See These Monks? Totally Fake
— Charm, adds a bit of charm
In several of Chiang Mai’s impressive temples, wax statues of deceased revered monks that give any Madame Tussaud’s a run for its money stare out into the temple space for all time. In a few instances we had to do more than a double double-take before realizing the monk sitting so inhumanly still was, in fact, inhuman.
To The Jungle Bubba!
Steeper than it looks
Riding elephants through the river and up into the jungle — the erstwhile foresters, still fit and lively beasts of burden, now cart tourists up and down their jungle paths, keeping their mahouts employed and their species alive — at least for now.
The Stored Honey of the Elephant Soul
“…But I know what I like”
At the elephant centre, we saw elephants playing soccer, and elephants painting paintings of elephants painting elephants. The artwork is sold on site and in galleries around the world, the proceeds of which are used to preserve the way of life of mahouts and the survival of their elephants.
A Bamboo Raft
Take me to the river
Paddle me a few strokes downstream, and let me off again.
And all things nice
A Standard Mode of Transport
“Get in the back of the van!”
The Karen People
Long story short, the Karen cover their necks in metal coils said to protect from the claws and jaws of tigers
In the colourful Karen village, we bought textiles and smiled with the children.
On our last night in Chiang Mai — which was also our last night in Thailand — we were having dinner at a roadside eatery when a series of small explosions in the night sky caught everyone’s attention. Fireworks were suddenly glowing above Wat Chedi Luang across the street, and the sky was illuminated by scores of lanterns floating up into the air. A Buddhist festival of some kind was underway, and we made our way over to the wat, seeing what remained of the feast, and of the young monks releasing lanterns into the sky. One after one the lanterns disappeared, into the far distance, glowing softer and dimmer, until they were gone. And with that it was goodnight Chiang Mai, goodbye Thailand.