It all started with a bamboo cooking class…

The awesome thing about our guesthouse (Chat House) is that you constantly meet people and live incredible experiences. It is apparently the longest running guesthouse in Chiang Rai, and their tours and treks are amazing, simply because the guides are actually from the villages around, and they know what they are talking about. The food at the restaurant is at a good price, and good quality (served fast). I would really recommend people to come  to this guesthouse if they want to have a fun time, meet great people and live beautiful experiences.

Anyway! As the title indicates, it all started with a bamboo cooking class… Why? Because after after our sightseeing tour on Friday, we were offered to go cook in bamboos in the jungle close to Kai’s village (sounds pretty exciting, right?). And obviously we said yes! the idea was to go for free (and obviously give them something at the end if we liked it and all). they have this land in the middle of nowhere, with rice fields around, where they are building small cabins for people to stay over, and where they can do traditional bamboo classes. Taking people from chat house for free is a way for them to practice and to get good pictures in order to advertise their cooking class later on. Win win situation really!
Three more people joined us, and off we went on Sunday 26th of October, in the morning. And that’s us at the back of the truck, ready to ride to the place!
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Our first stop was at the local farmers’ market to buy all the fresh products. We bought everything, from the spices to the vegetables, from pork to fish, not forgetting chicken! We bough all that was needed for our cooking session. We saw so many different things in the market. The live fish, the rice… The toads!! I was so surprised, and then they turned to me and said: Well you French people eat frogs, right? Same thing!

It’s a fair point, right…
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We then hit the road and stopped only twice to get water, beer and eggs at more local places on the road. First, we were on some sort of main dual carriage road (not really a big road all in all but still). the view, as you can see, is still stunning. Big change from what we see on our freeways in Europe right…

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We turned right off the main road after a while and quickly hit a dirt road that let to a village. this is where the guys who prepared the tour live. we stopped at their houses and ate some passion fruit.
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Then we went back on the road (again) to reach the spot where we would be cooking. The drive was just beautiful, and I can affirm you that the pictures don’t do it any justice… But I guess it gives you an idea of what we saw: the jungle, the lake, the dirt road, the fantastic sky!
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And this is where we arrived! Absolutely gorgeous scenery, in the middle of nowhere, just absolutely stunning… Barely anything made of concrete. Paradise, in the middle of nowhere!
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Sesame plant:
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Whilst the boys went into the jungle to cut bamboo (and walk into a lot of mud!)…
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…The women went to get banana leaves from along the rice fields!
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We were shown how to use the banana leaves as table cloth. We washed the vegetables and starting cutting them. The boys kept laughing and saying that we had to do that because we are the women… We also told that apparently the women have to push the car if it breaks because… they are stronger than men!! Haha, cheeky buggers!

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After that, we were shown how to make the bamboo ustensils and ‘dishes’ in order to cook.
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Here is what our beautiful table looked like at the end! We felt like proud housewives in the jungle…
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Caz went to wash cutting boards in the river whilst I was taking loads of pictures, and then Caz was shown how to make fish packages for the fish to be steamed on the fire. I took a couple of pictures and went back to see the boys who were making chopsticks and bowls that we would use for eating.
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I think Dennis had the best fun learning and doing… We felt like we were truly learning something genuine, and going on a packaged tourist tour. It was really a fantastic experience. It felt so different from what we have done on our travels so far. Caz, Dave, Dennis and I kept saying how it felt like time just stopped and we were floting there, out of time, just enjoying being here and experiencing everything these people had to teach us.
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Finally it was time for cooking everything on the fire before we could all eat together like a huge international family!
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The final preparations happened… We were all pretty excited (and hungry) for food!
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When food was ready, it got pretty intense… We were holding our breath!
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And look at this fantastic view we had while eating…
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All the dishes were finally filled and we got ready to dig in.
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This an omelette, Thai bamboo cooking style!
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The table finally ready, my Swiss knife, and us happy to finally get to taste this wonderful food!
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The sun started slowly setting on the mountains and the rice fields. After food, we spent a while trying out making chopsticks and spoons out of bamboo. It was a pleasure to listen to the advice and watch the techniques. 
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We drank a lot of rice whisky shots and just stayed there, joking and laughing, trying to communicate with the local farmers. Ed and Kai and everyone explained to us the project they have for the place. they told there are many trekking trails where there is no tours and no tourists. so much potential and such a beautiful place! I wish I could have stayed forever. It was a wonderful day and a wonderful experience. Like time stopped and we were just left to realise how beautiful the present moment is and all there is to explore and give and receive and learn from other cultures and other people.

We all got home, a bit sad to leave the place. the ride back was gorgeous as we could see so many stars and the milky way. We drank a bit more and chatted about many things and just enjoyed being all together. Then we went to sleep, sad to see this day come to an end, but also realising how lucky we were to have lived what we had just lived.

Thank you guys, we won’t ever forget you! That day changed our lives.

-Julie

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