Friday, January 16, 2015

The Last Hurrah

Today, the first week of school for the second semester finally ended! It's been rough, having to wake up early and starting work at 7 a.m. again; our three-week break feels like ages ago. As we gear back up to full speed, I fondly think back to the last six days of our 23-day winter break -- blissfully quiet and low-key, which was exactly how we wanted it after spending the previous two weeks traveling around the upper half of Taiwan. The last weekend of the break, however, we did take some time to do some things we had been curious about, and to enjoy our free time while we still had some.

On that Friday (which was only a week ago today, but feels like a month ago), we took our son ice skating. It had been at least three years since he last ice skated, so when we heard that ice skating exists (year-round!) in the tropical climate of Thailand, our interest was piqued. Called Sub-Zero, the skating rink was located in a mall, of course. It was a little strange to see short-sleeved shirts and shorts/skirts on people while skating; I'm so used to seeing everyone bundled up! The price was just right -- about $10 to skate for an hour for two people, including the skate rentals (we also had to put down an additional "skate deposit" of about $8 that we got back when we were done). Overall, it was a fun experience that provided a great workout.

We also had a chance to visit a new bunny cafe that opened right here in our neighborhood in the last month or so. This bunny cafe was originally in the downtown area of the city, but moved to Chiang Mai. The owner of the one in our neighborhood used to work there, but didn't want to move to Chiang Mai, so he started his own bunny cafe in our neighborhood! Unlike the cat cafe we had visited a couple of months ago, the bunnies and humans don't mingle while the humans are eating. Instead, there is a separate space where visitors can get a snack while waiting to go inside to visit the bunnies. Visitors also can spend less than $2 for some special treats for the bunnies. And unlike the cats at the cat cafe that didn't want anything to do with their human visitors, the bunnies were friendly and cuddly, probably because of the treats they were getting. They were so adorable!

On that Saturday night, a friend and I had a girls' night out in downtown Bangkok. We visited a spa called Health Land and got blissed out on massages; hung out, chatted, and shared a slice of blueberry cheesecake at a cute cafe; and had dinner and listened to live jazz at this fantastically quirky place called Iron Fairies. It's a restaurant and bar by night, and an iron factory that makes and exports iron fairies by day. The husband of a friend actually has gone there to do some ironwork. The designer of the restaurant, an Australian who dropped out of school at 14 and who used to be a miner, has an interesting story (like many, many foreigners who end up in Thailand), and is also the designer behind many other unusual restaurants and bars in Bangkok.

It was a very enjoyable evening for the both of us. It had been a while -- since before we came to Thailand -- since I'd gone to a venue like that to relax, eat, and listen to live music. My friend and I ate a scrumptious meal, chatted about everything under the sun, enjoyed the music, people-watched (so many expats there!), and relaxed in comfortable armchairs over drinks.

Now it's back to reality. But posts about our glorious holiday are coming soon as I continue to relive traveling and eating our way through the northern half of Taiwan. drooling 

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