Arrival in Chiang Mai, after 12 hours on the train, was only 10 minutes behind schedule. 45 minutes later the minibuses had delivered us to the Traidhos school and we soon acquainted ourselves with our shared flats, complete with very welcome air-conditioning, and the canteen, where we ate a hearty breakfast.
The morning’s activities came thick and fast. In just half an hour we had watched a demonstration and then made a spicy papaya salad, topped with a decorative rose made with the skin of a tomato. This was immediately followed by Thai dancing, students dressed in traditional costume. Finally the students made and decorated their Thai lanterns which we will be releasing into the sky at the end of the Khantoke dinner, later in our stay.
Jungle cooking took the entire afternoon. Students learned how to survive in the jungle by collecting ingredients, making fire, then preparing and cooking our evening meal. The result was a magnificent spread which included sticky rice, grilled chicken and pork, grilled tofu, omelettes cooked in banana leaves, oyster mushrooms, sweet potato, minced pork with mint, cabbage, cucumber and green beans.
Half an hour later we were on the minibus into Chiang Mai for an evening at the night bazaar. This was the first bartering experience of the expedition. The students enthusiastically haggled their way to a number of bargains for themselves and for loved ones.
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