Chiang Mai Living, 3 Year Anniversary

Would you believe that it has been 3 years since packing up our life in Australia and moving to live in Chiang Mai Thailand – it was the 17 March 2014 that we arrived.  Can you think about picking up your life and taking it to a new country to establish yourself over again in a strange culture and tropical climate?

It’s been such an amazing journey and sea-change. As one of my old friends once explained – “retirement is the best job I ever had” and Chiang Mai has been a wonderful place to enjoy it!

Having been a wanderer during much of my life it seemed like an adventure opportunity to move to Thailand. Now that I was finally retreating from years of working we had time to just enjoy OUR life. Where has the three years gone – amazing how life is now routine in Thailand and how at home I feel.  This Blog edition explores what we have been up to over the past couple of weeks and shares some of our day-to-day Thai life activities.

Day to Day these Days

With my new Honorary Consul role each day usually involves either myself or Ace responding to some phone calls and emails to answer questions about visa’s to Australia, notarial work and passport issues. About 40% of our work involves Thai nationals so Ace deals with them while I handle the english speaking clients. The daily chores of house and this work seems to keep us occupied, generally during he mornings.

In the afternoons we often head out to do things & admin functions, visit places, eat lunch or stay home to watch movies or just simply relax.  We have been eating at home a lot these past few weeks either cooking or enjoying take away food from the local markets – there is food available everywhere here and its so inexpensive.

We have managed to get out and about town on a few occasions over the past few weeks.  With all the activity over the past couple of months we have not had the urge to venture out too much or too far.

Hands to Paws Fundraiser

We attended this event held recently at David’s Kitchen in Chiang Mai (thanks David for your support) to help out a Temple Dog Foundation. They do work with street (Soi) dogs as can been seen at their Facebook page. They are also on a website that explains that in Thailand temples are the refuge, of many street dogs. It is common for Thai people to dump their unwanted dogs at a temple, they reason that the monks will look after them. Although this is better than dumping them on the street many temples are overrun with unwanted dogs.

The monks often don’t have the money or the time to look after them, sterilisation is not seen as important so the problem just grows.It is not enough just to feed them, they need medication, flea, tick & birth control, this all cost money. Long term it needs education so the local people understand that they must be responsible for their animals…This is where Shelter Aid can help, funding programs to give temple dogs a better life & teaching school children to respect animals… So by attending this event our entry and then purchase of raffle tickets and bidding for prizes (all donated by businesses) provided this group with an injection of funds for their work.  It was a nice evening for a worthwhile cause.  Here is a link to their website should you wish to learn more or even help out:

Gin Distiller’s Visit

There are apparently many distillers in Thailand and even around Chiang Mai.  The Honorary Consul of Austria (not to be confused with Australia) is Nikolaus (Niikki) Prachensky a business man who runs a distillery in the Mae Rim area.  A friend enjoys his products so we decided to have an outing to visit him and have lunch in the area.

Mae Rim has many lovely spots for food but we hadn’t tried a spot called Steak of Day, that our friend Jenny recommended.  It is a lovely spot in a local shopping complex in the town centre. If you are ever in the area drop in for a meal – the food was very good. Here is the Steak of the Day Facebook page.

We enjoyed lunch before dropping by his place for a tour.  Niikki explained the processes involved in distilling, showed us the imported copper brewing kettle.  There website shares that they, at Edelbrand, had been distilling tropical fruit into a wide range of award-winning spirits for many years, but then a fascinating challenge came to our attention: to distill an ultra premium spirit from the most traditional of all local ingredients – fragrant Thai rice. We had a good visit and our friend purchased a few bottles for gifts.  There are so many hidden places to find. You can check out his products on this website.

One Stop Shopping Expo Chiang Mai

The Chiang Mai International Convention and Exhibition Centre sits on the Canal Road just north of the city and was constructed commemorating His Majesty’s 7th Cycle Birthday Anniversary. It is one of the largest convention and exhibition center in Southeast Asia with a total space of 521,600 square meters. Here is their Facebook if you want to see more about this place: CMIC&EC

It holds numerous events through the year but from 11-19 March they hosted a shopping expo that included a furniture fair, fashion & jewellery , bicycles, motor and motorbike. As with any Thai event there is always lots of food and this was no exception.  We enjoyed shopping for lunch at the many food booths and then sampled our various selections – I think we had 4 different dishes made up of a special fried rice, dish pad thai, papaya salad and dried pork.

After a hardy lunch we then explored the exhibition space, checked out some of the new cars and bikes, couldn’t resist a new special knife sharper, some tire cleaner and car duster, bag of pineapples and take home dinner. There were many other nice items such a funky brass artefacts but we resisted any further temptations. It was a fun day out and the middle of the week is the time to avoid the weekend crowds.

Gardens growing & maintenance

After 3 years of growth and with summer now upon us, our villa garden plot is really growing and very mature.  What once were small and starter plants are larger growth.  The summer sun and heat are now intense very day so with watering the grass and trees are in constant need of timing. One of our cats, Lindsay, enjoys the heat and laying in the garage for hours on end.

Lindsay enjoying heat

Like any householder mowing the lawn and trimming the growth of bushes is now a weekly task – just finished today.  We had our electrician back this week to do some garden lighting improvements. Happy with the way it’s all turned out and it does keep us occupied maintaining it.

So there you have the past few weeks of living Thai and our life in Chiang Mai – just enjoying living life normally but “tranquil in Thailand”.  No concrete travel or outing plans for the coming weeks, but I am sure things will eventuate. There is some work on the website planned and just day to day routines.

The end of another perfect, but warm day…