I suppose I've been putting this off for quite a long while already but earlier this year (though not too much earlier) I made a trip to Chiangmai, Thailand with a bunch of students from Monash University's faculty of Arts and Social Sciences to document the culture, tradition and social struggles of the people of Chiangmai. Needless to say the trip was as enlightening as it was entertaining. Besides visiting some of the NGOs...
Visiting with the saucy ladies of EMPOWER, a sex-worker organization
I also had the opportunity to sample a bit of the sights and smells that come together to make Chiangmai as exotic as it is!
From partying it down at the local nightclubs
To being shown around by the awesome locals! That's my awesome Thai friend Kampoo,
or as she'd like to be known Charmjulie! Its thanks to her that I really got to explore Chiangmai
and see it through the eyes only a local can show.
I even managed to muster enough courage to try some of the more "exotic" of the local cuisines...something I would not normally dare do! (I'm extremely squeemish when it comes to strange foods!)
Creepy Crawly Munchies!
These little creepy crawlies are called Bamboo Worms. In actual fact they are the larvae of the Crambidae that is a large group of moths known as grass moths, so called because of their fondness for sitting with their wings folded, almost inconspicuous upon blades of grass.
To be honest, they don't actually taste half as bad! The best way to describe them would be...pressed peanuts, or maybe peanut butter although, some of the others who tried the worm swore that they tasted like fried shrimp, possibly because I dusted them with salt beforehand to remove that wormy smell. One thing I should mention though, I found out much later from Kampoo that the locals don't really eat these, its just a big scam for gullible foreigners and tourists like myself!
But speaking about moths, there's no place like Chiangmai for wildlife! Indeed the setting of our inn, the Your House guesthouse seemed to be the perfect location for a lepidopterist, such as myself, to look out for the local butterflies and moths. While the butterflies were plentiful during the day, they could not stand up to the multitudes of moths that just swarmed the veranda and corridor outside of my apartment everynight.
A snout moth, probably from the same family as one of those larvae that I ate.
Okay I'll be level, I've never seen most of these moths, much-less be able to identify them! If anybody could help me with the identification it would be much appreciated! Indeed the wild has no trouble making itself known here, on one night I even came face-to-face with a rather scary visitor; An Asian Forest Scorpion (Heterometrus longimanus) that was larger than my palm only to be told that the rain would draw a LOT more of these guys out of hiding!
But indeed, Chiangmai really was the place to be, a perfect blend of nature and civillisation that truly made it an amazing trip! Thanks once again to the awesome locals, Charmjulie, Joe, Jutha and Kwan for showing me around for the entire time I was there.
I'm very fortunate to have loved something deep enough to miss it hard enough