Down Town

We are back by ourselves in the hotel after the German invasion. Yesterday I was out flanked by them by over sleeping and by the time I was up every pool lounger not only had a towel on but a fraulein as well. Of course 11 loungers and a group of 24 germans doesn’t compute either so the guys were on the grass.

Lunchtime we make our play I said to Geraldine but not a soul moved. I was positioned behind some trees thinking any time they will head off but instead they all ordered Thai massage and that kept them and the bed chairs occupied all day. One thing is for sure this hotel and groups don’t work, there isn’t the space if most are sun worshippers.

Today the weather turned positively chilly and so it was time to take a look in town but first let me just finish on the school I went to yesterday. One thing I hadn’t really thought of but should have done given that in Puglia there are loads of dialects that bear no relationship at all to Italian. It is true here too with the different peoples who make up the local population. Therefore not only do they have an English room

English Class Room

but they also have to teach most of the kids Thai as well in the Thai room

Thai Class Room

Now I’m sure something that has been on your mind for sometime whilst reading all this is what is the crop rotation used up here in Northern Thailand. Well I wasn’t out with an ex geography teacher for nothing team. We drove back alongside acres of paddy field and so I can now tell you. It is rice, then garlic, then herbs, then corn and back to rice. So there’s something to enliven conversation in your pub or bar this week.

The local town is called Thaton and it is on the River Kok one kilometre from the hotel. Visits are not encouraged by the hotel which is strange. They charge an eye watering 400 baht ( £8)  each way by taxi and so you walk. Route 1089 is not however some pleasant country road . It has bloody great trucks thundering up and down it as well as a varied assortment of flat bed trucks. It seems everyone in the area must own at least one and spend all day thrashing up and down to Thaton. So the walk is not for the faint hearted and colourful clothing is essential. I am amazed at how few Thais up here wear glasses whereas in Bangkok loads do. The taxi drivers we had in Chiang Mai always had trouble reading the addresses in Thai and both receptionists at the Grand Napat couldn’t read the print ( in Thai) on my iPhone, too small they kept saying. So those squinting drivers hurtling towards you in an old pick up truck aren’t worrying about the sun they are trying to figure out what the blob is in front of them and the blob is me !

Like so many Thai small towns the entrance is gloriously understated

Entrance to Thaton

The local council are especially pleased with their bus terminus which boasts a fine restaurant

bus station

However the town has no less than five yes five coffee shops of which the Sunshine cafe is the largest and the place we gave our custom too. They serve ” Italian Coffee ” but the milk is canned so we plumped for expresso .

Espresso in thaton Chiang Rai

No disrespect to the lovely if toothless lady owner but it was truly the most awful coffee I have ever had and once her back was turned it went out over the balcony. Maybe when they get an expresso machine things might look up.

I did however meet a lovely Dutch lady who lives in Thaton and has done for 8 years. There are eight expats in the little town and they must lead a very quiet life though she seemed totally happy here and loved her large rented house with it’s completely open plan and cool winds. Today I would have thought she was very cold.

The place boasts the ubiquitous 7/11 store as does every town and village almost in Thailand. They are useful especially for tourists as the everything is priced.

I bought water from the local guy

The local store

After a bit of head scratching he came up with 20 baht a bottle. Same stuff in 7/11 14 baht, so much for supporting the local guy !! Mind you his bananas as 10 baht (20p) a kilo were good.

Behind the town on a hill are 6 temples that are placed going up the steep road to the top of the hill 300 metres up. So dear reader knowing you would want a picture from the top with no concern for my own safety and well being up I went and here it is

Thaton From the Hill

I didn’t bother taking photos of all the temples as to be fair I am now templed out and am rather wanting to get back on a beach but that must wait for another 6 days unfortunately.

Oh and It wasn’t a Spitfire beer ad it was a Carling Black Label beer ad with the towel

Education. Education, Education

So said a young Tony Blair when asked his priorities for his first government. Like so many politician’s promises or in Blair parlance ” sound bites” I’m not sure what happened to that one but up here near Chiang Rai on the Mae Kok River it has a certain resonance.

There are some 10 different peoples populating this area and most are a few notches up from what my geography master used to describe as subsistence farming e.g. these guys have stuff left over to sell. The way clearly to get them moving upwards is to ensure that the children get a sound education and can then makes life choices ( good buzz word don’t you think !) as to whether they want to stay or head off to the city because with it they will  be able to make the decision.

