The trip in the market border town of
This is when everyone started dropping like flies. The sickness hit different people different ways, but it was all nasty. Some people missed a few meals, but almost everyone made it to every activity. A few people visited the silk worm factory and the lacquerware workshop (I missed it). After a stop at the Crystal Temple (spectacular!), we finally made it to Chiang Mai, a lovely northern city of 2 million people, where the weather is cooler and the countryside is beautiful.
Another highlight was the Elephant camp, where we watching a group of elephants form a band and another one painted a picture for us. Then we rode through the jungle and across a river on elephant backs. The small rafts were an enjoyable way to take in the scenery.
I learned so much about Buddhist life the next morning when we went to give them alms (feed them breakfast). Afterwards, we attended a lecture from a renowned Buddhist scholar, Phra Saneh Dhammavaro. I even bought his book. Later we visited one of the most spectacular temples high on a mountaintop, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep.
We saw the silverware workshop and the gems—sapphires and rubies. Then we went to the handpainting place, where the artists will paint anything you bring to them—shirts, pants, purses, camera cases—all beautifully done in a few minutes. We had dinner at the home of a gorgeous Thai woman, who was gracious and welcoming to us. She showed us how to make our own Thai salad in a giant mortar and pestle, and then a delicious dinner. Some of us made the walk to the Loy Kra Tong festival near the bridge with a parade, fireworks, lanterns, and floating kra tongs.
The next morning we flew back to
Our last day, was a tour of the