I’ve never met an Australian I didn’t like. And we met a wonderful couple this evening. As it turned, small worlds collided, and I met a wonderful neighbor as well.
After a fun, lazy day starting with a massage and walking parts of the old city, Derek & I settled on a cooking class to take for the evening at the Thai Kitchen Cookery Centre, located in the Old City not far from our hotel Sathu Boutique. By the end of the night, we became friends with a couple from Adelaide, Australia (which interestingly enough, I would learn before falling asleep later in the night, had made the Top 52 destination spots according to a recent New York Times article), a woman who lives close to me in Santa Rosa, CA with her husband, another wonderful woman from Santiago, Chile, as well as a host of other nice people, not to mention a fun teacher, quite a character, and a great cook in his own right – Chef CarToon.
We learned how to cook Thai tonight. CarToon taught Thai cooking. CarToon taught Thai well.
Each participant was allowed to pick his/her own dishes to prepare among a set list of available menu items. Derek opted for the Thai herb soup, the Massaman chicken curry with potatoes (what would turn out to be my favourite dish), and Pad Thai. I made the coconut milk prawn soup (mine made with a nice spicy kick, loving every sweaty bit of it), panang chicken curry (made with an even bigger kick, loving this even more, as CarToon gave me a couple heaps of the Chilli paste) and basil chicken (still not up to the standards of what I’ve had, especially in Chciago’s Siam Rice, where I have spent over $5000 on this one dish, aka pad ka praw). We also learned how to make some of the different curry paste – Massaman curry paste, panang curry paste, and red curry paste while the others also learned the green curry paste and Khoi Soi curry paste. We all chipped in to make the fried bananas with ice cream on top (which was out of this world). To learn how to make the ice cream, CarToon told us we would need to come in for another class.
When all was said and done, as is the case when bread is broken, we were fast friends. Some of us exchanged email addresses. There’s every possibility that we will in some way, shape or form, see or hear or communicate with each other. But then again, we may not. That’s the beauty of sharing a meal, and forming a friendship for one evening. The length of time or the quantity of times we spent has no real relevance, only that the time we did spend was fruitful and that we impacted each other in a positive way. And that the windows into each other’s lives showed the others the best sense of who we were. I think – no, I truly believe – that we all did. CarToon taught us how being dedicated to your craft, whether you are starting out or a grizzled veteran, and to have passion for what you are doing can galvanize a crowd. He could have made our experience the best or the worst. He chose to make it the best; and so we had a great time. Tom and Tam undoubtedly were a wonderful couple in love with each other, as comfortable with each other as they were in inviting others into their lives. They could easily have been one of those couples who keeps to themselves, but instead chose to invite us into their lives this evening. Joanne – well Jo was a hoot possessing boundless energy and comedic timing – taught us that no matter how many candles you’ve blown away on your birthday that if you are young at heart, you will always be young and beautiful. These were some of the strangers we met on a cooking class one night in Chiang Mai, that by the end of the night were no longer strangers. A group of strangers at 4:00 PM became something more by 9:00 PM.
And hopefully, in some small way, Derek and I imparted some goodness onto them as we parted ways later in the night at Saturday Night Bazaar.
Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live.
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