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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Observations about Chiang Mai

After class Thursday, the girls and I went for manicure/pedicure combos.  I spent about $13 U.S. dollars for French nails.  Ooh la la.  They are lovely - my nails have been growing like crazy in this heat, and Thai massage isn't something I really need short nails for, so I went for it.  I am loving the treatments here.  Sitting in a nail salon with a group of ladies getting pretty is just the kind of thing that makes a person appreciate being a girl.

The culture of this place is a strange dichotomy of appearance focused young Thai people and hippie westerners wandering around, burned to a crisp, sweating and makeup free.  You can get anything and everything done here - Botox, Microdermabrasion, Skin Whitening, Cosmetic Dentistry, etc.  can be found in every mall.  Plastic surgery (very cheap here to westerners), is all over the place.  Spas, med-spas, slimming shops, waxing, nails, hair extensions, you name it... are in shops that line the canal streets of the Old City.  It is insane.  It is sad.  I will stick to my detox treatments and massage. Health - yes.  Nose job?  Heck no.  At some point, we all have to let go of the  superficial nonsense that is taking over this world. (Says the woman who just wrote above that she got a manicure/pedicure - ha ha).

How crazy is it to be in a city this old and with this much history and see non-stop billboards advertising an insurmountable physical ideal?  It makes my heart cry. As does the air pollution. I have two words for you Thailand - emissions testing... seriously! My eyes, nose and throat hurt if I am in traffic for too long. I am not in any way hating on this place that I have grown to love so much - I am merely finding interesting revelations in the day to day.

That being said, I wanted to try some authentic Thai cuisine to re-set my need for authenticity.  My digestion is back on track, so I had a craving for some good stuff.  Pad Thai is everywhere here, but I had yet to try it because I was making sure I didn't get sick again.  So, the girls took me to their favorite restaurant for Pad Thai, and I must say, I was not disappointed in any way. The flavors were at the same time simple and complex. It was the perfect vegetarian dish (they even made it without eggs as I requested) - flavorful and nutritious. My mouth was so happy and my tummy was even happier. It exceeded all of my expectations and made me want to order another dish. I will defintely be eating at that restaurant again soon...

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