enclosures are impressive. The animals have lots of space and enough plants and rocks and things to have a bit of privacy. I was thrilled by the giraffes- there were three and they could- and did- walk right up to the little bridge into their enclosure. If I had wanted to I could have touched this giraffe!

The panda exhibit is the main attraction of the zoo. An extra fee is charged to enter the panda enclosure, and only a certain number of people are allowed in at a time. You have to disinfect your shoes before going in!
One panda was out when we went, which was right at "Supplementary Feeding Time". It was amazing!

It looks like he's smiling! Actually, he might really be smiling- he seemed to be enjoying himself quite thoroughly.

The panda walked up to the top of his habitat at one point, and we thought he had gone inside. Luckily we stayed a bit longer and he came back down again.

The panda home is set up so there is a space at the front where the panda plunks himself down and waits for the handler to throw him food. He looked so cute and fat and lazy sitting there, munching on what looked like 2X4's (but must have been either bamboo or sugar cane).

This picture looks so familiar...did these wild animals escape some other zoo once before? Strange...

The zoo also had penguins. What combination of animals! Pandas and penguins. There were also lions, tigers, bears...no wait, I don't actually remember seeing any of those animals, but there were orangutans and other primates, lots of birds and reptiles, a nocturnal exhibit, a seal enclosure that was under renovation (as was the aquarium, much to Alisa's disappointment), and tons of other animals. It was far more extensive than the Bangkok Zoo.

After visiting the zoo, we went to a cooking class. It was great! First, the Master (so he is called) took us on a market tour, showing us which ingredients are which and what they are used for. Then we headed to his kitchen, which is this huge place outside the main city with about 30 stoves and countertops set up. It was really nice and very clean. We learned to make Tom Yum soup- a basic broth soup with mushroom, tomato, lemongrass, spices and ours also had shrimp (thus making it Tom Yum goom). It didn't take long to prepare at all. Next we made mixed fried vegetables (Pad Pak): a combination of carrots, corn, mushroom, cabbage and greens in a nice sauce. We ate these dishes right after we cooked them.

We then made Pad Thai- fried noodles with egg, sprouts and tofu- and Panang Curry with Chicken. Both were delicious. When we made the Pad Thai, our chef taught us how to do "Adventure Cooking", which meant that we splashed oil into our flame stoves so they made a big, quick fire ball. We have pictures of it but apparently not on my camera: if I get a hold of them I'll post them later. It was really cool and no one lost an eyebrow.

He showed us three ways to make Pad Thai: mine is in the omelette style, a bit trickier than the scrambled or chopped egg styles.

The food was excellent and our host was absolutely fantastic. I especially liked the panang curry- now that I know how to make curry and have discovered it is not that hard, I will have to cook it for people back home! We had a great time, along with Rob, the lone other member of the group. Having so few people in the class was excellent because we had much more individual attention than we might have had otherwise.

In the evening, we went to the Sunday night bazaar. It was INCREDIBLE! There was SO much stuff to look at and to buy. It wasn’t just all the same stuff over and over, either- there were new and different things, and at very reasonable prices. I admit, I did a bit of shopping...
One of the highlights of the bazaar was the ice cream that we had midway through our shopping spree. Ice cream here tends not to have cream in it, and sometimes no milk at all, but this was a nice, light ice-milk kind of confection. Mine was coconut and quite refreshing.
I couldn't believe how big the night bazaar was; the next day, it was like it never happened. In the few hours before morning the stalls, the merchandise and the sellers vanished...

Another busy day in Chiang Mai was concluded with drinking the last of the Laos wine (not high on my recommendation list) and a well-deserved rest.

Coming up: Chiang Mai Long Weekend: Day Three (final day).

Until next time,


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