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Welcome to Mae Sa Valley, Thailand

Mae Sa Valley Craft Village

March 16, 2006

After Future Green homestay we travel the 5 hr. taxi ride back to Bangkok to catch a flight to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Chiang Mai gets most of itís revenue from tourism because itís in the mountains (cooler weather), hosts a large university, and is famous for the elephant tours and the hillside villages. Weíre staying at Mae Sa Valley Chiang Mai. Itís gorgeous here. Great pool for the girls and wet bar for the parents.

The cabanas are beautiful. Thatched roof huts, traditional Thai building with tile floors, hand-held bidets (hey, see the theme...), terraced land with well-maintained flower gardens. Outstanding!

maesavalleycabana

This is a traditional Thai craft center that offers traditional Thai food and crafts like batik, paper making, parasol/fan painting, Thai cooking, and pottery. The residences are outstanding. We upgraded to a 2 room suite that cost us $75 per night. We had a great outdoor balcony with a nice evening breeze. We actually did not turn on the AC the last two days we were there, and it was my idea!

There are a couple people here from Europe and we were introduced to the man-wearing tiny thong bikini. Itís wonderful to see a 44Ē waist into a 30Ē suit. Talk about a wooly mammoth in a rubber band. Please donít bend down to pick up that trash!..

Our first morning we decide to tour the Mae Sa Valley Elephant Training Centre. Great fun. We went to the early 8am show to beat the tourists (quite a touristy place) and also beat the heat.

Elephant Soccer Video

Note: if you can not see the video, download QuickTime and view the movie with it.

quicktime logo (4K)

Itís trueóthey get the elephants to paint pictures and you can buy them. Being the practical person, Iím not sure what good this does anyone. What good is it if you can train an elephant to paint but theyíre too big to fit in your bathroom to help with the renovation?

elephantpainting

We also were infested with ants in our bathroom the first night. Good thing that traditional Thai bathrooms function as a huge shower. The floor is tile and slightly sloped to the shower drain so any water that gets on the bathroom floor gets funneled to the shower drain. During the evening of our first night here I noticed that we had a couple of big black ants around the toilet. I grabbed the handheld bidet sprayer and started to spray the ants off the walls. Then more ants came out and I sprayed some more. I noticed that they were coming out from behind the toilet tank, so I lifted the tank cover and thousands of ants spewed out, all carrying small white eggs. They started covering the walls and floors and toilet and sink. I started to spray the heck out of the entire bathroom and, fortunately, all the water started to flow to the shower drain and it carried all the ants. Huge bunches of ants started to flow down the shower drain, about the size of golf balls. After about 15 minutes of this the population of ants dwindled significantly. I felt like Zeus unleashing my wrath upon the unworthy humans. I think I'll practice and start to work my way up the food chain--ants, cockroaches, small lizards, attorneys, etc.

Dominique and Nicky participated in a couple of the crafts offered here. They made batik, which is traditional Indonesian textile. The word batik is thought to be derived from the word Indonesian word 'ambatik' which translated means 'a cloth with little dots'. The suffix 'tik' means little dot, drop, point or to make dots. Which is appropriate because you drop the colors onto the fabric to create the painting.

The smocks make them look like they know what they're doing, eh?

makingpaper

March 18, 2006


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