There are plenty of schools up here built by the Thai Rangers elite border control section of the army. They built them during the period when tension was high along the Thai/ Burma border and it was a way they hoped to stop the local peoples offering assistance to the Burmese forces that infiltrated across the porous border to attack the Rangers.

Tensions are now very low and the schools have fallen into disrepair. Step in Bryan Massingham the amiable owner of the Maekok River Resort and the Outdoor Adventure school for International School students from around the world who also was a geography teacher before building the resort.

Each week he has about 40 International school students here and because community service is now high on the education curriculum in many countries it seemed a natural to offer such an experience to his visiting students where they could add value ( I’m full of buzzy stuff today ) . It has worked a dream as they say.

When I was at school eons ago community service was done as a punishment for bad behaviour and we all considered it far worse than a beating with the cane. The idea of hours weeding some ancient pensioner’s garden was enough to almost dissuade you from say smoking. Indeed one new enlightened house master decided to do away with the cane and use the community service punishment alone. He was surprised to receive a petition signed by all the cadets in his house begging him to re-instate the cane immediately.

Now it is the normal part of being at school it seems and here the students do it in the local schools and Bryan took me to one today to see them in action.

The foreign students and this lot were from Hong Kong are split into two groups each day. In the morning one lot do painting or repairing of buildings

Int Students Painting school

 

Three days ago these were rusty unused school playground equipment. The students have sanded them down, oiled them, repaired them and now have painted them .by tomorrow they will be back in use and loaded with happy 5/6 year olds.

the other half teach English in the class room

Int School Teaching

 

Some like these guys are very good and the local kids pay real attention. I didn’t like to photograph the other room where the students had lost complete control of the children who were running amok. Byran with his head master’s hat on took control immediately and I found myself calling him “sir” for a short period as did the kids.

The real benefit though comes when the students go home having seen first hand the type of conditions the kids are taught in and start to raise funds to be sent back to the schools they have worked in.

Bryan has established close links with 38 schools in the area and since 2004 over 120 school improvement projects have been funded by the international school students to the value of over 15 million Baht ( £3 million ).

At this school he found that many of the very young students 5-7 years old were walking 5 kms each way to attend school each day. The funds have built two dormitories and now the youngsters weekly board and merely walk down on a Monday and go home on a Friday. The funds also started a small farm nearby to provide food for the boarders. Classrooms have been built , sports facilities  laid out and more teachers bought in.

They also provide funds to allow bright students to stay on at school when  the parents would normally take them away from school at 11 years old to help on the farm. Now they can stay on till 15 years old.

To increase fund raising Bryan loaned money to 6 local women to set up a small   pashmina business working on local looms.

Making Scafes Local Village

 

 

Now International school students buy the stock and take it home to sell there and we parents all know how good kids are at doing this. A school from Tokyo bought up 15,500 baht worth a few weeks ago and this week sent Bryan 57,000 baht having deducted the original outlay !

Since seeing Sri Lank a few years after the tsunami had hit and the almost total lack of new building despite the millions sent to the country I have grown sceptical of charities. Especially as I met in the Hilton in Columbo 50 or so so called NGO leaders living there on the executive floors making the odd visit to the the Galle area where the devastation was.

To see this little operation in practise was great . Blair was right of course but to him it was just a clever thing to say. Bryan and his small team are doing something very practical to improve the lot of the local people by providing education, education, education.

Die Deutschen Kommen !

The Germans are coming ! We have been enjoying a couple of days the way we did in Baan Krut a few weeks ago as the only guests in a rather large hotel. But our joy at having the place to ourselves is to be short lived .

A group of German tourists are to arrive tonight on their bus to spend a few days here before moving on.

Today  I spent most of the day by the pool or rather my own pool with my own choice of 11 pool loungers to choose from and a choice of green and blue towels. The pool is quite small

the pool 1

Ideal for young Hammond the hamster but not too good for 24 Germans and two Brits to co-exist around. You can do the math with just 11 pool loungers and 26 guests for yourself but basically it means world war two all over again. By Saturday towel parties will be slipping through the undergrowth near the pool  at 5.30 a.m. to lay them on said pool loungers and clutching wire cutters at the ready lest the other side has used chains to link the  loungers together ( I kid you not I saw it often  in Penang 3 years ago ) .

