Driving motor bikes through mountainous farm lands getting passed by pick up trucks overflowing with hills tribe people, trekking caverns in bamboo forests to the cool side of the cliffs where the water, albeit low in the peak of dry season, still remarkably drops about 40 ft into a clear pool surrounded by old caves.

As we drive back to the roadway many kittens, puppies, and chickens dart across the road and lazily sprawl in the sunshine. Then we saw baby water buffalo!! So cute!! And the older ones were being herded down the road–their wooden bells clacking as they sway side to side with each step–so sweet! One sat calmly on the side of the road chewing grass with a big white egret like bird sitting on his head! We laughed so loud. Then down the road and up and over to the Pai Canyon a striking view and some treacherous climbing options. It was a long late night following our sunset moped ride that lent to fire hooping in the street in front of a rasta bar which paid for our drinks all night long. Regardless, I wrestled myself from sleeping in too late so that I could enjoy the hot springs in the morning time while it’s still cool out here in the mountainside** So Telah and I cruised up the hill to the steaming and bubbling natural mineral hot springs!! Great way to spend the morning for sure then we went up to the Pai Jungle Farm and played with 9 kittens and had the best damn coffee, brewed by the cup, we’ve had the whole trip. Now time for relaxing and reflecting and taking it all in from
the hammock at the riverside on the porch of our bungalow.

Back to Basics

So a week has gone by of sunrise after sunset after sunrise. The thai people are a fairly late night people. They are hard working people. The are up late running the pharmacy, running the foot massage shop, running the night market, running the food stands. They are up later, they open shop later, each day seems to laxidaisically ease into one another.

There is a basic trust. An understanding. At night, there are no doors to the market, there are no shutters on their shops. . . they tie the blanket over their table, they cover their goods, but there are few locks here–and the ones you do find are quite janky from being old and not often replaced. They tie up their shops. . . could you imagine a full market place in nyc the length of several city blocks. .  with no walls, no windows, no locks and stuffed full of goods. . . do you really think it could preservere . . . for centuries? It definitely makes me think.

Humans are human but Humanity varies greatly.

Many people here work 7 days a week from 10 am to midnight, 1, 2. . . never complaining, never moving too fast, but smiling all the way. . . and we in america think we work long and too much. . . i see the same people working all day every day, selling their vegetables, selling their herbs, their scarves, their coconuts. . .everyone is selling something. So many markets. Markets are a way of life here in Thailand and especially here in Chiang Mai. You have the night market and bizarre. . . which is every night, then you have the day markets. .. which are seve

ral buildings, with several stories, for several blocks full of full on markets every day. Then you have the Saturday walking street market. . . and then you have the Sunday walking street market. There is no shortage of things being sold-expensive or cheap, haggled or not, Chiang Mai is a full on market place almost every hour of the day. Its a way of life. Everyone has their job to man the table, wash the goods, cook the fish, grab the trash, massage the feet, paint the wall. . . everyone and every thing no matter age, race, or color seemsto have something important to do and that–for the most part— they enjoy doing. People revel here in the day-to-day. It seems there could never be too much.

Chiang Mai is an old city with an old heart. Roads that link together through hour glass shaped bricks, the old city surrounded by a moat and the wall they built to fend off burma in the 12th century sits humbly around the city like a old shawl. Mopeds buzz up and down the streets 3,4, and 5 people deep. .. sometimes thier dog too. The animals roam freely and are loved by all. To cross the street you have to just go for it. . .its all a give and take, its all a constant friendly negotiation. . .the ebb and flow of a timeless place.

There are all the elements present in our everyday lives here. They cook on the fire right on the streets, the earth is our floors, the mountains, the manicured and blossoming trees, the water is in the moat and seeping through the bathroom walls. . . the bathrooms are so watery. . . so different than home. The shower and the toilet all in one place with a bucket to clear the bowl rather than a flush. . .in some places we went there were the most beautiful outdoor/open air bathrooms with vines hanging down from the ceilings and growingdown the walls. And Air.the air is in yourface, the air blows the plumeria blossoms down from the trees, cause the bouganvillas to flow brightly back andforth, to blow the mosquitos away from your flesh.

Thailand is a spiritual place laden in ritual, in buddhism, in principle, in conservative dress, in mountains, and incense, and prayers.A place where you walk in a circle three timesto set your intentions and always take off your shoes every time you cross a doorstep.

Whimsical with classic charm Chiang Mai is bustling with community — studious immigrants, pagent queens, floral creativity–Bustling with its culture, an asian melting pot swirling at your feet.

