The first day consisted of Church, walks into town, riding the sung tou (a taxi essentially), and the night market! I guess it was the plan to keep us out late and busy so we would not be tempted to sleep, haha. I feel the jet lag at moments, but so far am doing well. Church was amazing with the amount of music. The Lahu people sing beautiful harmonies and are very song focused in their prayers and throughout the church. One of the leaders introduced us all to the Lahu people and students from the Bi-Vocational school. I am learning how to say some things in Thai and Lahu. Thai and Lahu language are completely different, yet around in the same area. Even Lahu has four different dialects that do not sound alike. The language barrier is hard, but the majority of people know some english. My favorite word I have learned so far is cheyenne, which means Thai Iced Tea, haha. I have not been able to have any yet, but I have a free coupon for one!
We ride public transportation anywhere if we go places. Which is an experience of itself. There are lines on the road where people should stay in with their vehicle, but there are so many motorbikes there is no real rules for them apparently. People ride without helmets, text while driving, and load three people and stuff on one motorbike. It made me think about risk. How we willingly hop in a vehicle that only has two long seats and ride all the way to Chiang Mai on a four lane highway. All the while, we are taking a risk and hoping it works out. The compound I am staying in is in the town of Doi Saket, which is just outside of Chiang Mai. I watched the road pass by as we drove into Chiang Mai yesterday. It was constantly busy, day and night. With people doing their regular routine, living a life similar, yet incredibly different to the United States.
The food I have had so far is Cal Soy (curry with noodles (incredibly spicy)) and Pad Thai! I hope to try Pad Thai multiple places and find the best! I also have had mango juice, which is delicious!
We went to the night market last night. There were thousands of people there and hundreds of tents set up with things you could buy. I just observed and looked at crafts. I appreciated the more authentic craftsmanship and the artists that have a love for Thai tradition and culture. There were hundreds of languages being spoken and it was fascinating. I love bring surrounded by so many cultures. Just where I am living I am surrounded by several different sub-cultures, it is wonderful.
Today we are headed to a waterfall and to tour more of Chiang Mai so we are familiar with the area. Who knows what today will bring!