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Bangkok & Chiang Mai

After an intense week in Bangladesh, I went on another adventure. I asked my brother to meet me in Thailand, and to my surprise, he did! We wandered through Chiang Mai, took a cooking class, and ate our way through Chinatown in Bangkok. My brother is a foodie and quite an adventurous eater. For the most part, I followed his lead. On a few of our days in Bangkok, we agreed to eat nothing but street food all day. We walked and ate and hardly sat down at all. I am now obsessed with black sesame bao, and have even attempted to make my own. They aren't bad, but lack the experience of stopping by a street cart, and eating it under the red lanterns of Chinatown at the Lunar New Year. The markets in Bangkok were mind-boggling—the quantity of stuff and the sheer confusion of so many alleyways through the booths. I brought home silk scarves, Thai clothing, tea, and a few gorgeous prints which have yet to be framed and hung up. 

Traveling from Chittagong to Chiang Mai took me on three Asian airlines in the same day. Chiang Mai felt like a quiet village compared to Chittagong, and Bangkok surprised me with its cleanliness and beauty. I laughed when I heard it referred to as "The Venice of the East," but after spending time on the river I see the resemblance. The Chao Praya river is a major transportation route, and ferries shuttle people from one bank to the other in many parts of the city. We took a cruise on a longtail boat through the waterways on the Thonburi (West) side of the Chao Praya. These waterways are lined with disintegrating buildings juxtaposed with practically palatial homes. Monitor lizards warmed themselves on the concrete walls lining the rivers. As we floated, a giant gold Buddha appeared on the landscape, bestowing honor and sanctity on the humblest of dwellings below. (pictured above). Such Buddhas and temples seemed to be on every other corner, each one more magnificent than the last. We visited the ancient ruins of Ayuttayah, and even the crumbling temples were magnificent, with fragmented Buddha statues lining the walls of the ancient temples.

Thailand is a food photographers paradise, and I took full advantage. I can still taste the coconut pudding cups that are grilled at a street cart and cut apart with scissors. I vowed I would eat them every day, but there were so many other delicious treats, I was not able to uphold that vow.  As we walked and ate, and ate and walked some more, we took breaks at the plethora of massage parlors and pampered our aching feet and legs. Rejuvenated, we began again, wandering the streets of this incredible city.

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