Friday, October 31, 2014

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Happy Halloween!  Of course Halloween isn't celebrated here, so.....

Wat Phra Singh is a perfect example of Lanna architecture.  It's been an important temple here for 700 years and was constructed by King Phayoo of the Mengrai Dynasty-



There are numerous temples on the site-


These three monks were in deep meditation.  They didn't move!


These four monks were on the other side of the altar-


Once again, there are many murals that are frescoes, painted directly on the walls-



This jade Buddha seemed quite unique-


This is the main attraction at Wat Phra Singh-


This very large Buddha is inside.  Notice the monks in front.


Here's another monk in deep meditation-


This replica of a former important monk to this temple is covered in gold leaf.  They've even put a pair of plastic framed glasses on him!


Gold leaf can be purchased in 2 cm squares and the faithful apply it to Buddhas and other artifacts-


Wat Chiang Man is the oldest wat in the city.  It was erected by King Mengrai, the founder of Chiang Mai in 1296.    Phrra Sila - the Marble Buddha, which is 1800 years old and Phra Setangamani-the Crystal Buddha -2500 years old, live here.



I love the detail and bright colors-


The main altar has a silver Buddha sitting in front-



Behind him are the Crystal and Marble Buddhas.  They are in the cage and hard to see-


There are lots of murals, a typical Lanna style-



The evening market was fun - everything imaginable is there.  Today was a lot of fun!








Thursday, October 30, 2014

Chiang Mai, Thailand

The Lanna style architecture of the temples in Chiang Mai is distinctive for the intrictate woodcarvings, murals and steep pitched roofs.  I saw many examples today!

Wat Phra Chedi Luang was started by King Saen Muang Ma at the end of the 14th century as a tomb for his father but finished in the mid-15th.  The chedi used to be 90 meters high until 1545 when it was damaged in an earthquake.  Today's chedi is 60 meters high.  Notice the large elephants on the left side!




This is Wat Phan Tao.  It's made of teak.  Notice my bike that cost $3.30 to rent for the day!


Inside is the Pra Buddha Attharos.  His posture is significant as it's called the Preventing Relatives from Fighting Posture.  According to legend, two families who were related to Buddha, were fighting over the water in a river that separated their land.  Lord Buddha asked this question:  "Which means more to you - water or relatives?"  This question forced them to think about what they were doing, stop flighting and bloodshed was prevented.  This position also says Peace to the World-


This is the front altar-


These animal zodiac banners, also called Tung, are used to get rid of bad luck.  Many hang from the ceiling-


Monks walk around towns carrying their alms bowl, hoping for donations of money and food.  There were many in this wat-


There are many offerings of food, flowers, incense, money and other items.  A donation box is always close by!


Another side altar-


The Three King's Monument is dedicated to the three northern Lao kings who founded Chiang Mai.  They are dressed in 14th century costumes.  People also leave gifts of flowers and incense-


The square at the Three King's Monument was decorated with many colorful lanterns-


I had a Thai massage here.  The petite woman used almost every part of her body to prod, push, slap, twist and bend almost every part of mine!  A one hour massage cost $6.00-


Looking forward to another day here tomorrow!








Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chiang Mai, Thailand

I love Thailand!

This tree was outside our hotel.  I don't know what it's called but it's beautiful!


This crop was growing along the highway.  We're not sure what it is either.  Some thought pot, others not.


Finally we're back to something familiar like....

Decent highways!  It was so smooth - something we've definitely been missing for a long time!


Fast food!  I'm on the bottom right, and, believe it or not, I've already eaten at both places!


This was on the table in the hotel room.  It's rum.  Usually, it's water!


A trip to Thailand wouldn't be complete without a ride in a tuk-tuk!  This one was made for midgets!


Had fun playing pool in the Chiang Mai Saloon!  Looking forward to seeing the sights tomorrow!




Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Thailand

We were on the road early and here's what we saw-

These are rubber trees with small pails attached, apparently to collect the sap???


Water has flooded this rice field.  Notice the farmer on the left side-


Barbeque anyone?  We didn't try this particular stand but we tried another and it was great!  Two chunks of chicken with perfect flavor just randomly along the road-


Whitening cream for men!


We had to cross a mountain pass-


so we had quite a few cars backed up, numerous times-


We came up from this valley.  There are lots of tight switchbacks so traffic is limited to one direction/day because of the narrow road-


Marianne found some orange bananas.  They taste starchy, bitter and lots like an unripe yellow one-


We crossed quite easily into Thailand at Mae Sot and waiting for our truck to come through, I checked out some food stalls - 

Squid-


Boiled eggs on a stick-


The toilets are different and difficult but clean!  Not sure why you're up on a pedestal as it makes it hard to hit the hole without taking out your flipflops first!


There are 7-11s here, quite well stocked with junk food.  Here are some packaged sandwiches with something nasty looking inside-


Our hotel in Tak is called Takandaman.  Some of us are willing to take a chance with Tak rather than andaman :)  We're off to Chiang Mai tomorrow!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Golden Rock, Myanmar


Legend has it that in the 11th century, King Tissa received one of Buddha's hair from a hermit.  Tissa was instructed to find a boulder in the shape of the hermit's head and enshrine the hair in a stupa on top of the boulder.  The king found the boulder at the bottom of the ocean and voila!


These men are adding more gold leaf-


Many offerings of food and water are given-


Here's quite a load!  Yes, those are bricks!


I'm not sure how I could do this-


This is how I should have come up yesterday!


Our taxi is full!


We stopped along the road to give donations.  He hopped right up onto the truck-


In Thaton City, we visited the Shwe Saryan Pagoda.  It was built in the 17th century by King Thuriya Sanda and it contained 8 hair relics of Kakusana Buddha, the staff of Gonaguna Buddha, the emerald alms bowl of Kassapa Buddha and four tooth relics of Gautama Buddha.  


Notice the female buddhas on the sides-



Money boxes are everywhere.  People in all religions seem to think they can buy their way to heaven...  either with cash-


or other offerings-


Another fortune teller-


This monk is 81 years old!


I love this hat!


Snacks - peanut brittle, popped rice cookie and coconut-


We're in Hpa An for the night, and moving on to Thailand tomorrow.