The Northwest Frontier

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Jan 122010

Mae Hong Son (January 12, 2010)

We returned to the noodle shop for breakfast, and today’s options were chow fun with a little Chinese broccoli and chicken (my pick), a pork soup with penne-like rolls of rice noodle, or a “Vietnamese breakfast” of egg over easy with many different kinds of pork sausage. On the side we had khanom krok with either spring onions or corn kernels sprinkled on top; steamed buns filled with BBQ pork (savory) and custard-like “cream” (sweet); pork siu mai with a little pile of fried garlic to roll them in; and decadently sweet roti oozing with granulated sugar, sweetened condensed milk, and too much margarine. (I even got a cup of tea to help keep me awake after my 4:30 attempt to call the credit union was thwarted by a lack of signal.)

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Cultural Exchange

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Jan 082010

Mae Sa Valley (January 8, 2010)

The temperature was perfect. In 2008, I was freezing our first night here, but perhaps due to the rain, the overnight weather was quite mild, and inside number 39, the clock-thermometer did not dip below 70 degrees.

For breakfast, we returned to our long dinner table, which now had a view of the pleasant grounds. Thin rice vermicelli were stir-fried with Chinese broccoli and a little chicken. The flavor improved considerably with the administration of some chilli-infused vinegar and powdered dried chillies from the communal bowls. Fruit platters followed the noodles. This was fairly light by our standards, but we would be eating again shortly, so it was not wise to stuff ourselves.

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The Borderlands

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Jan 082008

Mae Hong Son

This morning we would breakfast in town on noodles and congee before heading up into the hills. The Vietnamese style soup noodles were generous on the pork products, but the broth was not as fully developed as one might like. We turned the corner into the market and picked up some spices and miscellaneous ingredients before piling into the vans to head up, up, up the road North. Our first stop was an Agro-Tourism center featuring experimental projects and a variety of instructional displays regarding, for example, how to grow coffee and avocados, two introduced crops, in the area. Nice flowers, but it was getting hot in the sun.

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Cultural Exchange

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Jan 042008

At 6:30 AM my travel alarm showed 53 degrees. And it felt even chillier. The resort provides a heavy layer of blankets, and comfy slippers for the cold tile floor in the bathroom, but my head was cold; I need a hat. I peered out the front door to investigate my water heater pilot light, and a resort employee with a lighter appeared like magic. I was back in business, but could only manage a hair wash in the frigid bathroom. The rest will have to wait.

Breakfast was a plate of fried noodles with a few bits of egg, meat, and vegetable — and all the optional chillies you can handle. Kasma’s husband Michael shared a few leaves of Northern Thai green tea which brewed up tasty and not too intense. We were ready for an adventure.

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