Happy New Year Chiang Mai!

Zoe’s favorite part of today: “setting our lantern into the sky”

This evening is New Years Eve and we are now in the City of Chiang Mai. The city festival is happening a block away from our hotel and it is super fun! There are vendors and food stalls, and people selling sky-floating lanterns to light and launch. This was a must do for us!!! They are fairly sizable paper cylinders as high as Zoe. One end is open and has a bit of metal wire to support a coil that we lit on fire! After that we held it up for a while until the hot air filled it for takeoff! Zoe counted down for our happy new year lantern and it took off over the nearby buildings. Then it caught fire and plummeted onto a roof. Oops. Our second one did much better 🙂 it joined the throngs of others floating up into the sky “like the Rapunzel movie” as Zoe said. It also joined all the crazy fireworks people keep randomly shooting off!

Avi’s favorite part of today: “girls dancing”

At the New Years celebration there is a main stage where we stopped for a long time to watch a couple local dance troupes. They did traditional Thai dancing and then then some more modern stuff. But always with a Thai tune. Avi watched the first couple acts and then decided to sit on my feet and finish his spicy chicken chunks. There are so many neat food stalls – sushi, crepes, meat on sticks, fried everything, and all kinds of rice. The festival is also touted for being alcohol free, which is on their banners “Chiang Mai New Years: Fun without the alcohol” Anyway, when the girls on stage livened up their tunes a bit Avi sat on my shoulders and danced!! I swear it will be on Thai YouTube with all the people who had their phones aimed at him!

Bryan’s favorite part of the day: “just walking through the market”

We are staying in the old walled part of Chiang Mai, so its awesome to see all the neat vendors. This is especially true at the new years fest. It was fun to walk around and see all the shiny jewelry, fabrics, clothes, lights, and other souvenirs. We went over before sunset when it wasn’t crowded, and really enjoyed the vibe. Bryan got some new pants and I bought a neat handmade quilt top.

Kat’s favorite part of the day: “Finally, a massage”

I’ve been looking forward to cheap Thai massage since we booked this trip. Our hotel is down a little alley that seems to have some great deals. Once we checked in and got settled we walked out into town, but ended up simply getting some lunch across the street.  After that it was naptime. This is the first day so far we have been able to nap Avi in a bed and not the kid carrier on a hiking trail! Zoe and I rested too, until Bryan returned from his massage with a good recommendation. So I took Zoe and we each got one! This is Thai massage so you are clothed while the lady works your muscles and cracks your joints. It’s awesome. Zoe laughed when her back tickled and even fell asleep at one point. I loved it as my body aches from all the hiking and kid carrying we’ve done. Thai massage is also simply done on a mat on the floor beside all the other mats, so it was a fun thing to do together! Plus, when we returned to the hotel Avi was awake and ready to swim. We didn’t stay in the pool too long as the water was cold and we were antsy to see the New Years festival.

Everyones least favorite part of the day: “getting here”

We woke up at our hut, had breakfast, and then got a ride down an hour or so in a pickup truck to the ‘yellow bus stop’ between the villages. From there we negotiated our fare and hopped in back of a glorified pickup truck with two long benches in the bed and a roof overtop. It stopped a few more times to cram about 15 people inside and hanging off the back for the next 2 hours until we were told to get off and walk around the corner. To be honest it wasn’t that bad and was quite an experience! The last half hour was roughest.

Our hotel on the other hand is awesome! It’s called Awana House and we have a huge bed plus a big ole bunk for the kids! The best part is the electricity, or maybe the hot shower, or maybe the comfy mattress. It was nice to spend so long in a hut, but equally as nice to be back in civilization.

Midnight Bryan and I went out to our balcony to watch and hear a million fireworks and lanterns floating around the city!!

goodbye Spicy Villa hut
The yellow bus ride.
Awana House hotel room
Zoe’s first massage. Pui was her masseur
Checking out the costumes at the New Years Festival
At the New Years market
our floating lantern
Happy New Year!

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