Thursday, February 21, 2008

J made it safe and sound

We've spent the last two days walking around the neighborhood and around Chiang Mai. (Note: everyone is out of the office on various trips and meetings and today is a holiday) Here are the steps down from Wat Pa Daeng, the temple just up the street. We went in and began talking to one of the monks. I pulled out my vocabulary list and we had an impromptu joint English and Thai lesson. Then he posed in front of the Buddha in the sanctuary. Today is Macha Bucha day. I couldn't find a whole lot on line explaining the holiday, but here's a little from

Macha Bucha Day is the important Buddhist holy day (on a fullmoon of third lunar month) celebrates the occasion when:

  • 1,250 of the Lord Buddha's disciples spontaneously gathered to hear him preach without any schedule

  • all of them were ‘Arhantas', the Enlightened One, and were ordained by the Buddha Himself

  • and the Buddha gave those Arhantas the principles of the Buddhism, called "The Ovadhapatimokha".

So on the day like this, Buddhist all over the world would go to the temple to offer food to the monks, Vien Tien (candles light procession), listen to Dharma talk, enjoy the good deeds at the temples.

We'll go tonight at 7pm to vientien - walk around the temple and the chedi three times with the candles and leave an offering for the monks. There were a lot of places selling prepackaged stuff today, but the bucket they mostly come in was too much to carry around all day. I'm hoping we can get stuff at the wat, though this is a reltively small wat. But it is just up the street. And now we know one of the monks.

We also got to see our building from a different angle. We're on the top floor looking out into the trees on the left. In the next post I'll put up a couple of views into those trees.

I'm down in the lobby now using the wifi which doesn't get all the way up to the fourth floor and the dsl connection isn't working right. It says we're connected to the internet, but every website times out and we get nothing. So today/s pictures will have to wait.

We also walked around the Chiang Mai university campus which is very close by. A woman who asked if we needed help turned out to be a graduate of the political science and public administration program so she ended up taking us to see the Dean of the Social Sciences who teaches public administration.

We also checked on the swimming pool at the university. It is Olympic sized, costs B300 a year membership (just under $10) and B30 each swim. So Joan will sign up there. The fancy boutique hotel across the street from us where two nights (about $300) in the cheapest room costs more than one month in our room only lets hotel guests use the pool. We can't even buy our way in, but we can eat at the restaurant. Thanks.

And we had dinner at a Vietnamese place nearby. The food is great. But I was really impressed with the windows. Someone obviously didn't like the dark wall. So I'm guessing they had the wall smashed open put in the windows. But left the wall so you could see how the liberated the room from the dark. It takes a lot of guts to actually do something like this and leave it like this. I think it works and makes a strong statement.

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