ATA: Days 3 – 4 Chang Rai

Nov 1 
Day 3
Today our tour officially starts!  I feel like I am already about 5 days in so it\’s pretty exciting to get going.
The whole group has arrived and we have a total of 11 of us, including our tour/photography guides.  We caught a van to the local Bangkok airport for a flight out to Chang Rai, which is in Northern Thailand.  
Our first group photo at the Bangkok airport with the whole gang.  

We have arrived in Chang Rai\’s cute little airport and all the ladies found a lotus blossom.

We are spending 2 nights in Chang Rai at a resort called Phu Chaisai which is in the jungle.  Phu Chaisaid means \”Mountain of Clear Heart\” and the resort was built from the land by one of Thailand\’s princesses who is now in her 80\’s.

It really is a magical place.

My little hut in the jungle.

The view out my window.

After we got settled we had the most amazing fresh, organic thai lunch.  A green salad, pad thai, summer rolls, spring rolls, massaman curry, chicken sate.  Oh, it was so fresh and delicious!!

The steps leading to the main sala (pavilion). 

Today we had our first photography lesson and made sure our cameras were set up properly.  Brian & MeRa do things a little bit differently than I was taught so I made the necessary adjustments.  I\’m here to learn.

We went out for a late afternoon hike to see the gardens.  There is a Pyranese Mountain dog at the resort named BonBon.  I love me some BonBon.

The hiking crew.  Blaze is Brian and MeRa\’s son and the best kid.  I wanted to bring him home with me.   (He took the pic of me and BonBon.)

Looking for that magical light.   This was my first time shooting side by side with a real pro.  MeRa would take a picture and show me what she captured — WOW !  Then I would take the same picture — and I was like what happened.   But it was all about seeing the gorgeous light and capturing it.

After our hike we had another amazing meal.

Nov 2
Day 4

We had an easy start to our day with a delicious breakfast served in the sala.  I had a chance to walk around the grounds a little bit.  These are the stairs up to my little hut.

Being with my tribe, I have lots of pictures of myself either taken on my phone or shared.  Karen took the below picture while I was taking the picture above!

Then it was time for our next photography lesson before lunch.  

After lunch we went to a local farm to meet the farmer, see his garden, and have some fun.  
The bridge to his land.  

The papparazzi!

The farmers name was Semok and he was quite a character.  He showed us all around his land and had us smell and taste all sorts of things….from really interesting to really bad.

Why not use a machete to cut this tiny apple.

He made bamboo walking sticks for the boys and then challenged them to a fight.  Guess who won?

A look at Semok\’s house.  The canopy of trees around the house was so vast that it was quite dark inside and out.  He built the house himself and it was all open.   He has chickens to eat the termites and cats to eat the rats. 

He invited us inside for a meal.  It was a bit surreal sitting in this house in the middle of Thailand, in the middle of the jungle, with this modern day looking genghis khan….eating chicken soup and fried zucchini.  It was a really interesting afternoon.   And I loved it.

On our way out from Semok\’s house MeRa stopped the van and said \”Look at that light!\”.  So we all jumped out like paparazzi and photographed this farmer at the end of his day.  Learning to catch that beautiful light in camera. 

Probably not the normal scene in this part of Chang Rai.

And there he goes flashing the peace sign at us 🙂

Then it was on to the Maisai night market on the border of Myamar.  It is probably safe to say that we were the only westerners there.  Everyone was so helpful and we only got a couple of strange looks. 

We bought lots of goodies to try out.  This was my favorite.  Purple sticky rice with black beans cooked in bamboo tubes over an open flame.  Notice someone else was shooting these too.  Lots of camera photobombs. 

The tall lady next to the boy in blue is the GM at the resort where we were staying and has lived in Thailand for 10+ years and spoke fluent thai.  She was quite helpful.    At this stand we got some pork, I hope.

Grandma giving pricing for toys.  One of our challenges for the evening was to get a \”portrait\” of a stranger.

Not an uncommon sight.  3 – 4 people, including kids, on a motorcycle weaving in and out of traffic…or taking the sidewalk shortcut.

My bamboo and sticky rice for the road.  Notice the camera photobomb. 

A look down the street.   Such a fun evening and I love this picture. 

Then it was back to the resort for a Mexican feast using thai ingredients.  They nailed it.  We were all so tired that people were falling asleep at the table.  A full and accomplished day.

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