Reed in Asia - Asian Diaries
Chiangmai - The first night
After take-off, On relaxed a little, the air stewardess came around and took orders for drinks and food, I wasn't hungry, so I passed on the meal and just ordered a beer, On ordered the meal and a coffee. The drinks came quickly and I was ready for the beer, when the meal arrived On was quite happy, they had served a Northern Thailand dish and she seemed to be enjoying it. I only had time for one more beer though and then we started our descent into Chiangmai, we couldn't see much through the windows because it was dark, but we could see the lights of the city for a while. After disembarking the aircraft and we had collected our bag and started to leave the airport terminal, there was a hotel representative waiting for us and we were led to a minibus and driven to the hotel. After signing in at the hotel, the receptionist there gave us two complimentary tickets and apparently they were for something called a 'Kantoke dinner' and we were told to go as soon as possible, because it had already started, so I quickly dropped the bag off in the room and we went to this dinner.
It was quite a large room and it had a stage on one side, everyone in there was sitting on the floor around low tables and we were led to a table by one of the staff and sat down. I found it a little difficult and strange at first sitting on the floor, but I soon got used to it. Our table was then served with many different bowls of food and to drink I was given Thai whisky with ice and water. There were some girls on the stage in Thai traditional costume and they were dancing to music played by musicians using all Thai traditional musical instruments, the whole atmosphere in there was very pleasant, relaxing, interesting and quite unique. The food was also very good and different to anything that I had tasted in Thailand before, I really enjoyed it and the Thai whisky seemed to go down well together with this food. Everything seemed new to On too, she was looking at everything with interest and enjoying the food. The dancers changed many times with different costumes and different dance routines to different music and sometimes they even had lit candles in their fingers, I found the whole show very pleasant and very different to anything that I had ever seen before. After the meal, a girl came to our table and gave me a long cone made of leaves, I asked On what it was and she told me that it was a Thai cigar, it looked very strange to me, it was quite thin at one end and very large at the other end, but to keep in with the atmosphere that night, I put it in my mouth and lit it. It tasted very different to my normal cigarettes, but it had quite a pleasant and unique taste and again it seemed to go well with the whole atmosphere in there that night.
After the kantoke dinner, we went back to our hotel reception and I asked at the counter where the lounge was, the girl there then led us to the lounge and just like the Airport hotel in Bangkok, they had a band playing in there. We found a free table and sat down, I ordered a beer for me and On just had a lemonade with ice and a slice of lime. I said to On that I had really enjoyed the kantoke dinner and so far, I liked Chiangmai very much, On said that she had enjoyed the kantoke and it had been something new for her too. We sat there for a while listening to the music and drinking, but we were both quite tired and we went up to our room quite quickly. The kantoke dinner had made a very good first impression on me about Chiangmai and I was feeling very pleased with myself about making the decision to come here this weekend, On seemed to be really enjoying herself too and as we went to bed that evening we were both very happy and we held each other very tightly .
'And so it goes On!'
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Me - Ian Reed / John McMiken (The Legless Fool)
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