“Not all those who wander are lost”
The sun has set on my first two weeks in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I am beginning to find my way here. Getting around is a lot less scary and everything is more enjoyable to discover. This in no way means I have not had any breakdowns. I am just saying I am learning to deal with them a bit better than I would have before this adventure began.
Thailand being a Buddhist country, temples play an important role in everyday life for Thai people. People go to the temple for merit-making, pray to the Buddha for things such as good health, good fortune and wealth and to seek advice from monks. For travelers like myself, it tends to mean being in awe of the beauty and getting some great photographs. Chuck and I have explored MANY temples in the last 2 weeks. We both have made a conscious effort to stop in every other few to take a moment to reflect and be still in the moment. These have been my favorite moments. Admittedly, being still is one of the things I am desperately trying to work on. The Wat Phra Singh Temple (The Gold Temple) is absolutely stunning. It shines so brightly in the sun that it is almost blinding. I was mesmerized by it and the grounds. Especially seeing the Library of Historical Buddhist Scripture, if only I could have gone inside. On this day we went to many other beautiful temples but nothing topped the Gold Temple, until…. the Wat Sri Suphan (The Silver Temple.) What the Gold Temple has in size and shine, the silver temple has in intricacies and beauty. The World’s first silver temple did not disappoint. I was slightly bummed that there was a “Man Only” sign meaning women could not enter. I read up on this and it is a very old tradition in the Buddhist faith that women do not enter temples. I will let the pictures I took, do the talking for each of these STUNNING temples.
The magic of the night is not strictly in regards to the night markets. Night markets can be found every night and all over the city, LadyBoy performances can not. I was craving some queer culture and had heard the legends of the Thai Ladyboys. Ladyboys are considered a third gender here in Thailand and some are “drag” performers and some are not. So, I am using the term loosely but not offensively, yes I checked with a very kind “Ladyboy” I had chatted with online. So one night after a night market Chuck and I made our way to Ram Bar (has an interesting story all its own) and prepared for the show. Or so we thought. We were not prepared. It was unbelievable. The introduction videos were even impressive as they lit up the curtains. There were songs we knew, songs in Thai, audience interaction, choreographed group numbers and the bar was set on fire. I was in ah and will look at drag performances in a much different light from now on.
As you can tell, I am beginning to find my footing in a whole new world. A world that is so far removed from where I am from. Yet, it feels so very familiar at the same time. I hope to continue to find myself along this adventure. And hope to continue to meet new and interesting people on this journey. I will leave you with random photos of food and people we have met. I am off to Pai, Thailand for a week in the mountains. Stay Tuned!,