Friday, November 9, 2007

Day six, the Hug

The day started off like any other so far, standard breakfast and off to see more temples. The architecture is similar but the story changes with each one. Large murals depict the life and teachings of Buddha, as well as the kings and common folklore. Separation of church and state is almost unheard of, as most men are expected to learn most things from the monkhood. Which could be a double bladed sword while being a blessing on most levels.

After a morning of education we were on our own, free to find mischief. Finding only lunch at a place called Whole Earth instead, we were not disappointed.
The chicken coconut soup was powerfully strong with lemongrass, kefir and chilies. Peanut sauce coated a traditional green papaya salad, and chicken lay in a heaping pile of veggies with garlic and lemongrass.

Dinner was similar food and just as good, but by far the best experience we have had. The name of the restaurant was very mod, as if someone was stuck in their avocado kitchen thinking about the good times of the 70’s: The Hug. Functioning as a home and as place of business, as well as the occasional music stage, the place was busy but not with many people. A man presented himself as the owner, and waiter, then tried to filter through our English for something he understood. His daughter soon came into the picture, maybe five or six years of age, and was introduced in broken English. With our order in hand, off the man went to the kitchen. While the kid remained at the curbside table we had taken temporary residence at. She played basic games that required no English even though she spoke quite well. Music that had a familiar edge but somehow I had never heard before came from old speakers with testy wires. Some of the words were English, most in Thai, but it was beautiful. I had to own it. So the man who called himself Ae, ran to fetch an autographed copy. The food was wonderful and the atmosphere made us wiggle that we had found such a nice family to relate to half way around the world. I was sad for the dinner to end, and too full to order more to keep the moment going. We said our good byes with a promise to return before leaving Chaing Mai.

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