Wat Muen Toom

This was one of the six temples I visited on my day off. 

I have passed this temple so many times. I would see the white tower in what looked like a parking lot. It looked so lonely. I tried to take a picture from the sidewalk but the lighting was never just right. This day I finally decided to go and get a better look. And I am glad I did.

No one was here besides me, the monks, and two Thai women. From the main road you really don’t see all the hidden treasures and details-Stitch painted on the wall, a little sparkle figurine, a sign that says “Eat to live but not live to eat.” So essentially if you ever visit Chiang Mai don’t skip the small temples. Find the hidden charms of this great city.

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Wat Jetlin

This was one of the six temples I visited on my day off.
This was right next door to Wat Fon Soi. I walked in. A dog was napping and three monks watched. A man was also there who I assumed was some sort of grounds keeper. Right away he gave me the stick to hit the gigantic gong that was just a couple feet from the entrance. I was slightly flabbergasted. Most people at temples just ignore me. Just another tourist snapping a million photos. When visiting temples I stay quiet and try to keep to myself.
Not only did he want me to hit the thing bigger than me, he wanted to me to have a photo memory of it. He took my photo, I hit it, and another photo was taken. It was a warm welcome to one of my favorite temples.
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Because of my work schedule I never get to take photos near sunset. And now that I think of it I have never taken photos near sunset until this day. The lighting was just perfect. I don’t even know how to describe it. I was in heaven. I couldn’t stop taking photos of this beautiful place. There was a slight golden glow all over.

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I wanted to give a little donation to this temple. It was a small one but I felt at peace and felt the urge to give a financial gift. Wat Chedi Luang is near by which is a big and famous and people are always there crowded around the entrance. Red taxis wait for tourists. There is always a sense of “business” whenever I pass.

It made me wonder about the smaller temples. Do less people visit? Do less people donate? Is there any type of competition between the temples? Just in this small area was about four temples but the city is filled with literally hundreds of them and most of them are small and hidden.

I only had 1,00 baht bills- the biggest they have. I decided to go buy something to make change small enough for a donation. As I walked a few Chinese tourist entered with smoothies in cups as big as their heads. I bought over priced orange juice at a store across the street and waited for what seemed like forever for my change. I put the money in the box thankful for my time at Wat Jetlin.

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This Road

This road is far enough from the city center that the only elephant pants I see are the ones I wear at home. Near by is a grocery store. Both Thai and expats families buy food here just like other people do around the world. This road leads to the center of the city and I have walked it back and forth each day. It slowly has become familiar and has become part of my routine. Smile at the iced tea lady. Wave at the bricks sellers. I just went by the McDonald’s so I am half way there. 

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This road has spots of over grown green.

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This road has these little houses. Even with my Google searching I could not find the proper name. They are a little alter or shrine and sprinkled throughout the city in front of houses or businesses. They take flowers and even drinks from people. This is where people buy them. They are protected by barbed wire.

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This road believes pizza is an art.

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This road is full of green surprises.

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This road has a building that intrigues me. It says its a guesthouse but the building looks like it used for storage and not a person is in sight.

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The brother

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A Visit to a Temple

“I got to go to temple for my birthday. Do you want to come?”

“Yes, please.”

I didn’t know where the temple would but I thought it would be in the city center. Well, it was actually the opposite way farther away from it all. It was the first time I have been to a temple with no Chinese tourists.

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The blessing was dropped off. We were ready to leave and I was ready to take some pictures of the grounds. I have bought a bracelet from almost every temple I have visited in Thailand. While here I saw the box full of various colors but I saw a white one, the color I had been wanting next. I put the 100 Baht in the box, grabbed the little piece of jewelry, and the monk said something in Thai. They translated for me: He said you look like a famous female Thai boxer. Definitely a blessing.

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I was told the bathroom was “very good.” I thought nothing of it as my standards of bathrooms have changed drastically after life in China. But then I saw the sign” Best Public Toilet of the Year. Do they have bathroom competitions? Do they rate them on some app? What makes this public toilet the best?

I was intrigued but didn’t have to use the bathroom. I sat down but then a thought hit me. Go to the bathroom. Just go see. Last week I posted on Facebook a picture that said, “Invitation to worship holy object” and both my aunt and mother wanted to know what it was. I didn’t go and they wondered how I wasn’t curious. I really was just lazy and tired.

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I took off my shoes and crossed the small bridge. I entered the building and looked for the woman’s room but it wasn’t divided by sex. A few moments later is clicked. There was a stall for each zodiac year. Toilet of the year. Horse. Sheep. Goat. Dragon. Rat.

Year of the horse was the first on the right. I entered. There was no toilet paper but the goat next door had a few squares to spares for me.

After I was told this bathroom is lucky. Now I can say I have been to and peed in a lucky bathroom.

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Have you ever used a bathroom assigned by zodiac sign? Would you ever want to?

