Mâi pét – my favorite/most useful Thai phrase. It means “not spicy”! Almost everything they eat here is spicy. Sometimes it’s a little bit (nít noi means little bit) spicy and sometimes its out of this world, burn your esophagus and bring you to tears spicy. I’ve never tried anything more than a little spicy and even that was too much a few times. We did decide to try a bunch of different Thai snacks yesterday. We had delicious rice cakes, muffins, peanut brittle, banana chips (tastes like potato chips, but without the salt), and these tiny cookie sandwiches with sticky jam in the middle. They were all pretty good, but I like the little cookies and the rice cakes the best.
Anyway, I’ve mentioned that lots of Thais drive motorbikes, which are a mix between a moped and a dirt bike style bike. Some of the newer ones are actually mopeds or vespas, but they are more expensive. All of them have extra long seats so you can fit 2 normal sized people on them, or 4 Thais, a baby, the dog and their groceries. We were in the unfortunate circumstance of not having a motorbike for the last few days. Our coordinator, Kru Rin, brought hers over last week so we could practice riding it (it somehow ended up back at her house over the weekend. Inconvenient).
Ethan was the first to try and, like a lot of things he does, he picked it up right away (after coming pretty close to crashing into a ditch, but that’s neither here nor there). Since our apartment is so close to the school, Rin told us to take the bike to the futbol (soccer) field/track to practice with more room and on softer ground. She failed to mention that there would be a bunch of kids over there practicing for sport day – more on that later. So they all watched while we attempted to learn to ride the motorbike. Rin taught Ethan how to change gears, so naturally when he felt comfortable he tried 4th
gear out. Rin was dying the whole time saying “Tell E-tan slow down! He go too fast!” Anyway, after Ethan I tried. It was easier to balance than I thought and I figured Ethan would be driving me anyway so I let the other girls try after only circling the track twice. It took them a little longer to feel comfortable on it, but they got the gist.
Like I said somehow the motorbike was taken back to Rin’s house so we were unable to use it over the weekend. But we didn’t let that stop us from exploring. We decided we wanted to check out Nan city, which is about 30 miles south of Tha Wang Pha. Rin told us that that we could catch the bus across the street from the school or the blue truck. We still aren’t really sure what the truck is called, but if you’ve seen Hangover 2 it’s the thing they ride to the temple in with the monk. If you have no idea what I’m talking about it’s basically a small truck with the bed turned into two benches with a roof on it. The bus is supposed to come every hour, on the hour. We figured it would be late given Thais general disinterest in timeliness, but we got there on time just in case.
We waited until about 10:25 when the truck showed up. We decided to take that rather than the bus because who knows when it would show up! (Ethan- The truck filled up and I gave up my seat at first chance to a woman so I could ride standing on the back of the truck. I got what I wanted and scored some karma. That’s big in Thailand!) It was a nice drive to Nan and we spent the day wandering around checking out the various temples and markets. We found the best smoothie shop ever (It’s actually called The Best Bakery) and decided we would return to Nan if only to visit The Best Bakery. We checked out one of the many temples in Nan called Wat Phumin. It was small, but very beautiful and had some pretty crazy old murals on the walls. I’m sure they told some epic story or something cool, but who knows. It’s pretty amazing how ornate the temples here are and how much detail goes into every inch of it. The giant golden Buddha’s are cool too. We wandered around for a while longer, passed by two more temples and after that decided we needed food. In our Lonely Planet book one of the places to eat served pizza and other random Italian food. Thus, we made it our mission to find the pizza! We walked to the location on the not-so-detailed map and it was nowhere to be found. We walked up and down the street it was supposed to be at least 3 times (I was drenched in sweat head to toe). (Ethan- At one point we came across a truck with a flat tire. One guy got out of his truck to help, but the truck didn’t budge. Cue huge American, comparatively speaking. We got the truck out of the intersection and after 20 yards I got nervous as to how far he wanted the truck pushed. Keep in mind, it is NOT cold in Thailand. I asked the other guy, “How far?” and he replied, “further.” Crap! We pushed it to the side of the road right after though and that was that. Karma +2 for the day.) Finally we stopped and asked some locals, who, after much pantomiming and broken Thai on our part, were able to tell us that it had moved and drew us a map of where it was. Yay!
After a very long, sweaty pilgrimage we found mecca! It looked like your average Thai restaurant, but they had sombereros on the walls (they had no Mexican food so this was confusing) and the menu consisted of pasta, pizza and traditional Thai food. Ethan and I got margherita pizza. It was good and definitely satisfied our pizza craving (for the time being). We weren’t really sure where to catch the bus home, so we wandered back up the street we came into town on and hoped that the bus would pass by. We ended up at a bus stop, but the blue truck came first so we took that instead.
After our eventful Saturday we were exhausted, but had to get food somehow on Sunday. We ended up walking into town, which is about a mile and half (normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but it’s bloody hot here!). Anyway, we ate lunch there and got a box of frosted flakes (called Frosties here) for dinner. It was the first time we tried the milk here and it was ok. It tasted more like vanilla soy milk than actual milk, but whatever.