The last two weeks has flown by without me blogging a single post. The training at TMC ramped up since my last post. Our class taught our first group of students a two day foot massage course. Happy to say we all made it through the experience, students and teaching students alike, with more knowledge and skills than when we started.
TMC arranged transportation to the Anatomy Department at the University of Chiang Mai where we spent an afternoon in the cadaver lab brushing up on our anatomy. We also had a written and practical test on Level One that we will be teaching all week beginning this coming Monday to another group of students in their Nursing Assistant program. It is an enormous amount of detail and process to memorize and perform in order to make our teaching clear, and effective for a five day full body Thai Massage course. I have been joining my other classmates on evenings and weekends to practice our treatments and teaching techniques.
This Saturday I also took a one day course on how to teach Thai chair massage.
Since my last post I have also managed to squeeze in some social and exploration time, discovering some more Chiang Mai gems.
Nicole and I spent a wonderful Sunday practicing our Dynamic Thai techniques and then lounging at the gorgeous Clay Studio Cafe, a haven off a small soi (lane road) in the Old City with tables scattered about a lush jungle garden enclosed by high brick walls adorned with clay statues and friezes. Great coffee and delicious food. My dish was a perfectly breaded white fish with green curry and blue rice (boiled in blue pea flower water). We also learned how to carve vegetables into decorative flowers by a delightful Thai woman who has been doing this for over 30 years. From there we spent the afternoon relaxing by and in the Lotus Hotel pool to beat the heat as we move into the hot season (36 celsius during the day).
In my continued search for good coffee shops I discovered Arte Cafe where a Chinese Dragon came for a visit on Chinese New Year. Then there is Ponganes Coffee Roasters, and Overstand for breakfast and coffee. iBerry is an experience unto itself. It has food stalls, a clothing store and ice cream/coffee shop that shouldn’t be missed when in Chiang Mai. The courtyard has great lounging space with a large tree in the centre which is light up at night. Odd sculptures and paintings adorn the walls and grounds. For great thin crust handmade pizza with a large number of vegetarian and vegan offerings as well, By Hand Aristan Pizza Lounge in the Old City is great place to people watch on the corner of a small soi.
Tuesday night was open mike at the North Gate Jazz Club, always a hot spot any night in Chiang Mai. It was my last night to say goodbye to Nicole before she left for home in Germany.
My guesthouse owner Noi took Andreas (another student from TMC who stayed at Tip Top) and me to Huen Phen, a popular local Northern Thai Food restaurant in the Old City. Our menu included spicy banana flower soup, curried pork ( Burmese style), Lanna spicy minced pork (Laab Moo), spiced green chilli dip and steamed vegetables, spicy young jackfruit salad, fried chicken, fried Lanna sausage and sticky rice that we ate with our hands. Thanks to Noi I have been introduced to more authentic Northern Thai food. Another great Northern Thai restaurant just outside the Old City is Huen Muan Jai. Tucked in off the main street it is always packed and also super delicious.
Near the Night Market is the charming Ploen Ruedee International Food Park. It is a collection of great food stalls surrounding a stage for nightly live music and a courtyard filled with tables and chairs, high tables with bar stools, and hay bails surrounding wooden spools as coffee tables.
Peter and I had a super fun evening in the Nimmen area west of the old city eating seafood off the table with our hands at “Catch”. Then we had chocolaty truffles and tamarind sorbet at iBerry and took photos with the crazy sculptures there. To round off the evening we went to Warm Up, a Thai hotspot for live music and dance music. Then it was a late night snack from Tacos Bell, a great food “truck” that parks outside Zoe and Yellow dance club.
On Saturday Night a group of us met at the Chiang Mai Balloon Park for a festival called Space Artsdict. The attendance was low but the concept was interesting. There were artists doing graffiti art on boards, other artists displaying and selling clothing, furniture, lighting, and drawings. There were three stages playing live and recorded music and some great food. A friend Gabe has been going all out brewing creative kombucha flavours and brought me a sample of his latest batch to taste. Out of this world Gabe!
On the way home Peter and I passed the mega mall Central Festival that was packed with screaming, happy, energetic Thais rocking to the sounds of the Uber popular music star Modern Dog. We were caught up in the joy and excitement of the concert and had, yes, more food, while meeting those around us.
Today I cycled to Hauy Tung Tao Lake to meet Jenny for a coffee, hike to a waterfall and swim in the lake. Then her husband Mark joined us for lunch lakeside. We had a great fried Tilapia with herbs and hot sauce along with Green Papaya salad. Then I spent the afternoon preparing for the week of teaching that begins Monday morning. Peter and I had great wood fired pizza at Street Pizza, a walk through the Sunday night walking market and it’s the end of another fabulous week in Chiang Mai.