Feb 172013

Last weekend, one of my coworkers took me out on Saturday night to a local restaurant called Pots and Palms.  It’s on Riverside Drive in the Office Park (yes, an office park called Office Park).  I got there first and sat at the bar to wait for my friend and I’m pretty sure I was the only non-African there and looking conspicuous.  Then my phone was running out of juice and I needed to save the battery to call a driver to pick me up afterwards, so I just sat at the bar drinking my Coke looking around.  Really hard to sit still by yourself at a bar while waiting for someone!

Anyway, she arrived and I had some roast chicken and chips masala (spicy fries).  Food was regular pub-type food but the real reason people go to Pots and Palms is the live band.  I guess it’s Congo style and they played music from all different African countries.  The band was awesome and played non-stop, no breaks for at least 2 hours.   A lot of people are regulars (like my coworker Beatrice) and the band knows your favorite song.  No one was dancing at first but then they started to play her favorite song so she dragged me on the dance floor and pretty soon lots of people joined in.  Then the dancing just kept going all night.  It was a ton of fun and the music was fantastic.  I’ll have to get the songs from her so I can share here.  Beatrice told the lead singer my name, so then of course every song he was calling me up to dance and chanting “Christina!” randomly throughout the songs.  Hilarious!  The band was definitely a funny mix – the lead singer who was from Congo but wearing a traditional Nigerian costume, the blind keyboard player wearing a bow tie, and the drummer in a baseball cap, and a saxophone player.

Great Live Music at Pots and Palms

Great Live Music at Pots and Palms

This was when Mike was still in Mozambique for work so it was ladies night for me and Beatrice.  I’ll have to bring him back another time.

 February 17, 2013  Posted by at 4:26 pm Food, Kenya, Nairobi Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  6 Responses »
May 262012

The luckiest thing that happened to us in Chiang Mai was that we happened to be there during the city’s annual Intakin Festival.  It takes place over a week and celebrates the city’s guardian pillar at Wat Chedi Luang.  It was going on May 17-23 this year, so every night we were there!  At night, all these stall vendors lined Phrapokkloa Rd selling delicious treats.  One vendor that we wouldn’t eat off of was the sushi vendor – not off the street in the hot weather!

Street Sushi? No Thanks

What we did eat for dinner was delicious khao soi!  Yay!  We’ve also come to the conclusion that khao soi is definitely not as widespread as we thought.  Only a few places have them (well, local places—not counting tourist restaurants).  But we came across a street vendor selling khao soi at the festival.  So good!  Much better than the last one we had.  Not as sweet and more curry flavor.  Just $1 for the bowl, success!

Delicious Khao Soi!

At another one of the street stalls, Mike tried the fried larvae, ick!  He saw Thais eating it, so he figured it was okay.  I tried a couple too, tastes like fried crunchy things.  Not bad, but I couldn’t eat more than two.  Mike polished off the whole bag.  Me?  I got myself some Lanna Thai sausage of course.

Crispy Larvae

Next door to the temple there was a small carnival set up.  Everyone loves carnivals!  It was really cute watching all these Thai families there playing carnival games and winning huge stuffed animals for the little kids.

I remember loving the balloon dart game as a kid

Inside the Wat Chedi Luang temple complex, it was completely packed with people.  You walk clockwise around a shrine and drop flowers and light candles along the way.  The air was buzzing with energy and it was such a happy celebration.

Packed Temple - There was a line to get in!

There was one giant banyan tree that everyone was stacking with flowers.  It’s said that the banyan tree acts as a solid foundation and if it were to ever fall over, Chiang Mai would surely fall after it.  People were lighting candles (you get one for the day of the week you were born) and placing lotus buds at the chedi as well.

Lighting Candles at the Base of the Chedi

On the stage, there were lots of young girls performing: dancing, singing, and sword dances.  Yes, sword dancing!  They were so young and I’m sure the swords weren’t sharp, but still fascinating all the same.  I could’ve watched the dancing for hours but I think Mike was getting bored. =)

Dancing with Swords

Traditional Thai Dancing

This was probably most fun we had walking around Chiang Mai.  It was nice to walk around surrounded by Thais instead of tourists and watch their celebrations.