Return to my favorite country
Trip Start Jun 11, 2011
7Trip End Jul 24, 2011
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Yesterday was a great first day, and a day of firsts: first temples, first pad thai, first Turkish toilets, first tuk-tuk and first massage of the trip.
Oh and did I mention my first mosquito bites?
Chiang Mai is a charming city, easy to naviagate and temples everywhere. There's great (cheap) food, gorgeous temple architecture and fun nightlife.
Monks: many are so very young. My first sighting immediately re-kindled my fascination with these individuals. Who are they? Why have they embarked upon this journey? Will it be a life-long commitment or a brief segment of their life? For example, a very kind and chatty law student I met at one of the temples confessed his stint as a monk lasted 9 days and was an attempt to ward off bad luck at the age of 25 (Thais considered 25 to be an unlucky number?).
Highlights of the day: an impromtu soccer game. The kindness of strangers. Excellent timing at Wat Phra Singh (Lion Buddha): the gathering of the monks-in-training & an opportunity to witness their call to worship. This group participation and chanting was intriguing, and all the more enhanced as we were able to view the deep meditation of one of the senior monks. This gentleman seemed to not even blink or breathe for hours.
As evening fell, we stumbled upon a facility in which blind individuals give massages. This was $5 well spent! Being visually-impaired, these individuals appear to have a heightened sense of touch. My masseuse certainly knew what she was doing, and I felt completely relaxed and rejuvenated following her work.
Our nighttime activities included dim sum at a roadside cafe, a nightcap at a recommended bar (Gekko Garden), and a midnite dip in the pool. What a great way to spend our first day in Thailand!