Chang-ing in Chiang Rai

One night I was walking down an alley in Chiang Mai when a group of young locals called me over. They said “whisky” and passed me a plastic cup with pinkish liquid in it. Not wanting to be rude, I drank it. I gagged. It was the strongest alcohol I have ever encountered, and it left me with a voice like I’d been gargling with gravel. They all laughed, and handed me a cup of water. Then they offered me a plate of fried grasshoppers and chicken feet. After I got my voice back, they asked in broken English for my name, where I was from, was I married… a lot of questions. I tried to ask some back in Thai,but the alcohol had burned its way into my brain’s language centres and I could only smile and laugh along with their gestures. To this day, I have no idea what the occasion was, but it turned out to be a great night! Except for the hangover. That was nasty.

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