In the morning we move forth to our next destination a few hours north: Pai. A lazy town with waterfalls and faeries and maybe some thai hippie communes too*

xo -=ali*

Chiang Mai

Wow what a journey thus far! Currently writing you all from the garden of my guest house (which is rad) in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is so super lovely –it makes me realize that even after drifting away for weeks on a tropical paradise island –that I’m truly a city girl at heart. Mopeds, markets and a lil city grit just does something for me that idyllic scenery and relaxation doesn’t tap into. A lil
Vivacity that can only be found in places like this. The shopping is cheap, the haggling is an art, and every nook and cranny is filled with Buddha or religious artifact. Over 300 wats in chiang Mai alone! We went to Wat That Doi Suthep last night–this huge wat on the very top of this ginormous mountain. You can tell if a building was originally created to be a wat by the stairs–if the stairs have a dragon a body leading all the way up each side then this was this buildings original design intention.

This wat had the most beautiful shrines within it’s walls that I have seen so far–and I’ve finally been in enough temples that I don’t feel like a bumbling idiot with each step I make. There is quite a bit of ediquite and ritual that goes into Buddhism -and it gets extra tricky when you don’t even know when you are being offensive. Like-you can’t be taller than the monk, you can’t hand anything directly to the monk, your feet must never point toward Buddha or the monk-sit in mermaid pose, etc etc etc. I went to this monk chat and meditation session the other night and it was really rewarding to meditate in the Wat-to use it for it’s intention rather than tourism–it’s was funny cause there was sooooo much noise-construction sounding even though it was late at night it went on and on and on–at tines it was even hard to make out what the monk was saying it was so loud. During the actual
Meditation the noises all fell away. Afterwards I asked the monk what was making that sound and it was actually all the other monks hammering out the the metal etchings/relief-like plaques that they were creating based on their current teachings/lessons. 😉

I’m glad I went to this talk as it really helped me learn more about the principles of Buddhism and totally blew my mind and eyes open to the way of life of the people all around me. People stop you on the street and talk about their life, their meaning, their trials and tribulations, the impermanence, about doing good, not doing bad, and purifying the mind. Had I not gone to that talk it would have taken me a lil longer to crack the understanding that these people were all coming from the same place, from the same fundamental
Teachings, and applying them
Consciously to every part of their life. People not only have awareness and intention with their actions–but they are also analyzing and reappropriating their energy to
Continue to apply their Buddhist ideals. It’s all quite beautiful and truly all around us here.

I had a really fun vegan Thai cooking course today. I learned how to make 10 different dishes (mango sticky rice!!!, curries, soups, summer rolls, papaya salad droooool) and even got to go with to the market to pick up all the ingredients. It was called May Kaidee’s Cooking school and she was so nice and fun and afterwards I was asking her about Thai dance classes -cause they have not been so easy to find and she was like “No I just show you now!” And right there and then started dancing and singing so beautiful and teaching me hand motions and turning us in giggling circles–it was so lovely that I almost wanted to cry.

This weekend here in Chiang Mai just happens to be the Flower Festival!! You know I love a good parade and if you ve ever walked around with me you may also know that I ADORE flowers–so stay tuned for some inside shots of thus cultural bonanza.

Phonological ponderings

I remember first hearing these phonemes of general Thai phrases and thinking that I’ll never remember this–but now I sit and the words flow effortlessly from my lips.

So interesting being a phonologist and listening to tonal languages
And all these travelers from all over the world all speaking different languages than their own with their own personal dialects. A lot of variables are at play.

One day I really had to force myself to not interupt this hilarious conversation of a woman from Spain who speaks English trying to understand this man from Sussex speaking English—she was flabbergasted–really floored –having him repeat words over and over. The voyeuristic auditory experience was very endearing.


So many days spent in
The sun, in houses with no walls, in oceans with perfect brilliance, on small boats navigating multiple and opposing currents, on land glowing from the moon, in the jungle lit by fireflies, on the rock this whole island was built upon being washed away by the forever crashing waves.

Beautiful swells of amazing and enlightening humans enjoying every moment of each place their feet touch the ground–grounded yet flying, breathing and living fully, wishing not for anything more.