I don’t know if you remember that great Spitfire beer ad with the dam busters music and the brit bouncing his towel across the pool itself like a bouncing bomb to land on a lounger just before the German could lay his own towel on it. it is a technique I must practise this evening.

Last night we drank in our very own bar with two staff to answer our every beck and call had we wanted them to. We didn’t of course but that’s not the point we could have done. It was actually quite dark in the bar but it reminded me of a bar in many of the safari lodges in the Kruger Park down in South Africa. here it is in daylight ( I know but my camera is 8 years old folks and not seeing as well as it was in it’s youth).

athe bar

behind me in the photo is a large fireplace for the colder nights though I’m not sure what they mean by that. The Thai waitresses were all wearing thick anoraks last night and the temperature was about 20 C .

We collected the domino set and moved outside to play much to the horror of the Thai girl who thought we might freeze to death before the game was finished.

bar verandha

the view which at night is flood lit is this below but of course the game was too intense to enjoy it. I wonder if the Germans play Domino we could play them for a pool lounger or two perhaps.

bar view

The chefs here come from the Shan peoples who originally came from Burma and indeed until Britain and France carved  new borders on behalf of the Thais who i presume didn’t have a pencil, this bit of Thailand we are in was part of Burma. So we had Shan style curry of pork and chicken. There is no coconut milk in them and they are more sour and with much more turmeric than you find in Thai curries.

Now it seems quite by accident ho ho  the Top Gear boys brought with the from Burma some wine. Well to be honest quite a lot of wine indeed the E.U. wine lake crowd would have been proud of them. And despite a good effort by all the crew with them keenly involved too there was still some left over when they departed. We drank one of their bottles last night with our curry.

It is called Red Mountain and is grown by a German in the mountains in Burma using normal wine techniques. The altitude makes the weather similar to France but without the frost and he matures it in oak barrels imported from La Belle France.

What does it taste like well I’m sworn to secrecy. No I’m not really that just on what the Top Gear boys were doing here. It actually tastes not half bad. How is that for a wine critique ! It certainly slipped down a treat and though i’m not a great believer in wine with curry believing lager beer a better choice i have never been known to look a gift horse in the mouth as it were.

Well better get an early night I’ve got some towels to lay early tomorrow morning by cover of darkness. I stole them from my pool this afternoon ready for the raid so I have the advantage I think as the others  had been moved away by the time the enemy arrived on their bus. Achtung Englander.

Jungle Book

At 10.30 a.m. the car from the Maekok River Resort Village arrived to whisk us north west for the jungle part of the travels. The drive with a pee break took 3 hours on mainly dual carriage way roads. For about 30 kms of the 200km journey it was two lane as we wound up a mountain and back down the other side. Every 40 kms or so we passed through small towns built along the side of Route 107 that provided the local people with eating stalls, paint shops, agricultural machinery shops, clothes shops selling western fashion, coffee stalls and a farmers type market. The fields were full of picked sweet corn plants waiting to be cut and used as animal feed and kilometre after kilometre of rice paddies stretching as far as the eye could see into the distance. It is the rice harvest now and trucks ladened with rice were moving back down the road to Chiang Mai and huge container loads to Bangkok. The driver a local from Mai Ai our nearest large town to the resort said that most of the harvest is now fully mechanised  as too many of the workers had over the last few years  left the farms and hill tribes to join the thousands flocking to the cities like the ever growing Chiang Mai. There was plenty of road construction going on widening further the road but no elephants working just huge JCB bulldozers etc. Wonder what they are training the elephants for at the 5 training camps/ tourist attractions in Chiang Mai ?

We arrived at 1.30 and had the first surprise when the owner turned out to be a Brit, Bryan Massingham ex geography teacher and Hong Kong resident who runs the hotel and an adventure  school for visiting International schools and British and Australian schools on the same site.

It seems it is our time for film related stuff as we had just missed Messrs Clarkson, May and Hammond who had been staying here finishing a 2 hour special for Top Gear. We are in Richard’s suite and next door to Jeremy’s suite ! Ours is specially made for small people  – no just kidding. The view from our balcony

balcony View

 

Yes , yes here is the view from the Clarkson suite next door

Clarkson View

 

and no I don’t know where May slept but it must have been nearby. There were 27 on the production team who were here for a month and the boys rode in for just a week.

