To Thais, "upcountry" is any place in the country that's not Bangkok, whether it's north, south, east or west of the capital. The term is sometimes used disparagingly in reference to anyone the speaker deems a bit of a bumpkin (as in, "What do you expect, she's from upcountry." <haughty sniff>), but in my opinion upcountry in Thailand is a wonderful place to be because the pace is slower,people are even friendlier than they are in Bangkok, and there's always something delicious - and oftentimes new - to eat.
We're touching down in Chiang Mai, but after picking up a car we'll be spending most of our time here and here. Both are beautiful, blessedly undertouristed provinces. We'll be enjoying the clean air and wide open spaces, the fresh, cool nighttime air and, of course, local specialties. And we think we've made contact with at least one person who can get us into a local kitchen or two to see what's usually done with all the unfamiliar market vegetables we saw on our last trip, in the markets.
See you back here after February 7.