The beauty of being willing to go anywhere with anyone at any time.

Saying yes to everything offered is the best way, I’ve found, to get to know the people of Phrao. It will surely get me into trouble soon but while my stomach agrees with them, I will keep trying the Lanna specialties: raw meat, live shrimp, and blood soup! Right, so chances are it’s definitely going to bite me in the ass. I mean come on blood soup (raw by the way, and not too bad…pretty salty).

It’s not just food that I’m flexible with, it’s my schedule and plans as well. And I’ve found I have the best experiences when I nod in favor of whatever it is I’m asked to join and hop in the bed of a truck to who knows where.

Today, I conducted another interview at one of the nicest open-air restaurants I’ve been to anywhere. I tried fresh crab papaya salad (som tam pu) and finished it off with a Chang beer, because I’m now a fan of light beer (dammit!).

Then, I was supposed to scooter back to Warm Heart for dinner but was feeling pretty exhausted so I sat down at my translator’s bar for a minute. The restaurant owner, one I interviewed whose kow soy is to die for, and her son who goes to CMU came over and invited me to go with them to the hot springs. Ah  I didn’t even ask what hot springs and just jumped into the bed of the truck with her son, James, and two other university students.

The hot springs turned out to be the local hangout.

Mosaic hot tubs had been carved into the ground and natural sulfur smelling hot water was pumped in.

Some people were bathing in the larger pools, some were boiling eggs 😂  and some were just dipping their toes in. A group showed up with beers and whiskey playing loud music. Party.

A beautifully tiled serpent (ngu) ran along the northern edge of the pools guarding the hot springs from the mountains beyond.
We all soaked our feet and two of the students jumped in.

Then it was a homemade meal of chicken blood and noodles, sticky rice mixed with blood, raw pork liver, bean sprouts, and chilis. I’m surprised I haven’t keeled over from another parasite yet, honestly. It was delicious.

The students and I chattered away. I have new friends to go to dinner with in Chiang Mai now. How great.

I also met some Chinese students in the kitchen of our dorm the other day who also study at CMU. They are going to teach me how to make Chinese dumplings by hand on Monday. We are also going to go out and listen to their teacher sing at a bar. Ha! How cool.

Making connections is what I’m here to do. Just being open to everything and willing to try is the way to get the most out of my experiences. Nice to put out energy and have some returned to you in unexpected and fun ways.


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