What were they doing here? Well guess what ? I can’t tell you. Bryan whispered it to me but we as he are now bound to secrecy . However the river is the Kok River so knowing their propensity for innuendo you can probably guess what it might involve. The Thai word for pumpkin is also  almost the f word so maybe another hint.

We are not in the jungle as much as I thought. The village of Thaton is but 1 km away but the jungle though not dense here is around us

Jungle\

The gardens of the hotel are stunning and I’ll post a few pictures over the next few days. The grounds are dotted with quiet sitting areas to relax read and watch the river run by punctuated on occasions with cheerful shouts from the various school parties visiting Bryan’s other business venture as they complete Duke of Edinburgh awards on the river. Tonight they are kayaking down the river to camp in the jungle for the night.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the great restaurant find from last night in Chiang Mai. If you come you must go to The Spirit House just up the road from the Opium Apartment Hotel.  at #4 Soi Viang Bua. It is owned by an American guy who dealt in antiques in Thailand for 20 years and 8 years ago opened it using many of the antiques he had in his shop . The garden has light tentacle like roots growing down from a covered roof and loads of water features. So much so that the traffic noise from the busy road is totally drowned out, The interior part is where the antiquities are as well as a bar area. The menu is a mix of American and Thai dishes cooked by his Thai chef. I had been tipped off about it by an octogenarian Irishman called Tim in a bar the night before. He was reading an L.P. Hartley book that had been made into a successful film years ago and I had read the book and seen the film for a change so had a chat to him about it. He said go and try the meatloaf or eat Thai which is also superb. I took him at his word and had a superb meatloaf with tons of salad and chunky french fries triple fried so they were crisp but the couple opposite eating northern Thai said their’s was fantastic too.

Tim had lived for 50 years in Key West florida and had been through many hurricanes as Key West seems to get whacked by hurricanes heading up the east coast of Florida and by the ones heading into the gulf of Mexico bound for New Orleans or Cancun. After Andrew he decided enough was enough and moved to Thailand and Chiang Mai to live. Would he go back ? No chance he loves the people and the medical services in Chiang Mai which he reckons are better than the USA.

We are dinner bound now with a few drinkies before hand to improve the appetite. rather glad i’m not with the school party camping on the bank of the Kok. i was reading up about King Cobra snakes this morning and they don’t sound friendly at all.

 

Farewell Chiang Mai

The internet here has gone into overload. The hotel is full and it seems everyone is busy downloading stuff so no photos no music just some prose today.

Tomorrow we leave Chiang Mai after 8 days here and drive North West up to the Burma border.

From my point of view I am glad that we didn’t, as we planned, spend a month here . We have done the temples of real interest and have walked the old city. We have eaten in many of the more mentioned tourist restaurants and eaten and drank in the Thai local places as well.

Last Friday we ventured up past Tesco to try what turned out to be only Thai bars and restaurants. The first we hit was a barn of a place with tables everywhere. we sat at a table for four and ordered 2 large beers by sign language. However a guy with an earpiece in his ear like a secret service man bought them to the table. Are you waiting for friends he asked in perfect English . No I replied . Well would you mind moving over there to that table for two. I looked around this huge bar at all the empty tables and chairs and almost laughed. Why was he being so difficult did he not want us there. We moved and drank our beers. As we did motorbike after motorbike turned up and the riders came in. By 8 p.m. the place was jumping and there was not a seat to be had in the place . There must have been 150 people in the bar drinking.

We moved on to another bar and our seats were pounced upon by a mob. The next place was smaller and quieter and proved to sell the cheapest beer we have had outside of a supermarket price off the shelf 60 Baht a large one. Not only that the beers were carefully placed on a small table alongside us and after a few sips one of the staff would race over to top it up. Now my local bar in Puglia could learn a thing or two from this place !

Eating on the strip proved problematical as no menu was in English and no one spoke it. We managed by pointing to get things but had no idea what we had ordered and what in fact it really was.

For me Chiang Mai is really a 3/4 day visit to see the key bits and away. But I am very much a beach person and without sand between my toes I am not really a happy bunny. Culture is okay in small doses but I shy away from the other tourist stuff much on offer up here.

Tiger shows with the poor farm bred beasts jumping through hoops do nothing for me at all. There are about 250 tigers left in the wild in Thailand and civilisation is slowly killing them off as their habitat is encroached on. But I would prefer to see them in the wild or not at all.

