The Final Chapter of Chiang Mai

The Last Post of Thailand

We arrived back at Potaes House, after our scooter “tour”, exhausted and looking forward to having our room back. We felt lucky to have been able to experience what we just had.

Our bags were well looked after, Latte had made sure of that… 🙂 At the end of our Chiang Mai trip I would have packed that cat into my bag if I didn’t know that she and Potae would both have kicked my ass…

It felt as though both a lifetime and no time at all had gone by since we left. Jo, Potae and I had a big catch-up, and this is why the time felt more and less – It had gone by so quickly but there was so much to tell.

We were bushed and did not have the energy for much that day so we just had dinner and sat chatting to Potae and a few of the other guests. It was a welcomed relaxation day, so much so that we spent the next day just grooving around and eating… 🙂

Our friend Robert was still in town so we met him for dinner and had a great catch-up. He had given us so much advise on where to go and what to see that we had to let him know what we had seen. He was busy trying to find a doctor who could help him with his hip problem, but it was looking like he was going to have to do some more digging. He also needed to get his retirement visa sorted out because he was hoping to stay in Thailand for his retirement.

We booked ourselves on a Thai cooking class for the next day. We were picked up and taken to a local market where we met one of the chef instructors, Gun (Like “Bang Bang” gun) . She showed us the ingredients that we would be working with during the day and what the different uses were. We were then given some time to walk around and get something for breakfast… Jo and I had been forewarned about eating too much before the class, so we had some fruit, bowtie thingys and a doughnut thingy that did not taste like a doughnut. We were then whisked away to the kitchen in the bus/truck. The class was held in a beautiful kitchen hall that was set in the veg garden of the property. They grew a whole bunch of herbs, chillies, veg and flowers which we were introduced to by the very enthusiastic “Ladies”. We selected the dishes that we wanted to cook, so naturally Jo and I selected different things so that we could jointly get the most out of the class.

Our instructor was very enthusiastic and kept the descriptions, in her words – “Sexy”. Everything about cooking Thai food was “Sexy”. It was an absolute gas, we had so much fun. I also cooked the best food that I have ever tasted… (Official, non biased opinion). Jo cooked good food too… The best part was getting to eat all this food, I was stuffed by the end of it and there were leftovers!!!

The cooking school, Mama Noi Thai Cookery School, has put together a fantastic package, in an amazing setting and with the perfect instructors.

As you can imagine we returned home full and not really interested in dinner plans. A few beers and a quiet evening with Potae and Max, a German youngster who we took a liking to very quickly. Also his full name was Maximillian, who cannot be friends with someone with such a cool name… It is one thing we noticed during our travels – you learn who you like quickly and those are the people that you end up remembering for your entire life, simply because they make such a big impact on your life at that time. You do not have time to go to a few events to work out if you can be friends, you just get a vibe and you completely trust and befriend them immediately. That is probably why we end up having such crazy times with these kind of people.

The next day we hopped into another truck/bus/taxi thing (for those who understand, it is a single cab Bakkie with a canopy that has no tail gate and no door on the canopy. You then sit on a bench on either side of the back area.) We started talking to the friendly couple who were with us. Turns out they are from the Czech Republic. We headed to the place which is known as The Grand Canyon… in Chiang Mai. It turns out to be a big Quarry looking place that has filled up with water. It looked amazing and we knew that you could swim there and in the humid heat we were excited about this. There was a general entry place where there is a small restaurant and some vendors or there was a Water Park. The park was expensive for our backpacker wallet so we went into the general entry area.

At some point we finally introduced ourselves to our Czech friends… Jiri and Adella. We had been having fat conversation with them the whole time and had not actually got their names. We already knew we liked them though, so that was all that was important…

The whole time we just spent swimming and jumping off the cliff into the water, also cheering other jumpers on. There was an individual who needed more encouragement than most but he did finally jump… the problem was when he wanted to go again then he was even more scared than the first time, and to date we do not know if he jumped again.

