Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Third Day in Chiang Mai (Friday)

We met our driver, "Eddie Murphy," in the lobby and drove to the first temple, Wat Suan Dok, the oldest temple in Chiang Mai. There we met a disabled artist, Pong, who painted pictures of her childhood on paper she created from "Buddha leaves."

We drove to Doi Suthep which most tour guide books say, "You haven’t visited Chiang Mai if you haven’t been to Doi Suthep." We took the cable car up, thinking it was a really long steep climb to the top, but it was only 306 steps up (or down). Doi Suthep is the site of the holy relics of the Buddha carried to the mountain top by a white elephant that dropped dead at the top. We walked around the temple site, remembering to circle clockwise on Eddie’s advice.

I picked up a brochure on meditation which explained the basic principles of Buddha. It’s very easy to be holy when separated from the world; I am reminded of the book, Sacred Marriage that explains marriage is also a holy endeavor and probably much more difficult to accomplish for spiritual enlightenment (the book review suggests "God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy").

When we got back to the hotel, we ate at a barbecue that displayed kabobs I saw on an earlier trek through the streets. Unfortunately, the kabobs did not live up to expectations. After the meal, we went to the Night Market and Drew got his beloved insects---with the provision that the mounted bugs stayed behind their glass that would be hung on his bedroom wall at home. If Drew couldn’t agree to that, Gregg wasn’t going to buy them. After much hand-wringing and bargaining, Drew finally agreed to Gregg’s conditions and the bugs joined our family.

In the meantime, my watch had hit the floor and the wristband broke for the third time. The first time it broke in Guam, I took it to a watch repair shop where they told me it couldn’t be fixed. I took it home and super-glued it. I dropped it another time and super-glued it again.

It fell on the floor while I was timing the kids’ fluoride rinse here in the hotel and that’s when I told Gregg I wanted a Rolex. So, I got one. Not a real one, but a nice fake one. Maybe someday I’ll want the real thing. Gregg bought a fake Submariner Rolex. What I found hilarious was the shop owner kept these "premium watches" locked away from the rest of his goods and we had to sit down in this large closet to view his selection. I also fell in love with the Rado (which I was not familiar with outside of Vogue magazine), but it did not have minute markings, so it was not very practical for work (which is why I wanted a new watch). However, even a fake Rolex is probably over-the-top for everyday wear…especially when blood and guts are involved.