Okay so I have to take a moment to geek out about the food.
The food! Black rice pudding with fruit for breakfast, crazy shakes
of all concoction s the mocha coconut is a leading favorite–I
mean–coffe, chocolate, and fresh coconut? Really?! With an orchid
on the glass over looking the ocean–yes please!!? Soft sweet
mango, The schnitzel with lime is impressive the pad Thai has like
an entire omelet on top, lemon mint shake, fresh young coconut all
over the place, fresh toasted coconut oil at the local store,
pineapple fried rice prepared and cooked in half a pineapple to the
point where even the outside skin was so tasty it melted in your
mouth!!! Papaya with lime, spicy hot everything and even right now
I’m sitting an om open air resturaunt called Gunthers–no sign-
just a huge light up fish outside and some puppies at this tripped
out lit up open bungaloo hanging over the shore line of this peak
of the island playing banging minimal techno drinking my cheap
awesome and rich singha beer after I thoroughly enjoyed spaghetti
carbona –alfresco homemade pasta with fresh seafood caught by
Gunther himself earlier this week with Parmesan, mmm life is sweet.
Almost as sweet as that banana nutella crepe with coconut ice cream
on top or the pumpkin –holy taste buds Asian pumpkin is soooooo
good!!! Pumpkin curry, pumpkin salad, pumpkin custard, roasted
pumpkin seeds with hot sauce, green curry, red curry, panang curry,
shredded apple with spicy green Papaya, cucumber, chillis, eggs
Thai style –sunnyside up but crispy on the edges with sweet and
spicy sauce, sweet potatoes served with mayonnaise, vegetable
noodle soup, crazy snacks with raw fruit filling, real Thai tea,
nom nom nom nom …pictures of food upon my return xo


So much amazing moon energy here. Bright golden beams
bounce off the waters collectives surface. Red yellow orange white
moonrise moonset faery rings lunarbows radiating from it’s secretly
watery surface charging this island full of crystal the resonates
with the animals and tide and the very moment of every night and

paradise found

First. . . you have to travel half way around the world. Then you have to find your bearings. Next you get on a bus and take it 9 hours down the coast. . then you board a ferry. Skip the first island, get off on the second and then get in a taxi truck. . . next jump out at the top of the tallest hill and make your way down its dirt paths. YOu think . . .wow this is one the prettiest places I havever seen . .  Dont mind the foam flying out of the pool at the hotel over there, or the monkey on the leash, or the infinite 7-11’s–or the cute shitzus named “Thank You” and “Sorry “walk to the beach. . .and of course who is the first person you meet. . . the owner of the place you are headed to. Every other person who said hello and asked where you were headed and you didnt even flinch. . but for whatever reason. . . this time you answer.  He walks you to the beach and you hop in the orange and white taxi boats. The green blue water splashes around you as you board each and every wave around the coast. . . .and then you pull up onto this secluded beach built into the side of the mountain and everyone is so lovely and friendly and the places are so nice and you realize. . . wait. . . no this is the prettiest place I have seen yet. . . . and then you smile and throw yourself onto the beach and stay there all afternoon and into the night and watch the moonrise and reflect brilliant gold off the blue green water and let the wind swing you to sleep.


Settling In

Today was the first sunny blue day here for me which was about 3x hotter than yesterday. After home made bread and jam was sought out this morning (and so necessary) a bumbling but successful trip to Wat Chana Songkhram occurred where Telah and I were blessed by a monk under the watchful eye of Big Budha.

As we twisted through the back of the temple gates we found sweet dogwood blossoms floating through the air and stumbled upon the cutest lil table of dates and tea and rice-happily perched on a picnic table between temple spires and the most resonating of gongs.

Pricing of goods is beginning to make sense and a greater awareness and understanding if I’m being taken advantage of VS getting a good deal is starting to become more clear. Luckily I’ve only had to pay stupidity tax a handful of times lololol.

I’m impressed by the amount of goods available all the time all around me here. Oooh and today we got to see the fishies that eat your dead flesh! They tickle lolol.

The food here is super yummy with an explosion of complex flavors-milky, spicy, sweet, and delicious! I even saw someone eat crickets and grub worms today–they skipped the scorpion though which I was hoping they d try. Maybe by the end of the trip I’ll give that a shot 😉 I am however VERY excited for my (morning swim and) milky rice and mango breakfast tomorrow!! Hooray!!

Tomorrow night we have an overnight ferry to Ko Pha Nga and will spend about a week in a nearby beach. I’m not sure what our Internet or electricity options will be there so I figured I’d get in a lil update now.

I hope you all are as thrilled as I am that I can upload photos straight from my phone!! Enjoy!

May every day be an adventure no matter where you are.



Khao San Rd

Walk on the left, use the stairs on the left, people drive on the left–my western brain is bring rewired with each step.

I found a clean and tasty looking street vendor and fashioned my worse “sawade ka” thus far and the lil Thai school girls behind me burst into giggles. I turned around quick –laughing with them cause I totally blundered. They helped me order and directed me to the least spicy of the condiments 🙂

A few things I observed today is that the rats are bigger, hairier, and blacker than NYC, the cockroaches are taller and longer then the flying ones in Texas, and there’s about as many cats here as there are at the Roman Coliseum.

However our roof top pool is pretty sweet, the people are friendly, and everything around you basks in the glow of the King. Canals, flowers, and temples–Buddhist Monks chanting in gold mountain echos all through the city streets while frankincense wafts through the air–even the crows are into the vibration and started mimicking their chant!!! Daily offerings of flower and fruits abound– all in one sunrise and one sunset.