I’m afraid I also cringe at visits to hill tribes and the like and there are plenty of those on offer up here. I’m sorry but to me it is like Disneyland and I always feel that once the bus pulls away everyone in the village breathes a sigh of relief and puts on old Levi jeans and UK football jerseys and goes about their normal business until the next bus is sighted. You can almost hear some of them saying if I have to drink another cup of that awful goats milk I’ll throw up.

One time in the Masa Mara we had visited a village on a tour and then a few days later following a leopard looking for it’s young we found ourselves going very close to it again. sure enough the villagers we could see were all in jeans.

Elephant training camps also do nothing for me. If you come across a logging area with elephant working or on a road construction site where they use them it is fascinating to stop and watch these huge guys lifting stuff but to sit in a river while they spray you with water because the mahout prods them, well again just not me.

So three quarters of the tourist attractions in Chiang Mai aren’t for me and I miss the beach as well.

Hopefully a few jungle walks and a safari into the wild will be good though the hill tribes will have to do without my company up there as they did down here.

One word of advice for anyone planning a trip here and that is to stay nearer the old city, unless you can drive a scooter or motorbike. Being out here especially at this Opium Hotel is murder to get around if you want a tuk tuk as they have to come from town so you pay a penalty and of course if they drop you say at Tesco there is no way to find one to get you back. From that point of view The Grand Napat is a better bet as it closer to things.

Bangkok as you ail be reading over the last few days is a scene of much protest. The government voted in on some populist measures such as no tax for a first car purchase and the huge rice subsidy that is costing billions of dollars a year is no longer popular and so it  seemingly must go. In 2008 during similar protests they seized the airport for a time so lets hope they aren’t allowed to repeat those tactics.

Doi Suthep Temple

Went back to being a culture bunny again today to visit the Doi Suthep temple or to give it it’s full name Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep Rajvoravihare which is a bit of a mouthful for someone who is used to saying St Pauls or St. Johns when giving directions. Actually in the UK it is normally pubs isn’t it. A problem I have found throughout the rest of the world is that they seem to find it almost impossible to give good directions and I’m sure it is a lack of pubs ” turn left at The Fox and Hounds etc” and clearly church names like the one above. By the time you got that one out the enquirer would have driven off in the hope of finding someone more sensible and who could blame them.

This temple though is impressive. It sits on the top of a hill 3,500 feet above Chiang Mai and the road up is a torturous drive of hair pin bends up to the top. A few brave souls cycle up and the monks of course walk up but the rest of us humble mortals take taxis of varying types to the top. The view back down is spectacular

Chiang Mai from Doi Suthep

 

Well okay maybe not spectacular but it is quite a vista and shows you the growth of what was a few years ago a sleepy northern town. They project that in 5 years time with the development going on Chiang Mai will be as big as Bangkok is today so I’m quite pleased to have seen it this year.

What I try to do in tourist locations is find a group with an English speaking guide and kind of tag along staying within earshot but a little separate from the group who still give you the ” we’re paying for this ” types of looks while I pretend to gaze intently at some relic or another. It worked quite well today again though the guide only seemed to regurgitate a load of history I had read about anyway. so maybe there’s not a lot to say about it.

The first thing to know is that there are 306 steps to get up to the temple so if you’re coming get on the step machine in the gym straight away.

Main Staircase Doi Suthep temple

 

This is the main flight of stairs but there are about 60 that are below it where hawkers have stalls on the steps as well so you battle them and the steps for a time. The view from the top down is probably better to give you an idea of the climb

Top of stairs Doi suthep

 

Now you’re looking at that and thinking wow he walked all the way up aren’t you. Dream on my trusty Luxe guide told me there was a funicular railway on the other side of the hill  that for 50 baht whisks you to the top . I was on that but unfortunately it was totally enclosed and you could see nothing as you and about 40 others ascended. So no super pictures ( thank god I hear you mutter).

Once up there there is a kind of outer area where you can get coffee etc and where there are a few minor temples and the bells of course which you can ring.

Ring Bells Doi Suthep

On one side are two entrances up some steep stairs to get into the main event. why do they like all this climbing I wonder. Oh it’s on a hill I guess.

