Friday, January 23, 2009

The Train and Chiang Mai

The train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai takes about 14 hours - from 7:35 pm to about 9:30 AM. We went in second class, which means we paid $25 each to sleep in a car lined with bunk beds on each side. The chairs in the picture turn into a lower bed, and another bed pulls down from the ceiling.

The "train attendant" (I don't know what the word for it is - the train equivalent of a flight attendant) was a lady-boy who wanted to be called Natalie and he was an absolute crack up. Sooo over the top femenine and animated! If you've never been to Thailand before, the lady-boy culture can be a little shocking, but you just get used to seeing guys dressed up and acting like women, and it is widely accepted. The best is watching a group of college-aged European tourists checking out a group of who they think are hot girls...only to realize a few minutes later that they are actually lady-boys. The reaction is priceless!

We bought some snacks for the train, including these delightful Nori Seaweed flavored Lays. They have a great variety of flavors here, including Shrimp and Mayonaise, and I plan on trying them all!
We found a market over by our new apartment that had piles of these. Yes, they are what you think they are, and of course we had to try them! Once you get past the fact that you are eating deep-fried grubs, they're really good! Light and crisp, with a delicate barbecue flavor. I have to say I recommend them, even if it's only for the shock value when you tell your friends you ate them.

Chiang Mai is a beautiful city absolutely full of wats (Bhuddist temples). They are everywhere you look - including right next to our hotel. I opened the curtains to see this impressive roof line. Bhuddism is everywhere here - shrines in front of every house and business, wats around almost every corner, and monks in bright orange robes walking all over the city.


I love this city, which is great, because I just got a job for 6 months! I will be working part time for a language school, teaching small group lessons in English conversation and helping prepare high school students for the TOEFL exam (required to get into American universities). I'm very excited!

15 comments:

Joelen said...

Great post! I have to shy away from the bugs but I'm sure I could be coaxed into trying it! :)

Stephanie said...

The lady-boy thing is hilarious! I didn't realize that was such apart of the culture there. I wouldn't have been brave enough to eat those grubs-kudos to you! Congratulations on your job! That is super exciting!

That Girl said...

Congratulations! You know, the katoeys are more than "accepted." The Buddhist belief is that in the beginning of time there were three humans, a man, a woman, and a katoey. They are part of the cycle and everyone has a life as each one.

Brianna & Dustin said...

I've never ridden a train like that before! And if I had to eat grubs, that is probably how I'd choose to eat them! What a fun thing to be able to tell your friends and family back home! :)

Laura said...

I always wanted to make it to Chiang Mai! Fabulous post!

Court Cooks said...

Congrats on the job!! We have a couple of great friends that have lived in Chiang Mai for about 8 or so years now. They love it (and we did too). They have both taught English too!

Rebel said...

wow! I didn't realize you were headed to CM quite so immediately... I'm sorry I missed you in Bangkok. Enjoy the rose of the north, it really is beautiful, and a nice blend of 'real' Thai culture (whatever that is) and touristy comforts.

Steph said...

Congrats on the job Cate! It's so nice to hear about your travels. I love how you're not afraid to try new foods.

Laure said...

Congrats on the job! Can't wait to see more posts about your food-adventures over there, too. You are brave for eating those grubs!!!

bensbaby116 said...

Deep fried grubs, huh? I don't know if I could handle that or not. You're brave for trying them! The different flavors of chips are really interesting too. Those I would definitely eat! :) Thanks for continuing to share your journey with us.

sweeetheartfever said...

woah! deep fried grubs??? you are brave and i think that is kind of awesome :)

and: CONGRATULATIONS!

Stephanie said...

I gave you some awards on my blog:) Have a great day!

Erin said...

Those chips sound awesome!

Dorothy said...

Cate, Congrats on the job! Yummy bugs, only wish I were there to crunch one or two!

Jaime said...

that is so exciting! i lived in chiang mai for one month. loved it. enjoy the city.