So when I left you last Alex and I were i the town of LopBuri playing with wild monkey's. The day we left LopBuri their was a giant parade to honor the temple in town. There were hundreds of school children marching through the town in amazing dress. I took a picture of the girl below, with her permission of course while we were waiting for our train.
Isn't that a great outfit?!?
On Friday morning we boarded an "express" train to Chang Mai. It was one of the nicest trains they have but still pretty old and man did it go slow!! It took us well over 10 hours to get to Chang Mai but we enjoyed just sitting back in the AC and watching the countryside go buy.
As we got further north it got much more tropical. More rice fields.
It starts to get mountainous near Chang Mai - the mountains around Chang Mai remind me a lot of the smokey mountains in NC.
Alex and I really like the city of Chang Mai. It is a walled city and has a good tourist infrastructure. There are over 300 Wats (temples) within the city.
There are no true addresses in Thailand, only directions to places based on streets. This town has the prettiest street signs I have ever seen! That being said though, it is still hard to find your way around.
Oh, the glorious toilets of Thailand. You use the water in the bucket next to the toilet to flush. And the sides that you step up on can get really slippery so be careful, this is NOT a place you want to fall!
We saw what seemed like a gazillon wats yesterday! One of the bigger one has a large university associated with it and they were about to have a very large event. We found out later that the event was to honor a monk who had just died and the "celebration" was his public cremation.
Now what to make of this? It has an elephant head and the body of a duck and the body of the monk who just passed is on the back of this creature waiting in 95 degree heat to be cremated tonight. I don't think you can see the casket in this picture but trust me.... it was there. Different cultures are so fascinating!
Monks paying respect to the departed Monk.
After a long day of "wating" in the heat Alex and I went for a message. Best $6 we have spent so far.
Alex drinking Tea in his sexy message outfit before our message.
This is my favorite Wat we have seen yet. It is "newish" and is build completely out of SILVER! It was absolutely spectacular. The picture does not do it justice.
The inside of the temple was covered in the most amazing reliefs, again all in silver.
Mural inside the Temple.
Last night Alex and I spent the evening at a temple sitting and discussing Buddhism with a group of Monks. It was absolutely fascinating. We spent hours asking them questions and listening to their explanations. We learned that the Buddhism here in Thailand is very mixed with many of the beliefs of Hinduism and that is why we see people giving offering and why many of the Wats look the way they do. After several hours of "chatting" we had a private meditation lesson from two of the monks. It was great, I can't say that I understood everything, but we learned a lot and had a great time!
Oh, and have I mentioned that they drive on the left over here. I get whiplash crossing the crazy streets as I always look the wrong way first step out and then look the correct direction only to see that I have just stepped out in front of 20 fast moving motorbikes! Yikes.
We are taking the day off from doing much of anything today. The heat was really getting to Alex and I am just exhausted and needed a break from all the walking. So its 3pm here and Alex is still sleeping and I am blogging in a little cafe watching people walk by on the street. What a vacation! Tonight we plan to go to the big market they have here. There isn't a lot stuff worth buying though, just lots of cheep, I mean really cheep stuff from china that is not worth bringing home. Tomorrow we are going to go to a place in the mountain that cares for sick elephants and hopefully "help" them care for the elephants. I am sure it will be touristy but fun I hope. Then the next day we plan to fly or take and overnight train down to southern Thailand and relax on the beach for awhile.