The answer to that question is of course yes, however the origin is probably a little different than you would imagine.

Today I booked a Thai cooking class at a farm about 30 k outside the city.  I boarded a transport bus that I had only before seen used to move workers to the job site. There I met a lovely couple named Phillip and Anna Claire from England and France respectively. They were on a six month journey around the world. Their stories were inspiring and I began to dream of what their life must be like.

We picked up a few more eager would be chefs and then it was off to the market.

This place was like no place I had ever been. Row after row of beautiful vegetables fresh from the fields and meats fresh from their recent last breathe. Literally. I watched a lady cut open live frogs which was extremely disturbing and made me painfully aware how far removed I am from the process in which I get my food.

After this enlightening visit, we loaded back on the bus and off to the farm. I found myself positioned with all the French speakers in the group which made me feel as if I were in a windstorm of beautiful phrases; however after about 20 minutes on the ride out to the farm I began to feel dizzy. Was it the barrage of beautiful foreign phrases all around me or the crickets, beetles and other street food I consumed at the night market last night? Tough to say, not knowing. Either way, I was thrilled to finally pull up to the beautiful farm for my lesson in Thai cuisine. My hope is to make my food of choice from home. We shall see.

Our instructor was named MB and she immediately brought smiles to the faces of all in the group.  Her clear instruction and occasional awkward joke made it an amazing day. Each time I would ask for more chilies or tell her I wanted Thai hot she would say “you want sexy lips.” I would say yes please, bring on the heat.  It was intense, but delicious.  She also provided tips on how to keep your man by feeding him garlic root and lemongrass. She would say “good for your maaaaannn”. This meant give it to him and it will repel woman.  Smart lady.  Ps. Lemongrass is apparently very good for mosquito bites as well.

I met a really warm and interesting girl named Erika from California. She was here with her boyfriend whose brother is married to a Thai woman and lives in the east on the border with Cambodia.  They have been staying with them and she has had a wonderful introduction into the Thai culture as a result.  This region has had a lot of conflict as recently as last week.  Apparently there is a temple that is on the border with Cambodia and has been and still is disputed territory.  Ramet told us about this as well.  Anyway, she was great. We exchanged emails and will hopefully meet again.

I also met a very cute group of young kiwi kids who I had been observing most of the class as an attempt to decode their nondescript accents.  Until the guy next to me asked for “an egg because it would make it taste much better” and the New Zealand heritage was clear.  At lunch his friend related the kiwi accent to a lazy language where all the vowels are tired.  Either way, sweet people and love their homeland so moving on…

On the way back to the hotel, Marie, a girl from Reunion Island near Madagascar recommended places in her region to visit.  She raved about Benin and Burkina Faso which are now on the list.

Also a girl named Tina from Cologne, who looked exactly like my friend Ellen, filled me in on the situation in Thailand with the flooding. She explained that “they were very fast of cleaning it because of d touristic”. As a monolingual American, I appreciated her ability to communicate well in English however I always love a good malapropism.

I said another goodbye to new friends and was dropped at the hotel where I quickly changed and headed to the night bazaar to continue my support the local economy and buy the remainder of my gifts for friends and family. Once this task was complete, I got a $1 fresh coconut for dinner and a $5 one hour foot and leg massage. Then directly to the hotel and sleep.  This day was a one for the books.  Mark it down a success. Full belly, relaxed body and sexy lips.

Thanks for the hospitality Chaing Mai.