Sawat dee kha! We’re in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and while Kyle is busy remembering and practicing the Thai that he learned 20 years ago, I am leaning on the power of an apologetic smile and clumsy sign language for most of my communication here. Fortunately, most of the Thai people we encounter are pretty adept at deciphering what I’m trying to get across, or speak a little English. Especially here in Nimman, the hipster neighborhood where we’ve rented an apartment. Just how hipster? The coffee shop across the street, Ristr8to, has won awards internationally for their latte art.
Before coming to Chiang Mai, we spent a week in Bangkok, adjusting to the heat, enjoying the food, and visiting Chatuchak Market and Wat Arun.
We arrived here in Chiang Mai just in time for the Loy Krathong / Yi Peng Festival. For two nights we observed, and participated in, the beautiful spectacle of thousands of rice paper lanterns being sent aloft, while thousands more krathong (floating vessels with lit candles and incense) were floated down the Ping River.
There was also a parade that included the US Consul General, on a float, dressed in what looked like clothing from the 1800’s. This year marks 200 years of US-Thai friendly relations, which has involved a number of celebrations marking the occasion, as well as some interesting murals. Also, swing dancers!
We’ve been gobbling up experiences over the past few months and sometimes it feels like we aren’t giving ourselves time to digest. (Thanksgiving is on my mind, can you tell?) So it feels like the right time to slow our pace and settle somewhere for a few months. We’re camped out here in Chiang Mai for a couple more weeks, and on December 10th we’ll head to Hoi An, Vietnam, probably until March. We’ll definitely be taking some small side trips (and likely one bigger one, to the Philippines, with my sister Katy), and we have the great good luck of having my brother Brad and his family coming to visit at the end of January. It’s hard to put into words just how excited Max and Henry are to see their cousins. They miss family and friends, deeply.