Showing posts from July, 2005
Today I spent most of the day visiting some of the wats (i.e. Buddhist temples) that dot the landscape of this city. They're fascinating places. All of them are working temples, in that they have monks who stay there, tend the grounds, and teach. Several of them are hundreds of years old and have been restored in recent years. Walking up to the main building on the temple grounds, you always see an assortment of shoes lined up outside. No one is allowed inside with shoes on. And it is considered very insulting to sit with your feet pointed at the Buddha statue inside of the pagoda. Most people sit on their feet, although some sit sort of side-saddle, with their legs off to the side. Many people are there to pray, although today most of the people that I saw were tourists, like me. All of us clicking our cameras. I didn't get a chance to talk to any monks, most of them were walking around on the periphery of the grounds. I suppose they were tending to chores or studying in their
First full day of exploring Chiang Mai. And after a long sleep - almost 12 hours. Amazing how a little sleep deprivation can make the world look a bit less bright. Today David and Maew took me up to Doi Suthep to see the Buddhist temple on the mountain. The story is that several hundred years ago, the King of Chiang Mai sent a white elephant up the mountain with some bones from the Buddha. The elephant got to the top, dropped the bones, and fell over dead. So they figured it was a sign from god and built a temple on the spot. And it's a beautiful spot. Many images of the Buddha, many statues. Also some from Hindu theology. It's a real monastery so many of the people there were praying, lighting incense, and chanting. There was a monk reading to some of the pilgrims. I sat and listened for a little bit. Of course, it was Thai language so I didn't understand a word. The sing-song quality was quite mesmerizing though. After walking around for a bit, we headed down the 306 step
Only 7:23 and I feel like it could be 2:00 a.m. But it's getting better. Spending most of today outside really helped. I got to Chiang Mai at 7:30 this morning, checked into the hotel, had a shower and started to feel human again. I resisted the urge to jump into the very inviting bed and opted instead for a quick walk around the hotel's neighborhood. It's a commercial strip with many little shops, including an abundance of Internet cafes with access at a reasonable 10 Baht per 30 minutes. (A Baht is worth about 2.5 cents US. You do the math.) The Chiang Mai Public Library is also just down the street. I haven't gone in yet but I'm sure I will before I leave town on Tuesday. It took me a while, blame it on the travel stupor I was in, but eventually I began to notice the religious symbols all over the place. Every other block, if not more often, I saw little spirit houses. The usually had a statue of a god in a house or gazebo-like structure. Most often the gods look
My usual blog at seems to be out of commission at the moment. I hope to get it working shortly. In the meantime, here's plan B. Nothing much to report, except that Korean Airlines knows how to treat its passengers well. I flew from Chicago to Seoul and from Seoul to Bangkok on KAL and on both trips had hot meals that were actually serverd on ceramic serving pieces with flatware that wasn't plastic. Amazing. On the Chicago-Seoul flight we actually had two hot meals because it's a cotton-picking 14 hour marathon. They did their best to make it manageable. We had three movies. Two American and one South Korean. The American films were forgettable romantic comedies: The Wedding Date and Fever Pitch. The South Korean film turned out to be quite affecting, even when few over the heads of all the people in front of me. It's called 'Little Brother' and would be worth searching out on DVD. OK, so now I'm in the Bangkok airport. One more flight