Oh Canada

Good day eh! My google search informs me that this is a common Canadian greeting, so I’m practicing. I realized that I got so wrapped up in beef tacos and Mexican food menus last week that I forgot to share that Michelle and I were no longer hypothetically going to Canada, we ARE going to Canada. Tomorrow!

I used that exclamation point after tomorrow to denote both excitement and panic. Excitement because of course, Canada! and poutine! and beautiful wilderness! Panic because if you’ve been reading for any length of time you know that I am quite the planner, and this trip has been particularly difficult to plan in great detail. And also bears. Always bears.

This trip came together quickly and I feel like I am as prepared as I can be, but not quite as prepared as I would like to be. The weather looks like it will be in the high 40’s low 50’s which is great, I certainly prefer cold to freezing. I did purchase these babies just in case..

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So at least my feet will be warm.

Our rough itinerary is as follows:

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Lemon Dill Chicken Orzo Soup

I am going through a soup season in life right now. I have always been partial to soup but lately I have really been craving warmth. Fuzzy slippers, flannel pants, seat heaters, you name it. I’ve never been big on hot tubs (aesthetically or hygienically) but I’ve recently found myself day dreaming about them on more than one occasion. This can maybe be attributed to the fact that after replacing our hot water heater upon moving in, our shower, much to my dismay, just doesn’t get very hot ūüė¶ Is there anything worse than a ‘warm’ shower? The answer to this is of course yes, there are about a million worse things and this is a total first world problem…I know…. but when I’m standing under that less-than-hot spray, the burn your feet off jacuzzi day dreams come on STRONG.

Veggies

So, if I can’t have a hot shower, at least I can have hot soup, right? Or perhaps I can use the hot soup to bribe my husband into calling the plumber again. You reading this babe? I think I’m on to something.

This soup is loosely based on a recipe my mom clipped out of the newspaper and became obsessed with a few years back. Hers was delicious, but I think mine is heartier. If you aren’t into orzo you could use rice (or pearl cous cous) and it would still be equally as yummy. The feta is also optional but adds a little something something I would hate to see go.

Soup with Feta
Beautiful? No. Delicious? Yes.

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Thailand Part 3: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (on a budget!)

A floating market was a must do on our itinerary ( I mean hello, that has to be one of the iconic images that comes to mind when you think of Thailand) and Damnoen Saduak is the largest and best known.

Originally, I had planned for Haley and I to take a half day tour to the market before we flew out of Bangkok that evening, but when the tour operator quoted me 3500 baht on the phone ($100 USD) I thought that sounded a bit steep. Still feeling the sting of our canal tour scam on day 1 I decided to do a little research and find a cheaper option. Thank goodness for google. After stumbling upon a few backpacker blogs I learned that it was very possible to get to the market on your own for only a fraction of the price, despite what the Thai looking to make a buck may tell you. I decided I would chronicle our budget journey in hopes that it may help other travelers, enjoy!

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First of all, prepare to wake up EARLY (I never said this journey was convenient, just a lot cheaper). If you are still jetlagged like we were, this shouldn’t be a problem. You will be traveling to the market by mini bus, and the first one leaves at 6, with another leaving roughly every 30 minutes thereafter. The mini bus station is located at the Victory Monument. Our hotel was located within walking distance of the skytrain so we incurred our first expense and caught the first one at 6 AM. Skytrain Ticket : 30 Baht ($.85 USD)¬†

We got off at the stop for Victory Monument and asked around until we were pointed in the correct direction of the mini bus station. By the way, I use the word ‘station’ rather loosely here. Don’t expect a bus terminal, it’s really just a lot of large van’s parked all over and 100’s of people under umbrellas with cardboard signs selling tickets. All of the signs are in Thai so you’ll need to ask (and ask again and again) for the one that takes you to Damnoen Saduak.¬†After what felt like a million questions we finally found it! Hooray! We paid 100 baht each for our tickets and hopped aboard the van.¬†Mini Bus Ticket : 100 baht ($3 USD).¬†

The van pulled away around 6:30 and the ride took about an hour and a half, including a stop for gas and iced coffee. The AC worked well and I brought some reading material so the trip flew by!