 

Planning to Travel and Travel Planning

I planning on going back to the states this summer and stay for a while. I am not giving up traveling, I am just going to be doing it differently. I am more than a traveler and there are things I miss on the road and I can get them and do them in NYC. I do want to move abroad again someday but since I got burned pretty bad in China I want to wait a while before making another big move.

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Oh China.

But for the time being I am still on the road. It’s the beginning of March and I plan on arriving in NYC the beginning of July.

At the end of the month I plan on taking a little time of work to explore Laos. I finally mapped out the cities I will be visiting. I googled “Laos north to south” and managed to find someone who did the journey and used his itinerary as a guide. Also, thanks to Google and Pinterest I managed to learn about various activities like take a hot air balloon in Vang Vieng, help young adults practice English in Luang Prabang, and learn all about coffee in Paksong. It’s going to be a great and it will be so nice to not worry about stable internet connection for a couple days!

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In case you don’t know where Laos is here is a map.

I’ve been really wanting to go to Morocco and planned on going in June. Meanwhile, I have been really enjoying Chiang Mai and I have already been thinking about when will I return. I told myself, “Well, you could come back in June you know.” Yah, Morocco would be great but its just a little out of the way. I could technically afford to go to Morocco but I could save a lot of money staying in area. I mean, Morocco really is out of the way. Like across the world.

My plan now is to leave for Laos on the 24th and manage to be in Hanoi, Vietnam on April 7th as I am renting an apartment there for a month there. I can still work my job and manage to take a trip to the Sapas and Halong Bay. Plus, I really want to explore Hanoi and learn about Vietnamese culture and life. And of coarse try Vietnamese food. After I plan to make my way down Vietnam, stop in a few cities, and then get to Bangkok. I might even spend a few days in Cambodia. I mean, who doesn’t want to see Angkor Wat?

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Just look at it.

After that is a mystery. I don’t know where I will be for the month of June. My contract ends the last day of May so I hope I can renew it in mid June. Then I could I have a little time off to travel (and not worry about the internet!). I would love to come back to Chiang Mai for my birthday and go visit an elephant shelter.

I have been playing around with visiting Nepal but then a friend suggested Burma as they heard good things. I asked a Chinese friend who has travelled around Southeast Asia and he highly recommended it (over Nepal). The plane ticket to Burma is significantly cheaper than Nepal. So who knows where I am will turn up. I have even been looking at Skyscanner’s “everywhere” option seeing all the possibilities.

It’s funny cause I use to be such a planner but travel and living in Asia has made me much more relaxed. Everything will take care of itself. And I am still making money, so hey!

“Insert cheesy travel quote here.”

Any recommendations where I should go in June? How do you plan when you travel?

 

 

 

Wanderings in Chiang Mai

Here is a photo collection of my first week in Chiang Mai

Day 1 Monday

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The “main event” was being introduced to Northern Thai food. I was told this place was “very Thai”- it was outside and no foreigner was in site. My favorite dish was the sticky rice. I got to roll it up in a ball and then dip it in curry. I enjoyed “playing” with my food.” Thai food has lots of chili so my body was a little shocked but I enjoyed the kick.

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Day 2 Tuesday

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A moment in Chiang Mai

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That’s so Thailand: Temple. Motorbike. A tourist in harem pants.

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A little coffee shop I went to. So cute.

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This cafe was called “Into the Woods Cafe.” My inner musical theatre nerd was very happy.

Day 3 Wednesday

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I have learned that “green tea” in Thailand is more like a green tea latte. This one was the size of my head and the color of a milky way pen. Only 25 baht.

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Wat Chedi Luang

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I didn’t go see the holy object- my mom and aunt were super curious!
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This black and gold temple was near a coffee shop. I just love the contrast.
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Love me some street art.

Day 4 Thursday

This was my day “off” so naturally I had three Thai iced teas. I bought exciting things like conditioner and razors and even managed to find a curly hair product! A CURLY HAIR PRODUCT IN ASIA, YA’LL.

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This lady is my favorite- 25 baht and a short walking distance from where I am staying.

Day 5 Friday

Wat Phra Singh

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I almost forgot I took the photos below!

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Just look at it.

Day 6 Saturday

I taught for six hours. During my lunch break I saw this charming sign so I took a photo on my iPhone.

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I also posted these on social media of my “artistic challenge.” It was sort of fun and different than anything I have done. I want to try another color or two.

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Wat Chedi Luang

One my second day in Chiang Mai my taxi driver dropped me off in front of here. I took a picture or two and kept walking as it really didn’t catch my eye. The next day I passed by it again and decided to look a little more. Well, there was so much more behind the first building. I spent a good amount of time here taking pictures and enjoying the grounds.

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This view was my favorite. I can’t decide which photo is my favorite as they all tell a slightly different story.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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