We’re Not in Portland Anymore: Postcards from Hiatus, Hiatus

As it says.

Indeed, I’ve already begun writing about our time not even a week ago, in and outside of Chiang Rai, but the connection’s been shaky so a good portion disappeared into nowhere-land with no trace of a revision. Alas, I have wanderings to take part in while I wait for those thoughts return.

I wanted to share this selection of un-edited photos because I’m taking some time myself to unwind in a rare, semi-AC cooled coffeeshop with an iced Americano after an exciting morning of renting and riding a bicycle (50 baht for 24 hours) and an intriguing breakfast at the Chiang Mai Vegetarian Society. To my shock and awe (and jaded horror of the age we live in), the Google Map app on my Iphone seems to know my location even when I’m not on WiFi, so I’m taking deep breaths and using that to my advantage. While J. Legume is contributing her heart and hands at Elephant Nature Park all week, I’m spending the time based in Chiang Mai’s Old City, renting a small room above a cozy juice bar, checking off some dental work (this uninsured American is saving a bit of cash with her dental tourism), visiting markets, drinking Leo and easily trying new vegetarian restaurants every single day. I longed to spend a week in one place on my last trip to SE Asia, and it’s wonderful to experience that actually happening.

This morning’s visit to the Chiang Mai Vegetarian Society on Mahidol Road

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The Nine Emperor Gods Festival (aka Kin Jay, the Vegetarian Festival) officially begins on Saturday the 5th of October, and signs are already popping up at restaurants, carts and markets around the city, meaning there’s even more vegetarian food around every corner. Duty calls. Technically speaking, the festival consists of ‘je’ food, which roughly translates to vegan, as a large percentage of Chinese Thais, visitors and other locals abstain from dairy, meat, poultry and seafood (and traditionally, this also includes ‘pungent’ herbs and vegetables, such as garlic and onion). Of course, one does still need to remain a bit cautious of fish and oyster sauce finding their customary way into dishes at restaurants that aren’t veg-specific, since just like in the States, it doesn’t always translate as “vegetarian” at Thai restaurants. Mai ow nam bplaa!

Yellow & Red signs are popping up!

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Remembering that we’re not in Portland anymore: Postcards from Hiatus, Hiatus

The following selection of photos, these postcards from the first week of our travels, is presented without any photo editing or enhancement, because with the welcome, infrequent internet access, we simply haven’t the time.

Truckload of durian, Moon Muang Road

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As anyone who’s visited Asia knows and as anyone who’s tasted durian can surmise, the often-offensive fruit is actually banned from many hotels, public transit and other establishments within Thailand.

About to climb 309 stairs to visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, located 15 km above the city

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The sacred temple itself

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Tired pup in Chiang Mai’s Old City

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Rambutans, Chiang Rai fruit market

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These are in my current top three of SE Asian fruit, along with young coconuts, and the ultimate: fresh mangosteens.

Not Portland… (but certainly quite West Coast)

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Snow Ice gets extravagant in the Nimmanhaemin neighborhood — some of these are with cake!

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This ‘trendy’ neighborhood was quite a nice change (with additional vegetarian restaurants, of course, which is how I found my way there after visiting the temple in the mountains) from my walks (and now rides) around the Old City. We have another night or two to spend in Chiang Mai after heading to Pai and returning to Bangkok, and I’ve got some ideas in mind.

Pedicures on Soi Rambuttri on our second day

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Heavy afternoon downpour off of Khao San Road

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Have i mentioned that we’re traveling at the end of monsoon season? I actually arrived to Bangkok on my last trip right after the incredibly massive floodings of 2011, and witnessed sandbags all across the city, attempting to keep BTS station entrances dry. Once downfall starts, everyone working goes into action, covering outdoor displays, pulling some in, sweeping rain to the side, and drying off tables and chairs the moment it stops again. It’s quite something to see.

Raindrops & caipirinhas

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The heavy downpour didn’t stop J. Legume and I from enjoying both of our Khao San Road rooftop pools (again, the all-around winner being Dang Derm) if we ever felt the need to stay in that area again.

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One of many magical fruit plates shared with J. Legume for breakfast at Bamboo Nest, outside of Chiang Rai

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Somphet Market, Chiang Mai

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Fresh and custard tofu at the Somphet Market: turmeric-dyed and firm in the front (heads up, the packaged ones often contain egg)

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Take-away snacks

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Screencaps & digital photographs: squinting my way around Chiang Mai

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My favorite veg Khao Soi of the hiatus so far: Khun Churn’s (as usual, subbing rice noodles for egg noodles at their make-your-own soup station). Easily my favorite part of their large vegetarian lunch buffet.

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As you can see, the abundance of vegetarian food, focus on ‘natural’ health and both trendy and organic coffee shops dotting every street do remind me of Portland (not being phased in the least while jumping onto a neon-lit bike bar last night), and that I’m not in Portland anymore. It’s refreshing.

Organic soy latte, Blue Diamond in Chiang Mai

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Eventually, there will be another installment of our adventures in travel blogging…

Do feel free to follow along on Instagram via @jdfunks and @donna__noble for ongoing updates of our so-called ‘hiatus hiatus’ as we reunite, experience the Vegetarian Festival and make our way further north and then down to Cambodia.

If you’d like to see the start of our travels, here you go: Hiatus, Hiatus Part I: Bangkok, May Kaidee & The Search for Mr. Yim

By the way, in case you’re wondering, the title is absolutely a reference to Richard Alpert and Juliet Burke.

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9 thoughts on “We’re Not in Portland Anymore: Postcards from Hiatus, Hiatus

  1. I lived in Chaing Mai for 6 months while on study abroad and had a meal at either Salad Concept (for the wifi) or Khun Chorn pretty much every day. To my memory there’s a little cafe on the same street as Salad Concept that makes beautiful soy lattes (their baristas compete in international latte art competitions).

    Make sure to try the little back-alley restaurants, I wound up having one of my favorite meals ever at a nameless little spot around the corner from Monkey Club!

  2. Pingback: Hiatus Hiatus, Part II: Chiang Rai, Oasis Vegetarian, Connect Cafe & into the mountains | Get Sconed!

  3. Pingback: Jet Lag & Autumn Leaves | Get Sconed!

  4. Pingback: The Hiatus, Hiatus in Cocktails & Coconuts | Get Sconed!

  5. Pingback: Asia Scenic Goes Vegan: My Day at One of Chiang Mai’s Thai Cooking Schools | Get Sconed!

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