March 16, 2011
Senne’s Summary: We celebrated my birthday at breakfast time, did a little shopping and enjoyed a cultural show and dinner in the evening.
Today is my birthday!!! 🙂 (I know that some of you are privy to the fact that I like to believe that every day is my birthday… but today is my real live actual birthday!)
We planned to have a pretty lazy day today… those are my favourite kind of days! We headed down for breakfast and ordered our usual. When my pancakes arrived, Steve took the syrup and wrote “Happy Birthday” on my plate for me… he’s sweet isn’t he?!
Anyway, one of the girls working in the restaurant saw what he was doing and immediately wished me a Happy Birthday before running to the back. Uh Oh… I was thinking. What’s next? I had visions of some of that strange black jelly coming out from the back as a special treat for my birthday! Instead, they brought me a birthday cake, complete with candles… they even sang me the Happy Birthday song in English! They actually sent someone out to pick up a real cake while we ate breakfast. We were both very touched that they would go to that much effort for my birthday! We’re so spoiled at this hotel… nothing will compare after this! I can’t say it enough… if you go to Chiang Mai, stay at the Sirilanna Hotel!
After breakfast and birthday cake (which we shared with all the staff), Steve and I headed out to do some shopping. We knew we would be sending a box home, so we’re picking up all the things we’d been admiring in Thailand so far.
The first place we headed was the market in Chinatown. Meow had told us that this is where we would find the wooden mortar and pestle that we needed to make the Thai recipes we had learned from her. By some strange stroke of luck we winded our way through the streets and ended up in exactly the right place. We were getting some pretty funny looks from the people working the stalls. I’m thinking that this was not a “tourist” shopping area 🙂 We ended up finding the wooden mortar and pestle as well as the one serving sized basket on the end of a bamboo handle that we had been looking for since the last time we were in Phi Phi… all for the bargain price of 180 Baht (about $6). Steve gave the lady 200 and told her to keep the change and she was over the moon. Sometimes it’s the things that seem so little to us, that make a big difference to someone else.
I was looking to buy some long t-shirts, and found a few that looked okay in one of the market places. The lady was adamant that I was “too big” for those shirts (Hey lady, didn’t anyone tell you that you should be nice to people on their birthdays???), but I bought them anyway. She really wanted me to buy the “big size” shirts “because you big size”, but I wouldn’t do it 😉
After a bit more shopping (I bought myself a pretty handbag for my birthday… and one for my mommy too… there has to be some kind of perk to retrieving all my packages from the post office for me, right?) we headed down to Starbucks. Mostly because I needed to rest, but also because I really miss my tea lattes with sugar free vanilla. I wasn’t holding out much hope, as the ones we had at Starbucks in New Zealand were horribly gross (and approximately $7 a piece!!!!), but you know me, I’m ever hopeful and persistent! Low and behold these ones were just as good as any tea lattes we’ve had at home (and only $4 a piece). To put it in perspective you can get a whole meal here for less than that… so it is expensive by Thailand standards 🙂 But, it’s my birthday… purses and tea lattes all around!
After Starbucks we headed back to our hotel to relax before going out to our cultural show and dinner this evening.
We were picked up at our hotel and transported to a place that looked a bit like a big community hall. They had areas sectioned off for people to sit and eat while they watched the show. We had opted for seats on the floor rather than at tables… just for fun. 🙂 When we arrived we were taken to Risa’s table (I’m Risa in case you didn’t know… I have a piece of paper to prove it :)).
In each section was a bit of floor space, and those very excellent triangle cushions to lean on. I definitely want to get some of those when we get home! If I’m really industrious I think I could probably make them… we’ll see how industrious I feel when I have to go to work again, 😉
They bring your food out to you on a little round tray, and then just keep coming back and refilling it as you eat. There were lots of different types of food on the tray… way more than we could eat!
After we had started eating the show began. It’s always interesting to watch the traditional Thai dancing. I especially liked the one where they had long golden “fingernails”.
I think Steve’s favourite was the one where the guy was dancing with the knives… I must admit that things do get a little more interesting when someone is dancing with knives 🙂
After the dancing ended, we thought the show was over, but instead we were taken outside to an amphitheatre for part 2 of the show! This show was a little sketchy in places, but still interesting. There were some very cute kids, and some teens and children who did some interesting dances.
I think you have to take into consideration the fact that many of the people performing in this part of the show were from rural impoverished areas. I felt a bit sad, because some of them clearly did NOT want to be there… but I suspect they were there because it was a source of income (albeit, probably not much income) that they couldn’t pass up.
Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about being able to live the type of life I’m living, when a lot of other people clearly struggle to just get basic necessities. I hope that my efforts to bring in tourist dollars, and tip rather generously at least help improve some people’s lives. Thinking that way, at least makes me feel a little less guilty 🙂