I've been in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, for a few days, and I'm loving the change of scenery. I'm staying at the office/house of a partner organization, which has a lovely courtyard covered with green grass, where I've participated in early morning yoga sessions. The house also comes with two resident (plump) dogs who are veterans at begging for food. They sit on the cool floor most of the day.
Two nights ago, we were tasked with contributing a dish to a potluck. A trip to the local market followed, as did hours of cooking and cooking in the hot kitchen. At one point, as I was chopping up vegetables for the soba salad, the burn of chili and oil permeated the kitchen, stinging my eyes and those of others and forcing us to stop for a while. Too many cooks in the kitchen.
The Americans and French worked on their mango and sticky rice and bruschetta dishes, respectively. Outside, the Vietnamese team constructed and fried salad rolls, while the Thai and Laotian team barbequed pork, which I could not stop sampling with sweet chili sauce. I have no idea what the Australians contributed. Mountains of noodles and huge pots of curry were also welcome additions.