Day 3: Chiang Mai. Some Rain.

We were bummed when we woke up and realized we'd slept in a little, so we packed up and hit the street asap.

We'd talked about doing a cooking class so we looked several up online and had the hotel concierge call them to see if they had any spots open. All of them were either full or ended too late {we had a bus to catch that evening}.

Feeling a little bummed we just walked across the street and through the gate into the Old City. We wandered a while, just enjoying being there. There are little tourist info hubs everywhere -- usually just a hallway in between two shops with posters and pamphlets plastered all over.

We decided to ask one more time about a cooking class. After a little haggling to know which one was the closest she grudgingly mentioned Baan Thai but still said it was "far away,  need taxi." We thanked her profusely and said we'd think about it and come back. Then went and found it...3 blocks away.

Luckily they had 2 spots open but it ended at 8:00pm and we had to be at the bus station by 8:30. We agreed just thinking we'd have to slip out a few minutes early.

Tiger Kingdom.
Touristy? Yes. Worth it? YES.
There were signs everywhere saying "animals are not drugged" {I hope that is true}, and "be careful, they are still wild animals and they like play - sometimes that involves biting."

From Kim's Lens:

{I wanted to call this guy Hurley. Lost, anyone? He kept singing Frank Sinatra and Enrique Iglesias to calm the cats down. Thai Hurley kept saying, "Scratch hard! Not light! If they get's bad news." Um, what is considered "light" to a tiger?!}

{basically a domesticated cat...but huge.}

From Jesse's Lens:
{freaking out a little}

Then he decided to cuddle with ME.

{legit terrified}

{nice chops}

{biiiiig yawn}

We got back into town and just roamed again -- finding all kinds of people, places, and things that were off the beaten path.

{got caught in the rain coming back from tiger kingdom}

{all of the motorcycles would sneak up to the front at stop lights}

{this kid was crackin us up}

 {hand raised for...the turn signal? so cute}

Baan Thai Cookery School. A total highlight for me. It was 4 hours long and between the two of us we made about 6 different classic Thai dishes. It was just so great. Around the table we had Israel, USA, Australia, and Korea represented. A sweet couple from Cambridge{?} Australia sat across from us and were so fun to talk with. *Hugh's aunt has a run at Silver Star named after her {a ski resort my family went to for 10+ years}! Small world.

Went to market to learn about diff foods {*roll lime before cutting makes more juicy}.

 Jesse cooked: Chiang Mai Noodle with Chicken, Fried Noodle Thai style, Seafood in Coconut Milk Soup, and Spring Rolls with Chicken {*never beef or seafood because not popular}.

Kim cooked: Panaeng Curry with Pork, Fresh Cashew Nut with Chicken, Chicken in Coconut Milk, and Papaya Salad.

{soooo goooooood!}

Other random thoughts: The class finished just in time for us to head back to the bus station to catch the 9pm back to Bangkok.  This time we had a movie playing: Resident Evil. HA! We were definitely not in America anymore. Crazy bus ride. Never sitting in the back again. The buses {at least the ones that we took} had "attendants" that gave us food/blankets. The girl and her 8-year-old boy slept behind our sets on floor in back of bus. I felt really awkward about that one...

{these buses were so tall -- no wonder it swayed so much with every little turn!}

We knew it was going to be a tight transition when we got back. We were scheduled to get back into Bangkok at 5:00am and catch another bus at 6:00am to Cambodia. If you've traveled much {especially in Asia} you'll know this wasn't very smart of us to do. Transportation isn't known for its punctuality so the likelihood of us missing that bus to Cambodia was pretty good. Amazingly enough, we rolled in at 5:20. Turns out the Mo Chit station is HUGE {like 120+ bus stalls} with fences separating it into different sections. I don't think that place ever sleeps because even at that hour it was a party! Still, we ended up running, dodging through broken parts of the chain link fence, and through the dark alleys in between the buses that were parked for the night. It was pretty eerie. Finally we found our way from the 100+ bus stall to the 18th and boarded the bus just as the sun was coming up.

Cambodia, you're next!