Now I’m sure you have seen Buddhist monks with their saffron robes and robes is a fairly loose term to describe them as they are really a sarong leaving a bare shoulder and plenty of bare leg so imagine my surprise to see this sign

Shorts notice

 

We looked at our shorts and at the guy at the top of the steps looking at the tourists filing in and thought all this way …. but then 10 Americans hove into view all in their shorts and with cameras  a plenty. We tagged on and sauntered past. Safety in numbers always seem to work doesn’t it. Thank god for American tourists sometimes.

So the iconic picture that is in every guide book is of the Stupa Pagoda ( my thanks to the other groups guide for the name) and this is mine

Doi Suthep Iconic Picture

 

Two temples flank the pagoda but the faithful walk around it saying prayers

Reciting Prayers Doi Suthep

 

dotted around the edge of the top complex are lots of buddhas like this jade one

Jade Budda Doi Suthep Temple

 

I did walk back down the stairs as did many of my fellow funicular riders and found our driver Kob waiting at the bottom as planned. After our spiritual experience it seemed a little odd to be fair as we drove back down to be listening to the Eagles Hotel California on his stereo but probably a fitting tribute to the Americans who helped us storm the temple so successfully .

 

 

Bombed Egg with Fried Cork

One of the delights of travelling abroad is to view the english version menus on display outside the restaurants to entice the English speaking foreigner into through their portals. The heading is one clearly tasty dish that would have us all beating a path to their door.

I can get the pork instead of cork but bombed egg I guess is scrambled ? Even down in Puglia where we live in Italy they are guilty of this type of stuff Ears from pasta with turnip I saw in Ostuni for orrichiete con rape ( ear shaped pasta with the green tops of the italian type of turnip plant ). British friends there have offered to do the translation but too often the owner who is proud of how much his son or daughter has learnt at school insists on using them rather than a native speaker. Personally I have never seen the same thing in an Italian or Thai restaurant in the UK so maybe by moving they lose that need to use a family member with a school  dictionary.

We went to the city again last night and returned to the Riverside Market. They cook everything fresh and insist they never use MSG . It has been amazing in restaurants in Chiang Mai how seemingly quickly food arrives after ordering. There seems time merely for the waitress to get to the kitchen before she is back with the entire order with nary a sign of a wok used in anger. Whether by design or not at The Riverside Market you wait a goodly time and the food arrives piping hot and tasting as if it has  dropped out of the wok unto the plate a minute ago. Plus no sleepless nights with MSG.

Iron Bridge Chiang Mai

The view is great from the restaurant veranda . This is the iron bridge across the river where the lights change colour every couple of minutes and all through the evening two guys on the bridge sell hot air lanterns which they launch and we punters get to watch them float up into the night sky. The lanterns drop fireworks and leave a fiery glow in the air. Now my old iPhone can’t do it justice but here goes. Trust me it’s a lantern with a tail of firework.

Lanterns in Sky Chiang Mai

At one time there can 15 or 20 in the sky floating gently away on the light breeze.

Hey we moved hotels yesterday as well to the Opium Serviced Apartments. These really are great and very modern ( only built last year)  This is our living area

Opium Living Area

Then we have a separate bedroom

Opium Sep Bedroom

a kitchen area with dining seats for two

Opium Kitchen

and what is really great a balcony to sit out on the a couple of chairs and a table. Essential for that final nightcap of the night.

Opium balcony

I have to say the staff are really great and really helpful. We are already fixed up with transport to the jungle camp some 3 hrs away and a girl and 2 of the other guests sorted out this Macbook Air which seems to have troubles after connecting to the Grand Napat internet link.

We are paying £44 a night with breakfast so it seems a really good deal. The problem for long stayers ( monthly rate £27 a night) is that the pool is small and never gets the sun so a) it is still really cold and b) for sun worshippers like me I would have to move my bed lounger into the car park and sit out there where it shines all day. For many especially those Brits that wrapped their kids in burka type swimwear I know it is no problem but I am like the Italians if the sun is out you sit in it.

As an old Asia hand we don’t use the hotel for our dobbying  ( laundry ) as they often farm it out and use a local anyway. So I went in search of place this morning . Imagine my delight that there is one at the end of the road called Snow White ( ahh) . It is 10 baht a kilo (10 p) they charge and iron the lot. My load isn’t in this picture but you can see the drying process they also

Snow White laundry

The street is full of bars and stalls to buy stir fry so tonight we aren’t straying far from home.