|Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai
In Chiang Mai, I quickly made my way in the early, pre-dawn hours (I don't know why they schedule bus service to deliver passengers at the unworkable hour of 4:30 a.m.?) to my favorit vegetarian restuarant in town, where I knew I could find food, a little friendly company, and take part in the symbolic yet very practical act of offering food to passing monks. Thailand is one of the few countries in the world where monks carryon the living tradition of Buddha's teaching: monks should be dependent on their community for food.
After offering food, I scouted around for a room to rent for the night, and a found a place to do my laundry (for about a quarter the price they wanted in Bangkok). By noon, I was at Wat Umong catching up with my dear friend, Tan Pornsai. Seeing him brought me right back to old times, and I can't wait to find another time to visit with him again, perhaps in his country of Laos. In first three rows of pictures below, you can see the monastery where I spent six weeks studying the teachings of Buddha and learning a few basic practices of Buddhism.
Tearing myself away from Chiang Mai, I visited my newly-made friend, Joe, up in Chiang Rai. Joe and I'd met in East Timor where he was working with the UN; we thought we had a few things in common (being about the tallest fellows on that island) and I keep finding myself very drawn to this man's ideas. He is a pleasure to hang around with, and he graciously included me in sight-seeing plans he had formed with another friend of his from Princeton, Pomme, and her mother. We had a great couple days riding on rivers and elephants, visiting meditation caves and crossing the border into Burma.
|Perfect Street||Creamatory||Reservoir||Waggy||Ajarn Narin, Tan Porsai, and Goofy|
|Studying Hard||Tan Pornsai's Kuti||Chanting Hall||Island in the Pond||Near-by Wat Suan Dok|
|Wat Doi Suthep||Dhama Library||Buddha Heads||Dear Friends||Grocery Store|
|Street Artisan||Humerous Art||Lamps||Street Performance||Worms Anyone?|
|Chiang Rai Beauty Dance||Elephant Ride||Hungry||Tempting||Orchid|
|Friends||Traditional Water Urns||Auspicious Gardens||Princess Mother's Mountain Retreat||Buddha|
|Story of the Crystal Image||Crystal Image||Wat Chiang Man||Monks Catching a Ride||Comfy Spot|
|Buddhas||Intricate Roof||Peaceful Edge||Roof Detail||Silk Shop|