hello! It feels like I have done so much since I last wrote on here, lets hope I dont forget anything!
Yesterday was probably one of the best days I have had here, chiang mai is so good! Much bertter than bangkok and its cooler than all the other places aswell becuase it is so far North, so it is easily bearable to walk around in the middle of the day! there isnt anywhere to sunbather or anything though so I think my tan will fade a little bit while I am here, even though I havent really sunbathed at all since I have been in thailand, sitting opn boats for most of the day is enough to get some colour on me!
Right so anyway, yesterday We signed up to go on the "long neck tour" and we got picked up from our guesthouse at 7.30 in the morning. There were 6 of us in total on the tour and the tour guide was a really little thai lady called A and she was so cute. She really liked us aswell becuase we asked lots of questions! (i have got very good at asking questions since being in thailand!)
The first stop was at an orchid and butterfly farm which was so beautiful! We learnt how the orchids grown and how they do it. It seemed really complicated actually! they take 3 years from seed to flower, but the flowers are so pretty I rekon its worth it. I got some really good photos and then we looked at the shop where they sell the flowers but they have resin or something on them to make them solid and they are made into jewellery and things like that. It was really cool, but I didnt get any.
The csecond stop was at a cave. I have been to loads of caves before in loads of different countries, but this one was completely different and so pretty. If any of the stones looked like anything they were made to look like them more, and there was a giant on the floor that they had covered in thai silk cloths and blankets, and its head was covered in gold leaf (thats what the thais do to show respect) there was also loads of buddas and statues all over the place, and most of them were cvered in sparkly stuff which glittered because the light was only small. There was also this big buddah that had infront of it this thing which is supposed to be lucky, it's a box of sticks and you shake it while making a wish or asking for something, and the first stick that comes out has a number on it and there is a big board to show what each number means. I got number 28, and it said I should keep trying... whatever that means!
Then, on the way to the restaurent for lunch, we stopped at a little hill tribes vilage and walked through it. It wasnt the most interesting of experiences becuase this particular tribe has modernised quite considerably recently, and only a few were wearing the traditional costume. But it was really cool to see a whole village in such a small space and they were all out playing on the streets and the women all sat doing embroidery. It reminded me of how I imagine it to be in the old days! Some of the kids came over and started posing for a photo so I took it, and then they started to hastle me for money for the photo, I didnt give them any! But it did say in the hill tribe museum that some tribes only let you take photos for money..;. but our guide said they didnt mind photos! so i got confused! We left and then gopt to the restaurent where they gave us quite a big feast! and it was really tasty too!
After lunch we stopped at a temple which had a buddah that was huge! like literally as big as a house! and it was white, which was strange becuase most are gold, but it was still really beautiful. it was right on the top of a big hill and the views were spectacular! our guide told us that over the hill in fgront of us was the burmese border, so we were very close to birma, it seemd a shame that we had gone so far norht but coulnt actually go into the country (there was a river in the way) There was also a big gong on the hil, which you are supposed to hit 3 times and it gives you good luck. I dfid it, but only very lightly and everyone else did it very heavily so I thought I would go back, but then this thai lady started being like "no no no" becuase apparently if you do it any more times than three it is reall really bad luck. good job she stopped me!
after that we headed of to the most interesting part of the day, the one we had been most looking forward to... the long necks! At first I was aprehensive becuase it looked like we were going to a sort of market, but then as we goty closer we saw that it was more like the places where the people lived. Their only means of income is to sell what they make, and most of them make big bits of material and embroidery and scarves, and had them all hanging up around them. They were very beautiful. There wasnt any men in the village at the time we went, and I asked about it and apparently they work on the farms. All there was was about 20-30 women sitting around, some were feeding their children, soe were embroidering, some were just sitting. Our guide told us to talk to them as much as possible becuase they want to learn the language. But most of them seemed quite scared oif us! We learnyt about the neckalces that they were and helf them, they are so heavy! and they start wearing them at a very young age! The neckalces were like springs, and not just lots of hoops, which I didnt realise! and apparently they use a certain lenght and then once there is a big enough gap between the top of the hoops and the chin, then they make the metal longer again. Some of the women had much longer necks than other, which must mean they have a higher status or something. The reason they wear it is because of a folklore in whiuch a tiger was coming to eat them and in order to scare the tiger they had to make their necks really long! I didnt really understand, but apparently this is the reason! It was really interesting, and some of them were really nice, although most just sat there and looked at us. I suppose we look as strange to them as they do to us! We had a look at their houses, which were very basic bamboo huts, but I think it would be quite nice to live such a simple life!
A bit further up were the big eared people, who were much more friendly! they all had massive holes in their ears which are kinda like people stretched ears! they were filled with huge metal cylliners to kep them open. But it didnt look as painful as the h8uge neckalces from the other tribe! most of them also had black teeth, and I eman proper black, not rotten or anything, but just black. They chew this thing called bitternut which over time just turns your teeth black, but shiny still! They think it is beatiful, so they chew it all the time. One of the ladies was really really nice, and she made me and kate a "bitternut" it was basically a bit of some kind of tree bark with some resin and powers and some other wierd things all wrapped in a leaf. I chewed it for a while and I have to say that it was one of the most disgusting things I have ever had! So i spat it out pretty soon! the lady laughed at us, I think she must really like it! lets hope my teeth dont go black too! But yeah, this lady was so nice andwe talked to her for a while before we had to leave. She was doing some weaviong, and I bought some of her material from her becuase it was really nice, and I wanted to give her something for being so nice to us. She really appreciated it!
After that we went back to our guesthouse, which took 3 hours becuase the hill tribe was so far... in the hills? once we got back we went to the night market which was quite good. I think I spenty a little bit too much money though whoops! oh well, I'm sure a nice thai kimono will come in handy one day! We also round this really nice food court which I think we will go to llunch there today. It did food from the whole of asia, and they even did sticky rtice which is becoming my new favorite pudding!
my fasvourite thai dishes are massuman curry, thai green curry (not fried), thai red curry and chicken with cashew.... even though I love all thai food.
anyway, I had better go now, I am doing a trek tomorrow so will not be online for about 3 days. Home soon!
lots of love xxxx