Chiang Mai, Thailand’s northern city

Chiang Mai is considered the unofficial capital of northern Thailand, second only to Bangkok.  Though we live about 90 km north of the city, we have had many opportunities to spend time there.  The temples are beautiful, mostly Buddhist, different one from another, but sharing common features such as the roof shape, prominent gold color, and dragon staircases.

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We spent a very fun weekend early on with our two Thai “daughters.” Nova, on the right, has Thai parents who own a large Thai restaurant in Belgium. French is her first language of about six languages she speaks.  She lived in the house with us for the first month and was part of our biochar soil amendment team, doing market research.  Tangmo (it’s her nickname and it means “watermelon”), on the left, is the daughter of two Bangkok physicians.  Her older sister followed the family tradition and became a doctor herself, but Tangmo loves fashion design and just got accepted to the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC where she will start this fall. During her three months at Warm Heart, she created chic bags out of recycled rice sacks for WH to sell.

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Thailand, especially in the big cities, has the most amazing street food scene.  The food is so beautifully prepared and presented, completely clean, inexpensive and of course, delicious.  A few images to give you an idea:

Why is no one in the states doing potato chips this attractive and clever?

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One of my favorite appetizers at Thai restaurants in the US is Miang Kham (see recipe).  It is popular street food here, along with green papaya salad, and they package it (below) to take home.

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This lady is making crepes with a sweet filling.

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Fruit everywhere.

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Western tourists love Chiang Mai because it is such an easy to handle, laid back city.  There is a wide range of guesthouses, restaurants and bars.  Here is an example of one; I love the round opening.

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Throughout Chiang Mai you can find products made by Hill Tribe people.  These are some of their hand embroidered traditional costumes.  I couldn’t resist some of the embroidered strips cut off of worn out jackets like these.

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I believe this is an infant carrier.  It has perfectly executed hand appliqué as well as the embroidery.

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Amelie and I ate our lunch on Chiang Mai’s Ping River  one day, very close to the main market. If you’ve never been to Asia, northern Thailand, and especially Chiang Mai is a great place to start!

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