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Belly Massage

In a hipster neighbourhood of Chiang Mai (they're everywhere!), I took a one-week introduction class to CHI NEI TSANG (a kind of abdominal massage) with Ohm Rinraya and it was amazing! Ohm is also a Thai Massage teacher. Her approach is very direct: no complicated Anatomy classes, as long as you kinda know where your organs are (!), let's go: “meet the tension“! All practice and no theory (besides an hour or so, on a total of 20 hours!) and it's the same during Thai Massage classes: hands-on! So if I want to learn more about the psychophysical and energetic sides of it, I'll have to find another way! Meanwhile, gimme your bellies, I can't way to practice on you guys when I get back home!


Thai Cooking

That week, I also flirted with the idea of taking a Thai cooking course. I really wanted to bring back to my kitchen some tastes and scents of Thailand. I ended up signing up to an orgasmic (almost!) half-day of Thai cuisine. When I first arrived in Thailand, I had no intention of randomly trying out weird-looking dishes from Bangkok street food stands without any guidance. But thanks to Tik, our adorable, funny and really knowledgeable cooking teacher, I finally dared! We first went to an authentic morning market and Tik explained thoroughly everything we encountered: fried bacon rind (it tasted like Quebec's traditional oreilles de crisse!), century eggs (it's all black inside and quite off-putting, but the taste is not so bad!), chicken fetuses (that was a no from me!), fried duck beaks (honestly... I couldn't either), a whole row of stands filled with hot peppers of all sizes and colors (I tested from mildest to hottest by biting into raw peppers: I drooled and blew my nose and cried for 10 good minutes!), a mountain of delicious teal-colored paste: a kind of cilantro-ginger-lemongrass dip… that looked like it was passed its due date...

As far as fruits go... I tasted the durian, an iconic Thai fruit, which smells so much like a garbage container that it's banned from hotels and public transportation. Actually, it tastes much better than it smells! The jackfruit (below): another huge fruit, weighing around 80lbs. Its flesh is soft, firm and so sweet that you'd think it's candy (it's good in small amounts)...

We also encountered sweet black jelly cubes (Thai style Jell-O!) and rice noodles (green and pink) with coconut milk for dessert…


Seeing everyone's reaction during my group visit, I realized once more how we tend to fear the worst (a bunch of us traveling to Southeast Asia think we are going to suffer from food poisoning at every occasion).

I'm not proud of it, but I must admit that I was part of that bunch. When you talk about Asia, most people tell stories of food poisoning, giant spiders, venomous snakes, scorpions, tropical diseases... to name a few!

I don't see myself as reckless, but I'm proud to be open-minded and able to question my own fears. That's how I get to fully enjoy the adventures in the end! And thanks to my self-mockery, I ended up laughing at myself and having a lot of fun!!!


Back at the cooking school, we prepared lots of delicious recipes that I can't wait to try again at home! Like the green papaya salad below!



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Many of you have met Véronique Laplante during her 3 years and more as Lotus Palm administrator and massage therapist. She is a dear member of the Lotus Palm family and we follow her journey with great pride and love.

She has graciously agreed to share with us her thoughts, experiences and photos while she is traveling through Southeast Asia.

We will publish her story over the next few months. Follow the guide!