Today we continued exploring the streets of Chiang Mai. The very center of town was surrounded by a wall the way many old fortress towns were, and there is a bit of the wall left in some places. We walked by a portion which looked restored and read some of its history. We had fun shopping around and of course admiring all of the temples until we were hungry and found a place for lunch. As we were sitting looking at the menu…a big rat caught our eye in the kitchen scurrying along the floor under the equipment. And…believe it or not, we stayed and ate there! It had really good curry which is what it was known for…not a huge fan of rats running around but since everything is outdoors in Thailand, there are probably many more rats than we want to think about.
More shopping around and more sight-seeing lead to more eating, we found a cute authentic Thai place with a table sitting right on the edge of the street. The owner greeted us and pointed out which things she thought we would like the best. Giff found the kitchen with the one chef and took some pictures of her preparing our meal with fresh herbs from the garden. We gobbled up the delicious food and washed it down with a local beer.
As the day turned into night, we found ourselves at the night Bazaar which is a market full of local crafts. We walked through the many booths of t-shirts, jewelry, hand-made lanterns, soaps, chop-sticks etc. The bazaar is built around a main area where a stage holds entertainers and various food stalls sell street food. From there the craft stalls span out keeping everyone busy for hours. Giff and I sat down and watched the dancers for a bit while we munched on pizza and then Giff left to meet one of the tailors who needed to see if the suits that were custom-made for him fit. I stayed at the bazaar, slowly shopping around and enjoying the scene. Giff came back after about an hour and we finished up before walking back to our hotel room for the evening.
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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