I had been in the water for so long that my skin was all wrinkly on my hands, but the water was very warm, especially by Cape Town standards. We finally decided that, after hours of just floating around, we should head home.

That night it was one of the English guys birthday so it was a party night. Potae had organised a large table at the Korean Barbecue Restaurant for dinner. The Korean barbecue place had a couple of large tables with fresh, uncooked produce from meats to vegetables and fruits. There were a few ready to eat dishes that you could also just help yourself to. On your table was a “hotpot” which was on an electric hotplate, and inside the pot was a stock. Then there was an electric metal dome thing with holes in it. To best understand what it looks like just think of a very big, old school, metal, orange juicer. It was a set price and you just ate as much as you wanted. So you would pick whatever you wanted to “Barbecue” or boil up and you cooked it at the table. It is a very sociable way to be actively involved in your food… I just ended up stuffing my face with as much of everything that I could, typical. It was a lot of fun and we ended up having a few other Korean Barbecues further on in our travels in Thailand.

We hit the town hard that night. The birthday boy managed to break a table at the club, and his head. It was quite overboard, but we had tons of fun. Lots of alcohol was consumed and there were all sorts of shenanigans that were revealing themselves as the night unfolded. At the end of the night we sat with Max at Potaes aunt’s guesthouse just down the road from Potaes House. He told us a very very funny story about something that happened during the night… It is imprinted in our minds so for the sake of certain peoples dignity we will let the story be a mystery to anyone reading this. We do not need to write it down to remember it……. 🙂

The next day we plucked up the courage to get our asses back on a scooter and headed to the “Sticky” waterfall. Potae recommended the place and we had heard from a few guests that it was a brilliant experience. The ride was still painful and our bums were not at all impressed, but after a while we made it to the location… and just in time for the Thunderstorm to hit us hard!!! I was convinced that the earth was going to flood and that this was the end, a large branch crashed down close to where we parked the scooter. It was some impressive rain! We were stuck in the small restaurant with another local couple from Chiang Mai. We chatted a lot with them and the guy, Note, owned a coffee shop, Note Espresso… which is a deal maker in Jo’s book, we instantly liked them. They were just visiting the waterfall for their day off but were not too phased by the rain because they were in a car. They got the local guys to roll Jo a local cigarette. It is like wild tobacco rolled in a banana leaf, it was massive! It was also kak strong. A few drags and Jo was done! Note and his wife, left without going down to the waterfall but they did give us a raincoat of theirs before they left because they felt that we were going to need it.

I was so grateful for that gesture and still months on I am still using the same raincoat.

The waterfall is quite crazy. The mineral composition of the water left a deposit of calcium and other things on the rock and this gave the rocks unbelievable grip. You could walk up the entire waterfall without being afraid of slipping. It was really cool. The weather did dampen the experience and Jo did not get into the water, but I had to get the feel of the “stickyness” of the Sticky Waterfall. I walked up a part of the waterfall and had a small dip in the water, but our stay was relatively short. The rain was not completely gone as well. We thought it was best to take the gap to make it back to Potae’s.

That night we spent the evening with Potae, as it was our last night. We had a pasta dinner at her Aunts place (she was running it whilst her aunt was away) and talked about our next few destinations until we left Thailand. We were headed for Koh Chang but Potae recommended that we go to Koh Kood instead. It is apparently much more beautiful and serene. As you know, the weather did not play ball and we ended up staying in the quiet town of Trat for 4 nights, relaxing and mulling over what a fantastic time we had had.

Thailand was the most amazing place and it was certainly an extraordinary place to explore at the beginning of our travels. It did, however, set the bar extremely high for the rest of our trip.

Thank you Helani, Matteo, Ria and Willemien

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Thank you Robert

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Thank you Potae and Latte

Thank you Jeroen, Max, Jiri and Adella.

You all impacted our lives in Thailand and made it the experience that we can never forget, It was Fantastic!!! I hope to see all of you in the future!

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