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Now, the minibus will drop you off at a canal dock, this is NOT where you want to be. If your driver speaks English, ask him to drop you off AT the market, not the dock. Depending on how in league with the dock workers your¬†driver is, they may or may not do it. Haley and I forgot to ask, and our van stopped at the dock. Whoops. Immediately our little group was swarmed by several women with calculators quoting us prices for boat rides into the market. The woman that approached Haley and I quickly typed in 2500 baht (about $70 USD). HAH, no way Thailand, not this time. I scoffed at the price and told her we were going to walk into the market. “No, no can walk” she said smugly, “Only boat. Must take boat to market”. Laurin in Thailand on Day 1 may have fallen for that nonsense, but not Laurin in Thailand Day 3. So much knowledge gained in so little time.

Now some of our group had already fallen for this ruse and happily chucked away their 70 or 80 bucks and gotten onto the boats. Poor schmucks. The only other English speakers from¬†our bus were two German girls who seemed skeptical of the prices as well. They asked me if we were really able to walk into the market, which I assured them they could and that they were welcome to follow Haley and I as we did so. The four of us started heading away from the docks and were pursued by the dock woman who kept trying to get our attention by typing lower and lower number into her calculator. “No walk!” she kept shouting at us, “only boat! Can’t walk in!”. Nice try lady.

“Sure we can walk,” I told her, “I read it online”. And with that simple statement she immediately went from motivated saleslady to a woman scorned by google. “OH YOU THINK YOU SO SMART!” she screamed at me, “YOU READ ON COMPUTER!” “OH OH OH FINE! YOU THINK YOU KNOW EVERYTHING, NO WALK!” (string of Thai expletives). Walking in to the market: FREE

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Time for Thailand!

Wow, writing that title just made me so happy! Happy and maybe just a teensy bit stressed considering I still have a million things to check off of my to-do list before we leave and less than a week now to do them all! Ahh!

This morning marked my last day of work for the school year so the official countdown is on! My sister and I¬†leave for Thailand next Monday and I couldn’t be more excited! Robert will be just a few days behind us and then the fun will really start! I am 90% excited and 10% nervous, mostly just about the logistics of Robert flying in solo and making his way to us. If you asked Robert his numbers would probably swing the opposite way, 90% nervous/10% excitement, but lets hope they shift a bit as the date grows nearer!

Since I DO have a million things to check off my aforementioned to-do list, I’ll keep today’s post short and sweet! A brief rundown of our itinerary just in case¬†any of you reading have been to the Land of Smiles and have any must see/do/eats, in which case, please share!

Haley and I will arrive in Bangkok late Tuesday night and spend a total of three nights (two days) there! Our plans include lots of temple touring (Grand Palace, Reclining Buddha etc.) and tuk tuk riding and shopping. We also want to do a canal tour, check out the Flower Market and go to China Town! On Friday morning we plan to go to the Damnoen Sadurak floating market before we catch our late afternoon flight to Chiang Mai!

We will spend 4 nights in Chiang Mai which is where Robert will meet us. There we are scheduled to spend a day at the Thai Farm Cooking School, tour the Old City and of course the highlight of the trip… Patara Elephant Farm!!

From Chiang Mai we will fly to Koh Samui and do a bit of island hopping! Check out our digs in Koh Tao!

Monkey Flower Villas

This last leg of our trip is the least scheduled as we intend to do some relaxing on the beach, rent a longtail boat or two and just go with the flow! Robert is flying home two days ahead of Haley and I due to his work schedule, so we are toying with the idea of attending a Full Moon Party once he goes. I’m not much of a wild child but it may prove to be something we can’t miss. When in Rome!

Koh Tao
What I plan to do in Koh Tao….minus the thong bathing suit¬†

If you have any suggestions for any of our destinations, let me know! I love tips from other travelers! ¬†As you can see from the photo above, I’ve been following Thailand instragram accounts which is a great way to see beautiful places and get ideas for your trip!

Signing off until I return in a few weeks! Robert and I will be moving in to our new house immediately upon returning (Eek!) so once I get settled you can expect lots of fun trip re-cap posts and maybe even a tour of my new kitchen ūüôā Til then! ‚̧