The 3 Months Ago 2 WeeksI'm now
I do value looking back on my posts and giving thanks via this blog. So, though often posted post-post trip, I keep plugging away.
Thailand is the only country I have visited 3 times. In fact there are not many countries I have been to more than once. Interesting, beautiful, travel-friendly Thailand is worth multiple visits.
It's also affordable. I say that last statement with a little self-loathing because isn't it a little bit ugly to travel to places where our salaries can go farther because their salaries are lower? The issue isn't simple and, as with too many things in this life, my desire, in this case for adventure and rest, dulled my pangs of social conscience. Which is not a little ugly. I do sponsor an adorable little boy, from Thailand through Compassion International. I had planned to visit him, but in the end, it didn't happen. Sponsorship is one way I try to be socially responsible with my money. I do feel I have a responsibility to not spend all of my money on only me. And I want to give and do so responsibly. Through sponsorships I can share some of my extra and build relationships with people different than myself. In this program, both the sponsor and the child writes letters back and forth and I send a small monthly monetary gift to compliment his parent's care. I really believe in this organisation and I was an volunteer 'advocate' going to events to share my Compassion sponsorship experiences with sponsorship in order to get more sponsors for other children, when I lived in Nebraska.
Just the HighlightsMy first time in Northern Thailand was divided into 4 cities, Chiang Mai Chiang Rai, Pai and Sukhothai.
First, I stayed in Chiang Mai, with the main intent to rest. Chiang Mai is famous for its old city with its markets and temples, and for elephants. The Old City used to be walled and it still has some sections of the old wall. I stayed right outside of the Old City. At this point in the trip, and in my life, I felt over. done with. don't care... about temples. The elephants were great, but I wasn't wowed by the conditions at the elephant sanctuary. So my Chiang Mai 'highlights' are the food and the Saturday market. I ate at different places, but I frequented a favorite restaurant almost everyday. I don't care for shopping and I am often bored by markets, but Chiang Mai's Saturday market was pretty nice. No one yelled out or pressured me to buy anything and they had lots of cheap, delicious food and drinks. So. Yeah. My 'highlight' is basically just food. Besides having great food, Chiang Mai was also a comfortable place to reflect on life and relax. Thailand has great hotels and Inns.
Chiang Rai's highlight was renting and riding a motor bike! I had to have heightened awareness at all times, but it was amazing. The wind is the best AC. I was also thrilled to see a sun phenomenon, and though a self-proclaimed temple grump, I did like Chiang Rai's color themed white and blue temples.
I am not that impressed by temples anymore, however it is interesting to see people's hunger for prayer and the spiritual. The 'white temple' had its own token to write a prayer on, and hang up. I got one and put my prayer on it. I've done this in various places. In China, the 'tokens' are often strips of colored fabric, but the idea is the same.
Pai is a small city with a great nighttime food market. I stayed in a nice hotel and I also got around on a motor bike. My highest Pai highlight was Pai canyon. You can climb the natural and unsafe canyons without any fee or supervision. I can't believe people don't die out there every day! (I think I like being a little freaked out.) This was the first time I have seen anything like this and they just give you freedom to climb wherever. you. want. Driving the motor bike to Coffee Love and chilling with its gorgeous view was on this 'Highlights' list as well. Also bouncing and bumping over dirt roads to get to Pai's long and picturesque bamboo bridge was fun.
Shukhathai, my final summer city stop, is one of Thailand's old capital cities. This is located in central Thailand and took 7 hour on a bus to reach. Within a relatively small area, there are a ton of ancient ruins... ahem... temples. But they were, I will admit, pretty awesome. I leisurely biked around the old city and checked out many of them.
This was the end of my amazing 1-2-3-4 adventure. One girl, 2 bags, 3 countries and 4 weeks. It was a rich and refreshing summer.