Final Day In Chiang Mai

In with the music class

Classroom

School cafeteria

School playground

School library

On our final day in Chiang Mai we decided to visit the farm that houses about 30 of the kids from Joy’s House. As part of the trip we were able to visit an elementary school in the farm’s local village. The girls met kids their age at school and the music class played some impressive music for us– a great experience for our kids at this school.

Trying to put our feet in the hot springs - too hot

Eating the boiled eggs

Ebey with the eggs in the basket we boiled in the hot springs

Then we boiled some eggs (not sure which bird laid them) in a natural hot springs—that was interesting. Add eating random eggs to the sulfur smell of the hot springs and you have a nice combo. In fact, the eggs were very tasty.

Ebey and Hinckley in the garden

Emily in the garden

Emily and her friend in the garden

Matt and the rope swing

Kathryn and the rope swing

Ebey and the rope swing

At the farm they have all kinds of fruits and vegetables on 20 acres. We picked some of them for our lunch on that same day. Here the kids learn more effective farming methods (most come from hill tribes that have to move every few years to new lands because of poor farming methods) and also have their own school and teachers. There is a rope swing over the lake that we all had to try. Kathryn and I made it safely, but Ebey and Emily suffered some scrapes on landing. We didn’t let Emily go, thinking she was too small, but after everyone had left for lunch she insisted on doing the rope swing so we went back–just she and I to the rope swing. She held on fine, but hit the ground pretty hard in the landing. I was proud of her for her toughness. The kids saw lots of new plants that hadn’t seen and many others they had eaten, but didn’t know where they came from.

Night Bazaar - tons of lights

That night we cruised around Chiang Mai for the last time, going on a long adventure in search for ice cream and ending at the famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar.

Chiang Mai ended up being different than I expected. I didn’t expect it to be so big with so much traffic. The number of Westerners also shocked me. Everywhere you looked there were other white people, with the accompanying businesses and services to accommodate them. While we loved Chiang Mai, I think we hit it 20 years past its prime. There are certainly few things more hypocritical than a tourist complaining of a place being “touristy,” but I’m doing it anyway. Here, the culture of the Westerners and the tourism industry dominated more than in Bangkok where everyone blends together in regular life so much better. Bangkok is so massive that it has been able to absorb many Westerners and their culture without losing any of her own. Chiang Mai had been so isolated for centuries that it developed a very original culture but I’m afraid the remains of that culture are a bit overstated. The outskirts of Chiang Mai were stunning and I would certainly go back, but the image and expectations held in my mind would be far different next time.

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