Thailand

Saying Goodbye to Thailand

I just had five days in Thailand… just enough time to eat. Then eat some more. Then eat again. I also picked up all the ingredients necessary to make a lot of these dishes at home. I got kaffir limes (which I hope to use the seeds to grow lime trees in Mexico, yum), seed packets of Thai chiles, cilantro, Thai sweet basil, Thai holy basil, and Thai parsley. I got fresh galangal, which I should be able to regrow, but also galangal powder if I get desperate. I got several types of fish sauce, oyster sauce, golden mountain sauce. Two jars of nahm prik. Dried chiles, and dried kaffir lime leaves. Buckets of curry paste: green, red, massaman, panang. A box of Thai tea. My luggage, the one I bought specifically in Thailand to take things home with me weighed 42 kilos. I had to carry three of the…

Lunch at Nahm (Bangkok, Thailand)

I love Thai food, so what does the best Thai food restaurant in the world taste like? Well, I was in Bangkok for 5 days, let’s find out. They offer a lunch set menu at $41 per person, making it by far one of the cheapest restaurants from the S. Pelligrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant list. The lunch set menu options are not super varied, so between me and my friend, we covered a good portion of the menu. But the food, the food right? Who cares about any of this… was it in fact the BEST Thai food I had ever eaten? Yes. Was it the BEST meal I had ever had? From purely a flavor standpoint? Yes. Was it worth $41? Absolutely. Times a thousand. A million. I freaking loved it. One word of note: it was insanely spicy. I am not sure if they will adjust the…

Date Night With Pam

I’ve arrived in Bangkok. It’s so weird to be back, but oh, the food. Hello, lover. Speaking of which, I’m staying with my friend Pam, someone I hadn’t seen since Stella was born, when she left the frozen tundra that is “Canada in the winter” and bravely traveled south to Puerto Vallarta to suffer the sunlight, beaches and tacos in Mexico in order to selflessly help us when Stella arrived. I love her. We like to go on very romantic vacations with each other, staying at posh hotels, eating in five-star restaurants and enjoying the kind of travel that my man, and her singleness otherwise make it impossible to do with a significant other. It’s a running joke, really, and Bangkok was no different. Finally, after all these years, we had a proper date night. So of course we went out to dinner and a movie. Somehow we ended up at…

36 Hour Travel Slog (Now With Toddler!)

There’s really no way to get from Thailand to LA without traveling over 24 hours.  For an extra $1000 I could have taken a shorter flight, without the six-hour layover, but instead of splurging, I pretended I was paying myself $1000 to travel a little longer. Hey guys, I just made $1000 in one day!  You can too! So Drew was driving down from Seattle with our new minivan, our two fat dogs and a car seat for Cole and all I had to do was get on the plane in Chiang Mai, fly one hour to Bangkok, get our VAT refund, wait five hours for our 2 AM flight to Shanghai, fly four hours Shanghai, wait six hours for our flight to LA, fly twelve hours to LA and run the gantlet through US immigrations and customs dragging my pregnant ass and sleep deprived (so likely wild) toddler.  Oh…

Yee Ping Year Three – The Anatomy Of A No-Good, Very Very Bad Idea.

Today’s post is by my husband, Drew — you’ll see why in a minute. ~Christine Listen, we’re professionals, people. It’s Chiang Mai in November, which means it’s Loi Krathong time. We’re in our element. The only problem: In the lead-up to this year’s Yee Ping lantern release, the atmosphere in Chiang Mai seemed way less festive, the result of making the event happen a week before Loi Kratong would truly get started. Our enthusiasm wasn’t quite there. “But we have to go, we have to shoot it!” We both agreed. We came up with a brilliant plan: Go late, leave early. Last year, Cole was beyond overtired by the time the event was over, it made perfect sense to just pop in before the lanterns were let loose, snap some pictures and duck out before the crushing horde made their exit. Easy breezy. When it came time to leave, Cole…

Three If By Motorbike

Since being back to Chiang Mai, Cole has been asking us to go for a ride on the motorbike, usually right before he falls asleep at night.  He’s like, “I’m tired, you know what would be relaxing?  A ride around the old city.  Seriously, let’s go right now.” But what he really says is: “SHOES!!! SHOES!!! GO! GO!” Then Drew and I scramble from whatever position of repose we were enjoying to take a 10 PM jaunt around the city. On this night, we’re driving around, Cole has already fallen asleep and everything it’s dark and quiet. Drew: Look, there’s the Chiang Mai Writer’s Club*. Me: Ooh we finally found it.  We should go there. Drew: And drink Hemmingway style! Me: Drew I can’t, I’m pregnant. Drew: Oh. If you can’t drink what’s the point? Me: What’s the point of anything? We laugh.  Way too much. Drew:  [after a pause]…

Back to Work, Slackers!

iPhone pic. Someone asked why there aren’t more pics of me on the blog, and this is why! Low light iPhone pics because my husband loathes my camera.  Have you tried to take a self portrait with a sleeping baby using a dSLR?  Exactly. So we left Koh Lipe, took  a ferry to Pak Barra, then a mini bus to Hat Yai.  We spent a day running around this Thai border town, famous for it’s shopping, me with my pregnancy-bladder and considering more than once just peeing behind a car.  I’m in the second trimester now, and that day, it felt like every step was squeezing my bladder, this urgent I-gotta-pee feeling, where you run into a bathroom (who cares where, oh insurance shop, excuse me, yes, I’m climbing over your desk, that’s okay, I’m pregnant and you don’t speak English) and start pulling up your skirt before the…

Finding the Perfect Thai Beach

This might have been it, but it was stormy. I almost never traveled in my twenties.  Not much anyway, and not outside of the US very often.  My first time in Europe came in 2003 on my two-week honeymoon and we spent our one year anniversary in Bermuda — that’s it.  Back then, Drew had a DVD copy of The Beach and we must have watched it half a dozen times, so starved we were for travel inspiration.  Since then Thailand was this magical place I wanted to see, but it seemed impossible.  How do you even go there if you keep switching employers every two years, and your vacation time accrues so slowly?  And it’s so expensive to fly there!  Finally in 2005 we had the time and the money, so we bought tickets to Bangkok with the plan of bouncing around the islands for a week. Then the Songkhla…

Two Years of Travel, 14 Countries and I Finally Impress My Child

There’s really no point to traveling with an infant.  A toddler’s no better.  I mean, you bring them, of course, because you love them and there’s no reason to not bring your tiny offspring on an around-the-world jaunt, but they are probably the most clueless travel companions.  You bring your child to Angkor Wat and they ignore the ancient ruins looming around them, preferring to scratch around in the dust, picking out tiny pebbles and showing them to you before throwing them (yes, really).  “Yes, that’s a good one, Cole!”  We could have stayed at home and let him play in our driveway, he’d be just as happy.  You repeat the same exercise in Paris, India, Morocco, Beirut, and Thailand.  Soon you’re aware of a singular fact — there are rocks in almost every country.  You have seen them all.  You child has picked most of them up, held them…

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